Pasta and Rices
Cooking pasta isn’t rocket science we all know that, nor does it take much time. BUT sometimes even five to 10 minutes can throw me off (especially when I have my son to feed and drive to theater practice) and there are seasons we run on a very tight schedule.
Frozen cooked pasta is MAGIC! It reheats quickly, and ensures that warm, comforting, satisfying and hearty meal can be prepped before a pot of water could even come to a boil!
We cook our pasta ahead of time to just under al dente-by slightly 1-2 minutes under package cooking time...When reheated, the pasta the firmer/yet cooked and never that over done soft or mushy texture. Reheating it in a microwave for buttered single serving type meal or tossed in a pot of sauce (warm sauce or hot pan will quickly defrost and heat -up) for a quick spaghetti!
You can either freeze your pasta in small single portion size zip-(lock) top bags or freezable containers-
Again not rocket science' but in a pinch makes for a quick reheat addition to a meal or side and although rice doesn't take long to cook freezing in a zip-lock bag method, pack up the freshly cooked rice with steam (moist) will give you a moist, fresh, and delicious just like freshly cooked rice! Make sure if you use containers that they are airtight container and close the lid immediately. When I make Mexican rice, I try to remember to double the amount so I can freeze half and have for quick Mexican rice bowls!
On hand... Pantry
Having a well stocked pantry with basics is important, however; my method is not focusing on stock piling or having everything on hand! I love fresh ingredients, and nothing speaks to me more then quality and fresh-I am already ensured my cooking time is minimal if my meat if frozen, so a stop at the store to pick up fresh avocados, lettuce, or tortillas to make burritos is a cinch or a loaf of french bread and items for a Caesar salad is easy since my meat, and pasta are frozen and all I will need to make is a fresh pot of pasta sauce to have a nice hearty spaghetti meal!
However; if your one that does weekly shopping, by all means plan your meals ahead and have a meat, pasta, beans, sauce day and purchase the items to go with wheat you prepped ahead to freeze and that will save you that much more time! Saying that buying pre-chopped and pre-washed produce can also save you a great deal of time not having to hassle with washing and chopping! Take advantage of these items that are widely available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods
Invest in quality freezer bags or storage containers
(skip the 99 cent store on these items!)
Quality equals long lasting, better tasting foods-nobody like freezer burn or the risk of chemical leaching–especially if you’re going to be reheating your food in the containers your freezing them in! I also don't believe in freezing everything-make sure if your making pre-made meals that they will reheat without becoming mushy, dry, watery, etc. Check if your uncertain do a quick google search if your not sure-you don't want to waste quality ingredients...for example we buy bulk items sometimes for a party or family gatherings and often get stuck with an overwhelming amount of certain items and I always check... for example I discovered years ago that you can can freeze cheese successfully, but it will typically change texture and often become crumbly once thawed, so I only like to freeze shredded cheese that I can easily give it a few hand tossing and it works perfect for tacos and casseroles. Plus its a bonus to not have to do those quick runs to the store in the middle of cooking!