Gail Simmons Has a Brilliant Way to Freeze Mac and Cheese

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Top Chef host Gail Simmons has a lot on her plate. In addition to being a TV star, cookbook author and food writer, she’s also a mom of two little kids. That’s why we were fascinated to learn how she gets everything done—from looking TV-ready to packing her kids’ lunchboxes—when we sat down with her at a Made by We event (fun fact: she wrote her cookbook out of a WeWork—smart lady). 

Her number-one trick? When she cooks, she always makes big batches. “I like to make things in bigger batches and put them in the freezer,” she explained. “I’m a big advocate of leftovers. It makes your life so much easier.” Preach, Gail, preach.

In addition to cooking double batches of the obvious (soups and casseroles), she revealed a pretty nifty mac-and-cheese hack that her kids just love. 

Surprise, just like lasagna, mac and cheese is totally freezable. But an entire casserole dish's worth of mac and cheese takes ages to thaw. Instead, she bakes mac and cheese for her daughter in muffin tins. (For a step-by-step how-to, head over to PureWow’s baked mac and cheese bites. Ours are made in mini muffin tins, but you could also fill regular-size muffin tins.)

“You can pop them out after they’re baked and you can freeze half of them,” Simmons said. “They’re already individual and one can just be defrosted and put in my daughter’s lunch.” 

Make sure you cool the mac-and-cheese cups completely before wrapping them securely in plastic wrap and stashing them in freezer bags. When you’re ready to reheat them, you can pop them right into the microwave without thawing.

Now that, fine friends, is what we call mommy gold.

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Food Editor

From 2017 to 2019 Heath Goldman held the role of Food Editor covering food, booze and some recipe development, too. Tough job, eh?