NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Shop Your Own Freezer Section

Shop Your Own Freezer Section


          The schedule is full, time is short between work and the next activity for your family and everyone is hungry!  For many American families that translates into grabbing something from the freezer section in the supermarket.  What if you could shop your own freezer section?  With make ahead meals of main dishes, baked goods, desserts and other foods you can make good use of your freezer and your time.

          Benefits of freezing convenience foods include:

          -  You can prepare food when you have time.

          -  You use your oven more efficiently by baking more than one dish at      a time.

          -  You avoid waste by freezing leftovers to use as “planned overs.”

          -  You can prepare special diet foods in quantity and freeze them in  

              single portions.

-         You save time by doubling or tripling recipes and freezing the extra food.

-         If you normally cook for just one or two, you can freeze individual portions of an ordinary recipe for later use.

-         And you save $’s by making convenience foods yourself!

Foods to be frozen should be slightly undercooked if you will be reheating them after freezing. Cool food quickly to ensure safety and freshness. To speed cooling, place the pan containing the prepared hot food in a pan or sink of ice water.  Package and freeze as soon as the food is cool.

          If you are not sure how well a prepared food will freeze, try freezing just a small portion the first time and check to see whether the quality is acceptable.   Foods that do not freeze well include potato and macaroni salad, fried foods, milk sauces and gravies, sour cream , mayonnaise or salad dressing, gelatin, and crumb toppings.

          Foods that were cooked and frozen need to be reheated to 165Degress.  It’s helpful to use a thermometer to ensure that foods reheat properly without overcooking. Use an ovenproof thermometer or test the temperature of the food after removing it from the oven or microwave

          The following tasteful combination of seafood, pasta and veggies might be just what your family is looking for on one those harried nights.


Pasta Crab Casserole

(Yield: 2 casseroles (4-6 servings each)



8 ounces uncooked spiral pasta

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup margarine

2 packages (8 ounces each) imitation crabmeat, chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1-1/2 cup (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

          Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté onions, mushrooms, green pepper and garlic in margarine until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat. Drain pasta; add to vegetable mixture. Stir in the crab, sour cream, salt and basil.

          Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 1 month. Cover and bake the second casserole at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer.

          To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Cover and bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.


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