Meat pie — Prepare meat-vegetable filling. Cook until nearly done. Omit potatoes. Cool rapidly. Do not use a bottom crust. Pour meat-vegetable mixture into casserole or individual containers. Top with pastry. Do not bake. Tray freeze, package and return to freezer immediately.
To prepare: Do not thaw, cut vents in crust and bake at 400°F for about 45 minutes for individual pies or about one hour for larger pies, or until meat mixture is hot and crust is golden brown. Length of freezer storage: 4 to 6 months.
Pizza — Prepare as usual, but do not bake. Tray freeze, package and return to freezer immediately. To prepare: Unwrap and bake unthawed for 15 to 20 minutes at 450°F. Length of freezer storage: 1 month.
Roast (beef, pork or poultry) — Roast as usual. Remove as much fat as possible. Keep pieces large. Turkey and other large fowl should be cut from the bones to save freezer space. Ham and other cured meats lose color when frozen and become rancid more quickly than other meats. For short storage, roast may be packaged without sauce or gravy. To keep meat from drying out during longer storage, cover sliced meat with gravy or sauce. Package in rigid containers, leave headspace and freeze.
To prepare: Thaw meat without gravy in wrapping in the refrigerator. Heat covered at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Thaw meat with gravy in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 hours and then heat slowly on top of the range or in an oven. Length of freezer storage: 2 to 4 months.
Do not refreeze.
Appetizers — Spread thin layer of butter on bread to prevent soaking or drying. Prepare as usual. Tray freeze spread in single layers on trays and then use shallow, airtight containers for packaging, separating layers with a double layer of freezer wrap. Package toast and other crisp appetizers separately.
To serve: About one hour before serving, arrange frozen appetizers on serving trays and cover. Let thaw at room temperature.
Caution: Appetizers containing perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry or dairy products should not remain at room temperature for more than two hours because of the possibility of food poisoning. Length of freezer storage: 3 to 4 weeks.
Soups and saucesSoups and purees — Prepare as usual; concentrate by using less liquid if possible. Omit potatoes. Cool rapidly, package in rigid containers, leave headspace, and freeze. Or, freeze in clean ice cube trays. When frozen, store cubes in freezer containers or bags.
To prepare: heat without thawing. Cream-based soups should be heated over boiling water and stirred frequently for a smooth texture. Length of freezer storage: 4 to 6 months.
Sauces for desserts and meats — Prepare as usual. Because flavorings and spices change flavor during freezer storage, add just before serving. Package in rigid containers, leave headspace, and freeze. Thaw in package in the refrigerator or heat without thawing in a double boiler. Stir to keep smooth. Length of freezer storage: 3 to 4 months.
Note: Milk sauces and gravies often curdle or separate after freezing. Stirring during reheating helps keep a smooth texture. Using waxy rice flour or waxy corn flour as the thickener also helps. If you freeze a lot of prepared foods, it will be worth your while to look for "mochiko," a special waxy rice flour that can often be purchased at oriental food stores. Sauces, pie fillings and gravies thickened with mochiko before freezing are smooth, elastic and do not curdle or separate when thawed.
Vegetable dishesBeets (Harvard) — Prepare as usual, but heat only until mixture begins to simmer. Cool rapidly. Package in rigid containers, leaving headspace.
To prepare: Thaw partially in the refrigerator and heat in a double boiler or in a saucepan over low heat. Add extra water if necessary and stir occasionally. Length of freezer storage: 4 months.
Beans (baked) — Prepare as usual. Use only a small amount of bacon, ham or salt pork cut in small pieces. Bake until beans are barely tender to avoid overcooking when reheating. Cool rapidly. Package in rigid containers, cover beans and meat with liquid, leave headspace and freeze.
To prepare: Thaw in the refrigerator and then heat in a double boiler or in a saucepan over low heat. Add a little extra water and stir frequently to prevent sticking. Or, bake at 400°F, 45 minutes for pints and one hour for quarts. Length of freezer storage: 6 months.
Potatoes (baked or stuffed) — Prepare as usual. Cool and wrap individually in foil. Overwrap in freezer.
To prepare: Unwrap and bake without thawing at 400°F until thoroughly heated and lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Length of freezer storage: 2 to 4 weeks.
Potatoes (scalloped) — Prepare as usual and bake until almost tender and a delicate brown color. Leave in baking dish and cool rapidly. Package and freeze.
To prepare: For a shorter heating period, partially thaw in the refrigerator. Or, bake unthawed at 400°F until heated thoroughly. Add extra milk if necessary. Length of freezer storage: 2 weeks.
Freezing Vegetables, for directions on freezing french fries, mashed potatoes and potato patties.
Sweet potato balls — Prepare mashed sweet potatoes. Form into balls, brush with melted butter or margarine, and roll in crushed cereal flakes or finely chopped nuts. Tray freeze balls on baking sheets before packaging in rigid containers or freezer bags. Fill air spaces with crumpled freezer wrap.
To prepare: Bake unthawed on greased baking sheets at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes. Length of freezer storage: 1 month.
Note: Cooked, creamed vegetables lose flavor rapidly and are not recommended for freezer storage.
Fruit dishesApples (baked) — Prepare as usual, baking only until barely done. Cool rapidly. Wrap each apple individually in foil, package in rigid containers and freeze. To serve hot: Unwrap and heat unthawed at 350° F for 15 to 20 minutes. Length of freezer storage: 2 months.
Salads with base of whipped cream, cottage cheese or mayonnaise — Prepare as usual and pour into individual molds or one large mold. Cover top with freezer paper and overwrap in freezer paper or heavy-duty foil. Or, line muffin tins with film wrap, fill with salad mixture and freeze. When frozen, wrap salads individually and store in freezer bags in the freezer. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator. Length of freezer storage: 2 months.
Gelatin-based salads — Experiment with freezing gelatin salads before serving to company. Use only 3/4 of the total liquid called for in a recipe. Prepare gelatin base and refrigerate until syrupy. Prepare filling of chopped fruit, vegetables, chopped nuts, flaked fish, chicken or turkey. Whipped cream, cottage cheese, softened cream cheese or mayonnaise can also be mixed in and improve the texture of frozen gelatin salads.
Line a square pan with film wrap and pour in about one-third of the syrupy gelatin. Put in the freezer for a short period to set up further. Fold remaining gelatin into the filling and pour gently over the frozen gelatin. Freeze. Then remove from pan and complete the wrapping with freezer wrap or heavy duty foil. Return to freezer immediately.
Serve nearly frozen on bed of lettuce or thaw for approximately an hour in the refrigerator. Return to original pan for thawing. Length of freezer storage: 2 weeks. Plain gelatin should not be frozen as it toughens and "weeps."
Note: Fresh pineapple and fresh kiwi fruit should not be used because they contain an enzyme that prevents a gel from forming. Canned or frozen pineapple or kiwi fruit can be used successfully because they have been heated in processing (heating destroys the enzyme).
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