For the past two Father’s Days I’ve given my Dad a bunch of frozen food. Well, not just any frozen food, but homemade frozen food. You see, my Dad is a wonderful man and I couldn’t have asked for a better father, but… a chef he is not. Growing up, when it was Dad’s turn to cook for my brother and I it was usually frozen pizza, chicken wings or “hot dog helper” (aka hamburger helper with cut up hotdogs). Since he is still left to cook for himself several times a week, I like to give him some easy options he can simply warm up in the microwave or oven for a quick dinner that is wholesome and delicious.
Daughter of the Year Award recipient in the hoooouuuse!
This year (we celebrated a week late – thus the belated post) I made him Boston Baked Beans, two calzones and a lasagna. These are some of his favorites, so I knew it would be a hit.
The recipe for the beans is here. After they were done I simply portioned them out in plastic containers and popped them in the freezer.
Making calzones is really pretty simple. I just bought a pre-made ball of dough from Portland Pie Company and divided it in two. Each ball was rolled out and filled. One was chicken, ricotta, spinach and mozzarella and the other was pepperoni, marinara sauce and cheese. Sealed into packets, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, and baked at 450* for 10 minutes on a pizza stone. Now, this made two HUGE calzones, but my Dad is a big eater. You could definitely make three out of one ball. Once they had cooled I wrapped them in aluminum foil and stored them in the freezer.
My lasagna recipe is also pretty simple, I just used whole wheat noodles, a jar of Newman’s Own sauce, a couple of cups of ricotta seasoned with parmesan and garlic, and some ground turkey / turkey sausage. My trick is to spray a 13 by 9-inch pan with olive oil and then layer the noodles, cheese, meat sauce, and on and on. This handy dandy idea keeps it from sticking. Baked in the oven at 350* for one hour. Once the lasagna had cooled, I sliced into single portions and froze them without any covering until they were nice and hard. I then wrapped them in aluminum foil. Freezing them first without any covering ensures that the foil won’t stick to the food as it freezes.
Now I know dear old Dad will be eating well for a little while. Hopefully when it all runs out he won’t return to hotdog helper…