I like to keep a good stash of quality, quickly prepared ingredients on hand to make boring weeknight meals more interesting in a hurry.

This week I marinated a few pounds of Louisiana shrimp, grilled them and popped them into the freezer. So, the next time we're all in hurry-up mode, or I just want to perk up some pasta or craft a quick pizza (like today's recipe for Shrimp Pesto Pizza), I'll be ready. These shrimp thaw in no time and make great additions to salads, quesadillas and lots of other dishes.

Since I decided to go with pizza, I looked to the farmers market for my ingredients. Basil and pecans marry into a beautiful, versatile pesto. You can freeze it in ice cube trays, remove the little cubes and wrap them up individually for easy use and storage. Now anytime you need it, you’ll have pre-measured pesto for spreading on pizza, stirring into pasta or sautéing with vegetables.

This pizza dough freezes well, too. Just cut the dough into four to eight sections, (depending how big you want your pizza to be) roll each into a ball then wrap them individually and seal in a freezer bag. This dough should last about 6 months in the freezer. It’s perfect for quick "make-your-own pizza" nights.

I've learned that stocking up on farm fresh ingredients now makes life much easier later.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.