Freeze a few great casseroles before your springtime guests arrive

features@beaufortgazette.com April 8, 2014 

Holiday guests ILLUS.jpg

Expecting houseguests this spring? Take the time now to make a few favorite recipes that can be frozen -- that way you can spend more time with them when they're here.

DAVID STEINLICHT — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

When the pollen arrives, it's means one thing -- besides sneezing. It's spring-cleaning time.

Spring cleaning, for me, has always been a way to bid winter adieu and welcome in the fresh air and sunny days ahead.

While I no longer take all the curtains down to wash and dry them on stretchers, I still clean the windows and furniture.

A good recipe I've found for cleaning windows is this: Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1/2 gallon of water. Fill a spray bottle, and it is ready to go. Use wadded-up newspaper to dry and make the windows shine.

For glasstop tables: Make a solution of lemon juice and warm water to wash. Dry them the same way as the windows, with newspaper.

I also take time at the beginning of the season to prepare dishes I can freeze, which will give me more time to spend with friends when they visit. As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, relatives and friends come to the Lowcountry to spend a day or two with us. And I like to enjoy their presence, not spend hours in the kitchen.

Now is a good time to try out recipes and choose a few favorites to freeze for guests. I've put together seafood casserole recipes that I've found over the years. They freeze well and taste great. Defrost them in your fridge for 24 hours before you intend to cook and serve them.

BAKED SEAFOOD CASSEROLE

1 cup crabmeat

1 cup shrimp, boiled and peeled

1 cup celery, finely chopped

1 large green pepper, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cups breadcrumbs

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Combine crabmeat and shrimp with vegetables. Add mayonnaise, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce; mix well. Place in baking dish and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.

Source: Ervena Faulkner's personal file

SEAFOOD CASSEROLE

1 cup shell macaroni, cooked and drained

1 cup boiled shrimp

1 cup crabmeat

1 large bell pepper, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

3/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine macaroni with shrimp, crabmeat and vegetables. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Place in glass dish and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake for 40 minutes.

Source: "First Lady Cookbook, Grandma's Favorites" (1978), by Mrs. Janette C. Patterson of Abbeville

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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