Whether you want to stock up your freezer for an upcoming busy week, or want to drop off some meals for a new mom, freezer friendly meals are the easiest way to have a home cooked meal, in a flash. The added bonus, if you're a working mom, these meals will save you lots of money on pre-packaged foods and can be prepared over the weekend for the week ahead.
1. Enchiladas. Use canned enchilada sauce from a restaurant supply store like Smart and Final. Green is less spicy than the red, typically. Microwave corn tortillas for a few seconds, until soft. Fill with grilled meat and peppers and onions. Set in a baking dish, fold side down. Pour over sauce. Sprinkle cheese and freeze.
2. Pizza. Homemade pizza dough takes this recipe to a whole new level. Take 4 ½ cups flour, 1 tsp yeast, 1 ¾ tsp salt, ¼ cup oil, 1 ¾ cup hot tap water. Mix the dry ingredients, then add the oil and water. Knead it all together. Cover it with a tea towel and let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes. Then separate the dough into four loaves. Roll out on a floured cutting board until at desired size and width. Top with sauce and cheese. Place on a cardboard, (you can use cut up diaper boxes) covered with aluminum and wrap with plastic wrap. Freeze. Then use whatever toppings you'd like. Let it thaw, then take it out of the plastic and off of the cardboard. Throw on a pizza stone, into a pre-heated oven at 500 degrees. Baked for 5-10 minutes, or until bubbly.
3. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
4. Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry. Bake the chicken breasts ahead of time. Let them cool, then dice them up and toss them in with a pre-made teriyaki sauce and frozen stir-fry vegetables. Place them in a container. When ready, just toss in a high heat pan with peanut oil. Serve with rice from a rice cooker.
5. Marinara with Meatballs. Make the meatballs and store them in a separate container from the marinara to prevent sogginess. Serve with noodles, or on hoagie rolls.
6. Mexican Lasagna. Layer browned ground beef, onions, enchilada sauce, corn, and cheese, as you would lasagna.
7. Baked Chicken Penne. It's important to leave the noodles slightly al dente, so they won't get soggy from over-cooking. Then pour over marinara, (or cream sauce) and diced, cooked, chicken breast.
8. Tuna Noodle Casserole
10. Vegetable Barley Soup. Dice up your favorite vegetables, like carrots, celery, garlic, cabbage and onions. Throw them in a pot with water and 1 cup or more of barley. You can also add some wild rice. Season to taste. I use salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Freeze and serve with fresh bread. This is a low calorie, simple dish.
If serving homemade soup, you may as well, throw in a fast homemade loaf of bread to boot. At only 20 minutes in the oven, you can throw this rustic loaf in and be on your way to a complete meal in no time. I love saving the crumbs from the box of my shredded wheat cereal to use for this bread.
Quick and Easy Shredded Wheat Bread
(You can substitute food-processed oats for the shredded wheat if you'd like)
- 1½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup crushed shredded wheat (If you use the frosted kind, skip the honey)
- 2 t baking powder
- ½ t salt
- 1½ T honey
- 1 T oil
- 1 cup milk (or milk substitute)
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix all the dry ingredients. Blend the honey and oil in a small bowl, then add in the milk. Mix the wet and dry ingredients. Stir until you are able to form a ball. If needed, keep adding flour until the dough is able to be formed. Place in a round shape on a cookie sheet either lightly oiled or sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Serve warm.
Freezer cooking is a time saver and a money saver. The best way to do this is to stock up on aluminum baking trays and containers from the dollar store. You'll save 75% off the grocery store prices, and may be able to squeeze a couple uses out of each one. Also, you won't stress about your grandmother's antique china baking dish being lost at someone's home when you drop off your meal.
Also, you can discover which kid friendly meals you can make on the healthy side.
Have fun, and try not to stress. At least you'll have the "dinner thing" covered.