I’m expecting a baby in February, so one of my goals for January has been to make some freezer meals. I really never do this. I’m super bad at prepping food in advance and having convenient options, and want to get better. I cook from scratch nearly every day which is very time-consuming and overly labor-intensive. But don’t be like me! There is a better way!
The Better Way
If the thought of cooking tons of extra meals to freeze ON TOP of normal daily cooking overwhelms you like it does me, never fear. Over the course of a few weeks, make these recipes for your normal dinners, and double or triple the batch to freeze most of it. This is the most practical way of making freezer meals if you don’t want to set aside a whole day to cook. Although, cooking as a family or with friends for a few hours one day to stock your freezer can also be really fun and gratifying.
Here are the recipes I have made or hope to make this month to freeze. My husband has a month of paternity leave (so very grateful for that!) so I chose things that he can basically just pull out of the freezer and heat up. He’s the first to admit that his cooking expertise doesn’t go much beyond spaghetti noodles with hot sauce– his college staple. You might be able to conclude why it’s always while we’re eating a home-cooked dinner that he says, “marrying you was the best decision I ever made.”
Double the recipe, and eat half of it for dinner, or divide into two gallon bags to freeze. To serve, simply pull it out of the freezer in the morning and once it has thawed enough to slip out of the bag, dump it into a pot and heat on low until heated through. You may want to add more water since it thickens up after being frozen. Albeit simple, this is soup-er delicious.
Prepare this delicious taco filling and freeze it in a bag or container. Thaw for several hours on the counter, then heat up in a skillet or even in small portions in the microwave. Serve on corn tortillas for tacos, or put it on nachos, with rice for a burrito bowl, or make a taco salad with it. You’ll love it!
The instructions to freeze these are right in the blog post. It doesn’t get much more delicious and convenient than a microwavable freezer burrito! These get rave reviews from my family and friends.
Make a double batch, and freeze half of it for later. To serve, run the container under hot water long enough for it to slip out into a crock pot or a pot on the stove, and heat through. In a crock pot, I would estimate at least 2 hours. Serve on whole grain buns with extra BBQ sauce or ketchup.
Dump all the ingredients into a freezer bag or container, and freeze. When ready to eat, dump into an Instant Pot for 30 minutes. Or, cook in a slow cooker on high for 6-8 hours.
Altheratively, you can cook this fully, and then freeze into individual portions or a large container. Let thaw slightly on the counter, then heat in a pot on the stove, instant pot, or crock pot until hot.
Sweet Potato Peanut Stew from Pinch of Yum
This one goes straight from freezer to 8 minutes in the Instant Pot (or 3 hours in slow cooker). If you’ve never scooped peanut butter into a pot of spicy soup, you’re missing out! It’s so yummy and full of flavor.
Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas from Pinch of Yum
As any plant-based eater would say, you can’t go wrong with chickpeas! This one also goes straght from freezer to Instant Pot for those days when you forget to pull a meal out hours in advance. We’ve made this recently and ate it with quinoa, and it was very delicious.
Freezer Vegan Fajitas from Damn Delicious
It doesn’t get much easier than this one! I always try to have avocado with fajitas, and/or put some fat-free refried beans in the tortilla with the veggies. So fast and easy. Man, I could eat that kind of food every day.
Best Vegan Lasagna from Hummusapien
This is our favorite lasagna recipe! We’ve made it many times. I’ve never frozen it, but comments say that it freezes well. I plan to make a double recipe, and bake one for dinner, and freeze one to bake later. I’ve done this with traditional lasagna in the past and it works very well, as long as you boil the lasagna noodles prior to freezing. You can use whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles, homemade or oil-free hummus, and skip the oil to keep it 100% WFPB. Very good!
Freeze a pan of this, and don’t bake it. Cover with foil and freeze up to two months. When ready to eat, bake at 350 for an hour. I haven’t personally tried this yet, but my research indicates it will freeze and bake well.
Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas by the Garden Grazer
This is a recipe I often make when I have guests over for dinner, because you’d never miss the meat or cheese (I skip the vegan cheese in the recipe). You can follow the freezer directions in the recipe, or just freeze the sauce to make for a quick batch of enchiladas in the future. The homemade sauce is incredible!
All of these are fun little snacks and treats to pull out and microwave for 15-20 seconds.
Having some frozen healthy snacks and breakfasts can be a game-changer when you haven’t been to the grocery store in a while or need something fast. These cookies are perfect to pull out one or two at a time to microwave for 15 seconds, or just leave on the counter for less than an hour, and enjoy.
More snacks. When you have a nursing mom and a toddler in the house, you need LOTS of snacks.
These fluffy, pumpkin spice muffins are also great to pull of the freezer for breakfasts or snacks. So very scrumptious, and they make your kitchen smell incredible while they bake. No need to wait until October for pumpkin season. In my opinion, these are perfect all year ’round.
Containers to use and Other Tips
Depending on how environment-friendly you like to be, there are several options. I like to freeze things in glass containers, tupperware, or mason jars. Just make sure to leave about an inch of space at the top to allow for the expansion when freezing.
These re-usable silicon bags are great and have made it possible for me to stop buying Ziploc bags.
In general, all soups, chilies, bean dishes, veggie burgers, burritos, and breads freeze well.
Besides freezer meals, freezing individual componenets of a meal is very handy. Individual portions of cooked rice or quinoa, chopped vegetables, cooked legumes, sauces.
What are your favorite foods to freeze?