Category: Dish

Dish

Can You Freeze Tomato Soup?

Can you freeze tomato soup? Tomato soup is a beloved classic that can be enjoyed any time of the day! Unlike other soups, traditional tomato soup does not contain thickeners so it freezes so well. This goes for store-bought and homemade tomato soup.

Adding cream, milk, or any type of thickener to the tomato soup may lead to the separation between the milk proteins and the liquids. Still, there are ways to tweak the soup in case this happens. One thing to remember when you’re freezing tomato soup, always wait until the soup has cooled completely. This will help extend the shelf life of the soup.

How to Freeze Tomato Soup?

Freezing Homemade Soup

Prepare the soup as you normally would and leave it to cool completely. Once the soup has cooled completely, prepare a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Pour the soup right into the container, leaving about 2 inches of space. This way, the soup has more room to expand as it freezes. Secure the airtight lid and write the storage date then stick in the freezer. Watch the video above for the step by step tutorial on freezing tomato soup.

Freezing Store-Bought Tomato Soup

If say, you bought tomato soup from your favorite resto and you’ve got leftovers or you used canned tomato soup, you can still freeze the rest to serve for later. Ideally, you want to separate the soup that you’d like to freeze from the rest of the soup that you will eat. But if this is not possible, make sure to use a serving spoon to reduce the risk of spoilage.

Wait until the soup has cooled completely then prepare a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Pour the soup into the container, making sure to leave 2 inches of space so the soup can expand as it freezes. Seal the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from jules

Cooking and Freezing Tips

If you are making tomato soup from scratch and you want to add cream or milk, exclude this ingredient until you are ready to serve. Once the frozen tomato soup has been defrosted, you can add in the cream or milk as you reheat the soup.

To give the soup added depth and flavor, try roasting the vegetables first. That includes roasting the tomatoes first before making the soup. We also recommend using chicken or beef broth instead of vegetable broth for added flavor.

Is your tomato soup’s consistency too runny? Here’s a couple of tips to add body to thin tomato soups: roasted eggplants or croutons. Adding roasted eggplant helps thicken the soup while adding its own distinct flavor to the mix. Croutons can also add body to thin soups without adding flavor.

Careful reheating is needed if you are warming up creamy tomato soup. Improper reheating could cause the dairy ingredient to curdle, giving the soup an unpalatable appearance or a chunky consistency. To keep the consistency smooth, reheat the soup on low to medium heat. Stir the soup well to keep the consistency smooth. If the soup is runny, you can add a little more cream as you reheat it.

Image used under Creative Commons from jules

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, homemade tomato soup and store-bought tomato soup will keep for 4 to 6 months. Be sure to consume your supply within a month or less for optimal flavor. Thawed and reheated tomato soup will keep an additional 3 to 4 days in the fridge. We don’t recommend refreezing the leftovers, especially it’s creamy tomato soup.

To thaw the frozen tomato soup, just transfer the frozen soup to the fridge and leave it to defrost overnight. Once the tomato soup has been thawed completely, you can reheat it. To reheat the soup, you can either simmer it on a skillet over medium heat or microwave a bowl of it over high for 15 to 20 seconds.

If you excluded the cream or thickener prior to freezing the soup, you can add this ingredient, along with other ingredients, as the soup simmers.

Summary

Can you freeze tomato soup? Nothing is as comforting as a bowl of tomato soup and it’s great to know that this soup freezes so well. Now you can make a large batch of tomato soup and freeze a portion of it for later.

 

Dish

Can You Freeze Shepherd’s Pie?

Shepherd’s pie is a classic dish made with seasoned ground beef and mashed potatoes. It’s a filling, heartwarming dish that’s often served on holidays but it can be enjoyed on any given day too! But can you freeze shepherd’s pie?

If you have a lot of leftovers in your hand, you can always store the rest of the shepherd’s pie in the freezer. However, the mash potato topping may no longer be as fluffy once it’s been frozen and defrosted. The mashed potatoes could take on a grainy texture, which could be off-putting to some. If you don’t mind a little texture change then go ahead and freeze your leftover shepherd’s pie.

How to Freeze Shepherd’s Pie?

Freezing Homemade Shepherd’s Pie

If say, you don’t like the idea of freezing mashed potatoes, we suggest excluding the topping when freezing the shepherd’s pie mixture. Start by preparing the base of the shepherd’s pie as you normally would. Leave the seasoned ground beef to cool completely before packing it for freezing.

Once the dish has cooled down, pour the mixture into a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Cover the container with cling wrap to seal the dish and prevent leaks then secure it with the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer. Once you are ready to serve, you can whip up the mashed potato topping and spread an even layer of it before reheating the dish in the oven.

can you freeze shepherd's pie

Image used under Creative Commons from Sodanie Chea

Freezing Leftover Shepherd’s Pie

If you have plenty of leftovers and there’s no chance that you can exclude the mashed potato topping then you can pack the dish as is. We suggest using a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid because a plastic bag will only mess up the topping.

Using a large wooden spoon or a spatula, spoon the dish carefully into the rigid plastic container. Do this carefully so the topping won’t be disturbed as you transfer the shepherd’s pie into a different container. Cover the container with the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

How to Make Freezer-Friendly Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe brings together the rich and traditional flavors of shepherd’s pie but it’s more freezer-friendly than the beloved classic. It’s the perfect make-ahead dish for any gathering or special occasion.

Ingredients

For the beef and vegetable layer:

1 pound ground beef
1-½ cup chopped yellow onion
¾ cups chopped carrot
½ cups fresh or frozen peas
½ cups corn kernels
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper to taste

For the mashed potato topping

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
½ cups heavy cream
¼ cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted or softened
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large skillet, brown the beef on medium high until fully cooked. Drain the excess fat then add the onions and carrots. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper then cook until the veggies are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the peas and corn then cook for 2 minutes. Add the melted butter then stir in the flour, thyme leaves, and garlic. Stir to fully incorporate all the ingredients then pour the beef stock. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat until the broth is reduced to a thick sauce. Remove the pan from the eat then pour the beef and vegetable mixture into an 8×8 baking dish.

To make the mashed potato topping, boil the cubed potatoes in a pot until the spuds are fork-tender. Then, drain the water and spread the boiled potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan. Let sit for five minutes to release the heat. Using a potato masher or a fork, press onto the boiled potatoes to mash them then gradually stir in the in cream, milk, butter, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Using a spatula, spread the mashed potato on top of the beef and vegetable mixture.

Stick the baking dish in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the mashed potato topping turns a golden brown.

can you freeze shepherd's pie

Image used under Creative Commons from HarshLight

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, shepherd’s pie will last for at least 2 months. It will keep longer when the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. To thaw the shepherd’s pie, simply leave the pan to defrost in the freezer the night before. You can reheat the shepherd’s pie by sticking it in the oven and baking for an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Summary

Can you freeze shepherd’s pie? If you’re craving for a hot serving of shepherd’s pie, you can always freeze this dish and serve it any time of the day! Since the shepherd’s pie will keep so well in the freezer, there is no need to worry about what to do with the leftovers.

Dish

Can You Freeze Polenta?

Can you freeze polenta? Polenta is an Italian dish made by boiling cornmeal that’s been seasoned with cheese, herbs, and spices. This dish is enjoyed similarly to porridge when piping hot or as a loaf that can be fried, baked or grilled when cold.  Just like most cornmeal-based dishes, polenta will freeze wonderfully. This means you can make polenta ahead of time and serve it each time the craving for it strikes! When frozen and reheated, polenta can be served as a quick lunch or as a light dinner.

How to Make Polenta

Storage and Cooking Tips

To shorten the cooking time, try this trick: pre-soak the polenta in its liquids for several hours prior to cooking. Keeping the cornmeal hydrated ensures quicker cooking time.

When cooking the polenta, the consistency should be similar to that of scrambled eggs: soft, moist, creamy and barely liquid. It shouldn’t be sticky or too runny. The key to getting the consistency right is to check the ratio between the liquids and the cornmeal.

When making fresh polenta at home, you have to wait until the dish cools down completely before prepping it for freezing. You want to freeze the polenta as soon as possible to retain its original flavor and color. While you can pack a large batch of polenta using a single container, it is best to divide the dish into manageable portions so thawing won’t be problematic at all.

If you are making polenta ahead of time with plans of freezing it after, do not add the cream, cheese, butter, and other seasonings. Just boil the polenta in stock or water and that’s it. You can add the rest of the ingredients once you are ready to reheat the dish.

Image used under Creative Commons from Rachel Hathaway

When frozen, polenta made with heavy cream won’t retain its original consistency compared to polenta that’s simply boiled in water or stock. That’s because the milk solids tend to separate from the rest of the ingredients. If you are freezing leftovers, we don’t recommend storing this in a single container, you have to cut the dish into serving portions to minimize the risk of separation between ingredients.

How to Freeze Polenta?

Start by pouring the freshly cooked polenta on a parchment lined shallow dish. As the polenta cools, it will solidify. Using a sharp knife, cut the polenta into equal sizes. Wrap each piece in cling wrap or parchment paper, making sure there are no exposed parts.

After wrapping the polenta portions, place them in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing then write the storage date. Store flat in the freezer.

If you are pressed for time, just stick the parchment-lined shallow dish in the fridge first to quickly set the cooled polenta. Then you can proceed with cutting and packing the polenta portions for freezing.

The 5 Different Types of Polenta

Think polenta is made equally? Not so. There are different types of polenta on the market and each one has unique characteristics.

Bramata

Bramata is perhaps the most recognizable form of polenta. It’s rustic with a delicious mouthfeel because the corn flour is stone-milled. Since it is moderately coarse, Bramata is versatile. You can bake the Bramata polenta, grill it or pan-fry it!

Fioretto

This product is best used in baking. It is finely grounded with a creamy, smooth mouthfeel. Fioretto can be used as a frying batter for meats. You can use this to make cakes, biscuits, and pancakes.

Bianca

Bianca is a finely grounded white polenta with a mild flavor and a smooth consistency. Since it has a mild flavor, this polenta will pair well with dishes with delicate flavors, such as seafood-based dishes.

Taragna

Polenta Taragna is not made purely of cornmeal but mixed with ground buckwheat. The added buckwheat gives this product a boost of nutrients. Taragna has a coarser, heartier consistency with a distinct flavor. This type of polenta pairs well with saucy, flavorful, and savory dishes.

Integrale

Polenta Integrale is made from wholegrain cornmeal. It boasts a complex flavor and a coarser consistency since it is not finely grounded. Since Integrale is not as refined as other polenta types, it offers a host of nutrients that other polenta types do not.

Image used under Creative Commons from Amelia Crook

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions

Frozen polenta will keep for at least 3 months in the freezer. However, it is best to consume the dish in two weeks or less for optimal flavor.

To thaw the polenta, just remove the container from the freezer, unwrap the frozen polenta and leave it to sit at room temperature until thawed but cold. As the polenta thaws, blot the moisture with a paper towel. Once it’s ready, you can reheat the polenta in a pan over high and pan fry until golden brown.

Summary

Can you freeze polenta? You can! If you are craving for this yummy dish, why not make it ahead of time and just freeze it for later? No need to worry about spoilage at all, you can make a large batch of polenta and save everything for future meals.

Dish

Can You Freeze Lentil Soup?

Lentil soup can be enjoyed as a snack, a starter, or as a light meal. This protein-packed soup is not just healthy and delicious, it is also easy to make! But what if you have leftovers, can you freeze lentil soup? The quick answer is yes, you can freeze lentil soup. And we’re not just talking about leftovers, you can make lentil soup ahead of time, freeze it, and serve it later! Do note, however, that freezing the lentil soup may cause slight changes in flavor or consistency.

How to Freeze Lentil Soup?

These freezing instructions will work for leftover and freshly cooked lentil soup! Before freezing the soup, make sure the soup has cooled off completely first. Once the soup has cooled off, chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once the soup is chilled, take it out of the fridge and prepare several small resealable plastic bags. Smaller containers are better than a large resealable plastic bag because defrosting and reheating the soup is much easier.

Image used under Creative Commons from Meal Makeover Moms

Ladle the soup into your preferred container carefully, filling the container only halfway through. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the plastic baggies. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer.

Another way to freeze leftover lentil soup involves using several ice cube trays and a large plastic bag. After the soup has cooled completely, ladle the soup into the ice cube trays until all slots are filled. Stick in the freezer and leave the cubed soup to freeze for at least two hours. Then, take out the ice cube tray from the freezer and gently remove the cubed soup one by one. Place them in a large resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the plastic bag. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer.

Freezer-Friendly Lentil Soup Recipe

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Freezing Lentil Soup

Hastily Preparing the Soup for Freezing

It is important to wait for the soup to cool down completely before freezing it. Putting warm or hot items in the freezer causes a significant temperature shift. When this happens, the temperature of the freezer lowers, increasing the risk of spoilage. And we are not just talking about the soup going bad but the other foods that you store in the freezer. Significant temperature shifts increase the risk for food safety too. Some culinary experts also believe that the frozen lentil soup’s shelf life becomes much shorter and it will be much easier to spoil once reheated if it hasn’t been left to cool down completely prior to freezing.

If say, you are pressed for time and you need to cool the soup down quickly, give the cooking pot an ice bath. Stir the soup every few minutes while you’re at it to speed up the cooling process even more.

Over-Filling or Under-Filling the Container

Never fill the container with lentil soup to the brim! Any type of liquid product expands as it freezes. If you fill a container with soup to the brim, the container will either burst or break. This goes especially if you used a flimsy container.

But if you think under-filling the container with soup is a better idea, it isn’t. Under-filling the container increases the risk of freezer burn. Ideally, you need to leave about an inch of space when filling the container with lentil soup. This way, the soup has enough room to expand but the air exposure is also minimal, which decreases the risk of freezer burns.

Image used under Creative Commons from Tasha

Overcooking the Lentil

Love chunky lentil soup? Who doesn’t? But if you know that you are freezing the soup before making it, do not cook the lentil all the way through. Doing so could cause the soup to turn excessively mushy once it’s been defrosted and reheated. If you are making the soup in advance and you have plans to freeze the entire batch, try undercooking the lentil.

On the other hand, if you are making a huge pot of lentil soup with plans of freezing the leftovers, divide the batch into two. Serve half of the batch now and freeze the other half for later.

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions

When frozen, lentil soup will keep for six months in the freezer. However, do not wait this long before consuming the soup. The longer the soup is kept in the freezer, the higher the likelihood of flavor and texture changes. It is also worth noting that the consistency of thawed lentil soup will depend on the type of lentil you used. Green lentils, for instance, holds up well when frozen and thawed. You won’t get the same results with brown lentils because they hold more water.

To thaw the frozen lentil soup, take the container from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge. Leave the soup to thaw overnight. Once you’re ready to prep, pour the thawed soup into a saucepan and simmer over low heat for a few minutes or until piping hot. If the consistency of the soup is creamier before freezing, try adding a little broth or water to thin it out. Do not leave leftovers, never refreeze the defrosted soup because it will no longer keep well.

Summary

Who doesn’t love a bowl of lentil soup on a chilly night? It’s wholesome, heartwarming and oh so delicious! Can you freeze lentil soup? You can, with some prep of course! Just keep these storage tips in mind to extend the shelf life of this childhood favorite.

Dish

Can You Freeze Clam Chowder?

Nothing soothes the soul quite like a bowl of piping hot clam chowder! Clam chowder is virtually a complete meal itself although it can be enjoyed as a snack. Can you freeze clam chowder? Although shellfish like clams, which are some of the main ingredients of a clam chowder, is tricky to freeze, it’s possible to store your leftovers in the freezer.

Chowder is a term used for any type of vegetable soups served with a creamy, thick base. Usually, the base is thickened with milk, heavy cream, cheese, flour, or crushed pilot biscuits. Traditionally, clam chowder is made with heavy cream, which is quite sensitive to freezing temperature. In addition, seafood shouldn’t be stored too long in the freezer.

There are several things to consider before freezing any type of cream-based soups. However, as long as the soup has been prepared properly, there is no reason why you shouldn’t whip up a make-ahead batch of clam chowder!

Types of Clam Chowder

Did you know that there are different versions of clam chowder? The ingredients of the clam chowder could affect the soup’s texture and flavor after freezing.

Image used under Creative Commons from Foodista

New England Clam Chowder

This is the ubiquitous version of clam chowder. It’s traditionally made with chopped clams, potatoes, and onions. New England clam chowder has a heavy cream base and butter, which are delicate ingredients. This classic chowder is often served in a sourdough bread bowl

Manhattan Clam Chowder

This is a type of clam stew that originated in New York. Manhattan clam chowder has a thin vegetable broth because the soup doesn’t contain potatoes. The broth is a distinct red shade because of the tomato juice base. Since Manhattan clam chowder does not contain heavy cream and potatoes, it is quite freezer-friendly.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder

This soup originated in the southern coast of Rhode Island. Just like Manhattan clam chowder, Rhode Island clam chowder has a broth base. However, the base is somewhat thicker than Manhattan clam chowder because it contains potatoes. This dish is often made with hard clams called quahogs.

Factors to Consider Before Freezing Clam Chowder

Exclude Delicate Ingredients

As mentioned earlier in this post, clam chowder contains several ingredients that don’t freeze well. These ingredients include the heavy cream, the clams, and the vegetables. In addition, some chowder ingredients will go bad faster than the rest of the ingredients.

If you are making homemade clam chowder, we highly suggest excluding the vegetables (celery and potatoes) during freezing until you are ready to serve. You may exclude the heavy cream although the chowder’s umami taste will not be as pronounced once the heavy cream is added during reheating. Do not be afraid to experiment to prolong the shelf life of the clam chowder. Since you are making the chowder from scratch, you can add or exclude certain ingredients as you see fit.

Preventing Bitterness 

Did you know that certain herbs and spices become bitter once stored in the freezer? Flavor changes are inevitable when you are freezing delicate ingredients so be sure to skip the herbs and spices if needed.

Image used under Creative Commons from Foodista

Preventing Rancidity in Dairy Products

Clam chowder gets its distinct richness and umami flavor from several dairy products. Unfortunately, fats from dairy ingredients could become rancid, which will affect the flavor of the chowder once thawed and reheated. In addition, heavy cream has the tendency to curdle when frozen and thawed. You can either skip the cream until serving the frozen chowder or add more of it to restore the soup’s original texture.

Half-Cooked Vegetables

If you know that you’ll have plenty of leftover clam chowder, do not cook the vegetables all the way through. This goes especially for the celery and the potatoes, they could turn mushy and unpalatable once the frozen clam chowder has been thawed and reheated. If you can, try scooping out all the potatoes from the leftover soup prior to freezing. Then, freeze the chowder and the potatoes in different containers so the texture won’t turn grainy once reheated.

Quick Cooling the Clam Chowder

Quick cooling the clam chowder minimizes the risk of bacterial growth. Since the soup is not left sitting at room temperature for long, pathogens have little time to multiply. To cool the soup quickly, immerse the pot of clam chowder in tap water, making sure the water doesn’t reach the brim of the pot. With a ladle, stir the soup continuously until it cools down.

Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, clam chowder could last for 4 to 6 months. Always keep the temperature at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit so the clams are preserved well. We recommend consuming your supply right away for optimal flavor. Never refreeze thawed clam chowder, its taste and flavor will be altered completely.

Image used under Creative Commons from Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

Thawing the clam chowder has to be quick so it’s best to submerge the container in a  basin of hot water. Leave the chowder to thaw into chunks for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the thawed chowder into a saucepan then simmer over medium-high heat. Stir the chowder briskly as it melts into a liquid. Brisk stirring will prevent curdling!

At this point, you can add the other ingredients you may have excluded prior to freezing. You can also add more milk or broth to loosen the consistency of the clam chowder. Bring the clam chowder to a boil for a minute then leave to cool down to warm before serving. Do not use the microwave to reheat the frozen clam chowder.

Summary

Can you freeze clam chowder? It’s not the ideal option for preserving leftover clam chowder but freezing works in a pinch! You don’t want to waste a good batch of clam chowder, right? Just keep all these tips in mind so you can prep the chowder well prior to freezing and get great results.

Dish

Can You Freeze Refried Beans?

Refried beans make a wonderful snack and it makes sense to make a large batch for your next Tex-Mex feast. But can you freeze refried beans? Yes, You can freeze refried beans! The best part? No need to worrying about significant changes in flavor, texture, or nutritional value after freezing the dish! It’s worth noting that all types of beans are freezer-friendly too!

Do note, however, that frozen refried beans will become much thicker than normal after it’s been thawed and reheated. That’s okay. You can restore the original consistency of the dish by adding a little water or olive oil as you reheat it!

Easy (and Freezer-Friendly) Refried Beans Recipe

While you can always buy canned refried beans, nothing beats homecooked refried beans! But if you’d like to try a freezer-friendly recipe, try this one:

You will need:

4 cups cooked pinto beans
¼ cup oil
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. salt

Instructions

This recipe is more freezer-friendly because 1) it doesn’t have butter, milk, or lard and 2) most of the ingredients are dry. You can, of course, season the refried beans with lard or butter when reheating the dish.

You can start by soaking the pinto beans or not soaking them at all, it’s your choice. Pour the beans into a pot of water, season and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the beans are nice and tender, season with salt and drain the water. Mash the cooked blender using a potato masher or a blender until the mixture is thick.

Stir in the spices and the oil until the ingredients are well incorporated. Pour the refried beans in a pot and simmer over medium heat until the liquids are reduced. Turn off the heat and leave the refried beans to cool completely before prepping the dish for freezing.

Image used under Creative Commons from Justin Smith

Cooking Tips and Suggestions

Faster Cooking Time

Pressed for time? Here’s a great hack that will cut the cooking time in half: use canned pinto beans instead of dried beans! Just reheat and mash the canned pinto beans according to the instruction and prepare the dish as you normally would! You’ll be able to finish up in 15 minutes or less!

Creamy Consistency

If you want to give the refried beans a creamy, velvety consistency as well as a richer flavor, add milk instead of water. If you’d rather not add dairy to the dish, swap the water for chicken or vegetable stock!

Keep it Covered

It might be tempting to check the dish as it cooks every few minutes but keep the lid on if you want the refried beans to cook perfectly! This is the kind of dish that needs uninterrupted time to cook. Just leave the dish to simmer until you’ve achieved the perfect consistency (about 2 hours or so)

Robust Flavors

Want to give the refried beans a delectably robust flavor? Add sliced onions and several cloves of garlic to the cooking pot. The amazing flavors and aroma will add dimension to the dish!

Safety

Do note that refried beans may become a hazardous food and is prone to cross-contamination when it is not heated or served properly. For your safety, serve the beans at  140 degrees F to avoid any food-borne illness.

Freezing Leftover Beans

Got leftover beans? If you cook more beans than needed, don’t worry. You can save the rest for later use! Just store the cooked beans in resealable plastic bags, seal, and stick in the freezer. Now you have more cooked beans to use to make more refried beans!

Now if say, you want to give canned refried beans a little tweak, check out this video how:

How to Freeze Refried Beans

How you prep the dish for freezing depends on the state of the refried beans. Homemade refried beans must be prepped carefully to extend its shelf life.

Freezing Homemade Refried Beans

Once the refried beans have cooled completely, prepare several freezer-safe containers. Scoop the refried beans into your desired container. Pour a little oil over the top of the dish to keep it from drying out or developing freezer burns. If you’re using a resealable plastic bag, use a double bag to prevent freezer burns.

Cover the container with a heavy-duty aluminum foil prior to sealing. Remove the excess air then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Store-Bought Fried Beans

Store-bought refried beans are usually sold in cans. That means you have to transfer the product in a freezer-safe container prior to freezing. Just open the can, scoop out the product into a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. Do not fill the container all the way, leave a couple of inches of space in case the dish expands as it freezes.

Pour a little oil over the top of the dish to keep it from drying out or developing freezer burns. Cover the container with a heavy-duty aluminum foil prior to sealing. Seal the container, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from Glory Foods

Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions

Canned refried beans will keep in the freezer for at least 4 to 6 months. This goes especially if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Farenheight. But for optimal flavor, consume your supply immediately. On the other hand, homemade refried beans should keep in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.

To thaw the frozen refried beans, just leave the dish to thaw in the fridge for several hours to overnight. Once thawed completely, the consistency might be on the watery side, that’s normal. Just stir in a little oil or water to restore the dish’s original consistency. You can reheat the dish on the stove or in the microwave after thawing.

Serve the refried beans immediately and do not refreeze the leftovers. Again, the dish could become a hazardous food once it’s been left sitting at room temperature for hours. If the leftover has been left sitting on the counter within 48 hours, discard it.

Summary

Can you freeze refried beans? It’s great to know that this yummy dish keeps so well in the freezer! Now you can prepare make-ahead refried beans for later use. For best results, keep all the storage tips we’ve outlined in this post in mind when prepping the dish for freezing.

Dish

Can You Freeze Sushi?

Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that consists of vinegared rice topped with slices of seafood – typically raw fish – and a smidge of wasabi. Since the raw ingredients degrade quickly at room temperature, sushi must be kept chilled at a low temperature prior to serving. So can you freeze sushi?

If say, you made too much sushi or you’ve got leftover sushi from your favorite Japanese restaurant, is freezing a good idea at all? Most people think that freezing sushi will degrade the quality of the fish because ice crystals will form within the fish.

Image used under Creative Commons from Tony Gladvin George

You might be surprised but the “raw” seafood used in sushi has been frozen for several days prior to being cut for the dish! In fact, US regulation requires tuna to be flash frozen seconds after the fish has been harvested to retain freshness.

That means it’s perfectly safe to freeze raw seafood used as ingredients for sushi. What about the rice and other ingredients, do they keep well in the freezer?

How you prepare the sushi rice for freezing will affect the grain’s overall texture. Usually, packing cold rice for freezing will lead to dry, crumbly, or hard results. If you are making sushi from scratch, it’s best to 1) pack the vinegared rice separately from the raw seafood and 2) pack the rice while it’s still steaming in an airtight container.

What about sushi leftovers? Can you freeze it? Technically, any type of food can be frozen. However, sushi does not freeze well. The rice and the nori wrapper could become soggy, broken to bits or simply unappetizing to look at once thawed. That being said, thawed sushi is safe to eat. So really, the choice is yours.

When kept in the fridge, sushi will only keep for 10 to 24 hours. But when kept in the freezer, sushi will keep fresh for up to 3 months. Of course, it’s best to consume sushi as soon as you can for optimal flavor and texture. Below is the step by step guide on how can you freeze sushi:

Image used under Creative Commons from baron valium

How to Freeze Sushi?

Freezing Homemade Sushi

If you are making sushi at home and you’re anticipating a lot of leftovers, it’s best to freeze the ingredients separately. Just assemble the ingredients after thawing. To do this, just prepare the ingredients as you normally would such as washing the block of fish or raw seafood, cooking and seasoning the sushi rice, etc.

Once this is done, prepare several airtight containers. Place the fish in the first container. Do not slice the fish, do this only when you are ready to prep the sushi for serving. This will prevent frost from ruining the texture of the fish. Seal the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date and then stick in the freezer.

Spoon the vinegared rice into the second container. The rice should be steaming hot, not cooled to retain the grain’s sticky, moist consistency. Seal the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date and then stick in the freezer.

Finally, pack the nori wrapper in a resealable plastic bag. Squeeze the air out prior to sealing then write the storage date. Stick the plastic bag in the freezer and you’re done.

Freezing Leftover Sushi

Since leftover sushi is fully assembled, expect the texture or flavor to change after the dish has been thawed. Just place the leftovers in an airtight container and seal with the lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Frozen Sushi?

To defrost the frozen sushi, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the sushi to thaw for several hours to overnight. Never thaw the sushi by letting it stand at room temperature. This increases the risk of contamination and bacterial growth! Once the sushi has been defrosted, it’s ready to eat. Since sushi is served chilled, it doesn’t require reheating at all.

Summary

Sushi is one of the healthiest and most popular Japanese dishes for a reason. The savory taste of the vinegared rice pairs so well with the fresh seafood, nori, and wasabi. Freezing sushi may be tricky and will require trial and error but as long as the dish won’t go to waste, all that effort is worth it! Now that you know how can you freeze sushi, there’s no need to worry about what to do with your leftovers.

Dish

Can You Freeze Roasted Potatoes?

Roast potatoes are a popular side dish that pairs well with grilled meats and poultry. Since it’s simple to make, it’s so easy to make a too-large batch of roast potatoes especially if you’re hosting a special event. So how do you keep the leftovers? Can you freeze roast potatoes?

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Yes, you can freeze roast potatoes and it’s quite easy too. But before we get into that, do note that cooked potato is prone to texture changes when it’s stored in the freezer improperly. It could take on a grainy, soggy texture when the roast potatoes are exposed to frost and freezer burn. But when done right, roast potatoes should retain its smooth, delectable flavors even when frozen and defrosted.

When kept in the fridge, roast potatoes will only keep for 3 to 5 days. But when kept in the freezer, the dish will last for a year or more. This goes especially if the temperature is kept at a steady 0° Fahrenheit! Thawed cooked or roasted potatoes will keep in the fridge for an additional 3 to 4 days. How you reheat the potatoes will affect the shelf life of the dish once it’s been defrosted. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze roast potatoes:

How to Freeze Roast Potatoes?

If you’re making roast potatoes from scratch and you’re expecting a lot of leftovers, we suggest holding off on the seasonings until you’re ready to serve. That means washing, peeling, boiling, and sprinkling a little flour on the potato quarters before freezing.  Seasonings tend to change flavors when frozen and defrosted and this could alter the flavor of the dish itself.

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To store the half-made roasted potatoes, leave the potatoes to cool completely. Using a shallow rigid plastic container with an airtight lid, place the potatoes inside the container. Do not overfill the container, give the potato pieces enough room so they don’t stick together. Cover with the airtight lid then write the storage date. Finish up by sticking in the freezer.

Now for the leftover roasted potatoes, get several resealable plastic bags. You can either store the spuds in one large resealable plastic bag or divide the leftover into manageable portions using smaller resealable plastic bags. With a slotted spoon, spoon leftover potatoes into the plastic bag. Squeeze as much air as you can before sealing. Then, write the storage date with a marker and stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost and Reheat Roasted Potatoes?

It’s not recommended to defrost the roasted potatoes unless you’re reheating the leftovers. For make-ahead roast potatoes with zero seasonings, you can cook the potato from frozen. Just preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit. On a greased baking dish, drizzle the spuds with olive oil and your choice of seasonings then stick in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes or so.

For leftover roasted potatoes, you can thaw the dish by transferring it from the freezer to the fridge. However, try not to let the spuds thaw completely. About an hour or two after transferring the roast potatoes to the fridge, you can reheat it using the microwave. Set on high then cook on 2-minute intervals. Just so the potatoes won’t dry out, cover the dish with a damp paper towel prior to microwaving.

Summary

Roast potatoes make a great snack, an appetizer or as a side dish. Now that you know how can you freeze roast potatoes, you can make a large batch and keep the rest for later!

Dish

Can You Freeze Pasta Bake?

Rich, flavorful, and filling, pasta bake is a popular comfort food because it’s so tasty and satisfying! It makes a fantastic snack or a main course, depending on how you take pasta bake. Pasta bake is also a terrific dish to serve for your next potluck! But what if you made too much pasta bake? How do you keep the leftovers for future uses? Can you freeze pasta bake?

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You might not think about freezing pasta bake but this method extends the shelf life of the dish exponentially. You see, pasta bake – as well as most cooked pasta dishes for that matter – only keeps up to 4 to 5 days in the fridge. But when kept in the freezer, pasta bake will keep fresh for 2 months or so. However, it will remain safe to eat beyond this period.

The problem with freezing cooked pasta is the degradation of the pasta itself. That’s why proper preparation and packing are critical to maintaining the original texture and flavor of the pasta dish.

The fact is, poorly packed frozen pasta could turn soggy or take on a gummy consistency when it’s been defrosted and reheated. The dish could also absorb fridge flavors if it’s been defrosted improperly. With all these in mind, let’s take a look at our step by step guide on how can you freeze pasta bake:

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How to Freeze Pasta Bake?

If you’re anticipating a lot of leftovers, it’s best to cook the pasta al dente prior to freezing. This way, the pasta won’t overcook or turn soggy once the dish has been thawed and reheated. Although you can always use a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid to freeze the pasta, we recommend using smaller containers. Packing the pasta bake in single serving portions help keep the integrity of the dish.

Now, if you’re making baked pasta from scratch, consider freezing the cooked pasta and the sauce separately. You can assemble the dish once you’re ready to serve. But if this isn’t possible, storing the pasta bake fully assembled is fine.

To do this, prepare several small resealable plastic bags. Scoop a single serving’s worth of pasta bake into a small plastic bag (do not overfill). Squeeze as much air as you can, seal, and write the storage date. Stick the whole thing in the freezer, laying the plastic bag flat to save storage space.

If say, you don’t have enough resealable plastic bags to store individual servings of the pasta bake, try this trick: scoop the pasta dish into a greased muffin tin. Stick the muffin tin the freezer and leave it to freeze for at least 3 hours.

Once the dish is completely frozen, take the muffin tin out of the freezer and pop each serving of frozen pasta bake out of the tray and into one large resealable plastic bag, squeezing as much air as you can before sealing the bag. Write the storage date and then stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost and Reheat Pasta Bake?

To thaw the frozen pasta bake, take a serving out of the freezer and transfer it to the fridge. Do not open the plastic bag as the dish thaws. Leave the dish to thaw for several hours to overnight. Never leave the dish to thaw at room temperature. Once the pasta bake has been thawed completely, it’s ready for reheating.

To reheat the pasta bake, you can stick the dish either in the oven or in the microwave. If you’re using the oven, Bake the dish at 350° Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until heated through. On the last 5 minutes, try sprinkling a little Parmesan cheese. When using a microwave, heat over high at 2-minute intervals until the pasta is thoroughly heated.

Summary

For many, pasta bake is a comfort food, a classic dish that one simply cannot get enough of. Now that you know how can you freeze pasta bake, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make this dish ahead of time so you’ll always have a quick snack waiting in the freezer.

Dish

Can You Freeze Baked Potatoes?

Do you love baked potatoes? Baking potatoes is a great make-ahead dish. It’s such a satisfying snack especially for busy folks who have no time to sit down for a full meal. Because really, who has an hour to wait for a meal?

Regardless if you have too many leftovers or you’re baking potatoes as a make-ahead meal, freezing is one of the best ways to save the dish for later. As long as cooked potatoes are packed the right way, they keep so well in the freezer.

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Baked potato will only keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. This goes especially if the dish contains dairy products. But when stored in the freezer, baked potatoes will keep for 10 months to a full year! Of course, we recommend consuming the dish within a month or two after freezing for optimal flavor. But it’s nice to know that you can extend the shelf life of baked potatoes for a year or more!

Do keep in mind that the freezing temperature must be kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. Baked potatoes do contain water and when packed improperly, the dish will take on a grainy, watery consistency. Now let’s take a look at our step by step guide on how can you freeze baked potatoes:

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How to Freeze Baked Potatoes?

If you’re making baked potatoes from scratch as a make-ahead meal, bake the potatoes until soft. Do not add the butter or any toppings if you’re planning to freeze the baked potatoes. Leave the baked potatoes to cool completely on the baking tray.

Once the baked potatoes have cooled down completely, wrap each one in aluminum foil. Make sure the potatoes are wrapped completely in foil so they are not exposed to freezing air. Freezing air will ruin the texture of the spuds once they’re defrosted! Place the wrapped baked potatoes in a large, heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Squeeze as much air as you can prior to sealing. Write the storage date with a marker and then stick the bag in the freezer. This guide also applies for leftovers.

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How to Defrost and Reheat Baked Potatoes?

To defrost the baked potatoes, simply transfer the dish from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the spuds to thaw overnight. But if you’re pressed for time, you can defrost the baked potatoes in the microwave. To thaw, microwave the baked potatoes on low. You can add the toppings as you reheat the dish.

As for reheating the roasted potatoes, you can do this using the microwave or an oven. After thawing the spuds, place the potatoes in a baking pan or microwave-safe serving dish. Add your favorite toppings such as herbs, bacon bits, or sour cream then stick in the oven or microwave to reheat. If you’re using the oven, cook over 350 Fahrenheit. Never re-freeze thawed baked potatoes.

Summary

Baked potatoes make a fantastic snack or starters. It’s a good thing that you can bake potatoes ahead of time to be devoured later on. Now that you know how can you freeze baked potatoes, whip up more of this delicious make-ahead dish with no fear of spoilage!