7 Make-Ahead Recipes from “The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook”

These make-ahead recipes from "The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook" should yield a stash of soups, desserts, and more that you can both eat now and freeze for later.

Adapted from The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook by Ghillie James
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    Coconut, Chicken, and Butternut Squash Curry

    Ingredients
    •1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 2 tablespoons Thai Green Curry Paste from a jar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 14 ounces frozen chicken chunks (or fresh chicken if you prefer)
    • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
    • 10 1/2 ounces frozen or fresh butternut squash chunks
    • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped, or a handful of cherry tomatoes 1 (8-ounce) can bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
    • good squeeze of lime or lemon juice

    Serves 2-3

    To serve

    • Basmati rice
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

    In a pan, heat the sesame oil, add the curry paste, and gently cook until thawed (or add the store-bought paste to the pan and stir-fry for a minute). Add the ground coriander and turmeric and cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the frozen chicken chunks and half the can of coconut milk and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash, tomatoes, and the remaining coconut milk and bring back up to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the squash is tender and the chicken is cooked through and piping hot, an additional 10 to 15 minutes. If using, add the bamboo shoots for the final 5 minutes of cooking time. Stir in the fish sauce and lime or lemon juice, to taste. 

    Velvety Butternut Squash Soup

    Ingredients
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
    • 2 1/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
    • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
    • 1 1/2 cups good-strength chicken stock
    • 3 cups whole milk
    • pinch grated nutmeg

    Makes about 1 3/4 quarts

    In a large saucepan, melt the butter, add the onion, and soften gently for 5 to 8 minutes while you prepare the other vegetables. Add the butternut squash and carrot and continue to cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the stock and milk into the pan and bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, then season generously with salt, pepper, and nutmeg before pureeing in a blender and tasting for additional seasoning. Pour into a container, cool, label, and cover before freezing. Let stand overnight in the fridge. Place in a pan and reheat gently.

    Spicy Carrot, Tomato, Chorizo, and Cilantro Soup

    Ingredients
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 red onion, finely chopped
    • 9 ounces cooking chorizo, skinned and chopped (these look like fresh sausage rather than salami)
    • 14 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks 14 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
    • 3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into small chunks
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
    • 1 quart chicken stock
    • 1-ounce bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
    • drained juice of 1 lime

    Makes about 1 3/4 quarts

    To Serve

    wedges of bread and Manchego cheese (optional)

    In a large pan, heat the oil and add the onion and chorizo. Sauté gently for 5 minutes, then add the carrots, sweet potato, and celery and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and stock. Season generously, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Transfer about four ladlefuls of soup to a blender and add half the cilantro and chickpeas. Puree the soup until smooth, then pour back into the pan with the remaining chickpeas, cilantro, and a good squeeze of lime. Stir together and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, or lime as needed. Serve with wedges of bread and some Manchego cheese if you like. Pour into a container, cool, label, and cover before freezing. First, let stand overnight in the fridge. To reheat, place in a pan over low heat until hot.

    Quick Double Chocolate Sheet Cake

    Ingredients
    • 3/4 cup plus 21/2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1 cup superfine sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, dissolved in 3 to 4 tablespoons boiling water to make a smooth paste
    • 1 2/3 cups less 1 tablespoon self-rising flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips chocolate buttons, smarties, or fresh raspberries, to decorate

    For the frosting
    • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water to make a paste
    • 5 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar

    Makes 12 to 14 pieces

    Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease and line a 11 x 7 x 2-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, place the softened butter, sugar, eggs, and dissolved cocoa. Sift over the flour and baking powder. Using a hand mixer, beat the mixture until it is pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Using a metal spoon, fold in the chocolate chips. Turn the mixture into the greased pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until risen and springy to the touch. Cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack. Once the cake is cool, in a bowl, place all the frosting ingredients and, using the hand mixer, beat together well. Spread over the cake. Run a fork across the surface of the frosting to create a wavy pattern of lines. Place the frosted cake on a tray or plate and open freeze. Once frozen, place in a box or freezer bag and return to the freezer. Let stand overnight on a wire rack, then sprinkle with your topping of choice.

    Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

    Ingredients
    • 3/4 cup whole milk
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract with seed
    • 2 cups self-rising flour
    • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
    • 3 1/2 ounces white chocolate chunks, heaping
    • 3/4 cup raspberries

    Makes 12

    To serve
    confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

    You will need a 12-hole muffin pan and paper liners (or use a silicone muffin pan).

    Preheat the oven to 375˚F. In a pitcher, combine the milk, egg, oil, and vanilla and beat. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar, a pinch of salt, the chocolate chunks, and raspberries. Make a well in the center and pour in the liquids. Using a fork, stir gently to combine (don’t overstir or the muffins won’t rise). Place the liners in the muffin pan and spoon the mixture evenly into the liners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and risen. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Open freeze on a tray, then place in a plastic bag, label, and return to the freezer. Place on a wire rack for 4 to 5 hours, then eat as they are or warm in a low oven.

    Mojito Sherbet

    Ingredients
    • zest and juice of 8 to 10 limes (you need 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons lime juice)
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white superfine sugar
    • juice of 1 large lemon
    • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white rum
    • 15 large young mint leaves, very finely chopped

    Makes 2 3/4 cups (enough for 4)

    To serve
    mint leaves

    In a saucepan, place the lime zest and sugar with 2/3 cup water and heat gently until dissolved. Let cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, juice the limes and lemon and pour into a pitcher. Add the sugar syrup, rum, and mint and stir. Pour into a 1-quart container (a tall container is best if you have one; you can then just insert a hand blender to blend it halfway through) and freeze for 4 to 5 hours, or until semi-frozen. Beat with a hand blender or a fork to break up the ice crystals. Return to the freezer. If possible, beat it again—the more you do, the finer the sherbet will be. Freeze the sherbet again until frozen. Remove the sherbet from the freezer just before you want to use it and serve in little glasses, topped with some extra mint.

    Note: Don’t be tempted to add more alcohol, as it will take forever to freeze (or, depending on how much you’ve added, it won’t freeze at all!)

    Black and Red Ice Cream

    Ingredients
    • 2 1/2 cups black currants, heaping
    • 1 1/2 cups red currants
    • 4 tablespoons sloe gin or apple juice
    • 1 1/2 (14-ounce) cans lowfat or regular condensed milk
    • 3 cups plus
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 4 meringue cookies or meringue cups, lightly crushed (optional)

    Makes about 2 quarts


    In a saucepan, place the black currants, red currants, gin, or juice and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the currants look like they have more or less burst, strain through a strainer over a bowl and, using a spatula, push all the puree through. Let the puree cool. Using a hand mixer, whip the cream until floppy, then beat in the condensed milk and berry puree. Using a spoon, fold in the meringue (if using) and turn into a 2-quart container. Place in the freezer for at least 4 to 5 hours, or until frozen. Remove 20 minutes or so before eating and let stand in a cool place. Turn out onto a plate and cut into slices.

    Note: The fruits can be cooked from frozen if you have not bought them fresh. Eat it within a couple of weeks, as it tends to lose its texture if you leave it for too long.

    All recipes courtesy of The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook by Ghillie James. For more recipes, you can order the cookbook here.

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