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Healthful meals that freeze well

CoffeeNCookies Aug 24, 2011 03:19 PM

I am a special ed high school teacher, planning on a very busy fall. In addition, my husband has high cholesterol, so we are trying to avoid foods high in sugar, cream, butter, etc. I thought it would be a great idea for me to make some dinners that I can freeze now and reheat as needed. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you!

  1. u
    ultimatepotato Aug 26, 2011 08:44 AM

    If you make the following with lean ground turkey instead of traditional beef, you get some low fat ready meals:

    Chilli - freeze in servings, reheat and eat by itself, with some rice or a jacket potato.

    Bolognese - either freeze the sauce, or make a pan of baked penne, cool, then cut and freeze in servings. You could also make this into a lasagne, using low-fat cottage cheese as your dairy layer.

    I've also made vegetarian lasagnes that freeze well, using squash, mushrooms, eggplant - whatever is in season. Again substituting any heavy dairy layers with low fat cottage cheese and sometimes even low-fat greek yoghurt (Fage 0%).

    I also make a spicy chicken and rice soup in Autumn - when I want to freeze it, I leave out the rice and cook a small amount of either rice or orzo to add when reheating.

    1. natewrites Aug 26, 2011 08:27 AM

      With produce getting ripe, I'd buy a bunch of green/red peppers and stuff them with a combination of things. They freeze well and aren't apt to get freezer burn. You could stuff them with a combination of panko/ground cooked turkey and cottage cheese or ground cooked turkey/onions/garlic/shredded lowfat cheese. Either way, pour tomato sauce over them and bake, then freeze 2 peppers per quart freezer ziplock. I'm a teacher, too, and I always make up a batch of things in late summer and freeze them for nights where I'm too tired to cook fall semester.

      1. o
        odkaty Aug 26, 2011 07:52 AM

        Going off Emme's ratatouille recommendation — I freeze bags of pre-chopped squash and eggplant. Sautee onions, garlic, bell peppers and spices, add the frozen squash and eggplant, a can of tomatoes (or frozen tomato sauce if I have too much) and simmer. That gives me a good 30-40 minutes to work while dinner's cooking.

        1. l
          Luna2372 Aug 25, 2011 11:26 PM

          Now is also the time to freeze fresh fruit and veg. I always cook 4 extra corn and cut the kernels off and freeze them in small bags.

          2 cups of frozen corn in the freezer is a great start to easy pasta, chowder and fritters, also relishes and fritta.

          Peaches cut and frozen are great all winter. Same with blueberries and plums.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Luna2372
            JerryMe Aug 26, 2011 08:02 PM

            Peaches! Plums! Yum! Do you remove the skins first? This is indeed the time of year to freeze the fresh fruits.

          2. Emme Aug 25, 2011 10:59 PM

            Timely inquiry, as I've just spent a fair amount of time cooking for a friend who is trying to lose weight, but doesn't cook and hates vegetables steamed. If any of these interest, I can sketch recipes...

            Salmon Croquettes - almond meal instead of bread crumbs... very easy, fat free except for the heart-healthy omegas in salmon
            Stuffed Zucchini Boats - using veggies and TVP
            Eggplant and Veg et al stackers
            Chicken Fajitas
            Crustless Quiches/Frittatas

            2 Replies
            1. re: Emme
              CoffeeNCookies Aug 25, 2011 11:11 PM

              Thank you so much!!! You are a GREAT friend to help with all that. The dr. recommended a diet high in healthy fats, low in the sat/trans fats, so salmon croquettes sound perfect!!! I'd love that recipe. What is TVP? I think I have just had bad experiences freezing things. I grilled chicken and froze it and it was totally dried out. Maybe I just need to wrap things better.

              1. re: CoffeeNCookies
                Emme Aug 25, 2011 11:30 PM

                Salmon Croquettes - basically a couple of cans of boneless, skinless salmon drained and "shredded," so to speak. I dice and cook (sometime in pan, sometimes lazy in microwave) one - two onions, depending upon size... i like mine onion heavy. Add to salmon, along with chopped parsley (to taste), egg whites (2-4) for a couple of cans, S&P, then just enough almond meal/powder, so they hold together in a loose patty. they'll be wet. then either form into patties and place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350-375 til they're golden 15-20 min usually, but don't overbake or they'll dry out. or pan fry in Pam... brown one side, flip, repeat, voila. great by themselves. or with other veggie stuff. or i make baby ones in my mini mold pans and use as croutons in a creamless creamy cauliflower soup. or a lemon sauce... etc.

                TVP - textured vegetable protein, takes on the flavor of what it's cooked with and resembles ground meat

                yes, wrap well! i'm a fan of double method, or i have good luck with tupperware. or ziplocs.

            2. DuchessNukem Aug 25, 2011 04:53 PM

              Hi coffee'n. :)

              There's many recipes/threads running about with great suggestions. You might want to go to the "Home Cooking" board and page through the threads a bit. Or you could search "freezer meals" "make ahead meals" "casseroles" and similar keywords.

              Don't know how experienced a cook you are, but if you need help modifying a recipe, you can post a thread asking. :)

              1. h
                happybaker Aug 24, 2011 03:23 PM

                Soups, stews and chilis. You can make all of them low-fat, veggie or chicken based, and then freeze in two serving containers. Good luck!

                2 Replies
                1. re: happybaker
                  CoffeeNCookies Aug 25, 2011 04:12 PM

                  Thank you!

                  1. re: happybaker
                    BigSal Aug 26, 2011 08:21 AM

                    I agree with chili. Here's a discussion on Ellie Krieger's Confetti Chili. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/758433

                    It is healthy and tastes great. My husband, not known for his healthy choices, enjoys this quite a bit. We add green onions and cilantro to this too. Great for a quick meal after work or during Sunday football.

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