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Monday, October 12

Freezer Cooking 101 : October


The nights are getting longer and the days are getting colder.  There's nothing like a warm soup with some crusty bread to warm your tummy!  Here is an easy freezer autumn dinner...

Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Ingredients
·        1 tablespoon olive oil
·        1 small onion, diced
·        3 cloves garlic, minced
·        1-2 celery stalks, chopped
·        2-3 large carrots, chopped
·        1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
·        6 cups low-sodium, all-natural chicken stock
·        4 cups tomato juice
·        2 cups water
·        1 bay leaf
·        1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
·        2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
·        1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
·        1 cup whole wheat elbow pasta
·        1 cup green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
·        1 cup broccoli, roughly chopped
·        1 cup cauliflower, roughly chopped
·        1 cup frozen sweet peas
·        fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
·        freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Instructions
1.   Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, and celery until soft (about 3-4 minutes). Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
2.   Add garbanzo beans, chicken stock, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning (crush in hand before adding), salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
3.   Add whole wheat macaroni noodles and cook for 4-5 more minutes (or a few minutes less than the directions say to cook it.)
4.   Then, add green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower and cook for 4-5 minutes (or until crisp-tender).
5.   Stir in the frozen peas and turn heat to low (no need to cook these, as they will warm up in the soup). Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove bay leaf.
6.   Serve warm and topped with chopped fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.
7.  To freeze and prepare later, fully cook the soup, let it cool completely, and freeze in a BPA-free gallon freezer bag or other air-tight freezable container for up to 3 months. 
8.  To reheat, defrost in the fridge overnight and warm up over low heat on the stove.

Crusty Bread

Ingredients :
Directions :
  1. A lot of the families at our bread-making event had only ever used a bread-maker.  While they are a great kitchen tool and very handy, they are not suitable for this particular recipe.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, yeast, whole wheat flour, and warm water.  Cover with towel and let rest until bubbly.
  3. Stir in cooking oil and salt.
  4. Stir in 3 cups white flour, one cup at a time.  Measure out one more cup of flour and sprinkle half of that onto the sticky dough.  Work into dough.
  5. Flour hands and turn dough onto floured surface.  Knead well.  While it is resting, wipe oil onto inside of bowl.
  6. Knead a little bit more, then put the dough back into the bowl and cover.  Let rise in a warm place for an hour and a half.
  7. Punch down down.  Divide into half and form into loaves.
  8. Place loaves on a greased cookie sheet, and cover with a towel.  Let rise again for 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 375.
  10. Remove covering, slash tops of loaves, and bake 30 minutes.  Let cool, and enjoy!
  11. To Freeze :  Let cool completely and place in a gallon freezer bag.  
  12. To Reheat :  Thaw and slice.
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