Turn Your Freezer Into a Take-Out Menu
A few weeks ago, on a Friday night, I drove over to our local Indian restaurant and carried home boxes of Butter Chicken, Rice and Naan for dinner. The sauce was runnier than usual. The chicken somewhat gristly. The flavors a bit bland. It filled our stomaches, lightened our wallets, and offered little pleasure.
Let's pause for a second.
Is the point of this story to try and convince you to never eat out? Absolutely not. I love going out to eat, and I bet you do to. I'm willing to spend somewhat exorbitant amounts on a good meal out with zero regrets if the food and the experience is good.
What I've been thinking about are those nights when cooking is unthinkable.
You're tired, working late, have 10,000 places to drive the kids, or just don't feel like it. Maybe earlier in the day you thought you might cook, but now you don't want to. There's little in the refrigerator and you don't want to go out to a restaurant. You just want to put on your yoga pants and eat good food at home.
So, you get take-out.
Like eating out at restaurants, take-out is also a wonderful thing. I'm a fan. But, what if it wasn't the only option? Going back to our less than stellar Indian food of a few weeks back, what if I had a container of Butter Chicken in the freezer that I knew for a fact was delicious?
What if I also knew that throwing it in the microwave to defrost and boiling some rice would take approximately the same amount of time as going to pick it up? Even better, what if I knew that the butter chicken in the freezer was made from high-quality responsibility raised real food? Would I have been tempted to spend money on butter chicken just for the hell of it if I already had some at home? Ummmm... no.
So, I've created a take-out restaurant in my freezer.
I have requirements for what makes the menu:
- Making more of the dish - enough to put in the freezer - must not create a lot of extra work on the day I'm actually preparing it.
- It must freeze and defrost well. (Duh.)
- It must not take hours to defrost or require any coddling during the defrosting process. I want to be able to put it in my microwave, or in a bowl of hot water, or in the oven, and not have to do anything else except let it thaw. And this needs to take less time than it would take for me to order and receive a pizza.
- If additional sides are desirable, rice with butter chicken for example, the sides must also be frozen or extremely easy to prepare with ingredients I most likely have on hand.
If this sounds as good to you as it does to me, I'll be indicating which dishes are great additions to the take-out freezer in each weekly meal plan and on each recipe I publish on this blog from now on. I'll also list them here, so check back from time to time.
If you only see a few recipes in the list below, it means this is a pretty recent post and I'm just getting started. Come on back each week. It will grow. 🙂
Recipes for Your Take-Out Freezer:
- Black Bean Tomato Soup - Defrost in the microwave.
- Vegetable Beef Soup - Defrost in the microwave.
- Spanish Potato Soup - Defrost in the microwave.
- Homemade Meatballs in Marinara - Boil some pasta and spoon on top after defrosting in the microwave.
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas - makes quick tacos, can top a salad, or toss with BBQ sauce and serve on buns.