3 make-ahead dishes to make your life easier

12/05/2012 9:00 PM

12/05/2012 7:02 AM

There are few things more welcome this time of year than a home cooked dish in the freezer, ready to bail you out on a particularly busy day. Here are three recipes from new cookbooks that fit the bill:

Beef and Guinness Stew: The meat is meltingly tender, the broth has hints of caraway and stout. With parsnips, carrots and turnips in the mix, you won’t miss the usual potatoes. Freeze the cooled stew in one- or two-serving portions for up to three months. Defrost in the refrigerator during the day; reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

Spicy Carrot, Tomato, Chorizo and Cilantro Soup: This soup is bright and hearty, without being too heavy. Freeze the cooled soup flat, in quart-size freezer bags, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator during the day or place in a large bowl of tepid water, then transfer to a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until heated through.

Cranberry Rice: Tart-sweet with a hint of dill, this side dish would work alongside roasted fish or add color to a holiday table. The cooled rice can be frozen in a freezer-safe resealable plastic food storage bag for up to 1 month. To reheat, transfer to a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle with water and cover with plastic wrap. Reheat on low for 20-second intervals until the rice is steaming. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

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