I've been in a cooking frenzy lately, spending full weekend afternoons making pot pies and cheesecake. However, at the first sign of warm weather this week I couldn't get out of the house fast enough. So I'm taking advantage of the rain forecasted this weekend to fill my freezer with easy to reheat dishes for when I'd rather read a book outside than stand at the stove.
1. Basic tomato marinara sauce - The first time I tried making my own sauce and freezing it in ice cube trays, I was amazing just how much better my pasta tasted than if I used jarred sauce. There's not much effort beyond letting the sauce simmer long enough and being able to use a cube at a time is a big time saver for last minute dinners.
• Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce
2. Cookie dough - Freezing cookie dough, either in pre-shaped balls or a log, is an effort against the fear that subsides when it's 10 pm the night before you promised to bring cookies to work and you can't bear running out to the store.
• Recipe: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Monster Cookies
3. Pot pie, lasanga, and other one pan wonders - Next time you're in the mood for a pot pie, why not make enough to freeze? It bakes up beautifully right from the freezer and requires no hands on time at all.
• How to Make (and Freeze!) Individual Chicken Pot Pies
4. Bread - When I get into periods of bread baking, I can't possibly eat fast enough to accommodate my baking. Many loafs would go straight into the freezer after cooling. Double bag the loaf in freezer bags to prevent freezer burn, and fresh bread is never more than a few minutes away.
• No-Knead Bread Recipe: Multi-Grain Peasant Bread
5. Stock - While freezing stock may be a given if you're making it from scratch, freezing leftover stock is a smart idea I always seem to forget. Don't let those half used cartons of chicken stock go to waste and freeze them in ice cube trays for the next time you're in the middle of cooking and realize you've run out.
• How To Make Homemade Chicken Stock
Related: What Are Essential Pantry Items for the Freezer?
(Images: Flickr user sporkist licensed for use under Creative Commons)