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Oyster dressing can be made early for the holidays and frozen until ready to thaw and bake.

Cookbook offers dishes to fix, freeze

Rolls can be partially baked and then frozen until needed. Thaw them and finish baking.

As daylight saving time ends Nov. 4 and daylight hours get shorter, preparing supper becomes more of a challenge. You’ve got less time before darkness falls and your body begins focusing on bedtime.

That’s where Southern Living’s “Fix it & Freeze it, Heat it & Eat it” (Oxmoor House, $19.95) comes into play. This 320-page softbound book contains more than 200 recipes to help make life easier.

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner or dessert, this book walks you through the proper techniques needed to prepare, cook, freeze and thaw dishes such as cream cheese banana-nut bread, home-style ground beef casserole, ham and bean soup, orange cream pie, spice cookies and brown sugared pork tenderloin.

All that is required is a little time to plan ahead.

Yes, that can be a challenge, too. But coming home to a dish ready to put in the oven could be the closest thing to having a personal chef.

With the holidays drawing near, preparing and freezing the following recipes will help to simplify your special occasion.

Oyster Dressing

2 packages (6 ounces each) buttermilk cornbread mix

1/3 cup butter

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 slices of white bread, cut into 1/2 -inch cubes (about 2 cups)

2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken broth

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

12 ounces fresh oysters, drained

Fresh sage leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cornbread according to package directions for a double recipe. Let cool 30 minutes; crumble into a large bowl.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add celery and onion. Sauté 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Stir in sage, pepper and salt. Stir celery mixture and bread cubes into crumbled cornbread in bowl, stirring gently until blended. Add chicken broth and eggs, and gently stir until moistened. Stir in oysters. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11-by-7-inch baking dish.

If preparing the same day, bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish, if desired.

To freeze, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap; cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil or container lid. Label and freeze unbaked dressing up to three months. Thaw in fridge overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until golden.

Yields 8 to 10 servings

Note: Tested with Martha White Cotton Country Cornbread Mix.

Hurry-Up Homemade Crescent Rolls

1 envelope ( 1/4 -ounce) active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)

3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose baking mix

2 tablespoons sugar

All-purpose flour

Combine yeast and warm water in a 1-cup measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes. Combine 3 cups baking mix and sugar in a large bowl. Gradually stir in yeast mixture.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead, adding additional baking mix (up to 1/2 cup) as needed, until dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).

Roll dough into a 12-inch circle. Cut circle into 12 wedges. Roll up each wedge, starting at wide end, to form a crescent shape. Place point sides down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

If preparing the same day, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.

To freeze, bake rolls at 425 degrees for 5 minutes and cool completely (about 30 minutes). Wrap in aluminum foil, label, and freeze in an airtight container up to two months. Thaw at room temperature on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes or until golden.

Makes a dozen rolls

Note: Tested with Bisquick All-Purpose Baking Mix.

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