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Welcome back to Uncommon Pairings, where I get to talk about all things wine! Today, we’re talking about freezer dinner and the wines that’ll go best with it!
Most of the time, I love cooking elaborate meals for my little family of two (me and my partner, though we’re three if you count the Roomba!). But cooking comes with a ton of mental load: You have to dig through the fridge, think about which of the produce is going to go bad first, and then figure out creative ways to turn that produce into a meal. And yeah, I love doing this, but this requires a) energy and b) time — two things I simply do not have enough of! So instead, when I’m short on time, devoid of desire to do anything remotely hard, or just want to turn my brain off, I turn to freezer food. Specifically freezer dinner.
Freezer dinner is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a mishmash of frozen apps and entrees that, once cooked, become a feast unlike anything that you could order from a single restaurant. Consider the absolute perfection that is a mini samosa stuffed to the gills with potato and pea filling. What if you could have a few mini samosas and macaroni and cheese…in the same meal? Probably not possible in a restaurant, but definitely possible in your home!
If the idea of freezer dinner is particularly appealing to you because you, too, sometimes want to make dinner without having to really think about it, let me handle the next bit: wine pairings for your chosen freezer dinner. This way you can reheat some food, unscrew some wine (freezer dinner requires a screw top, no corkscrew here!), and dig in without having to do a ton of work!
Mozzarella Sticks and Cabernet Sauvignon
Frozen mozzarella sticks will probably never replace the diner version of the dish, but they do come close. And honestly, if it’s between delivery sticks and frozen sticks? Frozen ones win every time. You can eat them while they’re still piping hot from the oven, cheese juices dribbling out if you’re lucky. Mozzarella sticks are extremely salty, and they require something big to cut through that salt. Enter: Cab Sauv. It’s got a big body and definitely some acid, both of which will help with the salt.
Palak Paneer and Sauvignon Blanc
Apparently the Trader Joe’s Palak Paneer changed following the whole excess lead thing and it’s not as good now! I haven’t tried the new version myself, so I can’t speak to whether it’s better or worse, but I do know that Amy’s is always a reliable backup. And when you throw a frozen garlic naan into the mix, it really takes the whole thing from plastic-wrapped to basically takeout! Since you’re going for greens, Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect pairing. Like Cab Sauv, it’s high acid, but what makes it particularly well-suited to the spinach of it all is that it’s herbaceous!
Chicken Pot Pie and Pinot Noir
Chicken pot pie — or really, any pot pie — reminds me of Sweeney Todd. I’m just surprised that they got away with it for so long? Anyway, if you’d like to live out your Fleet Street fantasies, highly recommend a chicken pot pie (Trader Joes!) and some chilled pinot noir. Mushroom pot pie will work here too!
Pad Thai and Gewurztraminer
Frozen Pad Thai is another low effort / high reward component of freezer dinner. The Whole Foods frozen Pad Thai can go in the microwave, which is extremely in the spirit of not thinking too hard about dinner! If you find Pad Thai spicy, you’ll be pleased with a Gewurztraminer (lychee notes, usually sweet) or an off-dry Riesling (also aromatic, slightly less sweet).
Soup Dumplings and Cava
Soup dumplings don’t really travel well via food delivery, but if you buy them frozen and reheat them yourself, you’re more likely to get a brothy bite! The Trader Joe’s soup dumplings can go in the microwave, and while they’re reheating, you can open a bottle of cava to go with your dumplings! I know I said freezer dinner works best with screw tops, but I think a cork that you can wiggle out with just your fingers is in the same spirit as a cork. If you’re really anti-cork and want something screw top instead, maybe Chardonnay!