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Topic: make ahead or freezer meals for surgery recovery

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Subject: make ahead or freezer meals for surgery recovery
Date Posted: 10/3/2009 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2005
Posts: 1,218
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Does anyone have any ideas or recipes for meals that can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen? I would love to hear your ideas because I'm planning on having surgery in January and can't leave it up to my family. Been there, done the pizza, 24/7 breakfast, lunch and dinner!!


Date Posted: 10/3/2009 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2009
Posts: 255
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You can google something like mega cooking or freezer cooking or once a month cooking and come up with all sorts of sites/recipes/plans for cooking and freezing ahead.

All my cookbooks are downstairs now. Will try to remember to bring some of them up and post some of our favorites. Probably most of the things your family likes can be frozen just fine. Things that don't freeze well are things like mayo, potatoes (although there are ways around that, but I've never had much success with them), large pieces of celery (minced does just fine), and pasta that's cooked all the way (it will be overcooked by the time it's thawed and heated up).

My best advice is to NEVER, EVER make a large batch of something and freeze it, without table testing and freezer testing it first. No matter if it's a family favorite, you need to make sure that it will survive the freeze/thaw process. (Ask me how I know!) And you certainly don't want to make a large batch of a new recipe, freeze it and then find out that your family hates it!! (again, ask me how I know!)

If I don't post anything in a day or two, send me a PM and remind me!!

Anne in (almost) Memphis


Date Posted: 10/3/2009 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
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I used to frequently freeze and then microwave leek and potato soup, and also, beef stew. In both cases, they microwaved just fine, and merely needed to be stirred after re-heating to mix back in moisture that came out into the bowl during cooking. I suspect soups and stews generally should be able to be frozen and microwaved well.

Pasta dishes with sauce mixed in, or buttered and mixed with a little meat and vegetables, can be covered and refrigerated for four or five days.

Date Posted: 10/4/2009 7:38 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2005
Posts: 1,218
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Thanks to you both for the tips, I appreciate it! I will do the beef stew and my lentil soup and split pea soup. Anne, lol, I would love to hear your disaster stories anytime! And would love to know any special recipes you have in the downstairs cookbooks. I looked up those search terms and found a couple of good(free!!) sites. Thank so much again!

Date Posted: 10/5/2009 4:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2009
Posts: 2,235
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chili freezes great if your family eats that so does meatloaf i usually make my meatloaf ahead a time so all i need to do is thaw it the day before in the fridge and throw it in the oven lasagna also freezes fairly well.

Date Posted: 10/5/2009 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2009
Posts: 15
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My family loves meatloaf but I often find the thawing and cooking take more time than I have so have started making more forzen meatballs. It is easier for the kids to take enough for a small meal for themselves or for the whole family. I can usually get the kids to help make meatballs for a little while before they get too restless. I have also had good luck with stuffed pasta shells.

Date Posted: 10/5/2009 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2005
Posts: 1,218
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More ideas! thank you!

My family loves chili and meatloaf. Katrina, I think you're onto something with the meatball idea. I could make the meatloaf mix but form them into balls...and use them for lots of dishes depending on the sauce.


I love the idea of some of the once a month recipe sites but most of the recipes feed 4 people and I really need to feed 4-6 with large appetites. Next problem is not enough freezer room!

Date Posted: 10/6/2009 6:30 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2006
Posts: 6,234
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Always keep your Crock-Pot handy!!!  Since you will be home recovering, anything cooked in one of those is super easy to put together and has the added benefit of being FRESH.  Believe me, after awhile, you AND your family will be saying "Oh NO, not frozen AGAIN!!!!"   Have you tried Crock-Pot Macaroni & Cheese?


Date Posted: 10/6/2009 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2005
Posts: 1,218
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Katz--I'd love to hear more about it! I love mac and cheese and certainly won't be making it fresh during that time and I'm not sure how it would be frozen. I have never gotten tons of use from my crockpot so if you can point me to a great book or website, too, I'd be grateful.

Date Posted: 10/8/2009 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 11/25/2007
Posts: 774
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Heres a couple of recipe sites that I had saved..these have alot of great recipes, including crockpot and freezable recipes

Hope this helps!  Best wishes for a Speedy Recovery!



Last Edited on: 10/8/09 8:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/10/2009 7:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,527
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We've never had a problem with freezing soups and chilis, either.  We usually have some in the freezer for emergency dinners or just for when we don't feel like cooking.

What about something simple like baking a ham or large meatloaf?  You can slice them and freeze the slices... they'd be great warmed in the microwave or for cold sandwiches (or hot meatloaf and gravy!) .  Or maybe you can fry up a bunch of hamburger and freeze it in smaller portions.  It could be easily added to jarred pasta sauce or a can of Manwich for sloppy joes or even reheated with a taco seasoning packet for tacos one night.

These are two of our favorite crockpot meals... and they're easy! 

Cream Cheese Chicken

4-6 flash boneless chicken breast halves
1 envelope dry italian dressing mix
1 cup chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes

Place everything but the cream cheese into the the crockpot, cook on low 6-8 hours or until done.  Add cubed cream cheese and cook until it's melted. Stir to blend and serve over pasta or rice.

Crockpot Beef Roast

1 beef roast (your favorite cut)
1 envelope dry italian dressing mix
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 envelope beef gravy or aus jus mix
1 15 oz can low sodium beef broth

Cook 6-8 hours or until done.  Shred and use for sandwiches, tacos or burritos.

Or add even more to the crockpot for a roast beef dinner:

A diced onion
sliced carrots


Also adding my best wishes for a quick recovery!  And maybe just one pizza, LOL?

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 10/20/2009 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,098
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I've had great success with cooking up hamburger and using taco seasoning, or making spaghetti sauce, and they both freeze very well.

I've par-cooked pasta, just shy of al dente (about 1/2 the time the box calls for), rinsed in cold water and then placed in 2 cup measures in plastic freezer bags.  When I need pasta, I take it out of the bag, pop it in a large colander, and run very hot water over it.  Once it's all defrosted, I've got pasta cooked perfectly and it took less than 5 mins!

 Quiches freeze great too.  My sister made me several before my DD was born, and that was popped into the oven frozen, a quick salad on the side and dinner is served.   We made bacon and cheese quiches, and another green pepper and onion/bacon for my DH that he ate while I was in the hospital.