12 Healthy Freezer Meals to Always Have on Hand

We’ve all been there. Abruptly, it’s 5:30 within the night and there’s no plan for dinner. You’re hangry, your youngsters are hangry, and the fridge is operating low. What stays falls quick: just a few eggs, a slew of condiments, and a forgotten bag of carrots. The considered choosing aside the pantry—and scrounging up bits from the crisper—feels daunting. Quite than slave away within the kitchen, you Postmates the closest taco joint. An hour later, everyone seems to be well-fed and completely satisfied. BUT… you place a dent into your weekly meals price range and your newest well being objective. The answer? Wholesome freezer meals. Whether or not you’re a brand new mother, work a demanding schedule, or just need to set your self up for achievement, freezer meals are it. They’re the reward that retains on giving (or so I’m satisfied). At the moment, I’m breaking down one of the best storage ideas, what does—and doesn’t—freeze properly, and one of the best wholesome freezer recipes. 

Function picture by Michelle Nash.

Are Freezer Meals Well worth the Effort?

Let’s begin right here: Are wholesome freezer meals definitely worth the hype? Sure, they undoubtedly are. As a mother of a toddler, after I want a fast, wholesome dinner on the desk, freezer meals are my go-to. And I’m not speaking about store-bought frozen dinners (though there’s a time and place for these). These are nutritious meals I make, label, and freeze myself. Saved and reheated the correct method, these freezer meals are simply as flavorful because the day they had been made. And having just a few of them available may also help conquer any craving. From soups to lasagna, making a scrumptious, wholesome dinner is so simple as heating one up.

Advantages of Freezer Meals

Once you’re deep within the throws of constructing wholesome freezer meals, it could not seem to be you’re saving time. However I promise, it’ll make sense as soon as the preliminary work is finished. You’ll be shuffling your youngsters residence from observe, and inside half-hour of strolling within the door, you’ll have a home-cooked meal on the desk. Not solely are you saving time (and your sanity!), however you’re saving cash, too. Everyone knows that purchasing in bulk is best on your pockets. It can save you tons of of {dollars} by shopping for and cooking in bulk. Once you cook dinner in bulk, you have got extra meals to freeze. It’s a win-win. Lastly, it’s a possibility to get along with household or associates. Throw collectively an iced espresso bar, flip in your favourite cooking playlist, after which it’s all fingers on deck.

What Meals Freeze Properly?

All of those on a regular basis components will freeze properly:

  • Meat, poultry, and seafood (3-6 months).
  • Virtually all produce might be frozen (3-6 months). For herbs, freeze them in water (or oil) for use in cooked dishes or dressings. For garlic, freeze minced garlic (or peeled cloves) in oil. I like to make use of an ice dice tray for freezing each herbs and garlic. For bananas, be sure you peel them first.
  • Dairy. Butter and margarine might be frozen for 3 months. Grated cheese, like parmesan, might be frozen for as much as 4 months and can be utilized straight from the freezer. Milk might be frozen for 1 month.
  • Most bread and bagels, besides crusty varieties (i.e. French bread), will freeze properly for as much as 3 months. Scorching tip: ensure your bread is sliced earlier than freezing it. You may toast bread straight from the freezer.
  • Uncooked pastry dough will freeze for as much as 6 months and takes an hour to thaw.
  • Sauces, like pesto and tomato sauce, freeze very properly.
  • Inventory. Veggie and animal-based inventory freezes superbly. Freeze in freezer luggage or ice dice trays.

When it comes to recipes particularly, you'll be able to freeze all the pieces from lasagna and soups, to stews, chilis, pot pies, and breakfast burritos. 

Au Contraire—What To not Freeze

Whereas there are many particular person components you'll be able to freeze, some meals merely aren’t freezer-friendly. For instance:

  • Veggies with a excessive water content material, like lettuce, radishes, and cucumbers.
  • Egg and milk-based sauces, like mayonnaise and bitter cream (they’ll separate and curdle).
  • Talking of eggs, whereas a frittata freezes very properly, hard-boiled eggs don’t (they’ll get rubbery).
  • Mushy herbs, like basil and chives are advantageous for incorporating into dishes, however not for garnishes.

The way to Label Meals for the Freezer

Now that you realize what does (and doesn’t) freeze properly, let’s speak about labeling. Labeling is vital, as you don’t need to mistake your spicy tomato sauce for creamy tomato soup. Start by labeling your ziplock luggage or tupperware utilizing painter’s tape and a Sharpie. It’s finest to do that earlier than you’ve put any meals in your containers. When it comes to what to label, comply with this mannequin: Identify, date, serving directions. For instance, “Black Bean Chili, 3/2/2022, reheat in a pot on the range.” Correct labeling will enable you keep away from confusion, remind you whenever you made it, and supply fast directions for reheating.

Freezer Meal Starter Pack

Excellent news—you don’t want a lot! Glass (or BPA-free) tupperware, silicone ice cube trays, gallon storage bags (or environmentally-friendly bags), painter’s tape, and a Sharpie. You can even use a mixture of parchment paper and aluminum foil to wrap sure meals, like burritos.

6 Meals Freezing Suggestions

No matter your freezer measurement, use these ideas for profitable freezing:

  1. Label. Put the recipe’s title, date, and re-heating directions on the container. As talked about, that is key.
  2. Final in, final out. Put the latest freezer meal(s) behind your freezer. This manner, you’re extra prone to eat what’s on the entrance of your freezer. These are the meals that can expire sooner, sooner.
  3. Cool meals earlier than you freeze them. They don’t need to be utterly chilly, however freezing sizzling meals will enhance the temperature of your freezer.
  4. Wrap correctly. Be sure that your meals are sealed correctly to stop freezer-burn.
  5. Think about parts. Slice or pre-portion sure recipes so that you simply don’t need to defrost an eight-person chili in the event you’re solely feeding 4 folks.
  6. When unsure, throw it out (or compost!). Opposite to what most individuals assume, freezing doesn’t kill micro organism. Should you’re uncertain of how lengthy a recipe has been frozen, no must take probabilities. On that be aware, it’s not essentially useful to freeze previous meals. The purpose of freezing is to maintain meals at its prime.

Preserve scrolling for 12 of my favourite wholesome freezer meals that make weeknights a breeze.

Skillet Eggplant Lasagna

Loaded with veggies, this Skillet Eggplant Lasagna is a comfortable, one-pot dinner for cold nights. It’s a less complicated, lighter technique to get pleasure from all of the scrumptious flavors of the basic.

Get the recipe for Skillet Eggplant Lasagna.

Vegan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Who doesn’t need to dive right into a bowl of Vegan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese? This recipe is so creamy, tacky, heat and comforting—you gained’t understand it’s vegan. Constituted of a velvety vegan cauliflower cheese sauce, this dish freezes superbly.

Get the recipe for Vegan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.

Crispy Falafel by Cookie + Kate

Baked as a substitute of fried, this Crispy Falafel recipe is scrumptious, flavorful, and gained’t take up a lot storage in your freezer. Shortly earlier than you’re able to serve dinner, pop the falafels again within the oven, and create an meeting line of store-bought pita, hummus, leafy greens, a jar of olives, a container of feta, and sliced cucumber.

Get the recipe for Crispy Falafel.

Turkey Meatballs by Downshiftology

Neglect the pre-made frozen turkey meatballs. These Turkey Meatballs are really one of the best. They’re garlicky, herby, and simmered in a heavenly maple mustard sauce for a soon-to-be favourite weeknight dinner.

Get the recipe for Turkey Meatballs.

Vegetarian Sheet Pan Curry

This Vegetarian Sheet Pan Curry with cauliflower and kale options one superb hack—rice that cooks on the sheet pan together with the veggies! As soon as it’s cooled, toss it into tupperware for weeknight curry.

Get the recipe for Vegetarian Sheet Pan Curry.

Vegetarian Enchiladas by Love & Lemons

Nothing like straight-from-the-oven, piping sizzling enchiladas. These Vegetarian Enchiladas get their filling from a candy and spicy mixture of butternut squash, black beans, and scallions. Freeze, reheat, and prime with sliced jalapeños and guacamole.

Get the recipe for Vegetarian Enchiladas.

Rooster and Rice Soup

Whether or not you’re seeking to enhance your immune system, or just have leftover rooster and don’t know what to make, that is your reply. As soon as thawed from the freezer, prime with lime, avocado, and contemporary herbs—you’d by no means understand it was beforehand frozen.

Get the recipe for Rooster and Rice Soup.

Detox Lentil Soup by Pinch of Yum

Detox Crockpot Lentil Soup is a clear and easy soup made with onions, garlic, carrots, olive oil, squash, and protein-packed lentils. It’s tremendous wholesome and simple to make. As soon as thawed, pair it with crusty bread and shaved parm.

Get the recipe for Detox Lentil Soup.

Candy Potato and Black Bean Chili

This Candy Potato and Black Bean Chili is full of hearty black beans, flavorful veggies, and a great deal of spices (plus, all these toppings) so nobody will miss the meat. It’s the proper freezer meal for a brand new mother, too!

Get the recipe Candy Potato and Black Bean Chili.

Rooster Tuscan Pasta Bake by Rachel Cooks

Creamy, flavorful, and wholesome, this Rooster Tuscan Pasta Bake is ideal to eat instantly or to prep forward and freeze for one more day. Nice for sharing with folks in want of a home-cooked meal, too.

Get the recipe for Chicken Tuscan Pasta.

One-Bowl Morning Glory Muffins

Whereas most freezer meals deal with lunch and dinner, undoubtedly don’t neglect about breakfast! These simple, wholesome One-Bowl Morning Glory Muffins are simply that—superb. For busy mornings, seize a few these from the freezer.

Get the recipe for One-Bowl Morning Glory Muffins.

Healthy Freezer Breakfast Burritos by Slender Kitchen

These Healthy Freezer Burritos are packed with scrambled eggs, black beans, pepper, onions, and cheese. They make the best savory meal-prepped breakfast.

Get the recipe for Healthy Freezer Breakfast Burritos.

Do you have got just a few favourite wholesome freezer meals? Share within the feedback!

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