Easy Stromboli

October 27, 2008

Do you remember the villain of Disney's Pinocchio? His name is Mr. Stromboli.

He's a big 'ol scary looking Italian man who steals children.

But here's a Stromboli you'll love.

By definition, a Stromboli is a dish similar to a calzone found in North American pizzerias. It is thought to have been named after the 1950 film and consists of top and bottom crusts containing a mix of meats, cheese, and vegetables.

So, let's make a Stromboli that you can personalize and freeze.
On our menu tonight is...

Ham and Cheese Stromboli

1 pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (freezer section of grocery store)
8-10 slices deli style ham
1-2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
5 oz. frozen spinach thawed and squeezed
1 tsp. (or 1 clove) minced garlic
black pepper to taste

- Saute mushrooms garlic and onions in butter. Add spinach. Add pepper to taste. No salt should be needed if using ham.
- Lay out puff pastry on a silpat lined baking sheet. If not using silpat, spray sheet with cooking spray.
- Lay down 4 to 5 slices of ham down center of the pastry sheet.
- Lay veggie mixture on top of ham.
- Add shredded cheese.
- Add another layer of sliced ham.
- Join edges of pastry to form a long tube that is completely sealed.
- Sprinkle a bit of shredded cheddar on top.

Bake @ 400* for 15-20 minutes

To freeze: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. Bake from frozen @ 375* for 40-50 minutes.

I think you can see where this is going. Picky eaters? Cut your veggie filling quantities in half and only put it down one half of Stromboli.

Don't like ham? Spinach? Whatever?
Use what you want. Get creative with what you have on hand...

Try deli sliced chicken, ham and swiss for a Cordon Bleu Stromboli.
Try vegetarian Stromboli with broccoli and cheese.
Try a Italian Stromboli with mozzerella, basil and pepperoni.
The possibilities are endless.*

Depending on your choice you can serve this with soup or a green salad.

*The only caution is try not to add vegetables that contain a lot of water (like tomatoes or zucchini) if you plan on freezing this. Upon baking they will expel too much liquid.


Shepherd's Pie

October 23, 2008

I really hate Shepherd's Pie. I always have. My mom's version combined a number of ingredients that I hate. Namely....green beans, tomato sauce, weirdly crusty mashed potatoes. But recently it was 5:30pm and I have no dinner planned yet. I assessed the cupboards and realized I could make a Shepherd's pie, my husband's favorite. Ugh. I could not find a recipe so I winged it and voila!

I feel very sheepish saying this, but it was the best Shepherd's Pie I had ever had. Quickly I jumped up and wrote down the recipe. We decided we're not too into the cheese on top, but if you wanna add it...go for it.

Emilie’s Shepherds Pie

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 c. diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 large carrots, peeled and diced to 1/4"
1 c. frozen peas
1-2 T. seasoning salt
1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
3-4 c. prepared mashed potatoes
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
(I used instant potato flakes and it was great!)

-Put carrots into small bowl with 1/4 c. water and cover with plastic. Microwave on high for 6 minutes or until tender. Set aside. (you may also substitute frozen carrots, but it won't taste nearly as homemade)
-Saute onion and garlic until soft. Add beef and fry until brown. Drain. Add seasoning salt and stir to coat meat.
-Add tomato sauce, carrots and peas. Stir to combine.
-In separate bowl make 3-4 c. mashed potatoes using instant potato flakes (or leftover mashed potatoes).
-Pour into 9X13 pan and top with layer of mashed potatoes. Top with shredded cheese.
-Bake at 450* for 15-20 min or until bubbly and slightly brown on top.

To Freeze:
- Cover with Aluminum foil and freeze from up to 3 months.
- Thaw for 24 hours in fridge.
- Bake with foil on at 350* for 20 min. Remove foil and bake 10-15 more minutes or until bubbly and slightly brown on top.


Kid Friendly Meals

October 21, 2008

I recently received this comment from a Freeze Happy reader...

I'm going to have to try (Green Eggs and Ham with Spinach Pesto), my 6 year old is really picky with veggies maybe she'll try this. Emilie could you share more kiddie recipes please? I know I could use a few more in my recipe box. Thanks! - Mandy

First off, thanks for writing. I enjoy reading comments and feedback. I just have one problem....my kids are great eaters. I don't know how it happened, but they are better eaters than I am. Once, at a dinner party I slipped my 3 year old my shrimp scampi to finish for me since I didn't care for it. Amazing, but true.

And since Freeze Happy is filled with my personal tested recipes I typically make what we eat. But I am going to read through my recipes and find some...just for you! So to Mandy and all of you parents of picky eaters...stay tuned.


Freezer Vocabulary

October 18, 2008

Flash Freeze: refers to laying food in a single layer on a cookie sheet, uncovered, and keeping it in the freezer for 4 hours or until each individual piece is frozen and can be handled. Flash freezing is always followed by storing the items in a fully wrapped container or a fully sealed ziplock to prevent freezer burn.

Silpat: a Silpat Mat is a silicone mat made to fit perfectly into a standard size cookie sheet. It is completely nonstick and allows flash frozen food to be removed easily from pans without tearing. They are expensive, but I highly recommend owning two. They last forever, can be washed and will make you feel like Martha Stewart. Priceless.

Ziplock: Refers to any plastic freezer bag with a locking top. Many are made specifically for use in freezing foods. I always use single size or gallon size.

Wax Paper: is found next to the aluminum foil in your local grocery store and can be used in place of a silpat if needed, although it is not quite as effective. Wax paper should never be put into the oven or used for cooking. Wax paper is not the same as parchment paper.


Fun with Pesto

To round off the pesto excitement I give you a freakin' cool thing to make with pesto.

And you're gunna love it because it's super fun
Gets your kids to eat hidden veggies.
Spinach no less.

First...Read this book.

Then...make this dish.

Yep. Serve you kids up a helping of Green Eggs and Ham.

Add 1 Tbsp. of Spinach Pesto* to 2-3 eggs prior to scrambling.
Top with finely shredded parmesan.
Serve with pan fried slices of ham.

*Spinach Pesto:
1 1/2 cups packed fresh spinach greens, washed and dried
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
4 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, optional
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil


15 Uses for Pesto

October 16, 2008

So, you've got your pesto made and all frozen. Now, what do you do with it? Here are 15 ways to make that Pesto sing. And stay tuned for one more fun and fabulous Pesto idea later this week. You'll LOVE it!

1. For pasta, toss a few tablespoons of pesto with hot pasta and a bit of the cooking water until well coated. Also try adding roasted asparagus and cooked chicken to the dish for a heartier meal.

2. Upbeat Soup. Stir a teaspoon of pesto into a bowl of piping hot soup just before serving as a colorful and tasty garnish.

3. Refresh Fish. Allow a bit of pesto to melt over the top of broiled fish or steamed veggies.

4. To make a terrific appetizer, lightly toast slices of French bread. Toss some diced tomatoes and artichoke hearts into your pesto, spread on a thin layer of pesto and pass under a broiler until it is hot and bubbly.

5. Mix some into mayo for an awesome sandwich spread. Great for waking up a turkey sandwich or adding another dimension to an Italian cold cut sandwich.

6. Top it off. You might also spread a layer of pesto over your pork chops or steaks just before you finish broiling them.
7. Better Bread. Or make your favorite bread recipe. Roll it out like pizza dough, spread on pesto and roll it up as if you were making cinnamon rolls. Bake as usual.

8. Or create a fancy-shmancy pizza by replacing the regular tomato sauce with pesto.

9. Add vinegar, olive oil and pepper, and you'll have a wonderful vinaigrette dressing for your salads.

10. Marinade. Rub beneath skin of a whole chicken or chicken breast and bake as usual.

11. Add it to your eggs before cooking your next omelet.

12. Mix a little in with your chicken salad.

13. Healthy Alternative. Brush it on roasted or boiled corn on the cob in lieu of butter.

14. Better Burgers. Mix with ground beef (or ground turkey) and make hamburgers on the grill. Outstanding!

15. Pesto Potato Salad. Boil red potatoes. Mix potato slices and chopped sauteed onion. Add 2 or 3 chopped tomatoes, red onions, then mix olive oil, some vinegar, salt, pepper and pesto to form a nice dressing and pour over potato salad. Should marinate for an hour or so.


How Long is Too Long?

October 13, 2008

I got a great question from Tricia in Delaware about freezing meals.

How long a dish be frozen for and still be edible? I've only taken one or two stabs at trying to freeze something and, to be honest, it was so long between putting the dish in my freezer and pulling it out again to cook that I wasn't sure it was still good and (gasp!) I ended up just tossing it. Is there a general rule I should follow as I freeze?

Want to know something interesting? The USDA says that freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely, so recommended storage times are for quality only.
I have absolutely kept item in my freezer for a full year. One day a year I make homemade turkey meatballs and my Ukrainian Grandmother's pierogies in a 14 dozen amount. Yep...14 dozen. And it lasts us an entire year and they are great until the end.

What I generally do is when I am making a dinner I make enough for 3 meals and freeze two of them. Then each Monday is Make-Ahead-Monday. On Sunday I pull one out of the freezer to thaw it in the refrigerator. Then we have it for dinner on Monday and that makes clean-up easy and fast since my house is always a wreck after the weekend.

This keeps your frozen meals in constant rotation and insures the quality of the food remains in tact.


Pesto Perfection

October 11, 2008

Did you know that pesto freezes perfectly?
Well it does. And it's super easy to make!
It's a great sauce that has so many uses.
Check back this week for a follow-up post featuring 15 things to do with Pesto.

So here's your basic recipe.


1/4 c. pine nuts
1 garlic clove
2 c. packed fresh basil leaves (or fresh spinach leaves if your family doesn't like basil)
6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
1/4 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese*
salt & pepper to taste

*(must use high quality parm. Make sure it has stamped pin dots in the rind...that how you can tell it's real)

- Toast nuts in a dry frying pan on med heat for 7-8 minutes. stirring frequently. Let cool.
- Throw all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.

To freeze:
Var 1. Put into air tight container. Top with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and freeze.
Var 2. Pour into ice cube tray. top with plastic wrap and freeze completely. Remove cubes from tray and store in ziplock baggie. This is a great way to throw a cube or two into soups.

To thaw:
In fridge: Thaw in fridge for 24 hours.
Microwave: cook at 50% power for 5-10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.


Calling all Mommies!

October 9, 2008

Yes, Freezer Friends....I am currently working on a bunch of new recipes to post here in the near future, but for right now I have a secret to share with you!

Neither of my girls would ever touch a teething ring. I'm not sure why, but they seemed to avoid those things like the plague. I watched them chew and gnaw on every other toy in sight, but the minute I handed them a teether they refused to put it in their mouth.

Remember our Freeze Happy mini pancakes? They are delightful to eat, but they are also a perfect baby teether. These mini pancakes taken straight from the freezer are great. My youngest has chewed them while teething when nothing else worked!

So Mommies with teething babies...give this a try!


Oh, so you want Beef Pot Pie eh?

October 1, 2008

You carnivores! Always wanting red meat.
Okay okay.
The Chicken Pot Pie recipe can easily be adapted for a beef pot pie.

Beef Pot Pie

2 pkg Tyson Beef Roast in Gravy (yes...it's expensive, but you get a truly homemade taste.)
2 c. diced cooked potatoes
1 c. diced onion
10 oz. chopped fresh mushroom (or 1 can mushrooms)
1 jar (12 oz) brown gravy
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 tsp. dried parsley
1&1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 refrigerated pie crusts for tops only or 4 crusts if you want a bottom crust as well.
2 disposable aluminum pie plates

1. Unroll pie crust on work surface. Fit bottom into pie plate if making a two crust pie. For a top crust only pie spray bottom of pie plate with cooking spray before filling.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. Fill with filling and cover with top crust. Cut 4 slit into top of crust.

To Freeze
Cover twice tightly with plastic wrap, label and store in freezer.

To Bake
- Remove plastic. Place pie onto foil lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375* on very bottom rack if making a two crust pie.
Thawed: 40-50 min.
Frozen: 1 hr 15 min-1 hr 45 min.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

About This Blog

A new recipe will be posted each Monday and, of course, you can always search the archives by category.

The Goal of this blog is not just to give you my recipes, but to teach you which ingredients freeze well, which don't, methods and tips to help you freeze your own recipes...because who knows better what your family likes than you?

Do you only cook organic? Great! Are you a vegetarian? No problem! Make what works for you and save time, money and (let's be honest...stress) while doing it.

The Freeze Happy philosophy has made my life better and I'm pretty sure it can improve yours too.

Legal Stuff

Copyright © 2008-2010 Emilie Ahern. The content on these pages, including text and images are the sole property of the author unless otherwise noted and may not be used or reproduced in any manner without consent. All Rights Reserved.

  © Blogger template On The Road by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP