Frozen Assets


Turkey-Stuffed Manicotti

This is one of my family’s favorite ways to use up turkey leftovers. Freezes ahead great, too! It’s from my original Frozen Assets book under the 10-Day Holiday Meal Plan.

From: Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for Month

TURKEY-STUFFED MANICOTTI
(Makes two casseroles)

I’ve found that cooling the manicotti shells completely before stuffing them makes the stuffing process much easier than attempting when the noodles are hot. I’ve also discovered that using a long-handled infant feeding spoon with a tiny bowl works perfectly for stuffing the shells.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 cups cooked chopped or shredded turkey
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups tomato sauce or 2 jars (15 ounces each) spaghetti sauce
  • 16 manicotti shells, cooked until just barely soft

Directions:

  1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown the turkey for 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the ricotta, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, green onions, parsley, rosemary, and eggs. Mix well.
  2. Cover the bottom of two(2) 9″x12″ baking pans with 1 cup tomato sauce. Stuff the manicotti shells with the turkey mixture, and place them in the baking pans. Pour in the remaining sauce. Cover the baking pans with foil. Label them, and freeze (if you wish to bake at a later time).

To Serve:

  1. Thaw the frozen meal in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. To serve, sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over the manicotti. Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes, or until bubbly and hot in the center.

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A Secret to a Relaxed Holiday Dinner

thanksgiving-plate-entert1106-de1Can you imagine a relaxed holiday 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



The Turkey Meatloaf Twins

I haven’t tended to use a lot of ground turkey in recipes because I find it usually ends up too dry and tasteless.  But I learned a wonderful little secret to making moist turkey loaves and meatballs … just add grated zucchini to the mixture!  The high water content of the zucchini keeps the meat moist.  An amazingly simple solution to a common problem.  🙂

A couple tips:  Be sure to handle the turkey meat mixture gently, it’s best to mix it together with your hands, don’t overmix, and don’t have big pieces of onion in the mixture or it’ll tend to break apart easily.

You can also use this same recipe to make meatballs.  You do everything the same except you only bake the meatballs for 30 minutes at 350 rather than for an hour.  If you need more ideas for serving turkey meatballs, you can find some sauce recipes and meatball ideas at the bottom of this post:  Meatball Mania

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The Turkey Meatloaf Twins
  • 2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 cup oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, snipped
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
In a large mixing bowl, gently but thoroughly combine first seven ingredients (everything except for the eggs and spices).  In a separate smaller bowl, combine eggs, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  Mix the egg and spice mixture into the meat mixture.  In a lightly greased 9″x13″ baking pan, form meatloaf mixture into two loaf shapes. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
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Makes great leftovers, yummy sandwiches, and freezes well, too.
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To freeze, cool completely in the refrigerator.  Wrap in foil; label; and freeze.  Thaw in the fridge overnight.  Can be served cold or reheated in the microwave for an easy meal on a busy day.
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~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


Browse My Books:

FLFD FLFD FLFD

Easy link for Amazon Shoppers



A Secret to a Relaxed Holiday Dinner

thanksgiving-plate-ENTERT1106-deCan 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 (Champion Press).

~Debi