Freezables/DIY TV dinners

scrillsscrills Registered Users Posts: 6,700
I have been so busy lately and eating so much fast food, that I want to come up with some meals that I can make myself, freeze individual portions and then pop in the microwave when i get home. I'm going to go the restaurant supply store and get some containers.

I think I'm going to do each item as an individual package so that I can keep mixing it up. you know, grab a starch, a veg and a meat.

What foods freeze well?

Comments

  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Registered Users Posts: 17,898 Curl Virtuoso
    Tomato-based spaghetti sauce, meatballs, lasagna, beans, lentil-based and pureed vegetable-based soups. Also bread freezes pretty well and defrosts fast.

  • MunchyMunchy Registered Users Posts: 5,206 Curl Novice
    I like to cook and freeze dishes. To start, pick a one pot meal - stew, chili, curries, or soup (easiest to get the hang of) - cook, cool, portion into individual containers, and freeze. Sauces like marinara, enchilada sauce, or BBQ sauce can be frozen the same way.

    You can also freeze things like meatballs, homemade burritos, breakfast sandwiches, nuggets, taquitos, mini-pot pies, stuffed peppers, or mini-meatloves by cooking, cooling, freezing on a baking sheet (flash freeze) then transferring the frozen items into a freezer bag. The baking sheet keeps them from freezing together so you can take out as many or as few as you want to eat at that time.

    Casseroles can be frozen for a few hours until semi solid, then cut into portions and you can put the portioned squares into a freezer bag to take out one serving at a time.

    Batch/freezer cooking has been my savior. details here. I've done it for about 8 years and I'll never look back. I cook VERY rarely during the week. Occasionally I cook something that isn't freezer friendly - like stuffed zucchini boats - at night after eating dinner so that we can just pop it in the oven the following day.

    You can also prep crockpot meals at one time so that you can easily throw them into a crockpot in the morning with no prep like this.

    I pretty much make a breakfast frittata/crustless quiche and keep it in the fridge to heat up one piece every morning, then I grab one of my frozen portions of food and I pack it in my lunch bag. Sometimes I make a salad or grab something leftover instead, but at least 3 out of 5 workdays are usually something from my freezer.

    You can also freeze chopped cooked chicken or steak, or ground meat in portions, rice, cauliflower rice, and pasta - flash freeze the latter.

    We use components of freezer meals (like making pita pizzas with marinara that was pre-cooked), or having zoodles or pasta with meatballs (precooked), or cooking rice to go along with dal (precooked), or putting toppings on chili (precooked), etc so that dinners are easy. I admit that now that I'm no longer a single mother, we tend to eat more meat plus veg (and sometimes starch) meals.

  • scrillsscrills Registered Users Posts: 6,700
    the crockpot thing never worked for me. I still use, them but usually on the weekend. I prefer to do maybe a pork roast because I HATTTTTTE how soft the chicken is my the time I get home

    What about veggies? I can do cabbage or broccoli? squash?
  • MunchyMunchy Registered Users Posts: 5,206 Curl Novice
    scrills wrote: »
    the crockpot thing never worked for me. I still use, them but usually on the weekend. I prefer to do maybe a pork roast because I HATTTTTTE how soft the chicken is my the time I get home

    What about veggies? I can do cabbage or broccoli? squash?

    Almost all of my dishes are half non-starchy vegetable, so they're built right in. Literally my meatballs, nuggets, burgers, burritos, etc are 50:50 meat to vegetable, sometimes even 75% veg (like stuffed peppers).

    You can blanch and flash freeze any vegetable you find frozen at the store, too. I also crockpot on weekends and freeze them in portions. Easiest way for me :)

    If I'm willing to put in a tiny amount of effort, I'll just roast some on the weekend and eat over the next 3-4 days.

  • cailincailin Registered Users Posts: 928 Curl Connoisseur
    Munchy, that post you wrtoe on 3fc is to die for! What great ideas! and the other link about cooking once for a month seems do able as well. I'm going to try this this weekend. Too often I buy veggies and they go bad waiting for me to do something with them. Aspirational veggies is what I call them.
  • CurlyCanadianCurlyCanadian Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 10,904 Curl Connoisseur
    Munchy.....you should have a career in meal prep!
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  • wavypenwavypen Registered Users Posts: 253 Curl Neophyte
    Does anyone know the secret to freezing things like potatoes that are cooked in a stew so they don't come out with weird gross texture problems?
  • MunchyMunchy Registered Users Posts: 5,206 Curl Novice
    Ha, I've been meal prepping for A LONG time. When my daughter started solids I also was working really long hours, so I figured if I could make and freeze her baby food, I could do it for myself. I just kept going and now 7 years later, we're still doing it.

    I don't ever have a problem with potato texture as long as it's in some kind of juice (like stew) or par boiled and flash frozen (like frozen fries or hash brown potatoes).

    Last night I made an awesome buffalo chicken soup with a puree of cauliflower/broth to make it thick like a chowder. The one thing that annoys me is when I pre-make labels for my foods and somehow end up with more servings than I intended. My calorie counts get thrown off. It was supposed to be 6 servings and ended up 9 GIGANTIC servings. I never learn, though!

  • cailincailin Registered Users Posts: 928 Curl Connoisseur
    Munchy, when you add veggies to something (meatloaf; meatballs etc) do you use a 1:1? Meat: veggies?
  • MunchyMunchy Registered Users Posts: 5,206 Curl Novice
    cailin wrote: »
    Munchy, when you add veggies to something (meatloaf; meatballs etc) do you use a 1:1? Meat: veggies?

    Pretty much, but I vary the vegetables. The total would be around 1:1. I have a few recipes in the first post of things that I make a lot.

    I regularly add finely chopped mushroom and spinach to turkey burgers, or just stick with shredded zucchini and a little bit of minced garlic.

    Or with meatballs, I usually do spinach or shredded zucchini, and with nuggets I do shredded zucchini or yellow squash.

    Cauliflower cheese sauce is obviously just cauliflower based, lol.

    For meatloaf I almost always follow this recipe: meatloaf but I cut the breadcrumb down to about 1/4 cup and I add more veggies. I usually swap the celery for spinach and add in mushrooms.

    I basically just take any recipe and see where I can remove most of the starch (if possible) and/or add in A LOT of vegetables.

    Enchilada stuffed peppers are one of my favorites and they freeze well. I look for recipes with more vegetables than anything else, and this one is stuffed with, mushroom, zucchini, and cauliflower. It's already in a pepper!

    I also use my spiralizer a lot - maybe a few times a week. If my base is vegetables instead of noodles or rice, that opens up a lot more entrees and gives me and my family a lot more nutrition. Inspiralized.com
    Ali is a GENIUS. She cooks exactly like how I cook, but she has a lot more ideas

    It's called "volumetric" eating.

  • SereneCurlsSereneCurls Registered Users Posts: 1,145 Curl Neophyte
    This thread is awesome. We've been batch cooking a lot this summer, and loving it for the most part. I find we've been freezing portions that are too large though, and trying to cut up a block of frozen casserole is really annoying. I'll definitely be trying some of these out.


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  • rouquinnerouquinne Registered Users Posts: 13,737 Curl Connoisseur
    thanks for the great tips, Munchy! i am giving serious thought to buying a chest freezer and doing this - even though it's just for me.

    :D
    My blog:

    http://labellatestarossa.blogspot.ca/

    Little Mother of all the Roaches, President-for-Life of the MAC Harlots!
  • MunchyMunchy Registered Users Posts: 5,206 Curl Novice
    rouquinne wrote: »
    thanks for the great tips, Munchy! i am giving serious thought to buying a chest freezer and doing this - even though it's just for me.

    :D

    My parents got us a stand up freezer for my basement for Christmas and I cooked for DAYS to fill it up. Before I had the opportunity to batch cook, I just stared at it longingly more than I should admit. :)

  • wavypenwavypen Registered Users Posts: 253 Curl Neophyte
    Munchy wrote: »
    I don't ever have a problem with potato texture as long as it's in some kind of juice (like stew) or par boiled and flash frozen (like frozen fries or hash brown potatoes).

    I always have problems with them in stews, and the texture I get is really gross and to me inedible. I have one stew I love, but it has to be made in large quantities (for a single person) and even if I eat that all the time I can't finish it myself. Does it depend on the kind of potato used maybe? I know some are starchier than others and maybe that makes a difference? The only way I've been able to successfully freeze potatoes is mashed.
  • rouquinnerouquinne Registered Users Posts: 13,737 Curl Connoisseur
    my mom is very particular about her potatoes, and she'll make soup or stew without them and cook them separately to add to something she's frozen.
    My blog:

    http://labellatestarossa.blogspot.ca/

    Little Mother of all the Roaches, President-for-Life of the MAC Harlots!
  • cailincailin Registered Users Posts: 928 Curl Connoisseur
    I've been cooking all day and I blame you, Munchy. ;-)

    I made two batches of single serve meatloaf. I mixed zucchini and mushrooms in one batch and cauliflower and zucchini in the other.

    I made stuffed peppers, with cauliflower rice and mushrooms mixed in with hamburger.

    Now I have a lighter version of stroganoff on the stove that I'll serve with summer squash zoodles instead of egg noodles.

    Munchy, I think you created a monster.
  • MunchyMunchy Registered Users Posts: 5,206 Curl Novice
    cailin wrote: »
    I've been cooking all day and I blame you, Munchy. ;-)

    I made two batches of single serve meatloaf. I mixed zucchini and mushrooms in one batch and cauliflower and zucchini in the other.

    I made stuffed peppers, with cauliflower rice and mushrooms mixed in with hamburger.

    Now I have a lighter version of stroganoff on the stove that I'll serve with summer squash zoodles instead of egg noodles.

    Munchy, I think you created a monster.

    Haha! It's addictive - everything sounds awesome :)

    Wait until you pull your meals out and you've got a homemade meal in 5 minutes and zero dishes to wash. :love7:

  • MunchyMunchy Registered Users Posts: 5,206 Curl Novice
    wavypen wrote: »
    Munchy wrote: »
    I don't ever have a problem with potato texture as long as it's in some kind of juice (like stew) or par boiled and flash frozen (like frozen fries or hash brown potatoes).

    I always have problems with them in stews, and the texture I get is really gross and to me inedible. I have one stew I love, but it has to be made in large quantities (for a single person) and even if I eat that all the time I can't finish it myself. Does it depend on the kind of potato used maybe? I know some are starchier than others and maybe that makes a difference? The only way I've been able to successfully freeze potatoes is mashed.

    I tend to use radishes instead of potatoes in my stews, but I've never had a problem with red potatoes as long as they're in the stewing liquid. Maybe they're not cut small enough?

  • scrillsscrills Registered Users Posts: 6,700
    I now have

    pulled pork
    Brisket
    baked beans
    parm basil orzo

    in individual containers. There was a party at my house this weekend and I put the leftovers away in single serving sized portions.

    Munchy.... what are you using to mark your items? My containers basically laughed at my sharpie

    Now I want meatloaf ;-)
  • MunchyMunchy Registered Users Posts: 5,206 Curl Novice
    scrills wrote: »
    I now have

    pulled pork
    Brisket
    baked beans
    parm basil orzo

    in individual containers. There was a party at my house this weekend and I put the leftovers away in single serving sized portions.

    Munchy.... what are you using to mark your items? My containers basically laughed at my sharpie

    Now I want meatloaf ;-)

    I use file labels with a sharpie and usually follow up with a little clear tape. For freezer bags, as long as you write on it first, you should be okay to put the food in afterward. I don't think I've ever had it rub off unless I put the food in and then labeled it.

  • jeepcurlygurljeepcurlygurl Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 20,729 Curl Virtuoso
    Even though my new place has a small frig/freezer I still cook and freeze food for lunches and dinners almost every week. Chili, tuna noodles, meatballs and sauce, taquitos, salmon patties, baked fish with a parm pesto nut crust, ham and potato soup, shrimp or chicken fried rice, beef stew, pot roast, goulash, lots of roasted veggies, mushroom soup, greens and beans soup, cabbage rolls, chicken and gravy for over biscuits, shepherd's pie, meatloaf, chicken and stuffing roll ups.
    I make lower carb versions of most everything.
    I also make huge batches of pesto, put it in a pan, freeze, but into cubes, and store in ziploc bags. They keep forever and they always make for a quick meal.

    I use lock n lock containers and use a marker on masking tape.
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