This week on the show, I'm not visiting another restaurant, but instead I'm doing a recipe inspired by Amanda, a friend of my wife's, who is about to have a baby and wanted some tips on freezer-friendly meals! I didn't go about it exactly that way, in that I didn't give recipes specifically for it, but instead I talked about a lot of great tips you can find here in the show notes about preparing food and sticking things in the freezer for later use. It also ties into This Week in Food, where I talk about doing things for yourself in your own kitchen and talk about a recipe for homemade BBQ sauce.
Also this week, I'm cooking another one of your repices! This was submitted by Emily Prokop of the Story Behind podcast! She sent a recipe inspired by her Hungarian heritage, a homemade chicken paprikash recipe you can find here: http://americanheritagecooking.com/2014/03/hungarian-chicken-paprikas-homemade-spaetzle/. I only did a few riffs on this recipe, it's simple and clean and delicious! Thank you Emily!
For recipes from this episode and to interact in my fan-interactive segments, join my facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/restaurantpod. You can also submit your own recipes for me to make! Bon appetit!
Frozen Food Tips!
Generally speaking, I never prep entire meals and then freeze them. I like cooking while ingredients are fresh, from scratch! But, with so many time constraints on me lately, and in thinking about this when Amanda posed the idea, I started to think about it! I already love making some things in bulk, but there are many things I make that I could easily freeze, and there are other things I can freeze at a certain stage of preparation and then pull out and go straight to the oven!
For starters, I already make pizza dough in bulk and freeze it before it rises. Then, it's as simple as taking it out and letting it thaw and rise before use! Just separate it into single-pie portions (my recipe makes enough for two) and stick it in a ziploc bag coated with olive oil.
As mentioned back on episode zero of the RestauRant, chicken pieces! I collect a few pounds and then cook them into a hearty soup, but, you can also just make bulk amounts of stock of any type- be it beef, chicken, turkey, vegetable, or what have you, and then freeze the stock! You could also easily make a huge amount of soup like my homemade chicken noodle and freeze that; when you thaw it, add the noodles and cook it just long enough to soften them before serving.
This is a big one I should do, but never have- lasagna! You can prepare the whole entire pan and then, rather than toss it into the oven, freeze it! Then you can take it out and put it right into the oven from the freezer and bake it. Pasta dishes on the whole were born for this sort of thing. Finish them right up to the baking stage and freeze, then you just have to pop them into the oven from the freezer, bake, and serve.
There are a lot of recipes that come together super well and the flavors marry better and better each and every time you prepare the dish. Things like chili, sloppy joes, and various stews get better the longer the flavors have to come together. You can make huge, huge batches of these in stock pots and freeze them in portioned containers or resealable bags and then just toss them into a pan on the stove or the microwave, heat and eat.
Also as a rule for the freezer, a lot of things can get purchased in bulk and frozen. We do a lot of "family pack" buying which is much, much less expensive than buying smaller packages. While I prefer fresh for some things, if you're making a chili or a meat sauce or something, buy some bulk ground beef and freeze it in 1-lb portions and then thaw as needed. Chicken is the same way.
As for chicken and turkey, cook some, rest it, then shred and freeze. Then you've got the base for a kickin' chicken or turkey salad ready to go once you thaw it. You could also add some BBQ sauce to the chicken and make some shredded chicken sandwiches.
I always store it in the fridge, but there's no reason you can't make huge batches of pizza or marinara sauce and then freeze them in portions for quick heating and serving. Whenever I make marinara sauce I make massive batches! Last week for the show I cooked up six full ball jars and we've still got five left.
What DON'T I recommend freezing?
~ Anything that requires a cheese sauce. You can always shred cheese in bulk and store it in portioned bags in the freezer, though!
~ If you're planning to make burgers. I love cooking my burgers with fresh ground beef.
~ Good cuts of steak. If it's something you're going to have to marinate before you cook it anyway, then you're okay.
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Catch me every single week on the Epic Film Guys podcast, a film comedy podcast where we review flicks, talk news, and drink great booze! Visit us at http://www.epicfilmguys.com!
Music & Thanks
"Daybreak," "Big Much," and "The Climb" from Music for Makers. Sign up and get a royalty-free song delivered to your inbox every Monday at www.musicformakers.com!
"New York, 1924," "Midday Dance," and "Relaxing Piano Music" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Epic Film Guys Intro written by Jordan Greene. Check him out on Instagram @jordangreenemusic and Facebook Jordan Greene Music, and look for Aviera coming soon!
Thank you to Wes of the ViaVHS Podcast for the amazing RestauRant artwork!