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 Post subject: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 3:34 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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So I'm about to be insanely busy come fall when school starts. I'm teaching in a new school in a new country and going to grad school. I can just see myself stopping at a snackbar for French fries every night if I don't get myself together.

My partner and I scored an awesome chest freezer from the Dutch version of Craigslist and my head is spinning for stuff to make for the freezer. I've always been intrigued by the Once-A-Month-Cooking people, but their recipes and ideas are super meatmeatcheesemeat. I found this vegan one - http://vegoam.wordpress.com/ - but anyone here have tips or ideas?

Right now I've got ideas to use the freezer for:
- casseroles
- pasta sauces and other sauces
- beans cooked from dried
- caramelized onions (I read a tip about caramelizing a bunch and then freezing the paste in ice cube trays. Gonna try it)

...and I'm out of ideas.

I love the idea of not having to spend every weekend in a marathon cooking session and just doing it one weekend a month or here and there when I have time. Anyone done this or do this? Have good ideas for vegan freezer meals?


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 3:44 am 
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Soups and stews, like dal, are great to make a lot of and freeze. Personally I think they often taste better after some time in the freezer. I also freeze complete meals like rice and beans or noodles with peanut sauce. It works really well.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:36 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Love Child wrote:
Soups and stews, like dal, are great to make a lot of and freeze. Personally I think they often taste better after some time in the freezer. I also freeze complete meals like rice and beans or noodles with peanut sauce. It works really well.


Dal! Great idea!

How do you freeze noodles? We have a favorite peanut sauce recipe that we eat as a quick meal with broccoli and noodles, but I thought freezing the noodles would make them weird. I love the idea of freezing complete meals, though. Intrigued.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:41 am 
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I've never had good luck freezing pasta, but I'm wondering if something like brown rice pasta might hold up better. I freeze the typical--stews, soups, sauces, seitan.

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 4:48 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Dr. Apricot wrote:
I've never had good luck freezing pasta, but I'm wondering if something like brown rice pasta might hold up better. I freeze the typical--stews, soups, sauces, seitan.


Seitan! Good idea. I've also been meaning to do a batch of meatballs and freeze them. Some nights all I want to do is throw together pasta and red sauce from a jar (and even that can be too much sometimes) and protein-rich meatballs would make me feel less guilty about that.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 6:30 am 
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TAMALES.
So much deliciousness to last you forever!


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:12 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Chickpea cutlets
Also having breadcrumbs in the freezer is nice if you want to quickly bread/panfry some tofu. You could even go ahead and throw in whatever seasonings you'd want with the breading.

I've been wanting to do the tamales too!! This might be the inspiration.

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:13 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Chickpea cutlets
Also having breadcrumbs in the freezer is nice if you want to quickly bread/panfry some tofu. You could even go ahead and throw in whatever seasonings you'd want with the breading.

I've been wanting to do the tamales too!! This might be the inspiration.

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:18 am 
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AshleyUndone wrote:
TAMALES.
So much deliciousness to last you forever!

Yes!


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:29 am 
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pickledtreats wrote:
Love Child wrote:
Soups and stews, like dal, are great to make a lot of and freeze. Personally I think they often taste better after some time in the freezer. I also freeze complete meals like rice and beans or noodles with peanut sauce. It works really well.


Dal! Great idea!

How do you freeze noodles? We have a favorite peanut sauce recipe that we eat as a quick meal with broccoli and noodles, but I thought freezing the noodles would make them weird. I love the idea of freezing complete meals, though. Intrigued.



I just mix the sauce with noodles (spaghetti or soba) and freeze it. It works for me! I haven't had any weird texture issues, but I always pull out the food from the freezer and put it in the fridge or on the counter a few hours before heating it up. I freeze mac and cheese and other pasta casseroles too.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:52 am 
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pickledtreats wrote:
Dr. Apricot wrote:
I've never had good luck freezing pasta, but I'm wondering if something like brown rice pasta might hold up better. I freeze the typical--stews, soups, sauces, seitan.


Seitan! Good idea. I've also been meaning to do a batch of meatballs and freeze them. Some nights all I want to do is throw together pasta and red sauce from a jar (and even that can be too much sometimes) and protein-rich meatballs would make me feel less guilty about that.


if you made batches of sauce and batches of meatballs you could just boil some water and make the pasta when you wanted it. that's one thing I am willing to do when I'm exhausted.

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 8:05 am 
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I second (third?) the tamales! Along those lines, how do refried beans freeze? That would make the easiest meal ever with some rice cooked up.

When I get a freezer I'm planning on doing pizza sauce and dough to have around for a weekly pizza night. Adding fresh toppings shouldn't be that bad.

If you want to do breakfasts, too, english muffins and breakfast sausages are great. I also read somewhere (on this forum, maybe?) to make your own smoothie kits with fruit and cubed yogurt.

And seitan variety is great to have; any from Viva Vegan are always a safe bet. Or you could do seitan cutlets, freeze them on a baking sheet and transfer them to your chosen freezer container.

And get Joni's burger book if you don't have it. It has recommendations for freezing and reheating so I plan on stocking up on those.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:41 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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bekki wrote:
I second (third?) the tamales! Along those lines, how do refried beans freeze? That would make the easiest meal ever with some rice cooked up.

When I get a freezer I'm planning on doing pizza sauce and dough to have around for a weekly pizza night. Adding fresh toppings shouldn't be that bad.

If you want to do breakfasts, too, english muffins and breakfast sausages are great. I also read somewhere (on this forum, maybe?) to make your own smoothie kits with fruit and cubed yogurt.

And seitan variety is great to have; any from Viva Vegan are always a safe bet. Or you could do seitan cutlets, freeze them on a baking sheet and transfer them to your chosen freezer container.

And get Joni's burger book if you don't have it. It has recommendations for freezing and reheating so I plan on stocking up on those.


Joni's burger book just arrived in my mailbox all the way from America! I was a tester and it's awesome to see the book.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:54 pm 
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+1 to soups (especially chili... mmm) and tamales!

Also, burritos. I never would have thought of it but another PPKer mentioned it in some burrito thread a while back and I realized, hey, I've eaten plenty of pre-packaged frozen burritos before so why shouldn't I just make my own?

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:01 pm 
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Dr. Apricot wrote:
I've never had good luck freezing pasta, but I'm wondering if something like brown rice pasta might hold up better. I freeze the typical--stews, soups, sauces, seitan.


Baked pasta dishes like lasagna or ziti hold up well in the freezer.

My other thought is to stock up on frozen veggies so that you will have veggie side dishes available when you don't have time to steam up fresh.

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:11 pm 
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bcakes wrote:
My other thought is to stock up on frozen veggies so that you will have veggie side dishes available when you don't have time to steam up fresh.


This is what I was going to recommend. My CSA used to overload us with more than we could eat in a week, so I started chopping and freezing a lot of things. Tomatoes, onions, corn, leeks, peppers, broccoli, carrots, etc. It's really handy to throw together quick stir fries or pastas.

You could make big batches of breakfast burritos, which would be convenient in the morning. Calzones are easy to freeze as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:36 pm 
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I know it's not the healthiest option, but I like making all my favorite quickbread recipes in muffin tins and freeze them. I do sub out most of the oil with apple sauce and use half to 2/3 whole grains... Anyway, taking out one muffin is a great single serve. Also, though it isn't a freezer thing, I also rely on cooking one big pot of soup a week to eat on the busier nights. Pull out a savory muffin and you have a meal!
My husband also makes a home-made bisquik mix that I weigh out in small portions and add a little milk and make drop biscuits.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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mel c wrote:
bcakes wrote:
My other thought is to stock up on frozen veggies so that you will have veggie side dishes available when you don't have time to steam up fresh.


This is what I was going to recommend. My CSA used to overload us with more than we could eat in a week, so I started chopping and freezing a lot of things. Tomatoes, onions, corn, leeks, peppers, broccoli, carrots, etc.

Do anything to it before you freeze them. I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to blanch them, but I dont know that it makes that big of a difference.

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:50 am 
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I would love to do baked goods, but we have this convection oven/microwave/combi thing here that OBLITERATES anything you put in it that needs any kind of temperature control. I've decided to never make another baked good until we get an actual oven. It's just too sad when everything comes out terrible.

I used to make breakfast burritos - I need to do that again. I used to fill them w/ tofu scramble and veggies and eat them with salsa and avocado in the mornings. Tamales would be cool, but I don't think we have access to the ingredients you need. The Netherlands sucks for anything close to Latin food.

Mel - Do you do anything to the veggies before you freeze them? I suppose it doesn't matter too much if they're going into dishes like pasta and stir-fry.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:56 am 
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Lots of stock.

And dumplings or ravioli!

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 6:28 am 
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Cooked rice freezes well. I also freeze any leftover jarred sauce or canned tomatoes in a glass jar. I don't know if you consider pancakes baked goods, but we cook up a double batch of pancakes and freeze those also.

Good luck with your new job and school, and enjoy your freezer!

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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 7:11 am 
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The 80's wrote:
Cooked rice freezes well. I also freeze any leftover jarred sauce or canned tomatoes in a glass jar. I don't know if you consider pancakes baked goods, but we cook up a double batch of pancakes and freeze those also.

Good luck with your new job and school, and enjoy your freezer!


We've frozen pancakes before! They're really good and freeze surprisingly well.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:05 pm 
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I've got a pretty good list of things going that I think might freeze well. My little chest freezer is going to get full in no time. I already bagged up 10 cups of black eyed peas, which made me stumble upon this recipe of Isa's - http://www.theppk.com/2010/09/caribbean ... plantains/

How do you guys think that would freeze with the plantains and all? Also...unrelated...but I actually have Jamaican curry powder and I can't figure out what to sub out of that recipe. Just leave out the star anise?


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:32 pm 
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I don't do anything to the veggies other than rinse and cut, mainly out of laziness. I know blanching is often recommended for certain things, but again, lazy. I haven't had any freezer weirdness from it.


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 Post subject: Re: Once a Month Cooking (aka I got a freezer!)
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 6:32 pm 
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mel c wrote:
I don't do anything to the veggies other than rinse and cut, mainly out of laziness. I know blanching is often recommended for certain things, but again, lazy. I haven't had any freezer weirdness from it.


I've only had slight sliminess/mushiness from stuff with lots of water - like tomatoes and peppers, but couldn't tell the difference once they were cooked into things.


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