A Pleasant Little Freezer

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I am empowered when I open my freezer and find pieces of this and that, frozen and waiting to be used. Not only does this sight empower me, but it also satisfies part of my need to provide for my family. Having the foresight that no week is perfect, I found my motivation to stock my freezer.

There are days where cooking needs to be easy. There are days when I don’t want to cook. There are days when there is no time to cook. There are days that the only thing in my fridge is shredded cheese, a used onion and a half-empty bottle of wine. These are the days my pleasant little freezer comes in to play.

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The food you choose to freeze should be versatile. These items need to have potential to create multiple different dishes and to acquire different flavors. I try to always have these six items in my freezer. Here’s my top six and their potential meals:

Bolognese– can be eaten with pasta, polenta or crusty bread

Chicken Stock– a basic staple to be used in soups, braised meats, sauteed vegetables, rice, couscous; the possibilities are endless

Green Broccoli Soup– this is a simple soup, packed with vegetables, that can be eaten on its own as a light meal or served alongside other dishes for something more substantial.

Pesto– can be eaten with pasta or gnocchi and it can be used as a brightener to whatever it is paired with: roasted chicken, pasta, eggs or sauteed vegetables.

Tomato Sauce- can be eaten on its own with pasta, used to enhance dishes (such as sauteed vegetables) or combined with cream, milk, herbs and cheese for a comforting soup.

Smothered Cabbage– a basic vegetable side that can be eaten on its own or added to other items to be turned into a heartier meal, such as risotto or soups.

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Freezing food does not have to be an all day ordeal where the kitchen is bombarded by ingredients for a month’s worth of meals. This can lead to a stressful and chaotic environment, which has no place in a pleasant kitchen. My approach to freezing most food is to plan my weekly menu and then decide which of these meals can be versatile and delicious when frozen. Then I cook the meal as I normally would (sometimes doubling the recipe) and then freeze the left-overs in smaller portions. These smaller portions are intended to serve between one and four individuals on any given day.

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Intrigued? I hope so.

Listed below are the links to the recipes that are my freezer necessities. There’s also a few basic meal ideas to help you utilize these frozen items. It’s time to get started on your pleasant little freezer.

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Bolognese (click here for Mario Batali’s bolognese recipe)

  • bolognese served with pasta
  • bolognese over polenta
  • bolognese open faced sandwich with a runny egg

Chicken Stock  (click here for Mario Batali’s chicken stock recipe)

  • chicken stock with sauteed onions and carrots, bite sized roasted chicken, lemon zest and egg noodles

Green Broccoli Soup (click here for Michael Chiarello’s green broccoli soup recipe) 

  • green broccoli soup served with crusty bread
  • green broccoli soup with cooked rice or barley added to it
  • reduced and combined with pasta and cheese

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Pesto (click here for Marcella Hazan’s pesto recipe)

  • pesto served with gnocchi or pasta
  • pesto and egg sandwich
  • pesto mayonnaise turkey sandwich

Tomato Sauce (click here for Mario Batali’s basic tomato sauce recipe)

  • pasta with tomato sauce and sauteed veggies (onions, squash, bell peppers, eggplant etc)
  • egg marinara sandwich
  • creamy tomato soup (tomato sauce+cream+dried herbs+ a splash of red wine vinegar)
  • tomato sauce with sauteed vegetables (onions, squash, bell peppers, eggplant, leeks, garli, etc)

Smothered Cabbage (click here for Marcella Hazan’s smothered cabbage recipe) 

  • smothered cabbage (just as it is, as a side)
  • smothered cabbage risotto
  • smothered cabbage and rice soup
  • smothered cabbage on crusty bread topped with a runny egg

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