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Jessica Fisher

From Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead & Freeze Cookbook

Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Recipe © 2012 by Jessica Fisher and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.

Mashed potatoes can be time-intensive to make, but they are such a comforting, ideal side dish that one doesn’t want to leave them off the menu. So make a bulk batch! These freezer-friendly spuds owe their richness and flavor to the addition of cream cheese. Feel free to leave the skins on, if you prefer.

Serves 8

Packaging: Two 8-inch round baking dishes with lids or one 9 × 13-inch baking dish with lid

Ingredients
5 pounds russet or red potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons butter

Directions
1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the potatoes until very tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to the bowl of a stand mixer. Blend the potatoes until smooth.
2. Add the cream cheese and blend to combine. Stir in the salt, pepper, and half-and-half.
Blend well.
3. Grease the baking dish or dishes. Spoon in the mashed potatoes. Dot the potatoes with the butter.

Freezing instructions:
Cool slightly. Cover the potatoes. Chill in the refrigerator before freezing.

To thaw and serve:
Thaw the potatoes in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the mashed potatoes, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes or until hot. Stir the potatoes before serving.

Cozy Cheese and Potato Casserole
Recipe © 2012 by Jessica Fisher and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.

At first glance , you might confuse this delectable concoction of potatoes and cheese with the “church potatoes” or hash brown casseroles of yore. However, unlike its predecessors, this potato bake features a homemade cream of celery soup that puts the canned version to shame. It’s important to use frozen potatoes in this dish; uncooked fresh potatoes will blacken in the freezer.

Commercially frozen hash brown potatoes work exceptionally well here. Don’t let them thaw as you mix up this casserole. Stir it up quickly, spoon it into the pan, and pop it into the freezer.

Serves 6 to 8

Packaging: 9 × 13-inch baking dish with lid

Inredients
2 cups Homemade Cream of Celery Soup for Cooking (page 223), chilled
1 1⁄2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 32-ounce bag frozen shredded potatoes
1 teaspoon paprika

Directions
1. Grease the baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, combine the celery soup, cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Stir in the frozen shredded potatoes, combining well.
3. Spoon the potato mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the paprika overthe top.

Freezing instructions:

Cover and freeze.

To thaw and serve:
Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the casserole for about 1 hour, or until it is heated

Red and Green Beef Enchiladas
Recipe © 2012 by Jessica Fisher and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.

A friend brought us this dinner shortly after we welcomed a new baby into our family. Not only did she lighten the load, she also completely wowed us with this delicious supper. Many kids and a few tweaks later, it is one of our favorite meals, especially when it’s ready and waiting in the freezer. I like to cook the meat overnight in the slow cooker. That way, it’s ready for shredding in the morning.

Serves 8

Packaging: Two 9 × 13-inch baking dishes with lids

Ingredients
One 4-pound boneless chuck roast
1 medium-size onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup warm water
1 bunch scallions, chopped
One 7-ounce can diced green chiles
Vegetable oil, for frying the tortillas
24 corn tortillas
Two 28-ounce cans red enchilada sauce
4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a mixture)
Sliced black olives

Directions
1. Place the chuck roast in a 5-quart slow cooker along with the onion, salt, pepper, and water. Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for about 4 hours. The meat should be tender and shred easily.
2. Remove the meat from the slow cooker. Remove the fat and shred the meat.
Save the drippings for soup or simply discard them.
3. In a large bowl, combine the shredded beef, scallions, and green chiles. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set the mixture aside.
4. Fill a skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 inch. Heat over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Fry the tortillas in the hot oil for 30 to 45 seconds each, turning once with tongs. Drain the tortillas on paper towels. Allow the tortillas to cool enough to be easily handled.
5. Grease the baking dishes. Spread 1 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of each dish.
6. To assemble, place 2 tablespoons beef filling and 2 tablespoons cheese on a tortilla.
Roll the tortilla around the filling and place the enchilada, seam side down, in a prepared baking pan. Continue until all the enchiladas are rolled and arranged in the pans.
7. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle them with the remaining cheese and the black olives.

Freezing instructions:
Cover the pans and chill in the refrigerator before freezing.

To thaw and serve:
Thaw the enchiladas in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the enchiladas, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until heated through. Serve immediately.

Garlic Butter Chicken with Lemon Sauce
Recipe © 2012 by Jessica Fisher and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.

My husband ’s favorite dinner is a lemon chicken that is quite time-intensive. It’s a “once-a-year” kind of meal, but I’ve streamlined it here in this stuffed chicken breast recipe. Some of the garlic butter oozes out of the chicken into the pan. The garlic butter and the juices of the chicken are quickly mixed with lemon juice and a little more butter to create a delectable sauce. Enjoy this meal with rice pilaf.

Serves 4 to 8

Packaging: 1 or 2 baking dishes with lids, depending on how many breasts you will serve at each meal

Ingredients
1 1⁄2 cups bread crumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in half horizontally

When ready to serve, you will need:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Directions
1. Grease the baking dish(es) and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, 11⁄2 tablespoons of the fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon parsley flakes, and thyme. Set the mixture aside.
3. In another small bowl, cream together the 1⁄2 cup butter, garlic, and remaining 1 1⁄2 teaspoons fresh parsley or 1⁄4 teaspoon parsley flakes. Chill the butter mixture just until it will hold its shape when formed. Form the garlic butter into 8 logs.

Chill until ready to use.
4. Place the chicken pieces on a clean, flat surface and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using a kitchen mallet, pound the chicken pieces to flatten slightly.
5. Place a garlic butter log on each piece of chicken. Roll the chicken around the butter, tucking in the sides as you roll.
6. Roll each stuffed breast in the prepared bread crumb mixture and place it in the prepared baking dish(es).

Freezing instructions:
Once all the chicken breasts have been filled, rolled, and placed in the prepared dish(es), cover the pans and chill in the refrigerator before freezing.

To thaw and serve:
Thaw the chicken breasts in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. Remove the cooked chicken breasts to a platter and tent with foil. Add the lemon juice and the melted butter to the juices in the pan. Stir well to combine. Serve this sauce with the chicken.

Baked Manicotti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Thyme
Recipe © 2012 by Jessica Fisher and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.

Noodles and cheese are a beautiful combination. They can be prepared casually, as in a pasta salad or mac and cheese, or they can be dressed up, as in this manicotti. Manicotti can seem intimidating to prepare, since the large pasta tubes tear easily. To help them hold their shape, cook the noodles just until al dente or a tad firmer. The noodles will soften upon freezing and with further baking in the oven. I’ve called for one large pan here, but feel free to package the manicotti in smaller baking dishes or store them in freezer bags without the sauce (freeze the sauce separately). That way, you can bake whatever quantity you want at serving time. Serves 5 to 7

Packaging: 9 × 13-inch baking dish with lid

Ingredients
1 package manicotti (about 14 manicotti)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1⁄2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups Easy Slow Cooker Red Sauce (page 205) or other favorite sauce

Directions
1. Grease the baking dish.
2. Cook the manicotti just until al dente, according to the package directions.

Drain the noodles.

3. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, the ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, and black pepper. Stir well to combine.
4. Fill the cooked manicotti by spooning a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into each one. You can also fill the manicotti using a piping bag made out of a quart-size freezer bag. Spoon the cheese filling into the bag and seal. Snip off one corner of the bag and pipe the filling into the cooked manicotti.
5. Arrange the manicotti in the prepared baking dish. Pour the sauce over the manicotti. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese over the sauce.

Freezing instructions:
Cover and chill the pan in the refrigerator before freezing.

To thaw and serve:
Thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the pasta until heated through, about 30 minutes.

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