Thursday, May 17, 2012

Freezer Meals: Vietmanese Bahn Mi and Pho with Lemon "Donut" Dessert

Bahn Mi with Five-spice chicken thighs and pickled radish and carrot and vegetarian pho

Here's my latest freezer meal for our exchange tonight! I found all the recipes on Pinterest and they turned out great! I grew in East San Jose in a densely populated Vietnamese area. I love pho, Vietnamese noodle soup, and recently became a fan of Banh Mi sandwiches. The other families in my freezer meals groups are fairly adventurous so I thought it would be fun to bring in some Asian flavors. And it was a funny coincidence that another mom decided to make an Asian dinner.

For our freezer meals group, we make enough for ourselves and then trade about 4-5 entire meals with the other families. If we get more families involved we'll still max out at trading 5 meals, but we'll have more variety and can pick and choose which meals we want to bring home. It averages that we have 1 freezer meal per week for the month. I really like the deadline of the exchange to keep me on track with cooking for the next month. Here's my menu and how I made it freezer-friendly!

May's Menu:
Banh Mi Sandwich (on baguette) with Five Spice Chicken Thighs and pickled carrot and radish. 
  • Serve the sandwich with mayo, lime wedges, strips of jalapeno, chicken and fresh cilantro. I marinated the chicken, then froze it. The families will grill or broil the chicken. The pickled carrots and radish are very sweet, but smell terrible. Don't let the scent throw you. 
Vegetarian Pho soup
  •  Broth is frozen in ice cubes. Defrost directly in a saucepan on low, then turn up heat to bring to a boil. Add dry rice noodles. Warm thawed tofu and veggie packet and add to bowl with noodles. If you need more broth add vegetable or chicken broth and season with soy sauce or our favorite Bragg Liquid Aminos (a lower salt alternative).
Mini Lemon Muffin Donuts:
  • Thaw and serve
Freezer meal all packed up and ready to go!

Freezing instructions:

This month, I wasn't sure how to freeze this meal because of the broth. Liquid is so hard to freeze and defrost in ziploc bags without a big mess, so I had the brainstorm to freeze the broth in ice cube trays. I used the ice cube trays with tops that I bought for when I was making Ava's baby food. Then, I popped the broth cubes in a quart size freezer bag.

Freeze the tofu and veggies in one bag and the marinated chicken thighs in another.

Don't freeze the pickled veggies. Store them in a mason jar with the brine, which will keep in the fridge for up to 4-weeks. The limes and jalapenos are sturdy enough to keep in the fridge for a few weeks or you can buy more. I didn't supply the cilantro, but you need that to be fresh.

I didn't freeze the rice noodles for the pho, but those can be stored in the pantry.

I'd love to hear your ideas on freezer meals you're thinking of making!

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