Freezer favourites

A freezer is perhaps the most time-saving tool in a cook's armoury. Here's a few tips how you can get the best out of yours.
 
We all have those days when we seem to be racing around the place with not much time to cook, yet we still want a delicious, comforting meal.
 
That's why my freezer is my friend. It's packed with what are, essentially, home-cooked ready-meals, ready to defrost and reheat in just a few minutes. Good organisation saves not just time but your health (and sometimes sanity!) too.
 
Of course, I can't take credit for the idea of making use of your freezer, but over the years I've learnt a few useful tips about what to freeze and what not to freeze. Some recipes do so well after defrosting that you just won't be able to tell they weren't cooked fresh. Beans and pulses do wonderfully well after defrosting. Their texture can be just as smooth and, as long as they're packed in an airtight container, they'll be perfectly moist. Defrost them in a covered pan, on a low heat, with a splash of water.
 
Dhal is a recipe I often make with the intention of freezing it. This baked dahl, opposite, made with red lentils, is supremely healthy and easy to make. A stint in the freezer won't alter its texture or make it any less tasty or nutritious. While it's defrosting, you can make some boiled rice, then serve with chutney and perhaps some yoghurt - quite the feast!
 
Other recipes that are good for freezing include, of course, stews and soups. Anything with lots of liquid is nicely taken care of in the freezer and a gentle defrosting will do it no harm. I always make extra quantities of recipes, such as the chicken pilaff or beef stew, and then make sure I've enough decent-sized Tupperware containers - and sufficent space in my freezer!
 
Another tip for freezing may sound obvious, but I can't overstate how useful it is to put labels on everything. Clear labels with exactly what's in the container and, ideally, the date it was frozen on, will make your life a thousand times easier.
 

Freezer Recipe Ideas: 

 

Shaneod Sep 29, 2014 News