HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Comfort food that freezes well

My 65 year-old mom is getting hand surgery soon and won't be able to cook for quite some time. My dad's skill set is limited to grilling and I would love to prepare them a couple weeks worth of food that they can thaw and reheat. They have no food allergies, although my mom can't tolerate much heat (spice). They are folks who love soups, pastas, enchiladas, casseroles, etc. I am a decent cook but would love to be inspired by new recipes. Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Lasagna freezes well. I'm pretty sure I've frozen Beef Bourguignon and was happy with it. Ina's is delicious.

    I would strongly suggest that you freeze individual portions. Much quicker to reheat and will be easier for your mom to handle.

    1. Mac and cheese, lasagna, beef stew, stuffed shells/manicotti, meatloaf, primavera sauce, vodka sauce, pomodoro sauce, etc.

      1. What about just some already cooked chicken breasts? Then they can use them in a variety of ways for some quick meals... sandwiches, salads etc.

        1. I had a recipe once for freezer chicken pot pies. I made them for a friend who was having a baby and they raved about them. I can look it up for you if you like.

          Just about any roasted meat freezes well. I have done: roast pork, ham, roast beef, carnitas, leg of lamb, pot roast.

          Also meatloaf, meatballs in sauce and chilis freeze very well also.

          1. Do you live near a Trader Joe's per chance?, their frozen food section is pretty cool - they have a lot of stuff you wouldn't typically see at most grocery stores. It's cool for inspiration too at least, even if you don't live near one and/or would prefer to make them yourself.

            1. Not to state the obvious, but you really can't go wrong with lasagnas, vegetable soup or chicken soup or a hearty tomato rice soup, beef stew, stuffed cabbage, a quiche, muffins or breads - anything like that will defrost like a charm

              1 Reply
              1. re: ahuva

                Freezing stuffed cabbage.. great idea ahuva! I don't know why I've never thought of that before.
                Though I've never tried it, I've seen recipes for a layered cabbage casserole.. same ingredients, but fixed up lasagna-style. Seems like a nice way to cut down on prep time.

              2. This isn't quite thaw and reheat, but when I had ankle surgery, I froze several bags of ingredients for different soups that I could cook in the slow cooker. Added most everything but the liquid, then wrote instructions on the bags like "add one carton chicken broth and cook for 8 hours on low". Still super quick and easy to prepare and a bit 'fresher' tasting than completely frozen meals.

                1. There are lots of great suggestions on this thread! May I suggest that when you are preparing whatever you choose, that you separate to individual portions for freezing?

                  My favorite things to freeze are: (individual) chicken pot pie, short rib ravioli, various soups, small portions of cooked sausage and pulled pork, shepherds' pie, pasta with cheese sauce, stir fry (blanch and shock the veg).

                  1. This one freezes well and makes a huge batch.

                    Three or Four bean Casserole

                    1 large can pork & beans
                    1 can butter beans
                    1 can kidney beans
                    1 can chili beans with sauce

                    1/2 lb hamburger
                    1/4 lb bacon (or 1/3 jar cooked bacon bits)
                    1/4 cup onion
                    1 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring (optional)

                    BBQ sauce – version 1
                    1/2 cup brown sugar
                    1/2 cup ketchup
                    1 tsp prepared mustard or 2 tsp dry mustard
                    2 Tablespoon vinegar

                    BBQ sauce version 2
                    1 Tablespoon molasses
                    1/2 cup prepared BBQ sauce
                    2 tsp dry mustard

                    Brown hamburger, onion & bacon. Drain excess grease. Add all ingredients (choose one version of the BBQ sauce) & simmer until blended (30 minutes or keep warm in slow cooker or bake ). Great served with biscuits or corn bread.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Lots of great ideas. Also up thread was a suggestion for Trader Joe's. If you have access they have a selection of sides that are quite good if you have the basic chili or meat balls available. I try to keep the following in our freezer as they serve two and cook in a microwave in minutes. Organic Jasmine rice, Joe's Diner Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese, Fire Roasted red peppers and onions (these are already cooked), petit peas, white corn, Biryani Rice and veg mixture and our latest are the veggie goyzas. Great with soup.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Berheenia

                        That Biryani Rice & Veg is, however, quite spicy. You'll want to sample any of these before gifting them to your mom.

                        1. re: MidwesternerTT

                          Have you tried both kinds? my not too spicy yankee husband who is her mother's age loves it. It's just a mild curry powder.

                          1. re: Berheenia

                            I'm giving up on TJ, except for cookies. Many Hounds on this board seem to love it, but I've been disappointed by pretty much everything else I've tried -- frozen foods, frozen veggies, OJ, naan, spice mixes, cornbread mix, granola/cereal, crackers, chips, specialty cheeses.

                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                              Don't feel bad..... I don't like their baked goods, especially... Always go moldy on me.

                              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                Sorry to hear that. I usually doctor the cornbread and the vanilla cake mixes and they are quite good. But I'm not a real baker so that may be why we are happy with them.
                                I see you made your cowboy beans yesterday on the WFD thread. I wished I was there!

                        2. Are you looking for side dishes as well as main dishes? You may find it helpful to search OAMC (once a month cooking). Here is a good link for freezable side dishes:

                          Also, you could make hamburger patties and freeze them individually. Your father could thaw however many patties he needs for the grill for a night.. cuts down on the prep time for him so he can have a little break too!

                          1. Stuffed peppers is my favorite, just pop in microwave.

                            1. Thank you to all for the great ideas! Looking more toward the main courses and one dish kind of meals to make things as simple as possible.

                              1. Chicken Tetrazzini freezes and reheats well. I use Giada's recipe and it is scrumptious!!


                                1. This enchilada pasta casserole is a favorite at our house. http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/2012/0... I've never tried freezing it but I don't see why it wouldn't work. It's definitely good reheated the next day, almost better than on the first day.

                                  3 Replies
                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                      Yes, I have added this to my list as well. Interesting twist on a casserole!

                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                        Oh that looks like a keeper, thanks for sharing it, JJ!