Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Ratings

We haven't quite eaten it all yet, but I thought I'd offer up my reviews of what we have had:

Chili Con Carne: thaws great, a solid staple meal. Nothing spectacular, but good on the nights we had it. 4/5.
Asian Chicken: I didn't think this was as good as it is when I make it fresh... it tasted okay, but the vinegar becomes more prominent, and without the grilling, it's not quite the same. 3/5.
Grilled Fish: A keeper again. 5/5. Just plain delicious.
Sweet and Hot Pasta Sauce: Very convenient to have in the freezer. Plan to do it again - 5/5.
Baked Herb Fish: Okay, but nothing to write home about. 3/5.
Aztec Quiche: Fan-freaking-tastic. But it had a couple cups of shredded cheese and whole cream in it... so how could it not be? I was mostly impressed that raw eggs can be frozen and thawed, then baked, and taste great. 5/5 for taste and 0/5 for health of my poor arteries.
Spiced Citrus Chicken: Very orange. Had a lot of paprika and was an almost Indian-influenced dish. Pretty good. 4/5.
Honey Sesame Chicken: Not my favorite - very beige. Might be okay if I toasted the sesame seeds, but wouldn't make it again as written. 2/5.
Sloppy Joes: I fell in love when I simmered them, then fell in love all over again when we ate them. I will absolutely make these again. 5/5.

We've still got a chicken dish or two in the freezer, plus the ginger beef that I'm a little curious to see how it thaws. I'm starting to plan for the next cooking session and taking note of what we really liked and what we could leave, and scouting for new recipes. If you have a favourite recipe that freezes well, leave me a comment so I can check it out! I'm definitely considering adding a lasagna, and I'm on the lookout for a really good freezable soup (i.e. not thickened with flour/cornstarch).

Freezable Pizza Dough

I love pizza. And pizza is really, really quick when the crust is already made. Sure, you can buy them, but this is better. And cheaper. And customizable to your every whim. I first made this recipe in Home Ec class about a decade ago, and it's served me well ever since. The recipe doubles or triples well if you're doing it by hand. Make sure you have enough pans to freeze it on, though. It's fine to use a cookie sheet for pizza.

Pizza Dough
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 1/2 whole wheat and 1 all purpose)
Mix water and oil, then add yeast, sugar, and salt. If you wish, add 1 tsp. seasoning, such as garlic powder or Italian seasoning. Add 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Also works well in bread maker - set to "basic dough" or "white dough".

To freeze: after dough has risen, flatten out onto your pizza pan. I just use my hands to make it into a circle. Freeze on pan. Wrap in plastic wrap/bags the next day.

To use: no need to thaw. Top while frozen with your favourite pizza toppings - we usually do tomato sauce, pepperoni, mushrooms, and mozzarella. Also makes nice bread sticks to go with pasta - brush with Italian salad dressing and top with some Parmesan.

Bake 10-12 min at 450*F. Serve with a salad if you're seeking more vegetables.

Chicken Pesto Pizza: use basil pesto in place of tomato sauce, top with slices of chicken breast, mushrooms, other veggies, mozza.

Teryaki Chicken Pizza: teryaki sauce (thick), chicken, green onions, pineapple, cheese

BBQ Chicken/Beef Pizza: bbq sauce, sliced chicken or beef... you get the idea.

Gourmet pizza is such an easy thing to make! Look at your favourite delivery menu and DIY.