How to Freeze Enchiladas

How to Freeze Enchiladas for Easy Weeknight Dinners // SavvyEat.com

When I started brainstorming my list of dishes to freeze before the baby comes, enchiladas were one of the first new things I added. I’ve frozen lasagna and taquitos before, so those were naturally at the top of my entrees list. Enchiladas came immediately after. We love our tacos, and they are in a regular rotation on our menu, but enchiladas often have very similar flavor profiles to tacos. And while I could easily freeze some taco filling, it is going to be easier to reheat frozen enchiladas than it will be to assemble tacos when we’re taking care of a newborn (and probably less messy to eat one-handed, as well!). So I got to experimenting.

I couldn’t decide whether or not I needed to leave off the enchilada sauce before freezing. I was a little worried that the acidity of the tomato-based sauce would eat away at the aluminum foil, or that the sauce would pick up a “tinny” flavor in the freezer. So I tested two freezing methods, and froze half the enchiladas with sauce, and half without. Before I reheated the dish, I added enchilada sauce to the other half, and topped both sides with cheese.

(I definitely recommend freezing the enchiladas without any of the cheese that goes on top if you can. Cheese has a tendency to separate during freezing, so you could end up with a watery mess when you reheat them later. It only takes a few minutes to add shredded cheese before you cook up the enchiladas, and as a bonus, the cheese will brown more nicely if it wasn’t frozen first. )

Enchiladas frozen with and without sauce to see which works best // savvyeat.com

I did notice that the sauce separated a bit in the freezer, and developed some ice crystals that I didn’t see on the enchiladas that were frozen without sauce. It wasn’t a huge deal, and it wasn’t particularly noticeable after baking. However, I could see it becoming more of a problem as more ice develops if you freeze the enchiladas for a longer period of time. Plus, there was a faint metallic taste to the sauce that had been frozen, which likely has to do with the interaction between the aluminum foil and acidic enchilada sauce. In the end, I think I’d prefer to freeze any future enchiladas without sauce, and then just add it right before baking.

Which enchiladas fared better- those frozen with or without the sauce? // savvyeat.com

You have a few options for storage materials here. I’ve outlined each below.

1. Disposable aluminum pans.

These can be nice because they hold their shape well and are easy to use. However, if you are freezing a lot of meals, the cost can add up.

2. Glass, ceramic or metal baking pans.

These are great because they involve no garbage – no foil or disposable pans to get rid of after you’ve baked up your frozen dish. However, if you freeze enchiladas in your regular reusable baking pans, it means that those pans aren’t available for cooking other dishes for as long as your enchiladas are in the freezer.

3. Line a glass or ceramic baking pan with aluminum foil.

This is the method I typically use. It is far cheaper than buying a bunch of disposable pans, and keeps my glass baking dishes free for cooking other recipes. To freeze enchiladas this way, line your pan with aluminum foil before you fill it with your rolled enchiladas.

How to Freeze Enchiladas

Regardless of which storage materials you use to freeze your enchiladas, here’s how to do it:

1. Roll up your enchiladas.

Prepare the filling and assemble the enchiladas as directed, but don’t top with any cheese just yet – it will separate when it freezes, and won’t brown as well when you reheat your enchiladas. If you plan to freeze these for more than a few weeks and are using aluminum pans or foil, you may want to leave off the enchilada sauce as well, or it could take on a metallic taste over time.

Bake at 350°F for 7-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

2. Freeze your enchiladas.

When the enchiladas are completely cooled, cover your enchiladas, pressing out as much air as possible. Be sure to label the dishes with what they are, when they were made and how to reheat them.

If you are using disposable aluminum pans or your regular baking pans without foil: Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the enchiladas, then cover with a lid or piece of foil. Freeze.

If you are lining a pan with aluminum foil: Cover the enchiladas with another piece of foil and pinch the edges of the top piece together with the edges of the bottom piece to create a packet, squeezing out the air as you go. Slide the entire pan in the freezer. When the enchiladas are frozen solid, lift the foil packet out of the pan and leave just the packet in the freezer. Now your pan is free to use again!

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to whatever temperature your recipe calls for. While the oven heats up, remove the foil and plastic wrap from the top of the enchiladas, and top with enchilada sauce and cheese as directed.

Bake as directed in your recipe, but add 5 minutes to the baking time.

NOTE: If you are using glass or ceramic pans, stick them in the cold oven before you turn on the heat. That way, the pans can gradually heat up and won’t crack from the shock of a big temperature change! Just add a few additional minutes to your baking time to adjust for the slow warm-up.

Looking for some great enchilada recipes? Try one of these:

How to Freeze Granola

 

Let’s stock the freezer and freeze granola for future breakfasts!
How to Freeze Granola // Savvy Eats

Welcome to 2015! I’ve spent most of the past two weeks celebrating the season with my family and high school friends who came home for the holidays, unpacking the most important parts of our house (kitchen tools, clothes, office essentials and of course, board games) and getting back into my cooking groove.

Now that we’re feeling a little more settled in our new space, I’m ready to dive back into work. Since Baby G’s due date is in nine short weeks (WHAT?), I’m going to spend much of the next few months focusing on food storage how-to posts and freezer-friendly recipes. I’ll still mix in a few preserves and recipes that use them, but because most of my cooking time is going towards stocking our chest freezer, you can expect to see a whole lot of freezing tips in the near future.

Let’s start with granola. Granola is so simple to make, and even easier to freeze. It doubles as a breakfast or a snack. It can be served with yogurt or milk, or if you’re really in a rush or only have one hand free, it can be eaten by the handful on-the-go.

Freezing Granola // Savvy Eats

I tested two things when looking into how to freeze granola:

1. Whether or not it was best to freeze it with or without the dried fruit.

2. If it was better to defrost the granola in the refrigerator or on the counter.

Here’s what I found:

HOW TO FREEZE GRANOLA

There is no need to leave out the dried fruit. Go ahead and mix it in as your recipe directs.

Allow the granola to cool completely, then pack it into glass jars or other airtight freezer-safe containers. Gently press down on the granola so that there aren’t large air pockets in the jar, which could lead to freezer burn. Leave about 1/4″ headspace at the top. Freeze. 

DEFROSTING INSTRUCTIONS

Set the jars on the counter overnight to defrost at room temperature. If you allow it to defrost in the refrigerator, it will take much longer and the dried fruit will be tougher.

Granolas pictured: Raisin nut granola and almond joy granola (via The Lemon Bowl).

P.S. Looking for more granola recipes? Check out my nutty granola and my apple spice granola.