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Inspiration needed for make-in-advance meals please

(9 Posts)
EauRouge Tue 14-Jun-11 10:18:22

My granddad is going into hospital tomorrow and my grannie is not as mobile as she used to be. They'll be getting help from my dad and uncle but I'd like to take along some complete meals that they can just reheat to save them the trouble of having to cook at all. They also need to be freezeable.

I don't think they are terribly adventurous with their food so I was thinking cottage pie, that sort of thing. Can anyone inspire me so they don't end up eating cottage pie every night? grin TIA.

Barbeasty Tue 14-Jun-11 10:43:15

Fish pie, fish crumble, sausage & pasta in a sauce, various casseroles or stews (put the potatoes in them so nothing extra is needed).

tiggersreturn Tue 14-Jun-11 10:45:47

meat stew/ratatouille and put frozen pastry on top = easy pie, tuna bake, spanish omelette (potatos, eggs, onion and pepper), thick soups and some bread

Xiaoxiong Tue 14-Jun-11 12:07:21

lasagna (meat and/or veg)
macaroni cheese
baked ziti with tomato sauce and meatballs
chicken or aubergine parmesan
cannelloni
ricotta stuffed shells in tomato sauce

It looks slightly like I'm used to cooking for the Mafia, but I promise that all these things freeze beautifully...having enough sauce around the pasta is key because then it won't dry out.

EauRouge Tue 14-Jun-11 12:30:46

Thanks everyone smile

I've always been a bit unsure about freezing pasta, is that the trick then, to make sure there's enough sauce? Can you have too much sauce?

Xiaoxiong Tue 14-Jun-11 14:07:32

My mum told me the thing about the sauce so I always put what feels like too much, and it seems to come out ok when defrosted. I don't think you can have too much sauce smile

I've googled around and found a few helpful tips if you're making things on purpose to be frozen (as opposed to freezing leftovers):
- if making something with melted cheese on top, freeze before baking then thaw first in the fridge before adding cheese and baking 30 min
- if making something like macaroni cheese or baked ziti, you can partially freeze in a large pan (eg. a 9x11 baking tin), then pop out of the pan, wrap in clingfilm and complete the freezing process - you can even cut into single serving portions at this point
- if you're making pasta sauce or soup to be frozen, put two portions worth into a freezer bag and freeze flat so you can stack them - write on the outside what's in the bag

I even found a whole site's worth of freeze-ahead meals:
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food/quick/make-ahead-meal-recipes

And their tips on freezing, defrosting and reheating:
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food/cooking/thawing-reheating-frozen-food

Xiaoxiong Tue 14-Jun-11 14:07:54

Whoops, those links again:
www.goodhousekeeping.com/food/quick/make-ahead-meal-recipes
www.goodhousekeeping.com/food/cooking/thawing-reheating-frozen-food

Mumanator Tue 14-Jun-11 14:21:24

We eat this way and have done for eight years!! I batch cook and freeze all our meals. Favourites are:

Moussaka
Fish Pie
Lamb hot pot
Twice cooked stuffed jacket potatoes
Bouillabaisse
Chicken Passanda and rice
Tuna pasta bake
Macaroni cheese
Cauliflower cheese
Pollo alla cacciatore
Quiches (various) plus bought salads
Sausage casserole
Spanish Omlette and various frittattas (freeze in slices)
Soups esp. minestrone
Jambalaya
Bobotie

EauRouge Tue 14-Jun-11 15:54:16

Brilliant, thanks so much for that! Looks like I'm going to have a busy Thursday grin That's a great tip about freezer bags, I'm forever running out of tupperware containers.

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