Posts Tagged 'Freezer Friendly'

Turkey Burgers

I’m so excited to be back in the kitchen! Dr. O and I had a nice week on the Liberty of the Seas with the “O” family, but I really missed cooking. (I doubt Dr. O missed the dishes, though. 🙂 ) We’re still recovering from traveling, so I wanted to ease back in with a quick and easy recipe – Turkey Burgers from the January/February 2006 issue of Everyday Food. This recipe is extra nice because it’s freezer friendly – it’s easy to double the recipe and tuck away half for later.

To make a single recipe, I started by tearing 2 slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread into small pieces. I put the pieces in a medium bowl and added 1 pound of lean ground turkey (7% fat), 1/2 cup of reduced-fat sour cream, 3 tablespoons of mango chutney, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of coarse salt. I stirred the mixture until it was well combined and shaped it into 4 firm 5-inch patties.

I put the patties on a foil-lined baking sheet and broiled them 4 inches from the heat source until they were firm and cooked through, 5 minutes per side. While the burgers cooked, I toasted 4 slices of the whole-wheat sandwich bread, sliced a tomato, and stirred together 1 tablespoon of the mango chutney with 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard to create a sauce. I served the burgers on top of the wheat toast on a bed of lettuce, topped with the sauce and tomato.

Turkey Burgers

This was a super simple, quick recipe with minimal mess – perfect for a weeknight. The mango chutney and chili powder really added to the flavor of the burgers. Next time, I might add cheese during the last minute or two under the broiler… Cheese makes everything better, doesn’t it?

TIPS: If you want to freeze the burgers, put the patties on a baking sheet immediately after you form them and put the sheet in the freezer until the patties are firm, about 30 minutes. Wrap each individual patty in plastic and then put the patties in a freezer bag. They’ll keep for 2 months. Thaw the burgers overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.

Recipe link: Turkey Burgers

Almond-Orange Shortbread

I keep telling myself that I’m going to try making one new dessert per week (Sweet Sundays, maybe?), but I’ve just been too darn busy. Too busy for dessert = no good. I did manage to squeak out some cookies (Almond-Orange Shortbread from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food) before we ran off to Houston for the Radiohead concert this past weekend, though. They’re delish *and* they’re freezer friendly!

To make the dough, I beat 2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature), 1 cup of powdered sugar, 3/4 teaspoon of almond extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together in a medium bowl. With the mixer on low speed, I added 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 teaspoons of orange zest and mixed just until a dough formed. I used my hands to incorporate 3/4 cup of sliced almonds.

I laid out a sheet of waxed paper, formed the dough into a log (12 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick), and wrapped the log in the paper. The dough has to freeze for at least 1 hour to firm up, though you can leave it in the freezer for up to 3 months if you want to slice and bake as needed. (If you’re going to leave the dough in the freezer for an extended period of time, add a layer of plastic wrap over the waxed paper.)

When an hour had passed, I removed the dough from the freezer and placed it on a cutting board. I cut the dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices and placed about 18 on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between cookies. I baked the cookies at 325F until the edges just began to turn golden (15 minutes, though the recipe said it would take 20 – 25). I cooled them for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transferred them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Almond-Orange Shortbread

Mmmm. These cookies got the stamp of approval from Dr. O, the fabulous ladies in his office, and my brother-in-law. I can’t decide how I like them best, though – baked or as dough slices straight from the freezer. You have to love a delicious egg-free dough!

Like most shortbread, these cookies are crisp and very buttery. The almond and orange zest added wonderful flavor and took the sophistication factor up a notch. These would be absolutely perfect for a baby shower, wedding shower, or other party.

TIPS: If the dough is too cold when you take it out of the freezer, it may crumble. If it’s misbehaving, wait 20 – 30 minutes and try slicing again.

I didn’t rotate my first batch of cookies and a few in the back ended up browning a bit more than I would’ve liked. The second batch turned out much better with a front-to-back rotation after half of the baking time had passed. Also, my edges weren’t quite as nice as the edges in the recipe photo, and I’m wondering if it’s because I lined my baking sheet with parchment. I’m going to try baking them directly on the sheet next time.

Recipe link: Almond-Orange Shortbread

Request Line! Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Dr. O and I had a belated birthday celebration for a friend at our house last night. When we were planning the menu last week, we asked the guest of honor what he would enjoy for dessert. His answer? “Something with Oreos.”

I love Oreos – LOVE them! – but I literally can’t remember the last time I bought a pack. Unfortunately, this meant I didn’t have a treasure trove of Oreo recipes to reference. I was telling my mom about the situation when she suggested I make a dish she used to make when I was a child – Oreo Ice Cream Cake.

Here’s what you need:

1 regular package of Oreos (18 oz.)
1 half-gallon ice cream (I used Blue Bell Natural Vanilla Bean), softened
1 cup hot fudge (I used Mrs. Richardson’s)
Caramel sauce for garnish (I used Mrs. Richardson’s here as well)

I think my mom used to make this in a 9 x 13-inch pan, but I used a springform pan so I could make it more cake-like. First, I used my food processor to finely grind 16 oreos (filling included). I pressed that into the bottom of the springform pan.

Next, I spread half of the ice cream over the crumb base. I think the best way to do this is to dollop the ice cream over as much of the surface as possible, and then gently smooth it. That way, you’ll avoid spreading the crumb base all over as well.

I coarsely crushed 12 Oreos in a large plastic bag and then sprinkled that over the first layer of ice cream. I drizzled the cup of hot fudge over the top of the Oreos and gently spread it with a spatula to form an Oreo-fudge center. Then, I topped everything with the rest of the ice cream, again dolloping and spreading gently.

I put the springform pan on a baking sheet, covered it with foil, and let the cake set in the freezer until firm, about 2 hours. Then, I ran a hot knife around the outside of the cake and released the side of the pan. (I just left the base underneath – I wasn’t going to attempt a platter transfer with a loose crumb crust.) I coarsely crushed 10 more Oreos and then pressed the pieces into the outside of the cake. (Dr. O called it an Oreo mosaic!)


I put the cake in my cake carrier and tucked that into the freezer.

When it was time to serve the cake, I cut it into wedges and drizzled it with the caramel sauce. I had a guest photographer on this one – thanks, Kari! She took care of business while I cut the other pieces.


For something so simple, this was amazingly good. I didn’t think it was going to taste bad – how could it, with only tasty ingredients? – but I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of the Oreo-fudge center and how well the cake layers turned out. Jason, thanks for the request! Mom, thanks for the idea!

TIPS: I gotta say, this was a bit messy to create and serve. If you use a springform pan, you’ll have a little bit of leakage as the first layer of ice cream begins to melt when you’re putting the cake together. In retrospect, I think I should have set my pan inside a plastic bag or on a layer of paper towels or something. Next time!

Goat Cheese “Ravioli” with Parsley Sauce

On to the Valentine’s Day entree…

I found this great recipe for “homemade” ravioli – Goat Cheese “Ravioli” with Parsley Sauce from the January/February 2008 issue of Everyday Food – right around the same time I finally managed to locate fresh wonton wrappers at my grocery store. (The Asian food section? No. The fresh pasta section? No. In the produce section by the herbs and pre-packaged carrots? YES!) The ravioli looked sufficiently fancy and fun for Valentine’s Day, so I decided to give the recipe a whirl.

Using wonton wrappers in place of homemade pasta (a grand kitchen failure for me circa 2003) made this another quick and easy recipe. First, I mixed up the ravioli filling. In a small bowl, I combined 3 ounces of fresh goat cheese, 1/4 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese, 1 pressed garlic clove, and a pinch of nutmeg. I mashed everything together with a fork, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then stirred the mixture until it was smooth.

Next, I assembled the ravioli. I put 6 wrappers on a cutting board and covered the others with a damp paper towel. I spooned 1 level tablespoon of filling onto the center of each of the 6 wrappers. I used my fingertip and a little water to wet the edges of the wrappers and then folded each one over (in half over the filling, basically) to form a triangle, pressing the edges to seal. I flattened the area around the filling to eliminate air pockets and placed the finished ravioli on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. I repeated the process with 6 other wrappers for 12 total ravioli.

I put a large pot of salted water on to boil and used the “waiting” time to make the parsley sauce. I chopped 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley and then stirred that together in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of water, and some salt and pepper.

Once the water had reached a boil, I reduced it to a bare simmer and dropped the ravioli in one at a time. I cooked them for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking. When they were done, I used a slotted spoon to transfer them to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain briefly. I plated the ravioli, drizzled them with the parsley sauce, and served them with garlic-roasted tomatoes.


Yuuum-my. This was another terrific recipe – bold green, for sure! I loved the taste and texture of the ravioli, and the parsley sauce was a nice alternative to tomato sauce.

TIPS: If you can’t quite envision how to fill and fold the ravioli, check out the recipe link below. There’s a great photo that might help clarify the process.

You can make the ravioli a day ahead or even freeze it, if you’d like. If you make it a day ahead, take the parchment-lined baking sheet with the ravioli, cover it in plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook. Otherwise, freeze the ravioli on the baking sheet for an hour and transfer the frozen ravioli to a resealable freezer bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for a month, and cooking time is the same as it would be for fresh or refrigerated ravioli.

Recipe link: Goat Cheese “Ravioli” with Parsley Sauce

Vegetable Enchiladas

I love it when a recipe causes me to think twice about a cooking practice. I had pretty much written off making my own enchilada sauce after I used Old El Paso sauce for the Easy Beef Enchiladas – they were so good! After making my own sauce from scratch while trying the Vegetable Enchiladas recipe from the December 2007 issue of Everyday Food, though, I’m not so sure. Homemade just may be better.

This recipe makes enough for 8 people, so you can either cut it in half, divide it between two 8-inch baking dishes and freeze one (this is what the recipe says to do), or just put everything in a large baker and bake it on the spot. We had a busy week; I made the whole recipe so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning the kitchen for a few days.

I started by making the enchilada sauce, which was easier than I thought it would be. I heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan and then added 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1/4 cup of flour, and 1/4 cup of tomato paste. I cooked and whisked the mixture for 1 minute before adding 1 can (14.5 ounces) of vegetable broth and 3/4 cup of water. I brought everything to a boil, reduced it to a simmer, and cooked it until it was slightly thickened (about 8 minutes). I seasoned the sauce with salt and pepper and set it aside.

Next, I made the enchilada filling. In a large bowl, I combined 2 cups of grated pepper Jack cheese, 1 can (15 ounces) of rinsed and drained black beans, 1 box (10 ounces) of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry), 1 box (10 ounces) of frozen corn kernels (thawed), the white parts of 6 scallions (thinly sliced), and 1 teaspoon of cumin, seasoning again with salt and pepper.

The recipe suggested corn tortillas but Dr. O prefers flour, so I used fresh wheat flour tortillas from Kroger. (They make them every day, just like Central Market.) I lightly oiled my large stoneware baker and then started rolling and filling the tortillas. I microwaved each one for 10 seconds, topped it with 1/3 cup of filling, rolled it up tightly, and put it seam-side down in the baker.

Once I had all the enchiladas in the baker, I sprinkled them with 1 more cup of the shredded pepper Jack cheese and then topped them with my enchilada sauce. I baked the dish uncovered at 400 F until the enchiladas were hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. (I would put them in for 15 minutes if you cut the recipe in half.) After 5 minutes of cool time, I topped them with scallions and served them with Spanish rice.


Forgive the sheen on the photo, but the enchiladas were actually a little bit shiny. I think it came from sprinkling the cheese underneath the sauce rather than on top.

OH. MY. GOSH. These were just as good as any veggie enchilada I’ve ever had in a restaurant – amazing! The veggie combo in the filling is great, and the pepper Jack cheese gives the dish a delicious kick. I will definitely make these again. Dr. O did put in a request to skip the spinach next time since it “sticks in (his) teeth” – we’ll see. 🙂

TIPS: If you decide you want to freeze half of the recipe (or the whole thing), prepare the enchiladas to the point where they’re rolled, dividing them this time between 2 lightly-oiled 8-inch baking dishes. Sprinkle them with the pepper Jack cheese, cover the baking dish(es) with plastic wrap, and then add a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze the sauce in an airtight container. Both the sauce and the enchiladas can be frozen for up to 2 months.

To bake the enchiladas from frozen, thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight (or microwave it on high for 2 minutes, stirring once halfway through). Remove the foil and plastic wrap from the baking dish(es), pour the sauce over the enchiladas, and re-cover the dish with just foil. Bake the enchiladas for 30 minutes at 400 F, remove the foil, then bake for 15 more minutes until bubbly. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe link: Vegetable Enchiladas

Update: Spiced Carrot Muffins

I’ve made Spiced Carrot Muffins using my frozen individual portions on two separate occasions now, and I have to say I’m so excited I discovered this recipe. There’s nothing like waking up on a weekend morning, preheating the oven to 375 F, and having fresh-baked, homemade muffins 30 minutes later without the mess. The muffins are still moist and delicious… If I hadn’t made them myself, I would’ve never guessed the batter had been frozen. I’m going to make another batch very soon.

In other news, I apologize for the sporadic posting this past week. I was away on business and didn’t have as much time to post as I had anticipated. (I even “over cooked” last week so I’d have something to write about!)

I did receive my first request, so look for Coconut Chocolate Pudding later this week. I’ve never heard of arrowroot powder – I guess it’s sophisticated cornstarch, in a nutshell – but I think Central Market will have everything I need. It will be an adventure!

Keep sending those requests to I’m excited to hear from each of you and can’t wait for our “shared” culinary experience! 🙂

Margarita Cheesecake

When it comes to making dessert for guests, I’m really drawn to cheesecake. I’ve come across a few great cheesecake recipes this year, and Margarita Cheesecake from the May 2004 issue of Everyday Food is one of them. This is a “hot water bath” recipe and it requires a little extra effort, but the results are worth it.

First, I made the crust. I buttered a 9 1/2-inch springform pan and set it aside. Then, I used my Cuisinart Mini-Prep food processor to grind 4 ounces of salted pretzels to fine crumbs. I added 1/3 cup of sugar and 4 tablespoons of melted butter and processed until everything was combined.

I pressed the crust evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. The recipe said to go about 1 inch up on the sides; I think I went a bit too high this time around. (“Not as pretty” still tastes good, though!) I put the springform pan on a baking sheet and baked the crust for 5 minutes at 375 F. When the crust had finished baking, I set it aside to cool.

Next, I reduced the oven temperature to 325 F and prepared the filling. I used my stand mixer to beat 3 8-ounce bars of cream cheese until light and fluffy (about 1 minute). I mixed in 1 cup of sour cream, 3/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of Triple Sec, 1 tablespoon of tequila, and 1 tablespoon of grated lime zest and beat the mixture until it was smooth. I added 4 large eggs, one at a time, beating to combine after each.

I poured the filling into the cooled crust and lined the outside of the springform pan with foil. (This prevents water from seeping in during baking.) I put the pan inside a large roasting pan and poured hot water into the roasting pan until it came halfway up the sides of the springform pan. I carefully placed the pans in the oven and baked the cheesecake for 1 hour at 325 F. I removed it from the hot water bath and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Once it had cooled, I chilled it overnight in the refrigerator and served it the next night.


This is a really tasty treat. One of the friends we had over for dinner compared the flavor to toned-down key lime cheesecake. The texture is just fantastic, too… It’s not super-dense like Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, but it’s not quite as fluffy as the Pumpkin Cheesecake I made back in November. I’ve made this one three times so far, and I’m keeping it in my repertoire.

TIPS: I hadn’t experienced this problem previously, but my pretzel crust was initially too dry this time around. I was trying to press it into the sides of my springform pan and it was just crumbling down – it wouldn’t stick. I put my crust back in the food processor and added 1 more tablespoon of melted butter to resolve the issue.

I would strongly recommend using wide heavy-duty foil to wrap the springform pan for the hot water bath. I’ve tried overlapping two pieces of regular foil to cover the underside and sides of the pan, but I’ve had water seep into my crust each time. The wide heavy-duty foil did the job beautifully.

Finally, I’ve had great luck freezing individual slices of this cheesecake. I just wrap each one in plastic wrap and store the wrapped slices inside freezer bags. Then, I thaw the slices overnight in the refrigerator. The cheesecake should keep well in the freezer for about 3 months.

Recipe link: Margarita Cheesecake

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