Cooking ahead and freezing meals can be very helpful for your busy schedule. This is a guide about freezer meal ideas.
I work full time (outside the home) and have four children (7yrs, 5yrs, and the twins are 14 months). What I need (besides in house help) is meals that I can fix and freeze. I found a few sites, but the recipes are a bit bland and or higher $$ cuts of meat. Any help would be a lifesaver! Thanks all!
Amy from OH
Here's an idea I've used:
When you do cook, make a double batch and freeze one to eat later. Slow-cookers (crock pots) are ideal too. Put the meal in the pot in the morning, by evening, it's ready to go. There are many 30-minute menu ideas on the internet too. Rachel Ray has a few cookbooks out there. You can find information about converting a regular recipe to a slow-cooker one on the internet also. I hope this helps some. Good luck to you.
One of my favorite cook books is:
Make-Ahead Meals by Jean Pare
It sounds like exactly what you are looking for. The book has a multitude of recipes that tell how to make the recipe, what you can do to prepare ahead and how to freeze/reheat. Most of the recipes make very large batches although you could adjust the recipes to your needs and amount of freezer storage. There is also a portion that tells you how to assemble a starter (browned ground beef and onions, marinated chicken or beef, etc.)and use in a variety of recipes. One of my favorites in the book is a meatball recipe where you bake a large batch of meatballs, flash freeze, and thaw and reheat for meals. I use it in spaghetti, sweet and sour meatballs, bbq meatballs, and meatball subs. Another recipe I want to try is a biscuit recipe where you assemble about 40 or so at a time and flash freeze. You can then bake as many as you need from a frozen state.
Crock pots are also wonderful and safe. Could there be a freak fire? Yes but I have never heard of that happening. Also crock pots heat up to a high temp quickly so there is no concern about bacteria or other food concerns. Obviously you would be able to tell if your food was not cooked properly by sight, smell, and internal temp. Just make sure your crock pot is in working order!
You could have packages of browned ground beef in the freezer. then this recipe would go very fast when you get home.
Ground Beef Stew
Brown 1 # ground beef in skillet
Add 1# sliced potatoes, (3 cups)
1 med onion, sliced
4-5 sliced carrots
1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp thyme
1 beef bouillon cube and 1 1/2 cup boiling water.
Cover and cook 15 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup catchup, and cook 10 minutes.
Combine 2 TBLS flour with 1/4 cup water and add to thicken, cook about 5 mins.* I don't always add the flour because it is already thick enough.
Fix, Freeze and Feast, by Neville and Tkacsik (great cookbook!) from Barnes and Noble. I spent one Saturday making chili, 2 pans of lasagne, manicotti, chicken parmesan, tequila-lime chicken each, two full Greek/Mediterranean chickens and pork chops. I've tried all the recipes and so far, so delicious. Totally saved time and money as I shopped at our neighborhood Woodman's market. There are shopping lists in the book and all kinds of handy tips to assist in the art of pre-freezing your meals. Good luck!
I am looking for recipes for dinners that can be put in divided plates and frozen. Any ideas? My parents have take out every night. I want to make it so they can put the dinner in the microwave, still be eating healthy and not much effort on their part.
Thanks for your help!
I live alone and always have leftovers. I put them in divided dinner plates and throw them in the freezer. You could easily cook extra for your family meal and make them TV style dinners.
I did this one time when needing fast healthy meals for my family of 5. I actually went to the Dollar store and bought covered plates that would go into the freezer. Then at random cook a large amount of something. Like a roast, carrots, potatoes one day, part it up into meals. Then one day cook up a pot of chili, or homemade hamburger helper type , we like it spicy. Each day cook what you like, or you can cook it up for your parents, then put it into the divided plates, push all the air out, and cool it. Then freeze. Now I also, arranged in the freezer a certain way, because they all looked alike. And made a list of a menu plan, or you can put numbers on each plate for your list, someway show a menu to choose from. You must thaw the frozen plate out ahead of time, about an hour sitting on the counter. If you put it right in frozen, it will over cook the food inside. So thaw it, then put in the microwave. My kids and husband really loved this, because they didn't all have to eat the same plate, they got a choice, and it felt like choosing at a restaurant. Plus, it helped us watch our weight. This is not a complicated or hard job to do, and it is rewarding when you have that healthy, hot, and affordable meal sitting on your table.
I am in search of easy dishes that can be cooked and frozen to enjoy later.
Tina from Somerset, KY
I always freeze spaghetti sauce. Reheats great, thaw for a few hours, and simmer. (doctor-up jarred sauce with meat, and veggies.)
I also freeze homemade soup after I cook in a crock pot all day. Add beef stock, meat (small cubes) any type of veggies, onion and spices. Enjoy the first day, and freeze in several containers. if the frozen soup is too thick after you defrost it, add two cups of water, and one bouillon cube. Presto! Instant meal when served with bread and salad. Cook noodles separately, and add last, otherwise, the noodles absorb all the liquid, and it will be gross.
Have fun. The most important thing, purchase good freezer containers, and then place in a freezer bag. Freezer burn is quite nasty.
I overcook so as to have leftovers. My oldest son has left the nest and I still don't know how to cook for three so I cook just like I used to and freeze the rest. I use the rubbermaid rectangle dishes and freeze everything from hotdogs to fried okra. He says everything tastes great. Good luck!!
You can freeze a pot of chili! It is even better after freezing and reheating. Just let it thaw a bit overnight in the fridge, then reheat slowly on the stove.
Does anyone know what recipes and/or foods can be frozen?
By Sharon from Newark, CA
Most foods can be frozen, even whole ears of corn! If you intend to cook the veggies, they can be frozen. Most veggies will become limp so they do not do well for like pizza toppings etc.
This rainbow of a low fat meal can be served as is for a delicious low-carb option, or pour over rice or wrap in a flour tortilla for a family-friendly favorite.
Allow time to defrost in the refrigerator or defrost in microwave until softened. Transfer from containers to large skillet and simmer until thoroughly cooked.
Serve over rice or in a wrapped in a flour tortilla, garnish with cheese.