Your favorite freezeable meals
I'm a teacher about to start the new school year. During the school year I rarely have the time or energy to cook meals, so in these last few weeks before school starts I'm trying to make a few things that I can freeze and enjoy over the next couple of months. I have a couple of batches of pesto frozen and several jars of jam in my attempt to capture the best of summer, but I'm looking for meals (think: meatloaf) that I can pull out of the freezer, thaw, and enjoy over a couple of days. What are your faves? Thanks in advance!
Btw, I live in New York City and therefore don't have access to such things as: "dreamdinners", a large freezer, large kitchen. Also, there are only two of us in the house, so we don't need huge meals, just good freezeable ones!
I like to make a large batch of, say, french onion or lentil soup and freeze in portions. SO good to come home to homemade lentil soup after a long day!
I also make smaller lasagnes and freeze (uncooked). I prefer to use the ready-made lasagna noodles you don't have to boil.
Eggplant parmesan in small dishes.
I've made chole (indian chickpea dish) and frozen. You can find frozen naan. Keep those in the freezer and you have a couple of great indian meals!
That's a bit of what I do. I also like to make lots of dumplings (asian), steam some and freeze some unsteamed. They go great from freezer to steamer or skillet if you're making them in to potstickers :)
BTW, here's my favorite lentil soup recipe. I am a vegetarian, so I leave out the meat but make up for flavor lost by adding some smoky chipotle powder.
1 lb lentils
1/2 lb bacon or pancetta, diced
1 leek, diced,white part only
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 quarts chicken stock or beef stock or ham stock (depending on your taste)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1 large potato, peeled
1 ham bone or 2 large ham hocks
2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar or sherry wine vinegar
1 lb sliced kielbasa, cooked (optional)
2 yukon gold potatoes, diced (optional)
1. Wash lentils and drain.
2. In a Dutch oven fry bacon until golden.
3. Add diced leeks, onions and carrots and cook until onions are limp.
4. Add lentils, stock, celery, salt, pepper, and bay leaf.
5. With a medium size grater, grate potato into mixture and add ham bone.
6. Add optional ingredients.
7. Simmer 1 hour or until lentils are tender.
8. Remove bay leaf and ham bone; cut meat from ham bone and return meat to soup.
9. Add lemon juice and serve.
10. If soup is thicker than you would like add additional stock or water.
11. Note: If using a bone in piece of ham or ham hocks with a lot of fat, it is best to cook the meat in the stock separatelyfirst, remove meat and reserve, and then defat.
12. Proceed as above, adding meat back at the end.
here's the chole recipe I've made and frozen:
A nice spicy Indian chickpea recipe. I know, I know. The beans come from a can. Yeah, yeah. But I was so hungry, and I was in a hurry! Remember this little dish the next time you're short on time, too! To serve as a vegetarian main dish, increase the quantity. Reheats well, too.
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 inch cinnamon sticks
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2-1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1. In large saucepan over medium heat, heat cumin seeds, bay leaf and cinnamon until very fragrant, swirling around to prevent burning.
2. Add ginger and garlic, cooking until the smell of those fills the air, then add onions.
3. Saute onions, stirring frequently, and adding drops of water to prevent sticking, until they are translucent.
4. Add the tomatoes, coriander, turmeric, salt, and cayenne.
5. Check for seasoning, adding more as you prefer.
6. Bring to a boil.
7. Add garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cover, and reduce heat.
8. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.
9. Stir in garam masala and lemon juice just before serving.
10. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro if you desire.
11. Serve with rice, or Indian breads or pitas (breads are best warmed on a hot griddle).
i make italian sausage soup with lots of different beans and freeze portions for us.... when i reheat it, I then add cheese tortolini for more substance...but it is good even with out the pasts
my grandma's sweet chili
chicken/black bean enchiladas
I find that nearly everything freezes well. For your "party of two", get small gratin dishes (I like oval Apilco dishes) and line them with non-stick foil. When you make mac & cheese, any chicken dish, etc., 3x it (or more).
Place your food into your lined gratin pan; cool to room temp, cover and freeze. After frozen, remove the foil and place food into freezer bags (or seal), marking the name, date, and how to bake/reheat. These are easy to stack "bricks" of food, which take little room in the freezer.
Meatloaf freezes beautifully. I like to make small, flat-ish loaves (for more topping coverage); cover & freeze. Then wrap and stack as mentioned above.
You can freeze soups in 16 oz. hot/cold cups sold at Costco for convenient storage and reheating.