FDCookingLocal chef shares freezer meals that are perfect for batch cooking
FDCookingLocal chef shares freezer meals that are perfect for batch cooking

Local chef shares freezer meals that are perfect for batch cooking

TODAY is National Frozen Food Day. The day recognizes the benefits that freezing fruits, vegetables and meats to preserve them has on our modern lives.

To celebrate the day each year, on March 6, people take a look at how frozen food impacts our daily lives, the history of frozen food and how far the practice has come.

We spoke to local chef Karyn Smith about frozen food ideas that people can make.

Pigs in Blankets – a porkie, bacon, mushrooms, cheese and spring onion mash wrapped inside pastry.

She said one of her favorites is Pigs in Blankets as they are yummy and easy to freeze.

“You can make a bulk batch and freeze it for quick dinners with gravy and veg or just a lunchbox treat.

“The latest version I made was with bacon, mushrooms, cheese, spring onion mash and a porkie wrapped in homemade or easy store-bought puff pastry.”

With Pigs in Blankets, Smith says you can use anything as a filling for a quick and easy puff.

“Leftover roast chicken and gravy is also a delicious version.”

The chef said she has a freezer full of frozen meals and sells them as a sideline business in Winston Park.

“My reasoning is if you’re cooking it, it takes no longer to make a big pot and freeze the rest. Another staple in my freezer is savory mince.”

She said this meal is so versatile and you can do mince in so many different ways.

“If the mince is already batch-frozen, you can make a quick and easy cottage pie, assemble a lasagne, alatie, top a pizza or make quick quesadillas or tacos.

Quick meals you can make with frozen mince. Photo: Karyn Smith

“Be careful not to go overboard and end up forgetting food in your freezer. Never, ever waste food!” she warned.

Smith advises that when freezing, remember to label clearly and always put a date.

“When you freeze, rotate already frozen food to the top of the freezer.

Smith’s ideas/tips when freezing food

– If you’re roasting a chicken, your pan will need washing whether you roast one or three chickens. Roast extra, and shred and freeze for quick toasties, panini rolls, pizza toppings or creamy casseroles.

– If making a casserole or A la King, you can cut the cooking time in half by using already roasted chicken.

– When cooking rice, batch cook and freeze in ziplocks in one, two or three portions (depending on your family size). It’s one less thing to cook after a long day at work. Rice can also be so versatile – a quick rice salad with spices, mayo and a protein for kids or hubby’s lunchbox; egg fried rice for a quick dinner, or just as your usual side.

She said soups are her go-to for quick, easy and wholesome lunches.

Frozen food ideas. Photo: Karyn Smith

She added that she could go on forever about preserving leftover vegetables in jars and a vinegar and sugar mix before they spoil, turning leftover, almost spoilt fruit, into delicious jams, but her latest obsession is her dehydraters.

“I use crispy onions for salads, dried chillies for curries, and mango, apple and pineapple are my favorite dried fruit for lunchboxes, and my absolute best is dried garlic. If you can afford a basic dehydrator, it will serve your family for years.”

In addition, she also turns any leftover herbs and spare leftover nuts and cheese into pestos and bottles them.

“They make good snacks on weekends or pastas.

“If you have cream that is almost ‘over-dated’, beat it and drain it for your own homemade butter. I flavor my butter with garlic, basil, peppadew or chili,” she said.

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