I’ve been seeing lots of ideas for food gifts, so I’ll just skip straight to sharing some of them. Remember that while cookies, candies, and other sweets are popular, putting together more savory mixes will carry beyond the holiday season….and without being carried there on an increased waistline. :P
Top 8 edible gifts and gifts in a jar (including DIY s’mores kit, popcorn, and grandma’s goop)
The no-bake, no-cook, no-time gifts – Snack mixes in a jar (one that tastes like banana pudding looks awesome)
Gift certificate in a jar (more creative than just handing them one in a card)
Whole bunch of freezer meals (some gluten-free, vegetarian, and whole food ideas, too)
Tis the Seasonings spice mixes (ranch, taco seasoning, onion salt)
I didn’t think you could freeze olives. Ew, wouldn’t they come out dehydrated, limp, spongy, or some other form of grossness?
Looking around the internet, I found recounts of exactly that. They’re too water-based, and therefore, when thawed and reheated, all the water in them that previously froze, would come oozing out, leaving them quite disgusting.
That’s also the same thing that makes them so awesome for freezing.
So how do you do it?
Cover them in water! Yep, put them in a muffin tin or small bowl or ice cube trays even – whatever portion size you want for later. I like the muffin tin because it was easy to gauge 1/2 cup portions and between two tins, I could freeze a bunch at once. Then, cover them in a shallow layer of water.
Once frozen, you can pop out your little olive ice cakes and toss them into a Ziploc plastic bag. Later, when you’re making tostadas or Mexican casserole or just feel like snacking, pull out a cup, toss it in a bowl, and microwave until just thawed. Don’t overdo it…some ice crystals are fine and will pop apart easily.
Or if you’re a little more patient, you can run the block under water, but still put a bowl under because the ice doesn’t take long to melt and olives will crumble out everywhere.
When I first bought the 3 pound can of lives, I agreed to only use them in baked dishes where any funky texture wouldn’t be noticed anyway, but even my mom was fine eating them after they’d been previously frozen, straight out of the bowl. Success!
And yes, that’s a lot of freakin’ olives. And yes, I had to slice them all because they came whole. At least they were already pitted! Well worth the few bucks to have a freezer stocked with olives for months for any ol’ random dish I wanted.
What does it mean to find a huge tub of ricotta cheese on clearance for under 3 bucks? Lasagna time, of course!
Knowing that we were limiting dairy, I assumed I would toss these lasagnas straight into the freezer. Instead, I only used a thin layer of ricotta and no other cheese, and they turned out too good to not eat fresh.
Wanna make your own? Just use your favorite lasagna recipe and sub in eggroll or wonton wrappers. As Squirrel Bread says, wontons are the new black, and I use ‘em like crazy around here. For these, I just cut my wrappers in half, layered as usual, and skipped the fuss of precooking noodles or wondering if I cooked the dish long enough to avoid crunchy pasta.
When I originally bought these tins (on major sale, might I add), I thought they’d be great to fix all sorts of mini-this-or-thats in. I assumed I’d cut them in half and be able to toss various dishes into the girls’ lunchboxes.
Instead, I realized they’re roughly 2-cup tins and they’re perfect for building fast bentos right in them. Maybe not the most creative, but it opened up a whole new set of ideas of foods I could bake, toss in the freezer, and have ready in a flash for lunches.
And yes, I snacked on these a few times. Leaving them cold or barely heating them up turned them into easy, hand-held craving-satisfiers. Yum!