Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cooking Question

Okay... there's one area of cooking that's COMPLETELY new to me.... and that's make-ahead cooking.  I love my freezer and I freeze a lot of things other people (read Frog Prince) think are strange, like cheese and butter. 

But, despite my relationship with my freezer, I am new to the make a whole meal, stick it in the freezer and just reheat thing. 

So, I'm going to attempt to make something ahead!  Here's where I need your help. 

I'd like to make this delicious creamy spinach dish ahead of time.... but, I'm leery of freezing a cream sauce. 

Have any of you frozen a "cream sauce" dish?  Or, should I prepare the pasta and spinach/mushroom base, and make the sauce fresh before I cook it? 

And, do I need to "dethaw" the dish, or can I just stick it in the oven to cook (albeit a little longer than normal)? 

Any advice you can offer this cook would greatly appreciate!


  1. hmmm I've never tried freezing those things, but maybe you could make some, freeze a small amount to "test" & then reheat it..hope this helps & if you try it let me know! teheheh

  2. I think you should be fine. I don't usually thaw before reheating frozen dishes but you just need to make sure you give yourself lots of time. Being frozen will obviously take it longer. I have frozen alfredo sauce before and it was fine.

  3. I would go ahead and make this all the way and then freeze it. I have fozen pasta meals in cream sauce before and it turns out great. Do not thaw it out first. Just bump the heat up on the stove to 375 degrees and cook. This should work great. I love making meals ahead of time and just being able to pull out of the freezer and cook it. Pasta meals are really easy to freeze. And that recipe sounds yummy.

  4. Milk and cream tend to separate when frozen, but the recipe has so many other ingredients that maybe it would work. If I was you I would freeze just a little bit and see how it comes out.

  5. I sometimes spend a lot of money and go to www.dinnerrush.ca It is a place where you go adn the prep work is all done, you throw all your ingredients in plastic bags and then you freeze it, and you have a meal ready to cook when you want it.
    So what I have learned from this is I can prepare a lot of things ahead of time and freeze them. Yes you can freeze a cream sauce. You could put all the ingredients for your sauce together, such as cream, garlic and what not in one little container. Your salt and pepper and parsley in separate containers, thaw before cooking and then mix all together. I do find that the cream when it thaws is thick. It's not sour, just thick. Last time I added just a little bit of water to the bag to help get all the cream out. But yes it works well.

    One cookbook I recommend is "The BIg Cook" Siemens, Thomas and Smith. It is the same idea as Dinner Rush, except you do it at home. And all the meals are frozen then cooked when you need them.

  6. I double my recipes and freeze things weekly, sometimes daily. And I also freeze cheese and butter...among other things!

    Think about what you can find in the frozen foods section...granted they flash-freeze most of that stuff, but you can get ANYthing frozen these days.

    I've found that the biggest dinner item that doesn't freeze well is mashed potatoes. When I make a Shepherd's Pie, for instance, I'll freeze the base and add the potatoes after it's defrosted. Your cream sauce will be totally fine. Other things like fresh fruits and vegetables will obviously be soggier when defrosted, but still usable in cooked dishes or desserts. (this works well to stock up on cheap produce now and use it all year)

    As far as sticking things in the oven frozen, the only things I do that with are pizza, meatballs and lasagna. Everything else, I defrost for at least a couple of days in the fridge or a day in the fridge and a couple hours on the counter before going into the oven. That way it reheats evenly.

    You'll be completely addicted to freezing for later. It's SO efficient! Cook once, eat twice...can't be it.

  7. You ladies are the best! Thanks so much for your tips. I'm going to try it and see how it goes :)

  8. ok now I'll get fussed at - but go here http://cookingresources.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_foods_cant_be_frozen and see what they suggest as freezer no-nos

  9. I've never tried freezing a cream based sauce, but in the name of saving time when I am preparing a made ahead meal from the freezer I always thaw it out in the microwave for 5-7 minutes first, then I can cook it for close to normal time.


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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