How to Freeze Pasta

how to freeze pasta

One secret to working smarter, not harder, is freezing pasta. Did you know you can freeze pasta and save yourself thirty minutes the next time you sit down to a pasta meal? Think about the ten minutes to heat water to a boil and you boil pasta about ten to twelve minutes. You spend about three minutes preparing the water and draining in the colander, etc. Why not make the entire box or make two box (depending on your family size) the next time you prepare ANY type of pasta?

How about whole wheat rotini or penne pasta?

IMG_6445

 

Or spaghetti noodles? I like to portion smaller sizes for quick lunches for the young kids at home. The quart size bags are reserved for family meals.

IMG_6444

TIPS:

  • Be sure to cook in plenty of water. Pasta will become sticky if you don’t have enough.
  • Add recommended salt amount for whole wheat pasta. It’s more appealing in flavor.
  • Don’t overcook, cool al dente. It’s going to contain moisture from freezing.
  • Drain in colander as usual and lightly toss the pasta in olive oil, cooking spray or butter to prevent sticking. Stir the pasta frequently to cool thoroughly. Once it’s completely cooled, bag it in quart size freezer bags. Label and date your bags, toss in the freezer for your next meal.
  • Thaw your pasta bags the night before you plan to make it. That’s why I highly recommend a refrigerator menu plan to remind you to thaw your pasta in your thawing box.  I also advocate a freezer inventory when you stash items in your freezer. Don’t you want to shop your freezer with ease, without digging through it to see what you have?
  • Reheat in the microwave on 50% power for approximately three to five minutes. You’ll be ready for spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, chicken with penne pasta and more. Work smarter, not harder-any type of pasta-spaghetti, linguine, penne, macaroni, rotini and more, freezes well.

0309011533.jpg

Have you thought of freezing more than one type of pasta for quick 15-minute meals or perhaps ministry meals you can prepare in a jiffy?


Spaghetti and Italian Meatballs

0311011719a.jpg

Many of my dinner meals take longer to clean up than to prepare. Here’s another meal, spaghetti and meatballs, I’m able to prepare in 15 minutes. How do I do this? Freezer cooking. I’ve made the meatballs in eight batches, baked, cooled and frozen them in one dozen packages.

I also double the quantity of pasta every time I boil a pot of water. I use a large stock pot and boil two 1-pound packages at once. We have enough pasta for at least two other meals. After the noodles have cooled in the colander, I place them in freezer bags. The next time we want pasta, it takes one-fourth the amount of time to reheat the pasta. I place mine in a microwave safe bowl and microwave thawed pasta for 5 minutes. Alternately, you could drop the cooked pasta in boiling water for a few minutes to reheat.

My marinara is either store-bought or frozen in batches. I add the thawed frozen meatballs to the sauce and bring to a simmer on the stove. While it’s heating, I prepare a salad and fifteen minutes later, we’re sitting down to a hot meal that looks like it might have taken forty-five minutes to an hour to prepare, especially if the meatballs were prepared from scratch.

The bread sticks were baked and frozen in batches from olive oil artisan dough. I thaw and reheat these as well.

You can duplicate a freezer meal at home for company or deliver to someone in need. Dinner can be in the fridge thawing if you plan ahead by freezer cooking. Have you considered a 15-minute meal lately?

Sour Cream Pancakes

0309011637a.jpg

Move over Bisquick, there’s a new pancake in town and it’s freezer friendly.  I admire the Pioneer Woman for her beautiful photography and true southern coo kin’. She uses real butter and a lot of it. I’ve been trying some of her recipes, modifying them slightly with less butter and fat and they are so good. This is one I tweaked a little for freezer cooking purposes. First, I doubled her recipe and used light sour cream, omitted the sugar (because your loading sugar on it with maple syrup) and I use a white whole wheat blend of flour. I healthified it. Visit her site for the original recipe and great writing, along with home-school information. I have to brag on her because she donated this gorgeous cookbook to this ministry and it’s awesome. I only dream of taking photos like hers some day. Until then, just enjoy the practicality of mine.

Heat a skillet or griddle on medium-high heat. I reduce mine to medium later.

Place the sour cream, flour, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Stir together very gently. I use my kitchen aid mixer on stir mode.

0309011626.jpg

Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and add the vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture. Stir together gently, not over combining. I use a plastic spatula to mix the flour from the bottom of the bowl. It’s okay for it to be lumpy. Pioneer woman says, “a little white and yellow swirling is fine.”

0309011628.jpg 0309011630.jpg

Spray the griddle or lightly grease griddle with oil or butter. Pour 1/4 cup batter at a time. Cook for one to one and a half minutes and then flip over. The trick is not to flip too early or they will fall a part. Ask me how I know. Cook for another 45 seconds and remove to plate for hot pancakes or a cooling rack for future freezing.

0309011633.jpg  0309011644.jpg  0309011635.jpg

Allow them to fully cool on a cooling rack and place them into a labeled quart size bag. Or freeze directly on cooling rack for an hour (flash freezing) and proceed to bag. This allows single servings without sticking together. We prefer to thaw an entire serving for us all (there’s five us eating). The two bags below are ministry pancakes. I’ve written the thawing and reheating directions: Thaw 24 hours and reheat in microwave for 1-2 minutes 50% power. This makes it easier for the person receiving the gift.

0309011705.jpg 0309011706.jpg 0309011838.jpg

Enjoy fresh pancakes now and enjoy some later when you have breakfast bar for dinneror a truly “quick” weekend or weekday breakfast. Enjoy with fresh fruit, real maple syrup, breakfast meat of your choice and eggs for a 15-minute breakfast.

0309011712.jpg

Sour Cream Pancakes

adapted from the Pioneer Woman to make 20 pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups sour cream (1-16oz. container)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or replace 1 cup with white whole wheat), I used all Eagle Mills blend

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tsp. salt

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

What are your favorite breakfast foods?  Have you considered doubling the recipes and freezing them?

Roast Beef Sandwiches

0305011214.jpg

Have you ever had real roast beef? Not the kind from Arby’s; homemade tender, fall a part beef on a toasted hoagie roll? That was our lunch today, made in 15 minutes. About a month ago, I made an Italian Beef (bottom round roast) cooked in the crock pot for 8 hours. I shredded the meat and placed 2 cups in quart size bags, along with 2 tablespoons aujus. Last night, I put the bags of meat in my thawing box and it took just a jiffy to whip this lunch up.

First, I toast the hoagie rolls on broil, watching them very carefully. Then I warm the meat in the microwave for 2 minutes. I use a fork to pile on the beef and top it with mozzarella cheese. Provolone slices or mozzarella slices would work well too. Then I moved my broiling pan down to melt the cheese being careful not to burn the bread. The toasted bread holds the meat well and the beef is tender and juicy just like the day I froze it.

I suggest making this right away when you find a good price on a chuck or bottom round roast. It typically goes on sale for less than $3 a pound and buy yourself a big one and you’ll have plenty of leftovers to freeze.

Printable Italian Beef Sandwiches recipe. Click here to see the Italian beef sandwiches on homemade slider rolls.

This recipe is linked to Tasty Tuesday.

Buying ahead plus freezer cooking pays off

I normally shop on Fridays and plan for next week’s dinner meals on Thursday. This week I am trying to eat from our freezer. We have an abundance to choose from and we still have some produce from this week so our shopping will be very minimal. My husband picked up a bag of frozen talipia to add to our freezer meals. I’ll post our easy talipia recipe later. I grill the fish in the summer and pan fry in olive oil in the colder months.

All of our meals are from the freezer this upcoming week. Without further due, here it is.

Sun-Veggie Pita pizza

Mon-Frozen homemade waffles, fried eggs, homemade applesauce

Tues-Black Bean Casserole, chips and salsa

Wed-Hotdogs and sweet potatoes

Thurs-Asian Honey Sesame Chicken and brown rice, green beans

Fri-Movie Night at church (pizza provided)

Sat-Chicken Enchiladas and Green beans

Remember the parents and the two year-old have leftovers and/or sandwiches for lunch.

I pack the school kids’ lunches four days out of the week and rotate their sandwiches made from bagels, bread, pitas and/or tortillas. They will get an apple, sweet treat, yogurt and chips or crackers.

We rotate cereal, oatmeal, eggs and toast for breakfast. I hope this helps:) Look for more menus each week.

Baked Apple Crisp

There is nothing more enjoyable than a bowl of warm apple crisp in the fall. Imagine if you made it a month ago and all you had to do was pop it into the oven and smell the cinnamon flooding your kitchen. This is what I do when I have a bushel of apples from the Farmer’s Market. I peel, slice and core a bunch at one time and make a double batch of this apple crisp. We enjoy one now and freeze an unbaked one for later.

Apple Crisp

Ingredients

  • 8-9 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples (about 7-8 apples) we like the Rome apples and the Farmer's Mkt size equal 5-6 because they are huge
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (I leave out if I'm cooking right away or I use if I'm freezing it)
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur or Eagle Mills)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (quick oats work too)
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar (which I would leave out if you are using Rome, tart apples might require this)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold, butter, cut up into 1/4 inch chunks (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional but rich in Omega 3

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Spread apples in a 9x13 casserole.
  3. Sprinkle lemon juice over if desired.
  4. Combine topping ingredients and toss. Add butter and use your fingers to rub in the butter until you have pea size crumbs (like homemade biscuits)
  5. Mix in walnuts if desired or throw on top.
  6. Spread the topping evenly over apples and press down gently with palm of hand.
  7. Bake 45-50 minutes until juice is bubbling around edges.
  8. Or crock apples only on low 3-4 hours. Add the topping the last cooking hour.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://momonamission.me/appl-crisp/

Serve with real vanilla ice cream, whipped topping or a splash of half and half if you want a real treat or eat this plain for a nutritious breakfast with scrambled eggs. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to double bubble and make 2. You can freeze this crisp. Thaw the night before and increase your baking time to one hour. I made 4 loaf pans (more to give away) from one recipe. Several to give away and several to keep:)

Your pan might look like this and smell like cinnamon when you’re done! What’s your favorite way to eat apples?