We already have a to-do list that is much too long with everyday things right? But now the holidays are approaching and it’s about to get even longer- more errands, more school activities, more parties… With all that running around you’ll probably have the impulse to give up on that yummy meal you planned to fix and just grab something out.
I’ve definitely felt this way before. The tricky part of this whole circus is that since you are busier, more stressed and likely exposing yourself to more germs- your also more likely to get sick during this time- just what you need right?
I’ve mentioned freezer meals before on the blog but I’ve never talked about the ins and outs of filling your freezer. And I think this is a perfect time to do so since the holidays are just around the corner. Hectic schedules, errands and more events make this a perfect time to embrace all things frozen!
In case you’re wondering, I haven’t always had such a profound love of frozen food. I’ve pretty much had a mental block towards freezer meals until recently. The problem is, I was equating these meals to the nasty grocery store meals you find in the freezer case. These are full of crazy ingredients, they lack healthy portions of veggies and usually taste blah.
What I’ve realized though, is freezer meals can taste fresh, full of flavor and be interesting- when they come from your own kitchen. They also can be extremely healthy and make life super easy on hectic days!
Easy Freezer Meals
So what makes a good freezer meal? Surprisingly, more things than not. Below is a list of the types of things I like to freeze. It will give you an idea of the versatility of freezer meals. Anything with sauce, marinade or other liquid will work well.
Soups, Chilis & Stews- These can be fully cooked and frozen in single or family portions. A meal is as easy as defrosting and heating.
Marinated Meat or Veggies- Freeze raw meat or veggies (or both!) in a marinade. Allow to defrost (this is the marinating time) and grill or bake.
Crockpot Meals- Freeze raw chicken or beef with cooking liquid and spices. In a separate container, freeze veggies. You’ll cook your protein on low for 6-8 hours and add the frozen veggies during the last hour.
Casseroles or dish meals- These can be partially or fully cooked before hand. You’ll defrost and either reheat or finish cooking in the oven.
Curries & Stir Fries- Curries, Stir Fries or any other meal with sauces are easy and freeze well. Freeze raw meal in sauce or marinade (you can also precook it so it just needs reheating) and thaw and cook. Add frozen veggies during the last few mintutes.
Getting It Done!
So, you know you want to get your freezer full of yummy meals but you don’t know how to make it happen. Here are some tips on simple ways to get meals prepped and in the freezer.
Make an extra serving- Each week, plan to cook at least 1-2 meals that will freeze well. Make a double batch and freeze half! This is my favorite method and takes a fraction of the normal time to prepare since you are already making the meal.
Make a batch of similar meals- Pick 3-4 meals that have similar ingredients and prep them at the same time. This will cut down on prep time since they all share ingredients. An example would be chicken and a chopped veggie mix. You can make 3 batches and turn then into green curry, stir fry and ginger chicken. All different meals but only the sauce is different!
Take a morning for meal prep- designate a morning for a massive freezer meal prep session. Gather ingredients for 8-12 meals and take 4 hours to get them all done. This can be a lot of work at one time but you’ll have over a week’s worth of dinners complete!
Try a freezer meal swap- Get together 4-5 of your friends who eat real food and have a swap. Each person will make enough meals to swap with each person. Specify what ingredients are or aren’t ok (such as soy, dairy, wheat, etc) and how many people your meals should feed. You’ll end up with a variety of quality meals and maybe some new recipe ideas!
Ok, ready to stock your freezer and make life easier? Check out the links below for some meals perfect for freezing.