9 Foods to Double Up on and Freeze for Later
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Braised Short Ribs
Submerge leftovers in their cooking liquid and freeze in resealable plastic baggies, lying flat on their sides — don't forget to label and date the goods! When ready to reheat, use the pan-steaming method to quickly defrost: Fill a saucepan with a thin layer of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the plastic bag and add the contents to the saucepan; cover and steam for a few minutes, which should result in rapid defrosting. Stir occasionally to combine and help break down the frozen bits, keeping the saucepan covered often and adding small amounts of water as necessary.
By Teri Tsang Barrett
Portion out leftovers in sizes convenient for your household and freeze. When ready to reheat, use the pan-steaming method (above) to quickly facilitate the defrosting process. If using a container, let the chili stand on the counter for about five to 10 minutes before tapping and shaking to release the frozen block into a saucepan.
Anyone who has made this dish from scratch knows that it's time-consuming! However, the assembly of the dish doesn't take long, so double up on the amount of ingredients — cooking times remain the same — and assemble two lasagnas in separate pans. Foil pans are good here! And if you're assembling only one lasagna for leftovers, line the pan with foil beforehand for easy removal after freezing. Reheat in a 300 degree F oven until defrosted, 45 to 60 minutes, then crank up the heat to 375 degrees F and bake until browned and bubbly on top, 15 to 30 minutes more.
Get the Recipe: Beef Mushroom Lasagna
Cooked frozen proteins tend to freeze well, and meatloaf is a prime example. Wrap the loaf tightly in foil, then seal in plastic wrap to take extra precautions against freezer burn. Reheat the loaf by removing the plastic wrap and baking the foil-wrapped loaf in the oven using the same oven temperature and approximately the same cooking time as called for in the original recipe.
Get the Recipe: Mom's Meatloaf
One of the beauties of pulled pork is that it's essentially basted in its own rendered fat during cooking, the perfect sealant for preserving the fresh, meaty flavor once frozen. Seal in quantities convenient for your household along with cupful increments that can be quickly added to stews, stir-fries, quesadillas or just about anything that might benefit from a little protein for a more complete meal — plus, it reheats in minutes.
Frozen cooked rice should be a staple in every household that regularly needs to get dinner on the table fast. Hot cooked rice may be sealed in plastic resealable baggies and frozen flat on its side; just microwave the sealed bags of rice in 20-second increments for moist and fluffy grains. Frozen rice also reheats well using the pan-steaming method (above) and can be quickly added to stir-fries and soups straight out of the freezer.
Get the Recipe: Perfect Microwave Rice
If you're making an oil- or acid-based sauce, such as pesto or tomato sauce, respectively, be sure to double up and freeze leftovers that can be used as a soup base or glaze — or use them to liven up cooked rice or noodles. Be sure to divide into usable quantities before freezing to avoid having to defrost the entire batch. Creamy sauces, such as Alfredo sauce, may be frozen, but though flavor isn’t necessarily affected, texture often is, so freeze at your own risk.