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

Updated: Feb. 08, 2017

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.

Coconut, Chicken, and Butternut Squash Curry

•1 tablespoon sesame oil

• 2 tablespoons Thai Green Curry
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

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


• 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

• 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

• 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
• drained
juice of 1 lime

Makes about 1 3/4 quarts

To Serve

wedges of bread and Manchego cheese

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

• 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


• 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,
• 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

• 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

• 2 1/2 cups black currants,
• 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.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest