frozen food tips

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

complete packed cottage pie . storing in ziplock bag is a good idea coz you can seal it then mark the dates and label it. otherwise a simple plastic would suffice but you'll need to seal it with a heat sealer.

Freeze Well Recipe: Cottage Pie Lasagna

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fasting month is coming and I am amp-ed up for my rainy days....hahahaha well not so much of rainy days but more of lazy days especially when you'd have to wake up at 4am to prepare a meal for 'Sahur'

what is Sahur? Suhoor (سحور lit. of the dawn), also called Sehri, Sahari and Sahur in other languages, is an Islamic term referring to the meal consumed early in the morning by Muslims before fasting, sawm, in daylight hours during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The meal is eaten before the fajr or dawn. When its in the weeeeeee hours in the morning, most often then not you'd feel the lazy bones in you and sometime you even over slept and have not enough time to cook anything from scratch (i know some of us did either pre-cook or get the ingredients ready to cook the night before but even that i sometimes failed to do coz too tired from cooking 'breaking fast meals') so this recipe is perfect for that lazy or slipped up moments you might have (i know i always do).

For this recipe you only need about 10minutes for baking time (probably less if you pre-thawed and store it in the fridge the night before) coz the dish is already cooked, all you need is to brown the crust and let the cheese melt a little and you are ready to dig in!

I personally LOVE this recipe because it does freeze well and make life a lot simpler especially when you are not in the mood or lazy or whatever.... once frozen, its life is extended to 1-2 can actually keep it up to 5 month maximum in a freezer but you may loose its flavor over that time so the best time to consume is within the 1st and 2nd month.

For this recipe you need a good baking potatoes. I'd say Russets or Idaho are good. I'm using Russets and you can buy them at Cold Storage in a pack for RM10 (9.90). Its a good deal considering that Russets, if you were to buy them individually by grams, they are quite expensive.

What you need:

about 5 med to large sized potatoes skinned, boiled and drained. - set a side.

25o g minced meat
1tsp ground black pepper

salt to taste

a pinch of sugar
1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 large onions sliced thinly.
1tsp balsamic vinegar
1 chopped carrots

1tsp soy sauce *optional

1 tsp paprika

1 can of mushroom
a pinch of dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 knob of butte

1 tbsp olive oil

shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
1 tub of yogurt (small tub)
salt to taste

1 1/2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

3tbsp flour

1 knob of butter

1 1/3c of water (plus minus)

1- heat a know of butter then add in sliced onions. Caramelized the onion. then add in the balsamic vinegar. cook through for a few minutes. then set a side. this will give the sauce a nice flavor of onion sweetness. Set a side.

2- season the minced meat with a bit of salt and paprika and olive oil. Mix well. then with some left over butter from cooking the onion cook the minced meat. once the meat is cooked add in the caramelized onions, mushrooms and carrots. Cook for another 10 minutes or so in a med to low heat. then remove from heat.

3- in a sauce pan. brown flour until it is brown in a med to low heat.. hehehe~ then add in another knob of butter and make a rue. Then add in water and slowly mix it until it is no longer lumpy.

4- then add in the meat mixture. cook through. if the gravy/sauce is thick then add in another 1/4 cup keep adding water until all ingredients are all cooked.

5- season the mixture with black pepper, salt, Worcestershire, soy sauce, sugar, thyme and bay leaf. The gravy should be some what loose and not to thick. a consistency of a loose custard? here's the reason why. because you want to freeze them, if the gravy is too thick, when you bake them the filling inside will be somewhat dry so its a good idea to make sure the filling's gravy is in the right consistency.

For the potatoes:
nice and smooth mash

1- mash the boiled potatoes. with a stand mixer with a whisk paddle. - to do this make sure that the potatoes are boiled thoroughly i.e soft or you'll spoil your whisk paddle.

2- then add in the yogurt, Parmesan cheese and salt. whisk until all incorporated.

I lined my cups with left over lasagna sheets uncooked. for some extra bites.
Pipe away!

1 - prepare a foil cups. add in the meat feelings them pipe out the mashed potatoes on top of the fillings making sure that its all covered. then sprinkle the cheese.

2- freeze the pies then individually pack them. I sealed them with aluminum foil first them pack them in a clear plastic and sealed them.

Its important to freeze the pies first or you'll ruin the swirl piped mashed potatoes with cheese on top.

1. add in some leftover lasagna sheets, it'll make the pie more filling and kids will love it too.
2. if adding lasagna sheets make sure that the gravy is loose.
3. Make sure that you use CLEAN utensil to avoid contamination.