What condiments, sauces and other "building block" or components for easier weeknight meals do you make in large batches and freeze?

I've been inspired by the comments of another user who has been encouraging a slightly different approach to make-ahead weeknight cooking - which is big batch cooking and then freezing in smaller portions to use with other components to create more variety in one's menu. Would you be so kind as to share your go-to freezer friendly dinner-making component recipes? Savory condiments--ones that keep well in the fridge for a few weeks or that freeze successfully--and ways to use them would also be most appreciated. Many thanks.

Mrs Beryl Patmore


BerryBaby January 20, 2017
None, it's the two of us so I make everything fresh. Takes only minutes. If I was cooking for 4 or more, I would definitely change up my cooking habits to do 'make ahead' meals.
MMH January 21, 2017
Some things are seasonal and it's nice to preserve them at their peak.
dinner A. January 18, 2017
Shakshuka -- I like the recipe from Sofra, posted here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2016/10/07/sofra-shakshuka-breakfast-famous-here-how-make-home/vLtXBVB8En6nrZC8BpOdBO/story.html
The hot sauce included in the recipe freezes well also.

I also like keeping Mexican sauces (different sorts of mole, pipián, adobo) in the freezer, especially this simple and delicious pipián: http://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/cookbook-review-truly-mexican-a-pipin-verde-green-pumpkin-seed-sauce-recipe-2382463
The sauce breaks slightly -- you can blend it back to complete smoothness if you mind the little bit of texture (I don't). I like making quick enchiladas with it, or serving it with roasted cauliflower, boiled potatoes, broiled tempeh, etc. The original recipe suggests it as a sauce for shrimp.
I also freeze my own BBQ sauce to eat on tempeh, a slightly less sweet and more spicy version of this: https://food52.com/recipes/29199-tempeh-kebabs-with-homemade-barbecue-sauce

I second others' recommendations for a freezer stockpile of pesto, and a large batch of salad dressing in the fridge. I tend to keep a simple vinaigrette around, but this punchy lemon/caper/mustard/shallot dressing is also great, and keeps fine for weeks: https://food52.com/recipes/16940-april-bloomfield-s-lemon-caper-dressing

I also keep commercial Thai curry paste (I like Maesri brand) in the fridge at all times, to make a quick dinner with whatever vegetables, mushrooms, and tofu I have in the fridge, plus some coconut milk and cilantro and/or basil.
AntoniaJames January 18, 2017
Try this pork ragu: https://food52.com/recipes/39733-andy-ward-jenny-rosenstrach-s-pork-shoulder-ragu I made a quadruple batch when my sons were home and served it over pappardelle, as shown in the recipe. Since then, we’ve had it over polenta (also from the freezer), and yesterday, I served it to on a challah bun (also from the freezer) for my husband’s lunch.

I batch-cook quite a variety of component items to freeze for dinners and lunches. My current freezer inventory, which is somewhat depleted after heavy use in November and December, can be found on the second page of this Google Doc: http://tinyurl.com/HLC0117Plan Send me a private note if you want more details (recipes, etc.)

I’m looking for more ideas, too, on more ways to simplify my dinner prep by cooking and freezing weeknight helpers.

We’re not big fans of the “make this and serve it all week” (or even “twice this week”) in my house, but “make a huge batch of a building block recipe and freeze 3/4 of it for future meals?” Yes, please! ;o)
Melusine January 18, 2017
Roasted onions and garlic are always in my fridge. I like the flavor roasting gives them. The roasted onions cut off 20 minutes from every recipe that starts with 'sauté a diced onion until soft...." and I don't have any burned garlic issues. My husband also swears he doesn't smell like old garlic the next day.
AntoniaJames January 18, 2017
Roasted onions, now that's a great idea. I often make caramelized onions, and have jars of garlic confit and shallot + garlic confit (Gjelina cookbook inspired) on hand, but they're on my fridge door and not my freezer, because we rip through them so fast. This recipe on the King Arther Flour site is excellent: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/garlic-and-shallot-confit-recipe
I do the same thing just with garlic (inspired by a similar recipe in the Gjelina book). I never measure the olive oil, but just pour enough to cover. I have a tiny crockpot - about 1.5 quart capacity -- that works perfectly for this.

I first made the garlic confit to toss with roast cauliflower and broccoli, along with lots of chopped parsley and red wine vinegar after the veggies are roasted - also from the Gjelina cookbook. I'm working my way through a variety of tasty condiments and related recipes in that book. I'll report back! ;o)
Ali W. January 17, 2017
I make a double batch of Torrisi's spicy sauce, it keeps for awhile in the fridge. Here's the recipe: https://food52.com/recipes/20017-torrisi-s-spicy-sauce

I also make vinaigrette every week with meyer lemons or whatever citrus I can find in the market. And when I find great lemons, I preserve them and they keep for awhile too.
PHIL January 17, 2017
Pesto, you always have to buy a big batch of basil and cant use it up all in one shot. I freeze in an ice cube tray for perfect portions. Also do that with any leftover broth. Any leftover tomato sauce can be frozen in small containers, you can use it for easy chicken or eggplant parm or over pasta.
Maedl January 17, 2017
I make a big pot of oatmeal or other hot cereal. Breakfast during the week is easy--I put a portion of porridge in a bowl, microwave it, add some fruit, and make coffee. Breakfast is on the table in minutes.
MMH January 16, 2017
Chicken stock, rice, salsa, pesto, tomato sauce. Our new favorite is frozen herbs in several forms- Thyme and rosemary frozen on the stem, parsley in water or olive oil. Our biggest hit this year was basil & olive oil puréed in the cuisinart. I froze it in snack bag sized portions. I just squeezed some in to a veggie frittata and in was July in my kitchen all over again. I know it's the middle of winter but it's a great thing 2 think of when you are planning your garden. We also slow roasted Roma tomato 1/2's and froze them in small portions.
Nancy January 16, 2017
Mostly batch sauces ans condiments for fridge maturation and storage.
As Chops does, harissa.
Also (not all at the same time) preserved lemons, chutney, herbed or seasoned olives, kimchi or sauerkraut, eggplant sauces, roasted garlic, pesto, herbed or flavored butter.
Jan W. January 16, 2017
I make a lot of miso soup and Japanese dishes in the winter, so it's actually useful for me to make dashi in larger quantities than I would use for any particular dish and freeze it into pint containers (the plastic ones that a lot of ice cream brands use now are quite good for this, but i also use ziploc ones too). Home made miso soup is far and away more satisfying than the instant stuff, and slicing off the 30+ minutes to prep the stock each time is a real advantage.
Smaug January 16, 2017
Not much, but I did- after making 1/2 c. of sauce every week for some time, start making big batches of pizza sauce and freezing them in small containers.
HalfPint January 16, 2017
I make a large batch of XO sauce every six months or so. Throw a spoonful into rice, noodles or stir fries. Keeps in the freezer for longer storage but should be fine for a few weeks in the fridge. There's a recipe on this site and my go-to recipe is on grubstreet.com
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 16, 2017
I enjoy chimichurri, so any extra is frozen. I love it on everything. Also, harissa.
Recommended by Food52