Monday, December 6, 2010

Personal Pans

I've been looking for individual ramekins/gratin dishes to serve pot pies and other individual oven entrees in for a while. I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for (shocking). Most were too fancy; some were too big. They just weren't right. One day I was taking a stroll through Williams Sonoma with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket.

I saw a set of four personal pizza pans and thought: Hmmm, sturdy, heats evenly & dishwasher-safe. Love it! I've used them for several dishes - especially with Freezer Cooking recipes.

For stuffed shells, I made them and froze them in groups of five or six. When I was ready to serve them, I popped a bagful into the pan, covered with marinara sauce and cooked them up.

For Chicken Pot Pies, I made up a batch of the filling. Then, I lined the pans with plastic wrap and filled them up with the filling. I popped them into the freezer until the pot pie filling was completely frozen. Then, I pulled the "hockey pucks" out of the pans, wrapped them in the plastic wrap and stored in a freezer bag. This freed up my pans for the next dish! When I wanted to cook the pot pies up, I unwrapped the "hockey puck" and let the filling defrost in the pan.

I've also used a pan to test out a half batch of Cauliflower Sformato I was thinking of serving for Thanksgiving. It was pretty yummy, but wasn't a favorite for the whole family. By using the small pan, I wasn't stuck finishing up an entire souffle all by myself! Only a small amount of leftovers.

I have a lot of friends who are having babies this winter and spring. I've been so excited about my pans that it got me thinking. What a better gift than the gift of dinner! A set of pans plus "hockey pucks" of various varieties and prep instructions! More to come!

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