Look at your recipes and see if you can break them down into stages that can be performed early. Sometimes just having your vegetables chopped makes it easier to throw a recipe together.
Be sure that any steps you do early do not compromise on the taste of the final dish. Also, make sure food is properly stored – not only for health reasons, but also to maintain the best taste and flavor for the dish!
To cover or not to cover, that is the question...here are the basics:
· If you want something to stay moist and it is already fairly moist – cover it tightly to reheat
· If you want it to be moist but are afraid it got a little dried out in the cooking process you may want to dab some butter over the top before you cover it.
· If you want it to be crispy – reheat it uncovered!
I really think my Mom is the expert here. It is a skill that was passed down through generations. My grandmother was the queen of dividing and wrapping things up. My father’s standard joke was that if we did not see my grandfather for a few days – check the freezer. He may be wrapped, sealed and dated.
Here are a few does and don’ts for freezing:
Zip-top plastic bags and foil and saran wrap.
The key is to get as much air as you can out! Suck the air of a baggie before resealing it. Everything doesn’t freeze well, but plenty does:
· cooked foods like meats and chickens
· most casseroles
· Vegetables freeze well – vegetables can be frozen fresh or cooked!
· Potatoes and Pasta don’t freeze well!
Don’t be afraid to experiment – you can usually figure out a way to salvage something that didn’t freeze well. I experimented once with roasted poblano peppers. When they are in season, they taste better. So, I roasted a bunch and divided them into plastic bags and threw them in the freezer. Then, a few days went by and I tested them in my favorite Chile Con Queso dip page 27 in the Simply Southern With a Dash of Kosher Soul! It worked! Now when I want to make that dish I am able to cut out the step of charring the peppers!
It’s good planning to freeze something – canned soups, tomato paste – I usually divide them into measured amounts – ¼ cup of chicken soup/stock or tablespoons of tomato paste.
Take leftover bread – wrap it up, throw it in the freezer – after you accumulate a bunch, pull out the processer and make bread crumbs – keep them stored in a plastic baggie in the freezer. This helps keep them fresh, but I think it also helps with the consistency of the bread crumbs. There is a misconception about toasting bread or allowing bread to get stale to make bread crumbs – I have found neither to be necessary!
Anyone out there have some ideas to share???? Please do!