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.
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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've frozen Thanksgiving dinner for my in laws and it's done great. I didn't put cranberry sauce in...they can do that if they want...although you could freeze it in smaller containers and just thaw without reheating.
Meatloaf with sweet potatoes and green beans would be good.
I've heard/read that mashed potatoes don't freeze and thaw well...seems they get watery.
I do lots and lots of chili and soup in bowls for my husband when I'm going to be away.
Soups, stews, and pasta with sauce dishes freeze beautifully. They make freezer containers with lids that would work for this purpose. You can buy them in Wal-Mart.
Take a really good look at the frozen food section of your local grocery store ! LOTS of choices there. (only yours won't have all the additives and salt) :)
Mashed potatoes probably won't work very well on a plate, but it works well to freeze them in Ziplock bags. I use sandwich size bags, fill them, and press as much air out as possible. Make them flat so they will stack in the freezer. When you are ready to use them, thaw them enough to get them from the bag to a bowl. Heat through in the microwave, then whip them up. Yes, when you take them out of the microwave, they will appear very watery. But if you beat them with a fork, or your mixer, they will fluff up and look and taste just like fresh. I cook 10 pounds of potatoes at a time, and freeze them for days when I am throwing together a quick dinner.Just write the date on them with a sharpy, so that you can use the oldest ones first. I made the mashed potatoes for our Thanksgiving dinner on Monday night and we had some of them for our dinner, and I froze the rest. I took them out on Thanksgiving morning, and heated them in the microwave, fluffed them up, covered the bowl with foil, and set them in the over with the turkey to keep them warm. My husband had smoked the turkey in the smoker-grill on Tuesday, and sliced it onto a platter.Most of my salads, stuffing and pies were done earlier in the week. This was the least stressful Thanksgiving Day I have had for a very long time.
Harlean from Arkansas
When my children were still at home, I cooked huge batches of soup, stew, casseroles, chili, etc. I froze them in Styrofoam bowls so when they came home from school, they could pick one, put it in the microwave, run upstairs and change to work clothes, come down and get bread and a glass of milk and have supper before going out for chores, fieldwork, etc. I also made TV type dinners in divided Styrofoam plates whenever I had enough leftovers. Since I worked in the evenings, this was handy for my husband and kids. I didn't have problems with anything - different types of meat, noodles, macaroni, potatoes, rice, vegetables. I'd also have a baking day, making buns and different kinds of cookies. Then I'd make a variety of sandwiches (summer sausage, cold meats, meat loaf, beef roast, ham, etc.) and make lunches in zip lock sandwich bags - a sandwich and 2 cookies, always varying the selection. When they went to the field, they could just grab a bag from the freezer and go. The possibilities are endless! I have a seasonal restaurant and we just closed so yesterday I fried up all the hamburger patties and made hamburgers (on toasted buns), cheeseburgers, double cheeseburgers, 1/4# burgers, bacon cheeseburgers, etc. After chilling, they go into individual Ziplock bags and now we have them for quick winter meals. My grandson loves to grab one and "nuke" it when he comes over. I matched up all the stray burgers and buns so we have quite a variety! Same thing with chicken fillets, etc. Your imagination is your only obstacle! Add some veggie sticks, fruit, whatever is handy and you're done!
I agree with and have done most of what has been already offered here and they all are great...however, one of my favorite frozen meals...for individual servings...take a chicken breast, sliced carrots, potatoes, zucchini, etc...any favorite veggie can be used...even tomato...Season with you favorite seasonings wrap into packets and freeze. When ready to use...take out of freezer...bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees....serve with a nice garden salad and enjoy!
I've made pot pies- chix and turkey. Purchase 'pot pie pans' at any grocery store at least a dozen. Make any pot pie, macaroni n cheese, spagetti etc recipe and portion in your pans. Freeze individualy and then bag together remember to mark whats in the bags. For chix or turkey pot pies make a double pie crust recipe and cut circles out to fit over the filling. No need to precook just pop in the oven and bake for 30-60, of course this is for metal pie pans. If you can find the paper pans do the same just microwave. If you want to be really frugal you can wash the metal pans and reuse them several times. If you can find the book- Make Your Own Groceries by Daphne Metaxas Hartwig, she has lots of recipes and ideas for freezer to oven dinners. The library is also a great source for recipe and idea books.
Here is a recipe for frozen burritos that can be prepared in bulk and frozen to be baked when needed and what ever quantities desired. Seems to be easy, economical, delicious, & nutritious.Here is a link if you want to watch a video on the preparation of these burritos.
Frozen Burritos by Kathy Oaks
Salsa, as desired
Shredded cheddar cheese, as desired
Prepare Beforehand (Recipes Below):
Tear off a square-sized piece of tin foil. Place tortilla in the center.
Spoon layers of Spanish rice, pinto beans, chicken mixture, salsa and shredded cheese into the center of the tortilla from top to bottom (Use as much or as little as you would like).
Fold over the top, then fold over the two ends, and then roll all the way up. Roll the burrito in the tin foil from one side to the other and fold over the ends. Store four burritos in a gallon-sized freezer bag.
To serve: Cook foil-wrapped frozen burritos at 350* for about 30 minutes. Unwrap from foil and top with lettuce, sour cream and salsa.
2 cups rice
4 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Fry rice and onion in oil until brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to boil. Cover and let simmer 20 minutes.
6 cups dry pinto beans
12 cups water
10 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine beans, water, garlic, salt and pepper in a crock pot and let cook all night. The next day, sauté onion in oil and ladle in beans with juice and fry. Mash with a potato masher and cook until they are the consistency you prefer. You may need to add more water. This will make 30 or more burritos.
1/4 cup olive oil
12 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 bags match stick carrots
1/3 cup taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
Fry everything together until carrots are tender. Use for tacos, mini chimmies, burritos or taquitos.
My daughter and husband are very busy with their jobs. They pitch in on the cost of food, and I prepare dinner for myself (and father) and "my children"-- plus make frozen dinners after they have stopped by to pick up that day's dinner. There are those days I do not feel like cooking--they can then select from frozen dinners. I cook and freeze dinners of meatloaf, burbeon-glazed ham, BBQ (is especially good), turkey, pork chops accompanied by a vegetable and a starch.
I am retired and it makes me feel good because my father is 89 years old and can still operate the microwave--thereby always having something to eat when he is hungry. I will now start on the stews and chili.
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