If someone in your life has a baby and you’re trying to think of ways you can help them out, let me tell you: food. Bring. Them. Food. They’re not going to want to cook. They’re going to crave home cooking. We live near a restaurant that sells freezer meals which were kindly gifted to us by a few friends and I so looked forward to those because they tasted like something I’d make for my family. Also: when you’ve got so much on your mind, not having to think about dinner is a blessing.
A great option is to bring something that doesn’t need to be eaten right away – you don’t want to add extra pressure on the new parents now, do you? Think meals that freeze well and can be reheated with ease. This versatile sauces that can be used on a variety of meals, like our make-and-freeze mushroom pasta sauce.
This mushroom pasta sauce found its way into many of our meals too. A few nights, we had it with pasta. I spooned it over polenta and baked it with veggies and cheese. We used it as sauce for pizzas made with frozen crusts. I’ve got a little bit left, just enough to ladle over frozen meatballs tucked into Italian bread to make meatless meatball subs.
Whether you’re cooking for a NICU family, new parents, or simply yourself, this is the perfect kind of recipe to make and freeze. It holds up well in the freezer and can be used in countless ways. And if you’re looking for other ideas? Here are some more freezer-friendly meals to make and eat later.
Photos by Ana Stanciu
Make & Freeze Mushroom Pasta Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound sliced cremini or white mushrooms
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes with basil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried basil or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- A pinch or two of red pepper flakes optional
- 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the mushrooms to the pot and stir well. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their juices and they evaporate; the mushrooms should be browned, with bits sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Next, deglaze the pot with wine. Pour the wine into the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape off anything stuck to the bottom. Continue to cook on medium-high heat until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and pepper flakes; reduce heat to low, and simmer for about an hour, or until the sauce has thickened. If needed, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to cut the acidity and season with salt and pepper to taste.