Frozen Assets


Debi’s Baked Ziti

This is one of those recipes my family can never get enough.  I remember my youngest daughter when she was about three, holding out her plate with a huge smile and asking in a sweet little voice, “More yummy noodles, Mommy?”

Always such a pleasure when the kiddos enjoy an easy meal the grown-up folks love, too.

This recipe is reprinted with permission from my book, Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month (SourceBooks). Continue reading

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Marinated Lime Chicken

Here’s one of my family’s all-time favorite chicken recipes. The instructions include directions for preparing ahead of time for the freezer. So if you find chicken on sale at a good stock-up price, you can take advantage of the sale prices and have this delicious meal waiting in the freezer for a busy evening later in the month. If you want to bake without freezing first, be sure to allow at least an hour or two to marinade in the refrigerator.  

MARINATED LIME CHICKEN (from Frozen Assets Lite & Easy)

6 servings

  • 6 chicken breast portions (about 8 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 limes (or 4 tablespoons bottled lime juice)
  • 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 9 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons basil

Preparation: Squeeze limes into a medium sized bowl. Stir in vinegar, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Place chicken breast portions into labeled freezer bags. Pour lime sauce over top; seal and freeze.

To Serve: Thaw completely. Pour marinade into small saucepan. Heat to boiling. Place chicken pieces into shallow oven-proof dish. Pour boiled marinade over chicken. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh basil sprigs if available.

I hope your family likes this recipe as much as my family does!

~Debi



A Secret to a Relaxed Holiday Dinner

thanksgiving-plate-entert1106-de1Can you imagine a relaxed Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without needing to actually cook a turkey on the big day? You’d be able to enjoy the festivities as much as your friends and family!

Believe it or not, it’s possible to roast your turkey ahead of time and store the cooked meat in the freezer to reheat and serve on the big day. If this sounds a bit too much like eating leftovers, let me assure you that by following these simple freezing and reheating instructions, you’ll have moist, delicious turkey — and not one of your guests will suspect you didn’t spend the entire holiday slaving away in the kitchen keeping watch over a hot oven.

Feel free to use your own favorite turkey recipe if you prefer, and then follow the freezing/reheating instructions at the end of this article (but I personally don’t think you’ll find a tastier turkey recipe!).

TO PREPARE TURKEY:

  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 6 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (or water)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 3 cups chicken broth, canned (reserve for freezing process)

In bottom of a deep roasting pan, place two quartered onions, four celery stalks, the carrots, bay leaves and white wine (or water). Remove turkey giblets, rinse bird inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Stuff turkey loosely with remaining quartered onion and celery stalks. Brush turkey with olive oil mixed with salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. Cover turkey loosely with a large sheet of foil coated lightly with olive oil, crimping foil on to edges of roasting pan. Cook according to chart below. During last 45 minutes, cut band of skin or string between legs and tail. Uncover and continue roasting until done. Baste, if desired.

Turkey Roasting Chart (loosely wrapped with foil):
12-16 pounds / 325 degrees F / 4 – 5 hours
16-20 pounds / 325 degrees F / 5 – 6 hours
20-24 pounds / 325 degrees F / 6 – 7 hours

Testing for doneness:

About 20 minutes before roasting time is completed, test bird. Flesh on thickest part of drumstick should feel soft when squeezed between fingers, drumstick should move up an down easily, and meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of leg should read 185 degrees F. (Or follow manufacturer’s instructions.)

– FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS –

DRIPPINGS: Pour liquid and drippings from roasting pan into a bowl. Remove vegetables. Allow bowl of liquid to cool in refrigerator until fat congeals on top. Scoop off fat with a spoon and pour drippings into a labeled freezer bag. Thaw to use for making gravy on serving day.

TURKEY: Allow turkey to cool in pan for 1/2 hour; then place turkey and its roasting pan into refrigerator. Allow to cool completely (several hours). When fully chilled, slice turkey as usual. Remove all meat from bones. Place breast and dark meat slices into labeled freezer bags. Pour canned chicken broth into bags over meat. Freeze.

TO SERVE: Thaw bag of meat and broth, and place into a covered baking dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Or place turkey and broth into a microwave-safe dish, cover with plastic wrap, and heat until hot (the time will vary with different microwaves, so check manufacturer’s instructions). Drain off broth (reserve to make more gravy, if needed). Arrange the heated turkey slices attractively on a serving platter. Serve hot.

**Excerpted and adapted from the 10-Day Holiday Meal Plan in the bestselling book, Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month (SourceBooks).

~Debi


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