Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Favorite Freezer Recipes

One of my favorite sites online is Organized As I've spent time there the past couple of weeks, I've been challenged to think about doing a little cooking ahead for the holidays. I always bake dozens of cookies to freeze and use for gifts and holiday refreshments. Main dishes and side dishes are something I don't always think about making ahead and freezing. I gave a little thought to a couple of my family's favorite holiday dishes that happen to freeze very well. I'll be doing a couple pans of lasagna and at least one of sweet potatoes -- assuming I can find room in the freezer amongst all the cookies! Here are my recipes:

1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 tsp. salt-free garlic-herb seasoning blend
1 lb. part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided use)
1 egg
3 Tblsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. oregano OR Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 quart spaghetti sauce
9 lasagna noodles, UNCOOKED
1 cup water (maybe less)
Extra Parmesan, if desired

In large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the thawed vegetables and the herb mix. Stir to combine, cover skillet, reduce heat, and simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, egg, Parmesan, and seasonings. Set aside.

Spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce on bottom of a 13 x 9” baking dish. Layer on: 3 noodles, half of cheese mixture, half of vegetable mixture, and 1 cup sauce. Repeat layers. Top with remaining 3 noodles, 1 cup sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan if desired.

Pour water around the edges of the baking dish. If your vegetables happened to produce a lot of liquid, reduce the amount of water accordingly. Cover baking dish tightly with foil.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes. Let stand 15 more minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

May be made ahead and frozen for future use. Simply thaw overnight in refrigerator and bake as directed.

2 large cans cut yams, drained and mashed*
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup evaporated milk**
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour (may use whole wheat)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup softened margarine (may use 3 Tablespoons oil instead)

Mix the first six ingredients in a large bowl; beat with electric mixer until well combined. Pile into a 2-quart baking dish.

In another bowl, stir together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over top of potatoes.

Bake the casserole at 325 to 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings

May be made ahead and frozen for future use. Simply thaw overnight in refrigerator and bake as directed.

* Or substitute about 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, and mashed.
** Or substitute evaporated skim milk or fat-free half & half.

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