ECW Tip: The Freezer is Your Friend

Freezer

Save money and time by freezing leftovers and excess food. For instance, if you load up on produce at the grocery store or farmers’ market, freezing the surplus immediately is the best way to preserve nutrients. Plus these fruits and veggies will make great additions to your smoothies and stews. You can also freeze cheeses (hard grating cheeses like cheddar thaw best), milk (to bake with), egg whites, tomato-based products (like homemade pasta sauce), broths, wine (for future cooking, not drinking), herbs, and healthy greens like kale (blanching first helps preserve quality). In addition, you can actually cook meals in bulk and freeze for days when you’re working late or running around carpooling kids from activity to activity.

Here’s a great family favorite recipe to get you started:

Vegetable Calzones

Makes 8 Servings (4 whole calzones)

  • 1 portion raw whole wheat pizza dough (I like to buy at Whole Foods.)
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound Italian turkey sausage links
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 8 tablespoons pizza sauce (or an organic marinara sauce), divided
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  1. Remove pizza dough from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
  2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
  3. Coat onion slices and bell pepper pieces with cooking spray. Place vegetables and sausages on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill vegetables 4 minutes on each side or until browned; grill sausages 8 minutes or until done, turning occasionally to brown on all sides. Remove vegetables and sausages from grill; cool slightly. Cut onion slices in half; cut bell pepper pieces into 1/2-inch strips. Cut sausages diagonally into thin slices.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 9 x 5-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup pizza sauce evenly over each rectangle, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Arrange sausage evenly over half of each rectangle; top evenly with onion and bell peppers. Sprinkle each calzone with 1/4 cup cheese. Fold other half of dough over filling; press edges together with a fork to seal.
  6. If eating immediately: place calzones on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat calzones with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut in half and top each half with 1 Tablespoon pizza sauce.
  7. If freezing: Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Wrap cooled calzones individually in foil and seal in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Freeze up to 2 months. To Reheat: Bake calzones, unwrapped, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut in half and top each half with 1 Tablespoon pizza sauce.

 

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