- Author: Lauria Watts
If you are really rambunctious try this for your future enjoyable easy eats: freeze small batches of lasagne, leftover pork ribs (these re-heat in the oven most excellently), turkey and fixin's (remember Thanksgiving?) and casseroles--or leftovers in general. Freezing leftover red sauce for pasta is a gift from heaven when tired or sick. You can cook extra chicken when grilling so that it can be defrosted in the refrigerator and you'll have a ready source of sandwich makings or salad add-ins (or casseroles for that matter). There is also the satisfaction of having something at hand to put in the oven on a night when you don't feel like preparing stuff for dinner!
To keep your frozen food safe you must follow good freezing practices. Excellent general advice on such is to be found here: freezing at the NCHFP
If you want to freeze prepared foods, like the lasagne I mentioned above or casseroles try the NCHFP's Freezing Casseroles, Soups and Stews. This is the ultimate in convenience food: your good cooking in your freezer!
For a good booklet (you might want to print up) about freezing all sorts of prepared foods try Preserving Food: Freezing Prepared Foods. You will need a .pdf reader. The foods it covers range from biscuits to whipped cream, and it has a good list of foods that do not freeze well. This is a good and valuable reference to have around the house.
Preserving by freezing requires some organization, just like preserving by canning, but if you can jar fruits and veggies to process, you may certainly freeze other, un-jar-able items as well. As mentioned above, they can be the most convenient foods--sometimes it is nice to be able to throw something in the oven for dinner and not even need to crack open some jars to do so.
- Author: Lauria Watts
Oh, man, I just made this dessert and it was extremely easy. The oven didn't need to be used because I cheatedwith a store-bought graham cracker crust. The pie filling came out of a jar of mine; it was cherry.
There are many recipes similar to this, but most call for frozen whipped topping like Cool Whip. I found a recipe that called for home whipped cream, so I went with it and I am glad I did.
Although this looks very rich, the tart sour-cherry pie filling balanced things nicely. It came out a lot lighter than I thought it would be.
--1 large Graham Cracker Crust from the store (If you get the smaller crust, you should probably buy two.) OR use the Home-made Graham Cracker Crust below.
--1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, soft enough to whip, but still slightly cool
--1 c. powdered sugar
--1/2 pt. (8 ounces, 1 cup) heavy whipping cream, whipped until fluffy
--About 3 cups of your home preserved favorite pie filling OR 1 can commercial pie filling
Place a deep, narrow bowl and beaters/whisk in the fridge to chill to whip the cream.
Bring the cream cheese out to warm almost to room temperature.
Pour the cold whipping cream into the chilled bowl. Use the cold beaters or whisk to whip the cream just until stiff peaks start to form. Set aside in the fridge.
In another bowl beat cool (not cold) cream cheese and the powdered sugar until fluffy. Add whipped cream and mix well, and it should still be light looking.Scrape into the crust and spread evenly.
Evenly spread the pie filling over the cream cheese mixture then cover the pie and freeze overnight.
To serve, bring out of the freezer for about 20 minutes to soften slightly then slice into wedges and serve cold.
Store leftovers (if you have any) in the freezer for couple of days or for a day or two in the fridge.
If you are using home-made pie filling and it is a little loose, strain your fruit somewhat before placing it on top of the pie. If you use commercial pie filling, you will not need to do this.
I made 1 quart of cherry filling using the recipe at https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/can_pie/cherry_filling.html . The filling was used freshly made and 2 extra cups of frozen sour pie cherries were added to the recipe.
Home-made Graham Cracker Crust
2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. melted butter
3 tbsp. powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Thoroughly mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and press evenly into a large pie pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until lightly browned.
- Author: L. Watts
Do you have a freezer? Have you checked it lately? You KNOW you are supposed to be keeping track of what goes in and out of it, right?
Oh, woe to those of us that have freezers but do not and have not taken care of them. Who knows what lies in yon chilly depths of my freezer. I have dug around in the baby freezer on our back patio and have discovered many things. Some are things I know about—the two smaller turkeys I purchased during last year's holiday. Some things I should have never placed in the freezer in the first place—like the family pack of rib steaks from unknown years ago, received after a freezer transfer. Other things I am using steadily: the chicken breasts that I got, boneless and skinless for an unbelievable price. More things I am not using steadily: Rhubarb cleaned, sliced, and frozen on a whim. Other stuff like organic strawberries (that I got at a really low price and have yet to use), hog jowl bacon (sounds weird, but is delicious!) and bones from dinners past. . .
The turkeys I will be cooking this summer. I like to smoke them slow on the barbeque and save the juices to make one mean, smoky gravy. And don't forget the sandwiches after! Gee, I could can up some smokey, cooked, turkey breast for sandwiches too.
The dogs will get a treat with the rib steaks. They are long gone to freezer burn, but, I betcha, cooked up in the pressure cooker they will make a dandy dog delicacy to be devoured by dancing, delighted doggies, no?(sorry, I am attracted and addicted to alliteration—Whoops, sorry again!)
We've been working on the chicken breasts. They are so huge that just one or two will serve several people; I put them in soup, sandwiches or grill them, slice them up and there's dinner. Found a recipe for chicken breast cooked like porchetta (Italian stuffed pork roast) I can try too.
Rhubarb. Strawberries. Hmmm, I'ma thinkin jam. Also thinking rhubarb sauce or maybe a rhubarb chutney. PIE—I forgot PIE!!! And Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie. Dang. . . Curse you, my appetite—I am on a diet. Maybe can jam and chutney for this winter, though pie is calling my name wistfully. . .
Hog jowl bacon. I love bacon. This stuff was found at our local WinCo store. My sister and I were impressed with it being half the price of regular belly bacon, so we had to try it—we love bacon. We did try and the verdict is: TASTY and recommended. It has a very meaty flavor and a firmer texture and lots of pork-a-licious goodness. I love bacon and like the hog jowl stuff because I have to slice it and, for some reason, the fact that I must slice keeps me in control while cooking it. Normally with regular sliced bacon, I buy ONLY the number of slices we will need to cook for a meal; I love bacon (did I mention this before?) and if I buy a whole pound, I will cook the whole pound and I will eat most of that pound. So hog jowl bacon is good! So, with the number of tomatoes I planted this year, it looks to be a summer of BLTs and BLATs (a BLAT is a BLT with avocado!).
Then we come to dem bones from din-dins past. Bones from raw chicken, from raw pork. Bones from pork roasts and whole chicken carcasses. Usually a bone or two from a ham; maybe a few from some quick roasted spareribs. Stock made from all of these bone types together makes wonderful home-canned meaty goodness in a jar. I use stock in red spaghetti sauce, gravy, hot and sour soup, all sorts of things. When it is in jars, it is handy and it doesn't require electricity. I can make it as strong or reduced as I like, I can add salt or not as I please.
This year, my first canning-from-the-freezer job will be to make stock so will have more room in my freezer. This won't be such a chore as long as I can time it for cooler weather. The next canning-from-freeze job should be making something from that rhubarb and those strawberries because I need more room for more stuff I like to cook and room for MORE bones for stock.
The following is from the National Center for Home Food Preservation: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/stock_broth.html
Meat Stock (Broth)
Beef: Saw or crack fresh trimmed beef bones (with meat removed) to enhance extraction of flavor. Rinse bones and place in a large stockpot, cover bones with water. Place cover on pot and simmer 3 to 4 hours. Remove bones and cool broth; skim off excess fat and discard. If desired, remove any tiny amount of meat tidbits still clinging to bones and add back to the broth. Reheat broth to boiling and fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.
Chicken or turkey: Place large carcass bones (with meat removed) in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover bones. Cover pot and simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until any remaining tidbits of meat on bones easily fall off. Remove bones, cool broth and discard excess fat. If desired, remove any tiny amount of meat trimmings still clinging to bones and add back to the broth. Reheat broth to boiling and fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.
|Table 2. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 1,000 ft||Above 1,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||20 min||10 lb||15 lb|
This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.
Reviewed July 2014. < http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/stock_broth.html >