Good Neighbor Q&A: Which Dishes Freeze Best?
How well a dish freezes is always a good thing to take into consideration when delivering a meal to friends. That way, if they are backed up on dinners, they can pop yours into the freezer and eat it at their convenience without the dish being the worse for wear. Soups, stews, casseroles, lasagnas and non-cream sauces like marinara and pesto freeze really well, as do baked goods like baguettes, cookies and breakfast breads. As a rule, cream-, milk- or egg-based dishes don’t freeze well and upon reheating will separate and become water-logged. Here are few tips on freezing and thawing:
Casseroles and lasagnas: Best to assemble the casserole in a freezer-to-oven-safe dish like Pyrex or a disposable aluminum pan. This way the casserole can go straight from freezer to oven, no thawing necessary. Be sure to let the casserole cool to room temperature, then tightly wrap with heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, place the frozen casserole directly into a 400° oven and bake, covered, until heated through, about 1 hour.
Soups, stews and sauces: Let cool to room temperature and transfer to freezer-proof containers, allowing an inch at the top for expansion. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator over night. Or if you are pinched for time, thaw in the microwave on the defrost setting, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes for even reheating (be sure the container is microwave-safe).
Baguettes and French Bread: Wrap the fresh bread in heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat, place the wrapped frozen bread directly into a 400° oven and bake until soft and heated through, about 10 minutes. Once heated through, unwrap and bake a few more minutes to crisp up the crust.
Cookie, biscuit and pie dough: Freeze portioned cookie and biscuit dough on a baking sheet then, once frozen, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 1 month. You can bake them directly from frozen, adding just a few extra minutes to the baking time. For the pie dough, shape it into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap then with heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Baked cookies, breakfast breads and muffins: Freeze baked cookies in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month. For the breads and muffins, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap then with heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature.
P.S. Don’t forget to date and label the dishes!