Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats: 8 Easy Meals to Keep in Your Freezer

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

8 Easy Meals to Keep in Your Freezer

I often get asked what freezer meals or food items I keep on hand for those crazy nights when I either a) have nothing ready or prepared or b) I'm lazy.

Here are my Top 8!

And I'm curious what are your Top 8?

1.  Shredded Chicken

Whether its buying a rotisserie chicken or cooking up a large batch of chicken breasts when they go on sale, shredded chicken is super simple to keep on hand for easy dinners.  When the chicken is already shredded, it simply requires a bit of defrosting to make an easy meal.

I will use shredded chicken for taco salads, toppings on pizza {buffalo chicken is our favorite}, chicken salad and even to throw in a quick taco or chicken noodle soup.

2.  Pre-made Taco Meat

Ground beef goes on sale?  Cook up a large batch, add in some salsa, chili powder and cumin and you have instant taco meat.  As you might imagine I am NOT a fan of pre-packaged taco seasoning.  I don't like the taste and it is not good for you.  Have you checked out the ingredients?

Set this pre-made taco meat out to thaw during the day and its tacos that later that night for dinner.  Or if you really want to impress the kids and give them a bit of a treat, make walking tacos {small crushed bags of Doritos or Fritos, split open the side, add in the meat and toppings}.

3.  Soups

When making soup in the winter, make an extra batch.  Eat one that night and freeze the other batch for a few weeks out.  It may require a bit more work that day, but trust me you'll appreciate it later.

Some of our favorites to freeze are creamy chicken and wild rice soup and chili.



4.  Homemade Waffles, Pancakes and French Toast

If you have kids then I'm sure you know that most love waffles, pancakes and french toast. In fact, it might be their favorite breakfast - it sure is in my house!

When making a batch.....you know the rule - double it.  Eat the first batch and throw the double batch in the freezer.  If you want to make sure all items freeze separately and do not stick together, freeze them individually on cookie sheets, then place them in plastic baggies. These will stay fresh for a few months and are easy to pull out on busy mornings, pop in the toaster or microwave and have breakfast ready in less than 5 minutes.

5.  Casseroles & Main Dishes

In the winter there is nothing better than a hearty casserole.  One that takes care of your meat, veggie and starch all in one dish.  Perfect in my opinion!

Some of our family favorites to freeze are: Chicken Pesto Penne, Chicken Pesto Meatballs, Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork and Firecracker Sloppy Joes.



6.  Homemade Frozen Pizzas

Yes, you can make your own frozen pizzas!  I explain the steps here.  It is really quite easy and in my opinion taste better than most frozen pizzas and of course have better ingredients!

These are also great to make for new moms and busy families if you are feeling generous. They will appreciate it and you will feel good about doing it.

7.  Flash Frozen Produce

When produce is in season - buy it.  Buy a LOT of it.  Then come home and prepare it for the freezer.  I do this each year with fresh sweet corn.  You can find my tutorial here.

This can also be done with green beans, peas, peppers, onions, etc.  That way when the dead of winter hits you can walk over to your deep freeze and find veggies that you know were picked fresh.  Better than eating ones out of the grocery store that have traveled thousands of miles, right?



8.  Leftovers

I really didn't put leftovers at #8 just because I couldn't think of an 8th freezer meal.  Trust me, I didn't.

Don't throw leftovers away!  Have leftover chili?  Throw it in the freezer and the next week make it into cheesy chili mac.  Leftover roasted veggies?  Throw them in the freezer and later defrost to layer into homemade lasagna.

But here is the key - label everything.  If you don't label an item it WILL become that mystery frozen bag in your freezer.  Better yet, keep a running list on your fridge of what is actually IN your freezer.  Then cross the items off as you use them.

So what do you think of my Top 8?

Is there anything your family does that should be included?

1 comment:

  1. Steph@Been There Baked ThatSeptember 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Absolutely love this post Ally! I try to have pretty much the same things you listed in our freezer, I loved making up batches of apple crisp and pies last fall for the freezer. While we had no intentions of eating all of them ourselves, it was so nice to pull one out when we needed to take a dessert somewhere or just to bake during nap time and sending them home with the daycare families.

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