Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Freezer cooking, part 2, completed

Yay, finished part 2 of my freezer cooking. I didn't end up doing everything in the planned order but it was still done by Wednesday night. My freezer is now really nicely filled.

Pizza roll-ups - 30+

I did a double batch, making the dough from scratch. They are basically french bread dough rolled out, with seasoned ground beef and mozzarella pressed in, then rolled up and sliced like cinnamon rolls. After baking, you eat them dipped in spaghetti sauce. They're really good and we're definitely making them again. We ate quite a few for dinner but froze one ice cream bucket worth.

Sloppy joe filling - 3 lbs
No recipe for this. I had Nathan mix it this time to his liking. I always include ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, onions, and whatever else tastes good. He also added relish.

Meatballs - 6 lbs

This was a new recipe and they taste okay, but I like my meatballs to have more seasoning. Doubled the batch, used rehydrated dried onions, and ended up with just over 100 meatballs (lost count) plus about 15 for munching and for the casserole listed lower on the page.

Baked meatball casserole
See the meatball link but scroll down a little.

Lasagna - 3 pans

I never use a recipe for lasagna either. I don't normally pre-cook my noodles. I like to use a combination of ground beef and hot Italian sausage, but I didn't actually have sausage in my freezer like I thought. :( I do a combination of mozzarella and cheddar, and whatever veggies are on sale. This time I mixed together spinach, carrots, and onions, so I didn't have to scatter veggies separately. I also blended some Italian stewed tomatoes that needed to be used, in place of some spaghetti sauce.

I decided to make whole wheat noodles. I haven't made pasta in about 10 years and never by myself, and in the past I've used the Bosch pasta attachment. Lasagna noodles required rolling by hand.

My first batch was an utter failure. I used unlabeled wheat that I hoped was durum, but I think it was red. The dough was too dry, wouldn't roll thinly enough, and fell apart in the boiling water. I tossed it, looked up more recipes and tips for whole wheat pasta, and tried again.
(Look how thick they were!)

The second batch was with soft (pastry) flour, and I mixed it by hand. It seems you don't want the gluten to develop in pasta, so low-gluten flour was a good choice. It rolled out beautifully, sliced easily, and didn't fall apart in the water. The cooked noodles were slippery to handle but I think lasagna noodles always are, which is why I don't normally pre-cook them.

(You can see this dough is more of a ball, not separate crumbles.)

These disposable pans were great because my lasagna is always too deep for my 9x13 dishes. I froze two pans and saved one pan for dinner, with some veggies and ricotta left for another pasta dish that I'll dream up tomorrow. I adore homemade lasagna.

I doubled the recipe but I think I had too much ground beef, plus my muffin cup liners were short, so I couldn't fill the tins all the way. I had to use 3 muffin tins and add a bit more cheese. We ended up with 35 small muffins. Haven't tasted them yet.

Cooked ground beef - 3 lbs.

Beef broth - 9 quarts

I always boil my ground beef with dried onions. That way I get cheap broth and I can get more fat out of the meat. It also requires very little attention. I cool the broth, pull the solidified fat from the top, and freeze the broth in jars. I normally toss the fat but this time I'm going to try using it in cooking. I saved the chicken fat from last week's chicken broth and used it in biscuits in place of butter. Those were some good biscuits!

There. Are you tired just reading? Because I'm tired!


Jaime said...

I have no words. You've outdone yourself! Great job!

Amy said...

Yes, I am tired thinking about all of that food and the clean-up afterwards. The pizza roll-ups look fabulous. I think we might have to try something like that.

Bruce said...

Not tired after reading your blog, but I do hear my stomach growling!!! Good stuff Cherish!!!

matt and shell said...

wow…… can we all say MOTIVATION!!

Miriam said...

You are AWEsome. And those pizza roll-ups look aMAzing!