Bertolli-style dinner recipes?

Thanks for all the great feedback, everyone! I will try to see if I can find some recipes from that Top Chef episode for sure. I dug out some old ice trays to freeze my sauces and I guess I'll fill them more shallowly than I probably would have. I want to be able to open the freezer, grab one bag, one pan and that's it - no cooking pasta seperately, etc. (This I could even delegate to my husband, and he would feel like he'd produced something fantastic! He's wonderful in many ways, but cooking is NOT one of them - which is why he married ME!) I'll write up some recipes and instructions up once I get something perfected.

I'll for sure freeze some soups, stews, etc. that I can crock-pot - on those rare occasions when I am that conscious in the a.m. Also some sauces for those nights when I can cook some pasta or rice while the sauce heats. In fact I'm making Creole sauce today for that purpose. I've never made gnocchi - I don't think I've ever even eaten any - but I want to make it - can someone point me to a good recipe?

As for freezing casseroles - that's great except that I don't have room for casserole dishes in the freezer, and my goal is to get rid of the deep freezer in the garage. I'd thought about freezing an uncooked casserole in a silicone pan, then popping it out and vacuum packing the frozen casserole. Then I can just stack them up like bricks!

@sarajane - what is "The kitchn" you referenced? I'd love to see those recipes!

@NotAmerican - thanks for the info on Kosher meats - I obvioulsy need to look further into that since it sounds like my buying choice may have been based on a faulty assumption. I shop mostly at Whole Foods, and their newly implemented 1 - 5 system (I'm not sure what 1 is, but 2 is "enhanced indoor environment" or something and 5 is born, raised and humanely slaughtered all on the same farm) is what I go by these days. (I heard Temple Grandin on NPR recently say that her methods and equipment have been implemented in - I think she said - 50% of US slaughterhouses. Not because they've gotten all humane, but because the meat is tainted by the animal's fear at the time of slaughter, so this improves their bottom line. I'm reading a third book by Dr. Grandin now - she's awesome.) Now that I think about it, I noticed the other day that the Kosher pork tenderloin was labeled "1", which I thought was strange, but I didn't need it that day so postponed thinking about it... I really am glad for that input. Thanks again.


Bran muffins - and by the way, you can use dried buttermilk instead in the dry mixture - adding water to replace the liquid. The flavor is great. And you don't have to worry about what to do with the rest, since it will sit in the pantry and wait for the next time you need it.

Bad Host: Invited to dinner and asked to PAY! Would you?

We were invited to a low-country boil dinner where lobsters were being served. In advance the host arranged for everyone to pay for his/her own lobster, and if anyone wanted more than one, for instance, he or she could request and pay for more. Or if someone didn't want one, he or she notified the host not to order one. I can't remember exactly how this was worded, but it was not at all offensive. We were not able to attend the party, so I'm not sure how the "collection" was made, but we heard later it was a great party, and would probably become a yearly event. The host did provide the rest of the ingredients for the boil - shirmp, corn, sausage, etc., and didn't ask anyone to help with that cost,and I'll bet if someone hadn't paid, the host wouldn't have made a big deal of it - maybe just won't include them in the future? This approach is a LITTLE like BYOB - except that you're buying and bringing your own beverages, and in this case, you're paying, but they do all the cooking - a pretty good deal!

Dry replacement for eggs, anyone?

I looked at Publix yesterday and didn't find dried eggs. I found whites, but no yolks - no joke - so maybe I'll try to order through King Arthur's Flour as did SavtaShayna. Good tip. I also think I might try using applesauce in place of the egg - I know that's sometimes done - again, I'm not sure how much applesauce for an egg. And as dmcavanagh mentioned, some extra levening. As for the rancidity issue, dbcurrie, I have some ground flaxseed that I've had for a while - they said when I bought it that it didn't need refrigeration, so I've kept it in the pantry, and it hasn't gone bad. It's almost gone and they no longer have it at Costco, where I got it originally - too bad. I've been using it mostly in bread - I grind my own wheat (Vitamix), and found that replacing a 1/2 cup of the resulting flour with the flaxseed is nice - lightens it up a little - can't tell a taste difference. Maybe the oil does get rancid - that wouldn't surprise me - most oils do! Thanks for all your comments.

Dry replacement for eggs, anyone?

I'll look there - I saw there were a lot of comments, so maybe one of them will answer my question. I'm new at this, so not good at finding older posts. I appreciate your comment and advice.

Dry replacement for eggs, anyone?

Thanks! It never occurred to me to look for dried eggs! I live in a suburb of Atlanta, so if it's available, I should be able to get it here. I'll check Whole Foods this week.

Dry replacement for eggs, anyone?

Thanks for that, dmcavanagh - do you think it will work if I simply add it to the dry ingredients?

Bertolli-style dinner recipes?

I have discovered OAMC (Once-a-month-cooking) and although I'm not ready to go to that extreme, I have had fun making meals in advance and using my fabulous new food sealer (sigh) to fill up the freezer with things I can quickly throw on the dinner table when I get home too late to cook from scratch. We don't eat out much - since I try to use organic and (whenever possible) local foods, and the most "humane" meat possible (often, Kosher), I don't like to eat food whose "provenance" is unknown.

SO, I have been looking for recipes - or at least pointers - on making dinners like those frozen Bertolli dinners (which I think are not bad [with a few additions] - but who knows where the ingred.s come from?!) using pasta, sauces, veg, and meats. Like do you cook everything in advance, freeze everything seperately, then bag, seal and freeze? Would you just blanche boneless chicken breasts (before freezing) or use raw strips that would cook fast? Fully cook pasta or only par-cook? Seafood, I assume raw and frozen. Freeze sauce in ice cube trays perhaps then toss into the mix? So, I'm just looking for advice, and perhaps some recipes if anyone has been doing this. Thanks!

Applesauce as in ingredient substitute

I've heard that applesauce can be used as a substitute for both oil and eggs. Any luck with that, anyone? How much should be used? Can you replace BOTH in one (baking) recipe with applesauce? (I used tomato sauce once to replace applesauce in a cake recipe - I was already committed to the cake - dry ingred. all ready - and it was all I had - turned out surprisingly not bad. Maybe I could use tomato sauce for the egg and oil in my bran muffins? Naaahhhh.)

Dry replacement for eggs, anyone?

I saw a topic (before I joined!) about using ground flax seed to replace eggs in recipes. Now that I've joined - I can't find that string! Anyway, I need something that I can add to a dry bran muffin mix to replace eggs, so that when I make up the mix (while camping) I can just add water and oil. If ground flax seed will work - great - but how MUCH equals one egg? And can I just add the flax to the big batch of mix as I'm making it (before dividing it into 1-dozen-muffin size packages) or - as I read earlier - does the flax have to be mixed with water BEFORE adding to the batter? I'd rather not have to, but I could do that if I just knew how much ground flax seed to use to replace each egg. Whew! I hope that makes sense!

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