This giveaway is now closed. The winner is #101 Laura!!
I know many participants of Menu Plan Monday already utilize freezer cooking as a successful meal planning strategy. Others though, like myself, are completely intimidated by the whole idea of it. It’s hard enough to find the time to make one meal never mind many at once to freeze and eat later. Thankfully my blog friend, Jessica from Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats, has recognized this need and simplified the entire freezer cooking process for us in her brand new cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead & Freeze Cookbook.
Jessica’s cookbook not only includes over 200 freezer-friendly home-cooked recipes, it also provides guidance on the basics of freezer safety and cooking, information on what you can and can’t freeze and a variety of big batch cooking plans to help you prepare multiple meals at once. The plans will walk you through the shopping, cooking and freezing phases of bulk cooking. Each plan produces 10 to 30 meals each depending on how much time you have available. Jessica also provides additional information on how to adapt your own recipes for freezing plus tips for bulk cooking with kids, with friends and on your own. The recipes don’t include fancy ingredients that you can’t pronounce (or for that matter yucky canned soup mixes either!) and there are even gluten-free and vegetarian options available.
You can find preview a list of all the recipes here. And don’t forget to check out the giveaway below.
A couple of weeks ago after our Canadian Thanksgiving I decided to try one of Jessica’s recipes using some of my turkey leftovers. The recipe is called Best-Ever Chicken Pot Pie but I used turkey instead of chicken. The recipe also includes a gravy recipe (below) but I simply used the leftover gravy we already had on hand. It turned out really great, was easy to throw together and was an excellent way to use up leftovers :) I doubled the recipe, had one pie the night we made it and froze the second one for later. Yay!
Jessica has kindly allowed me to share the recipe here for all of you.
Best-Ever Chicken Pot Pie
From Jessica: This cozy, one-dish supper is frequently requested at our home. It’s also a great recipe to make use of the leftovers of a big roast turkey or chicken supper. Simply put aside a few potatoes before you mash them and reserve any leftover meat, gravy, and vegetables. Fold them all together in a buttery pie crust and stash it in the freezer for dinner later in the month. Feel free to vary the vegetables according to your tastes.
Serves 4 to 6
Packaging: 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, heavy-duty aluminum foil
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup diced carrots, cooked
- 1/2 cup diced potatoes, cooked
- 2 cups Easy Chicken (or Turkey) Gravy (see below)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 2 recipes Versatile Buttery Pie Crust (page 356) or other pie crust (I used a store-bought crust)
When ready to serve, you will need:
- Milk for brushing crust
1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, peas, carrots, potatoes, gravy, sage, and tarragon; chill the filling until cool to the touch, about 20 minutes.
2. Line the pie plate with one of the two crusts. Pour in the chilled filling. Position the second crust to cover the filling and crimp the edges to seal.
Wrap the pie tightly with foil and freeze, making sure that the pie lies flat in the freezer.
Unwrap but do not thaw the pie before baking. Vent the top crust by slashing an X in the frozen crust. Brush with milk. Bake the frozen pie at 450 F for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 F and bake until the crust is browned and the filling bubbles, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Easy Chicken (or Turkey) Gravy
Packaging: Pint-size plastic container or canning jar with lid
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (or fat from chicken or turkey drippings)
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth (or defatted drippings plus enough broth to make 2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk to combine.
2. Heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Whisk in the broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer until the gravy is thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste.
If using the gravy in a recipe, cool it completely and proceed with the recipe. Otherwise, transfer the gravy to a plastic container or canning jar. Chill the gravy in the refrigerator before freezing.
To thaw and serve:
Allow the gravy to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat, whisking to recombine.
Note: To make a big batch of this gravy, simply multiply all the ingredients by four. The cooking method remains the same, though you may have to add a few minutes to the cooking time.
I’ve got a copy of Jessica’s cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead & Freeze Cookbook, available to giveaway to one of my readers.
If you would like to enter, simply leave a comment on this post prior to Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm PST. Open to both US and Canadian residents and winner will be selected at random.