Figuring out what to have for dinner is not a new dilemma. We’ve been talking about it for a long time. Food magazines, food companies and cookbook authors have been on the subject for years. Rosie wrote about it last week.
It helps a lot to have a weekly routine so you know what to buy, and how to cook it and get it on the table pretty fast. If some of the ingredients are ready-to-go, it’s even easier.
One of my own dinnertime solutions is to chop lots of garlic etc and freeze it in batches on plastic wrap so chunks can easily be broken off. See photos below. Many ingredients that would take an extra 10+ minutes to clean, peel and chop, now take 30 seconds to pull from the freezer.
Garlic and fresh ginger are ideal to pre-chop and freeze. I make a quickie stir-fry once a week that would not be so speedy if I had to mince each one. I’m more inclined to actually make my stir-fry because the garlic and ginger are ready-to-go. Besides, I don’t always have a piece of ginger in the fridge.
So next time you’re in the grocery store, buy a big, firm piece of ginger and one of those refrigerated packs or jars of already-peeled garlic. Then get out the mini-chopper and get going! A half hour spent now, saves you time and thinking in the weeks ahead. If you are really ambitious, do monster batches of each in your food processor.
A collection of routine meals and using your freezer can help address the dinnertime dilemma. For more inspiration, take a look at two cookbooks: The Best Freezer Cookbook by Jan Main and There’s a Chef in Your Freezer by Richard Azzolini.
Finely chop, then spread a thin layer 5-6″ wide on plastic wrap. Fold wrap over securely. To keep it flat, use a spatula to move to a plate or a piece of cardboard as I’ve done here. Freeze, then store in an air-tight freezer bag.
Other foods to freeze:
– fresh breadcrumbs
– lemon & orange zest
– chopped toasted nuts
– shredded toasted coconut
– ripe bananas broken in chunks for smoothies
– small batches of pesto, salsa
– leftover sauces, gravy
– diced ham, linguica, chorizo
– 3-4 oz patties of ground beef & pork
for pasta sauce, one-pot stovetop meals…
I even make double batches of frosting and freeze the extra!