Did you know you can keep some great time savers in your freezer? Sure, your freezer is great for ice and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, but there is so much more potential for what you can store there.
Here are some of my favorite time savers:
Cookie dough balls
It’s difficult to resist a home-baked cookie, so it’s a particularly dangerous situation to have two or three dozen of them lying around, just calling your name. Instead, when you carve out time to make a favorite recipe, you scoop out the dough into cookie-sized balls and freeze them raw on the cookie sheet. When they are firm, you pop them in a resealable bag or container and bake them later, either 2 – or 12 – at a time.
Bonus- it means that when you remember last minute that you have a room parent, PTA, or other baking commitment, you can have home-baked cookies ready in about thirty minutes (10 minutes to heat the oven, and then 10-20 minutes for them to get to your
One of the more awkwardly shaped items in the produce aisle, ginger is also usually called for in relatively small amounts. The solution? Peel the ginger (which can usually be done easily with the edge of a spoon) and chop into 1-2 inch long pieces. You can freeze the chunks in a small resealable bag and then grate on a
The definition of comfort food for my Italian-American husband, a loaf pan of lasagna – yes, a loaf pan – means an unprocessed, tasty version is at hand and, once defrosted (overnight in the fridge is best) can be on the table faster than ordering most take out. You can make this recipe ahead, and have an easy dinner when needed – just add a salad and some crusty bread.
Like in many families, the adults in my house like some spice and the kids are less tolerant of it. Therefore, I usually use jalapenos and other spicy ingredients at the end or on the side, and rarely need a whole chile at once. First, you remove the stem and cut off “slabs” of flesh, leaving the seeds mostly intact. You then freeze the pieces of jalapeno and use them as needed. Bonus- once frozen, it is very easy to get a nice small dice on each piece – perfect for throwing in a salsa, topping a curry, or most any other uses.
We seem to always have brown – or black – bananas on our counter. I do try to use them immediately if I can, but I usually slice them and store 1-2 bananas in a small freezer-safe container. The single bananas you can toss in a smoothie. If there are two, you can let them thaw, then mash them for banana bread.
Ends of bread
My picky family rarely wants to eat the ends of a loaf of bread, so I often end up with quite a few in the freezer. If this happens to you, you can either cube them for a bread pudding or baked French toast, or grind them in my food processor and use in meatloaf, like this one from Frank Bruni, or in my meatballs…
You can make them larger to serve with pasta, smaller to stuff into sandwiches, and smaller still to serve with chili sauce for a throwback appetizer. (Need some more nostalgic apps? Check out these dips).