Bake, Freeze, Reheat, Repeat – Fix and Freeze Meals

 

Beef Casserole with Dumplings With our double-booked days and over packed calendars, it’s amazing we remember to breathe, let alone eat. If the time it takes to prepare the dinner menu is becoming a nightly dilemma, don’t let yourself resort to the drive-thru. There’s hope! Time to try your hand at fix and freeze meals.

Freeze and Bake Entrees

You can freeze a full meal, like this hearty Beef Casserole with Dumplings, the perfect warming dish to savor as you watch those final leaves fall. Any stew, chili, soup or casserole can be prepped on the weekend and popped in the oven later in the week. Ready to get started? Give it a go with this Italian Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. Freeze flat in a plastic bag, defrost when you’re ready to serve and reheat on the stove. One spoonful, and you’ll be sold.

Freeze and Bake Breads

Need a crowd-pleasing finger food for that office holiday party? Want to add a special treat to spaghetti night, but you’re short on time? Try this amazing Cranberry Orange Nut Bread.

Freeze and Bake Desserts

Looking to serve up heaven on a plate in a moment’s notice? It’s time to try out Clabber Girl’s insanely delicious, life-changing dessert in a pinch.

Freeze and Bake Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do: Take a few hours over the weekend to relax while prepping these comforting recipes.Cranberry Orange Nut Bread
  • Don’t: Invite freezer burn! Sure, freezing technically protects food indefinitely, but we often forget to close a bag correctly or seal a container tightly.
  • Do: Label your goods. Whether you use bags or bowls, plastic or aluminum, be sure to mark down the what and the when.
  • Don’t: Forget ingredients. Sure, you can freeze whole casseroles and desserts, but you can also freeze main ingredients like chicken breasts, browned hamburger, spaghetti sauce and much, much more.
  • Do: Thaw safely. In the fridge or in cold water is the safest way to thaw frozen food without losing any taste or texture.
  • Don’t: Freeze hot food. If you cook before you freeze, be sure to let the food cool before you get it ready for storage.

The stress of getting a healthy meal on the table shouldn’t overshadow the joy of sitting down with your family at the end of the day. Maybe you just need a few extra minutes for dinner, or maybe an unexpected potluck popped up. Either way, there are literally hundreds of delicious recipes you can prep, bake and freeze. Check out our Bake & Freeze Pinterest board for more inspiration!

Amaretto-Peach French Toast: Entertaining with the Diva of Do Ahead

Amaretto Peach French ToastLast weekend, I invited guests for Sunday brunch and then wondered what to serve that could be ready quickly after church.   I turned to Perfect Party Food, All the Recipes and Tips You’ll Ever Need for Stress-Free Entertaining,* from the Diva of Do-Ahead Diane Phillips.  Diane is noted for her do-ahead recipes and having taken several of her cooking classes, I knew that her recipes were “can’t miss.”   There were several options for brunch casseroles in the cookbook – I had a difficult time making a selection.

A sweet treat is always popular, so I chose to make Amaretto-Peach French Toast. It was absolutely delicious and quite a hit with my guests.  It was sweet, but not too sweet. It uses baking powder as the leavener which is a plus since I work at Clabber Girl and we manufacture Clabber Girl and Rumford Baking Powders. I used Rumford Reduced Sodium Baking Powder and the toast rose beautifully.  Since I had blueberries and peaches in my freezer, I used both, and the flavor combination was great.

The French toast was easy to assemble, and took very little time to prepare.  I did add a bit more amaretto than the recipe called for and that additional flavor boost was nice.  Otherwise, I made the recipe exactly as directed.  (One of the best things about this particular cookbook is that EVERY recipe is Do-Ahead!  Diane gives tips for freezing, using a crockpot, recipe variations, and serving suggestions including garnishes. It’s a great resource for those who like to entertain.)

My guests raved over the dish and asked for the recipe, which I think is the true test of a recipe’s success.  I can’t wait to try out other recipes from Diane’s book….brunch anyone?

*Perfect Party Food is a James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee and published by The Harvard Press, 2005.