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Old 02-26-2010, 02:42 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Tucson, Arizona
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Question Homemade TV dinners - precook meats or not?

Help! I want to make up some tv dinners for times when hubby and I are too burned out from the day to think up something good for dinner. He's diabetic so carbs and proteins are important parts. I was thinking of making up some dinners such as oven-baked fish fillet, green beans almondine and maybe squash or a sweet potatoe casserole in a divided dish (assuming I can find some). Others might be turkey, chicken, ham slices, with veggies. My problem is that I don't know if I use leftovers, will reheating them overcook the meats? Should the proteins be only partially cooked or completely cooked before freezing? What has been your experience?


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Old 02-26-2010, 11:15 PM   #2
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Location: Southern California
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I recommend seeking out discussion boards like RecipeZaar that have forums (and recipes) for once-a-month-cooking (OAMC) so you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

I don't freeze food combination's on a single plate because they will reheat/cook at different speeds. Companies spend millions of dollars testing their products before they can find something that works. Instead store premade/precooked items separately and then combine them to reheat or cook. This also allows for a variety in choice. I recommend using FoodSaver vacuum seal bags to avoid freezer burn.

I make ahead ground beef, chicken, casseroles, sandwiches, and even put bags of vegetables into smaller serving size packages. If you do your own veggies, they will have to be blanched first before freezing.

Support bacteria. It's the only culture some people have.
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Old 02-27-2010, 06:16 PM   #3
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When my grandmother became very ill, my mother was called to see her and knew she would be away from home for over a month. She completely cooked the dinners and packaged them for my father and sister who were left behind. They turned out much better than meals you would get at the supermarket.

She cooked everything through as if to serve it then. Second, she ensured everything was cooled to room temperature prior to packaging it for the freezer. She put a layer of wax paper over the top and completely encase the meals in heavy foil. Then she would label on top of the foil with a magic marker. Her instructions to my father and sister was to thaw in the fridge by setting the meals on the bottom shelf in the AM, remove the foil, and then cooking them like they would heat up a plate in the evening.

My mother made stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage, baked fish, spaghetti with meat sauce, etc. She found that fried dishes like fried chicken and fish did not taste as good when reheated. The baked fish and chicken dishes needed a sauce not to taste dry. Mashed potatoes froze and reheated well, but potato chunks did not.

I remember when she did this. She made over sixty pre-packaged meals. It looked like a stoeffers explosion in her kitchen

Hope this helps!

A little bit Ginger. A little bit Mary Ann.
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