It's almost a regular affair in many household wherein guests arrive impromptu and the host ends up spending ample time in cooking instead of giving them company. In such a situation, frozen foods are a great help as they save the time consumed in preparing fresh dishes.
Casseroles are wholesome meal options and they are relished with immense delight and therefore, stocking them in freezers truly makes sense. You can simply take it out from the freezer, reheat and serve your family or guests. Let's find out how to freeze a casserole in the correct way.
Tips to Freeze Casseroles
The method of freezing has lots to do with the shelf life of the food. Freezing doesn't only entail keeping the food in a freezer. There are some precautions that must be taken to avoid damage of the food. Have a look at them.
- Freeze burn often happens to frozen foods due to leakage of air into it. Gray patches develop on the food as a result of oxidation. Thus, you need to make it perfectly air-tight.
- Use plastic containers with air-tight lids for freezing. Cover the food with an aluminum foil or use a plastic sheet for wrapping.
- Add spices (cloves, garlic, ginger, etc.) in moderation because their flavors become stronger when frozen.
- Avoid adding cream, mayonnaise, sauce, and eggs to the casserole recipes. These ingredients tend to mar the original flavor of the recipe when stored for a long time. Furthermore, the white of eggs begins to precipitate on heating.
- When you are preparing a casserole for future use, avoid adding starchy vegetables. They tend to become soggy when stored for a long time.
- If properly packed, you can freeze casseroles for 2-3 months. Jot the date on a paper and tag it to the box.
Which Casseroles Freeze Best
As already said that casseroles laden with dollops of cream, yogurt and cheese tend to get spoiled, so you have to select the ingredients accordingly. We have listed some easy-to-cook casserole recipes that you can store in a freezer for more than two months.
- Meatball casserole
- Chow mein casserole
- Green bean casserole
- Aroostock potato casserole
- Macaroni casserole
- Vegetable pasta casserole
- Tuna noodle casserole
- Ground beef casserole
- Crockpot chicken rice casserole
Freezing Techniques for Casseroles
Casseroles made from rice, pasta, spaghetti and meat are best preserved in freezers. Although the freezing technique are almost same for all types of casseroles, it's better to consume the food as early as possible. We explain you the process over here.
Cooking the Food Items
Keep the ingredients half-cooked. It's because when you heat the casserole, they will get completely cooked and the original taste will be retained. For example, keep the pasta undercooked and the chicken half-baked.
Do not mix the garnishing agents (especially cheese and cream), instead you can add them fresh while serving. However, you can combine little more onions, sage and coriander if required.
Chill it Immediately
Place it immediately inside the refrigerator for cooling. Take it out after 5-10 minutes, check if it has cooled completely and then start packing. This step prevents bacterial growth on foods.
Choosing the Freezing Box
Snap-on lid plastic containers, being leakage proof are ideal for freezing gravies. You can also bring home plastic zipper bags for storing dry casseroles. They are quite handy and do not occupy much space in the freezer. Some other good options are canning jars and air-tight containers. The choice of freezing box, thus depends on the consistency of the food item and the duration of storage.
Wrapping the Food
This is vital for increasing the shelf life of the ingredients and preventing freezer burn. Also remember that only semi-solid and dry foods require wrapping. Use aluminum foils for covering dry foods and moisture resistant plastic wraps for semi-solid foods. In case you are freezing gravy-like substances, then you can cover the top of the box with an aluminum foil. You can spread a wax paper to block the space if present between the food and the lid of the box. Make sure that air leakage doesn't take place in the container.
Placing in the Freezer
Label the box with date and then place it inside the freezer. Keep the temperature of the freezer constant and during that period you shouldn't defrost your refrigerator.
Now that you know how to freeze a casserole perfectly, you can get rid of those worries on spoilage and extended time to serve guests. All you have to do is, take it out from the freezer at least 15 minutes before, thaw and reheat to finish cooking. Then garnish with your favorite culinary agents before serving. And there you take delight in relishing the casserole.