Make two pans of Summer Vegetable Lasagna: one to eat now, one to freeze.

Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune


Having your freezer stocked with delicious meals is always a good thing. Having every pan you own tied up in the freezer while you wait for the perfect moment to serve those delicious meals is not. Fortunately, there's an easy solution to the problem. Line whatever pan you use -- gratin, casserole dish, etc. -- with heavy-duty foil before you begin. Proceed with the recipe as instructed. Once the dish has been in the freezer for several hours, simply remove it from the pan, wrap again in another layer of foil and freeze until ready to use. Before thawing/cooking/reheating, remove the top layer of foil and place back in the pan.

Capture summer in your freezer

  • Article by: By MEREDITH DEEDS
  • Special to the Star Tribune
  • August 15, 2012 - 2:27 PM

When my oldest son came back from his first year of college, he shared some of his newfound insight. Like most freshmen, he found keeping his inner procrastinator at bay to be a struggle. "It turns out that 'Past Me' isn't always looking out for 'Future Me.'" Anyone who's ever had to work on deadline can relate to the sentiment. Frankly, there are days when "Present Me" wonders what "Past Me" was doing with all her time.

Now that summer has turned down the thermometer enough to enjoy the season, I know exactly what "Past Me" was doing. She was outside taking pleasure in these precious months that come before the snow falls. Actually, "Past Me" was pretty smart. But what would make her even smarter, and much more popular with "Future Me," is if she took advantage of some of the produce that's abundant in the summer and stock the freezer with make-ahead dishes that highlight the produce.

Having make-ahead meals tucked away in the freezer always feels good, and it's easy to do. For today's vegetable lasanga recipe, I simply double the quantity, using two pans. Then I bake one to eat right away and freeze the other. Works well for soups and stews, too.

I also make sure I take advantage of the low prices that come with in-season items, such as peppers, which I roast on the grill until completely blackened, then peel, core and cut into slices. I place the slices on a parchment-covered baking pan, freeze solid, then transfer to a freezer bag and continue to keep frozen up to four months.

Come November, you and your family will be glad you worked ahead.

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