We’ve all been there. Suddenly, it’s 5:30 PM and there’s no plan for dinner. You are hungry, and your children are hungry, and The refrigerator is running out. thinking of pick Pantry—and sniffing through the tiny bits of your vegetable drawer—seems daunting. the solution? healthy freezer meals whether you a new mother, work a demanding schedule, or simply want to set yourself up for success, are frozen meals. It’s the gift that keeps on giving (or so I’m convinced). Today, I’m breaking down the best storage tips, the do’s and don’ts of freezing well, and the best healthy freezing recipes.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
Steal Camille’s Meal Prep Tips for the Week Made Simple
Are freezer meals worth it?
Let’s start here: Are healthy freezer meals worth all the hype? Yes, they sure are. As a mother of a young child, when I need to Quick and healthy dinner On the table, freezer meals are my go-to. And I’m not talking store-bought frozen dinners (although there is a time and place for them). These are nutritious meals that I prepare, stick, and freeze myself. Stored and reheated just the right way, these frozen meals are just as delicious as the day they were made. And having a few on hand can help overcome any cravings. from the soup to lasagnaPreparing a healthy and delicious dinner is as simple as heating up one.
Benefits of freezer meals
When you’re overwhelmed with preparing healthy meals in the freezer, it may not seem like you’re saving time. But I promise you, it will make sense once you get the initial work done. You’ll be ferrying your kids home from practice, and within 30 minutes of walking in the door, you’ll have a home-cooked meal on the table.
Not only do you save time (and your sanity!), but you also save money. We all know that Buy in bulk Better for your wallet. You can save hundreds of dollars by buying and cooking in bulk. When you cook in bulk, you have more food to freeze. It’s the win. Finally, it is an opportunity to meet with family or friends. throw together iced coffee bar, play your favorite cooking playlist, and then it’s all on deck.
What foods freeze well?
All of these everyday ingredients will freeze well:
- Meat, poultry and seafood (3-6 months).
- Almost everyone Produce It can be frozen (3-6 months). For herbs, freeze them in water (or oil) for use in cooked dishes or dressings. For the garlic, freeze minced garlic (or peeled garlic cloves) in the oil. I like to use an ice cube tray to freeze both the herbs and the garlic. For bananas, be sure to peel them first.
- dairy. Butter and margarine can be frozen for up to 3 months. Grated cheese, such as Parmesan, can be frozen for up to 4 months and can be used straight from the freezer. Milk can be frozen for up to a month.
- Most Bread and bread, with the exception of crunchy varieties (such as baguettes), will freeze well for up to 3 months. Top tip: Be sure to slice your bread before you freeze it. You can toast directly from the freezer.
- Raw pancake dough It will freeze for up to 6 months and it takes an hour to thaw.
- SaucesLike tomato sauce and pesto sauce, freeze them well.
- stock. The vegetable and animal stock is beautifully frozen. Freeze in freezer bags or ice cube trays.
In terms of recipes specifically, you can freeze everything from lasagna and soup to stews, chili, pot pies, and breakfast burritos.
What should not be frozen
While there are plenty of individual ingredients you can freeze, some foods simply aren’t freezer-friendly. For example:
- Vegetables with a high water contentSuch as lettuce, radish and cucumber.
- Egg and milk saucessuch as mayonnaise and sour cream (they will separate and curdle).
- Speaking of eggs, while a frittata freezes well, Hard-boiled eggs No (they’ll get the rubber).
- Soft herbsGarlic, like basil and chives, are good for incorporating into dishes, but not as a garnish.
How to label food for the freezer
Now that you know what freezes (and doesn’t) really well, let’s talk about labeling. Labeling is key, as you don’t want to go wrong mixing spicy tomato sauce with creamy tomato soup. Start by applying labels to your ziplock bags or stationery using painter’s tape and a Sharpie. It is best to do this before putting any food into your containers. As for what to name, follow this template: Name, Date, and Submission Instructions. For example, “Spicy black beans4/2/2023, Reheating in a Pot on the Stove.” Proper labeling will help you avoid confusion, remind you when to do it, and provide quick reheating instructions.
Freezer meal starter pack
Good news – you don’t need much! glass or BPA free Tupperware silicone ice cube traysgallons storage bags (or Environmentally friendly bags), Painter’s tapeand a Sharpie. You can also use a combination of parchment paper and aluminum foil to wrap some foods, such as burritos.
6 tips for freezing food
No matter the size of your freezer, use these principles for successful freezing:
- attached. Label the recipe name, date, and reheating instructions on the bowl. As mentioned, this is the key.
- Finally, finally. Place the most recently frozen meal(s) in the back of the freezer. That way, you’re more likely to eat what’s on the front of your freezer. These are the meals that will expire sooner and faster.
- Cold foods before freezing them. It doesn’t have to be completely cold, but freezing hot foods will increase the freezer temperature.
- wrap properly. Make sure your meals are properly sealed to prevent freezer burn.
- Consider portions. Pre-cut or portion certain recipes so you don’t have to melt an eight-person chili if you’re only feeding four people.
- When in doubt, throw it away (or compost!). Contrary to what most people think, freezing does not kill bacteria. If you’re not sure how long to freeze a recipe, don’t take any chances. On that note, it’s not necessarily beneficial to freeze aged food. The goal of freezing is to keep food at its prime.
12 healthy freezer meals that will make weeknight nights a breeze
Why we love it: Filled with veggies, this Skillet Eggplant Lasagna is a warming one-pot dinner for chilly nights. It’s a simpler, lighter way to enjoy all the classic, delicious flavours.
Main ingredient: If you haven’t jumped on the eggplant train, now’s your chance.
Why we love it: Who wouldn’t want to dive into a bowl of vegan macaroni and cheese? (Especially the one featuring everyone’s favorite veggie—cauliflower, of course.) This recipe is so hearty, cheesy, warm, and comforting—you wouldn’t even know it was vegan. This dish is made with a velvety cauliflower vegan cheese sauce, and it freezes beautifully.
Main ingredient: Quickly refresh your Mac with a sprinkle of paprika.
Why we love it: The sweet potato falafel burger is a staple on my summer menu. Very easy to take out of the freezer after a day in the sun. Simply add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Main ingredient: Sweet potatoes are practically the hero of any dish.
Why we love it: Lettuce wraps are light and refreshing, but sometimes I find they lack protein. Awesome chicken burger patties are a protein-rich staple to defrost and toss in a lettuce wrap for a healthy lunch or dinner.
Main ingredient: Any kind of Asian seasoning for your minced chicken will enhance the flavor of your pancakes.
Why we love it: This vegetarian curry with cauliflower and kale has an amazing hack – rice cooked on the tray with vegetables! Once cool, toss it Tupperware For a quick weekend curry.
Main ingredient: Coconut milk adds the perfect body without being overly rich or sweet.
Why we love it: Whether you are looking for a promotion immune system Or simply have leftover chicken and don’t know what to make, this is your answer. Once thawed from the freezer, add lemon, avocado, and fresh herbs to it. You’ll never know it was previously frozen.
Main ingredient: I love adding lemon juice to any chicken broth for a flavorful kick.
Why we love it: Butternut squash is a versatile ingredient and incorporating it into a creamy soup makes sense. If you’ve been dying for a bowl of warm, comforting homemade soup on a rainy day, just take your Tupperware out of the fridge and enjoy!
Main ingredient: Soup and cilantro go hand in hand.
Why we love it: Some nights she just orders simple pasta. It’s a family favorite, and freezing this dish makes it easy to enjoy these classic ingredients when time is of the essence.
Main ingredient: I can rave about tofu all day, but the tofu in this recipe will do the trick for me.
Why we love it: There aren’t many ways to go wrong with vegetable soup. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or on top of your game, this vegetable soup has plenty of immune-boosting ingredients to get you through the week.
Main ingredient: Cashews are my personal favorite addition to this hearty soup.
Why we love it: This chili is packed with hearty black beans, flavorful vegetables, and plenty of seasoning (plus all those extras), so no one will miss out on the meat. It’s the perfect freeze meal for a new mom, too!
Main ingredient: Top with jalapenos for a little heat.
Why we love it: This pan fajita dish recipe has been one of my go-to night meals for quite some time. It’s super easy to defrost this chicken and heat up a delicious tortilla for a quick and easy meal.
Main ingredient: Drizzle some lemon on your fajitas for a tangy flavor in every bite.
Why we love it: Homemade pizza is a simple way to enjoy a comfort dish without all the restaurant toppings or unhealthy ingredients. Freezing pizza dough is also one of my favorite ways to pull a meal together in less than 30 minutes.
Main ingredient: Caramelized onions go great with just about anything.
Why we love it: While most freezer meals focus on lunch and dinner, don’t forget to definitely eat breakfast! These easy, quick, and healthy morning glory pancakes are just that—glorious. For busy mornings, grab a couple of these from the freezer.
Main ingredient: Almond slices make a crunchy and sweet topping.
Why we love it: Like I mentioned, I’ve become a tofu connoisseur in the past few months. Incorporating it into the first meal of the day is a great way to start your morning with protein.
Main ingredient: Avocado is an elite ingredient to toss on your breakfast menu.
Why we love it: Creamy Tuscan pasta is a dish that has taken the internet by storm. This dish can easily be frozen after baking to enjoy on its own or alongside any meal you cook throughout the week.
Main ingredient: Sun dried tomatoes are one of my favorite flavors to enjoy with creamy pasta.
This post was originally published on March 3, 2022, and has since been updated.