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Old 10-07-2013, 07:55 PM   #1
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Smile Re-heating frozen cooked food

Hello. I'm afraid I've only taken up cooking [fortunately it's mainly for myself !!] fairly recently. So I am always going to have more questions than answers !

And I have already had several wonderful tips from people on here, which have kept me going to bed happy, rather than having to phone the doctor. Although I do always keep his number handy !

So my major concerns are less about producing great dishes, and more about keeping alive.

I have found that most dishes I cook, and most recipes I find, are for 4 or 6 or eight, or even 10. So because I live alone now, [ which is partly why I've started to cook for myself] I invariably have huge quantities of uneaten food left over.

And I have to say that I am quite surprised that there isn't a section on here devoted to Storage and Freezing, and Re-heating etc, as the modern kitchen appliances, including fridges and freezers and Food Processors and Microwave Ovens all lent themselves to this type of bulk cooking for later dates.

Be that as it may, it is a more general point.

My current question concerns a pack of prepared but uncooked sausage rolls that I bought a few days ago. They were frozen and in four long strips, to be cut to size and baked when needed. However, the instructions said they should be removed from the freezer and put in the fridge until soft enough to cut to the desired sizes.

[It also said that once defrosted they should not be re-frozen until after cooking. I might not have bought them had I noticed that, but never mind!]

I had no idea how long this defrosting in the fridge would take, so after a few looks at two or three hourly intervals, I decided to leave them overnight, and cook them the next day.

Fine. The next day they were perfect to be cut up, placed on the lightly greased tray, and 'brushed' with some milk. I didn't have a cooking brush, so used an old varnish paint brush, making sure the Doctor's number was still handy.

Finally, the instructions said to make several slits in the them to let out the steam, and then bake in the oven at around 200 degrees for 20-25 mins.

All this was fine, after which I was left with about 30 smallish sausage rolls and 2 burned fingers.

The instructions on the packet also said that once cooled they could be deep frozen, and re-heated at a later date. But nothing further.

Which has thrown me into a quandary. As they are Part meat, and part pastry, how do I do this ? Can I microwave them, or must a conventional oven be used ? Do they need to be de-frosted first, or re-heated from frozen ? And for how long should they be re-heated ? Unfortunately there were no phone numbers or 'Help-Line' details on the packaging, and the Internet, for once, failed to come to the rescue !

So here I am again, asking all you good people what to do ? But for the moment the sausage rolls are safe in the freezer, and I'm still eating last week's curry, so there's no panic. I think !

I'm sure loads of you would like to tell me what to do with my Sausage Rolls, so no anatomical answers please !!

Many Thanks.

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Old 10-07-2013, 08:14 PM   #2
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Wrap the rolls individually in plastic wrap and freeze them. Put the wrapped rolls into a plastic freezer bag.

Any of the options you listed will work but the results will vary in quality. I think the best results will come from defrosting the rolls then heating them. Better reheating results in the oven over the microwave.

Because the bread part of the roll will defrost faster than the meat, it will reheat better if defrosted first. If you try to reheat from frozen, the bread will be overdone when the sausage is hot. Microwave reheated bread products tend to be soggy/limp while oven heated bread will have a crispness to them.

On another note, there are tons of recipes online for cooking for one or two. You can also reduce the quantities in a recipe to make a smaller portion.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:20 PM   #3
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I don't know about your sausage rolls but my husband is a fan of Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits which are purchased frozen. He takes them out of the plastic wrap (2 biscuits), wraps them in a paper towel, and zaps them for 35-40 seconds and usually they are perfect. If the sausage rolls are now baked, I would wrap them for the freezer and use a similar technique when I get hungry for a sausage roll. Timing might require a little trial and error. If the sausage will remove from the roll, do them separately if you are worried about the bread/sausage combo.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:03 PM   #4
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My rule of thumb is if it is a bread product, such as pizza I prefer to re heat in the oven. When I nuke it, the bread seems to get tough. Maybe I heat too long or too high a setting. If I had a Reliable toaster oven, that might work better than an oven and not waste heating.

I think ground meat dishes and veggies are fine in a microwave, to a lesser extent, chicken or beef, unless it's covered in a sauce or gravy. Casseroles easily reheat in the microwave.

Now, about cooking more than you can eat at one sitting. I've been trying to perfect this for 20 sojme years. If a recipe says it serves 4,by the time I get done adding a little this/a little that/ "improving" it, it may serve half the neighborhood. I finally got used to living with myself, and plan on incorporating leftovers. A lot of my cooking may start as one dish, and then I look for ways to re purpose the leftovers or make it into something else so it doesn't get too repetitive or boring or same-old same old. When I bake one chicken piece for dinner, I most likely cook another piece or two alongside. I can either freeze the extra for another day and another dish, and there is room in the oven to stick in a potatoe or two, for fried potatoes the next day and the taters have nothing to do with any chicken dishes. Once in a great while I will make a beef roast ( small) and oven cooked roasted veggies. The leftovers make a great leftover stew, cottage pie, pot pie, or can be served over rice. Once you start alllowing your imagination to take over, it gets easier.

Well, that's a theory I 've been working on. Somehow it mostly works.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:04 PM   #5
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I would do a little experimenting. We buy (when we can find them) Jamaican style patties. They are pastry dough on the outside with a seasoned meat filling. If I am in a big hurry, I nuke them. The pastry gets a bit hard. If I have a little more time, I defrost them in the MW and then heat them in the toaster oven. Ideally, I would defrost them in the fridge and heat in the toaster oven, but that never seems to happen.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:17 PM   #6
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Just a note about recipes for a crowd.

Simply cut the ingredients in half or more.

Or like Andy suggests there are lots of books and online resources for cooking for one.
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:37 AM   #7
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Cooking for one is a situation that takes some experimentation. I cook for myself, and have learned to make a half a pot of beans, for instance, and that most dinners I make serve 4 - which means I eat one or two dinners, and freeze the rest. If your freezer starts to get too crowded, it's time to take a break and eat some of the meals you've frozen.

When I go shopping, I cook for a couple of days, then spend a couple of weeks eating up the frozen results and then go shopping and cooking again.

It takes awhile to learn what works best for you, and just remember, some of the dishes you like to make taste better after having time in the freezer.

I like to make beans, but only use 1/2 package. A whole pound of dried beans makes just too much for me (and my freezer) to handle.

What are your favorite dishes to make?
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:42 AM   #8
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Hi Zhizara. Well, my favourite meals are Pizzas and curries.

The Pizzas are easy, as I cheat and buy pre-made bases, and then chuck a load of tomato puree mixture on top, with a combination of Onions, olives, anchovies, beef or ham bits, maybe pepperami, and dogs left-overs.

It usually makes enough for 4 meals for me, so the remaining 3 go into the freezer for a later date.

My curries are a bit more adventurous. I cook 3 different styles, as well as varying the meat between chicken, beef, pork and lamb. Occasionally prawn.

The other main differences are mainly in the spice combination. One of the dishes has a lot of coconut milk and yogurt in it, and the other two don't.

They have tomato and onion, and various combinations of turmeric, cardamon, cinnamon, paprika, ginger, garam masala, cumin, coriander,cayenne pepper,and cloves. All the dishes start with diced onion and garlic sauted in ghee or oil, and all produce about 5 meals.

One is for immediate eating with rice, and the other four are chucked into a plastic sealed container and put in the fridge, with the milk and the Budweisers, which I keep at 2 degrees.

This seems to work pretty well for me. I think keeping them in the fridge for much longer might be risky, in which case the dogs have helped me out. I have kept a close eye on them, and they seem OK, so maybe I could extend my storage time a day or two.

On the other hand they may have stronger constitutions than me, so maybe not.

I did once try freezing the left over curry, but on re-heating obviously did something wrong, as I had to spend most of that night in the toilet. But it is a nice toilet. I could even tell you how many squares there are in the lino on the floor.

The main problem with this method of cooking/eating is that one gets to eat the same thing too often. So the occasional change works wonders. Hence my purchase of the sausage rolls.

Which is where we came in folks !

So I guess that's been a rather long answer to a short question. But that's it !!

Thanks for asking.

Cheers for now.
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Old 10-08-2013, 04:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnt-toast View Post
Hello. I'm afraid I've only taken up cooking [fortunately it's mainly for myself !!] fairly recently. So I am always going to have more questions than answers !

And I have already had several wonderful tips from people on here, which have kept me going to bed happy, rather than having to phone the doctor. Although I do always keep his number handy !

So my major concerns are less about producing great dishes, and more about keeping alive.

I have found that most dishes I cook, and most recipes I find, are for 4 or 6 or eight, or even 10. So because I live alone now, [ which is partly why I've started to cook for myself] I invariably have huge quantities of uneaten food left over.

And I have to say that I am quite surprised that there isn't a section on here devoted to Storage and Freezing, and Re-heating etc, as the modern kitchen appliances, including fridges and freezers and Food Processors and Microwave Ovens all lent themselves to this type of bulk cooking for later dates.

Be that as it may, it is a more general point.

My current question concerns a pack of prepared but uncooked sausage rolls that I bought a few days ago. They were frozen and in four long strips, to be cut to size and baked when needed. However, the instructions said they should be removed from the freezer and put in the fridge until soft enough to cut to the desired sizes.

[It also said that once defrosted they should not be re-frozen until after cooking. I might not have bought them had I noticed that, but never mind!]

I had no idea how long this defrosting in the fridge would take, so after a few looks at two or three hourly intervals, I decided to leave them overnight, and cook them the next day.

Fine. The next day they were perfect to be cut up, placed on the lightly greased tray, and 'brushed' with some milk. I didn't have a cooking brush, so used an old varnish paint brush, making sure the Doctor's number was still handy.

Finally, the instructions said to make several slits in the them to let out the steam, and then bake in the oven at around 200 degrees for 20-25 mins.

All this was fine, after which I was left with about 30 smallish sausage rolls and 2 burned fingers.

The instructions on the packet also said that once cooled they could be deep frozen, and re-heated at a later date. But nothing further.

Which has thrown me into a quandary. As they are Part meat, and part pastry, how do I do this ? Can I microwave them, or must a conventional oven be used ? Do they need to be de-frosted first, or re-heated from frozen ? And for how long should they be re-heated ? Unfortunately there were no phone numbers or 'Help-Line' details on the packaging, and the Internet, for once, failed to come to the rescue !

So here I am again, asking all you good people what to do ? But for the moment the sausage rolls are safe in the freezer, and I'm still eating last week's curry, so there's no panic. I think !

I'm sure loads of you would like to tell me what to do with my Sausage Rolls, so no anatomical answers please !!

Many Thanks.
I'm in much the same boat as you as I cook for myself most of the time. It isn't a good idea to re-heat cooked pastry in the m'wave as it goes soggy. Much better in the oven. You can reheat from frozen but it will take longer to heat than if it's defrosted. Obviously, you can eat the sausage rolls cold when defrosted but not as nice as hot. Always put anything you are going to freeze in the freezer as soon as it's cool enough

I can't really help with timings as I don't know what size sausage rolls we are looking at but I usually reheat things at gas mark 5 (if you are in the UK)/375F/190C. Make sure you heat things until they are "piping hot" all the way through. An inexpensive meat thermometer is a good investment.

Have a look at Foodsafety.gov "The Good, The Bad, The Reheated: Cooking and Handling Leftovers " for general advice.
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnt-toast View Post

I did once try freezing the left over curry, but on re-heating obviously did something wrong,
I cook and freeze curries all the time - the only thing I can think possibly could have caused your intestinal distress would be if you waited too long to freeze or refrigerate your leftovers, and let the food-poisoning microbes grow before freezing. The worst thing that has ever happened to a frozen curry dish of mine was one time when the sauce curdled.
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