Monday, December 31, 2007

Freezer Ideas?

Knowing that the next month or two are going to be busy with a new baby in the house or me being on bed rest - I've been trying to think of meals I can make ahead and put in the freezer.

I've already made Broccoli Chicken Lasagna and two Chicken Pot Pies. So, I'm wondering what tried and true recipes you've put in the freezer that I might consider trying as well. I don't care for tomatoes, so that limits lots of options ~ with that in mind - what do you make ahead and put in your freezer? Thanks for any ideas!

33 comments:

EdibleEducation said...

One thing I like to always keep in my freezer are meatballs. Any recipe will pretty much freeze ok. I just use a simple one from Betty Crocker's Cookbook.

I make a huge batch at one time...making the meatballs really small. I bake them in the oven - let them cool down a bit before putting them in the fridge and once all the way cold - I freeze them.

I place as many mini meatballs in freezer bag that I think we will use at one time.

I just take the meatballs out either the morning of the day I will need them, or I unthaw them in the microwave.

I know you mentioned you don't like tomatoes - so I don't know if that rules out spaghetti and meatballs or not...but that obviously is one way I use mine.

I also serve the meatballs by adding them to beef gravy or leaving them plain for the children sometimes (for little children you can use them as mini hamburgers).

Anonymous said...

A lot of the time, when I made dinner, I'll make a little extra and freeze that. Then over time, I will have enough frozen dinners to allow myself to stay home on food shopping day. This comes in very handy when money is tight or snow it too high to drive anywhere. I live in NH so we get lots of snow and so eating out of the freezer is great in the winter. When I do stock up of food, I'll stock up on meats. Any of the them can go into a crock pot and cook all day. So you can rest. Lynn Marie

stephanie said...

I freeze soup all the time. Every time I make it, I double it and pop half (or more!) into the freezer in ziplocs. I also have recipes for several breakfast cassaroles you can freeze.

angela said...

I love to have food in the freezer. Some of our favorites are salmon patties, meatballs, chicken rice casserole, meatloaf pie, & stuffed shells. Chili freezes pretty well too.
Angela
Towanda, PA

angela said...

Oh, I almost forgot, chicken & gravy freezes well too. You can pull it out to use with bread as hot sandwiches, biscuits or in a pot pie.
Angela
Towanda, PA

Jthemilker said...

I freeze soup too. It's easy to make extra and easy to re-heat. Also check out http://mrspear.blogspot.com She has published an entire series on freezer meals with lots of instruction and explanation.

Katy said...

Freezing vegetable beef soup (homemade is the best!) is so easy to heat up and eat! I don't usually freeze too much though. Sorry i am not more help!! Best of luck with it!

Frances said...

My suggestion depends on whether or not you like barbecue sauce, but we regularly make big batches of pulled pork in the crock pot (just cook the roast all day, de-fat and pull apart with forks, and then mix in BBQ sauce). It freezes well for sandwiches in the future!

Anonymous said...

Poppy seed chicken! It freezes well and is kid-friendly. Here is a link:
http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1578351

You can prepare it through step 2, wrap, and freeze. When you are ready to use it, thaw it in the fridge overnight and proceed with the baking directions.

I also like to cook boneless/skinless chicken breasts in my crockpot, shred, bag, and freeze into meal-sized portions. You can pull a bag out as needed for chicken tacos, soup, a casserole, etc., and the majority of the work is already done.

Michelle

melissa said...

sloppy joes with a package of hamburger (or hot dog) buns.

Rebecca said...

Monica, I have a whole Word file of freezer recipes I can email you. If you're interested, send me a message !

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Anna's Roasted Sausage and Vegetable Pasta. Make the full amount and half the pasta. Freeze half the vegetables and eat half for dinner. Then, when you pull it out of the freezer, make some more pasta and there you have it. Very easy and yummy.

Like everyone else, I also enjoy freezing soup. So easy! And pop a loaf of bread in the freezer to have with it. Just let it thaw on the counter wrapped so it doesn't get soggy. One of my favorites is Chicken Adobo Soup.

Tamara said...

Shepherd's pie (ground beef and veggies topped with mashed potatoes & cheese), King Ranch Casserole, and chicken spaghetti are great freezer meals. You can also freeze barbecued brisket.

schatzila said...

Chicken Divine is something I have in the freezer all the time...it is just a layer of rice on the bototm....meat then more over gravy...add any steamed veggies and top with my sauce for curried cauliflower....I made three batches using our leftover turkey....but you can use, chicken, beef, pork...our favourite is turkey and chicken...my African children sing and dance when i serve that...send me a note if you would like my sauce recipe.

schatzila said...

I guess I should check spelling before sending....meant to say rice on the bottom....and then your cooked meat...pour gravy over top of meat and rice.....

Sorry about that.

Amy said...

You can freeze homemade pizza dough. Make and freeze some Oreo truffles. I couldn't get enough of them after I had my second baby. http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf/recipes/recipedetail.htm?recipe_id=95085

LinesFromTheVine said...

Meatballs have been a must through my nine pregnancies. I would encourage you to think of brek. and lunch options as well- pre-cut biscuit dough is great for mornings and premade sausage patties make for a quick morning meal. Egg and sausage burritos also reheat nicely.

As for dinner meals, we made lots of meatloaf and soups (cheeseburger soup is one of our favorites!). I actually have a running list on my site at:
http://www.southtek.com/linesfromthevine/postpar.asp?size=1024

The easiest thing is to cook what you normally make doubled and then freeze the extra portions for you to defrost on nights when you need them.

Tracy

Mary Ann said...

Wow! You've already gotten lots of great ideas! Here are a few of my favorite freezer meals-homemade or store-bought pizzas, already cooked ground beef(pull out and use for taco meat or anything you'd like), meatballs, fajita kits(seasoned strips of chicken with favorite veggies in a bag, with a meal-sized amount of tortillas in another bag, some shredded cheese in another baggie , then packaged all together in one large bag-just throw chicken and veggies in a skillet and heat through when you're ready to use it), spaghetti pie, loaves of french bread or English muffins that can easily be made into quick broiled pizzas with cheese, pepperoni and sauce, pre-made pancakes and waffles, burritos, soups, muffins...

MommySecrets said...

What a great discussion! I love to double recipes and freeze meals. Today I'm tripling an easy chili recipe to freeze and share. I think I'll post more recipes on my blog this week!

Super Simple Chili
2 pounds ground beef
1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can corn

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute ground beef until browned. Drain grease, if desired.
2. Add the other ingredients. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Mrs. Pear said...

So funny you should ask, I had worked very hard on a freezer meal series here: http://mrspear.blogspot.com/search/label/freezer%20meals
only to get side tracked. I will be starting up again in the new year! It includes lots of my favorites, and I will be adding a bunch more good ones in the new year when I restart the series!

Anonymous said...

We love breakfast quiche and it freezes very well. Also, we freeze soup. When in doubt, just double the meat you cook and freeze it: hamburger meat for taco soup, chili, etc. and cut-up chicken for any kind of chicken casserole. With the meat already done, it will be really easy for your husband to put together a meal. By the way, congratulations--I didn't know you were expecting again!
Caroline

joy in small packages said...

Hi Monica! We enjoy a really yummy Chicken Enchiladas meal (no tomatoes in this one!). I'm not big on spicy but it's not spicy, and my girls love it too! I mix up the "insides" and it freezes really well in a freezer ziplock. Then when I need it, I just defrost it, plop a spoonful in each corn tortilla, roll it up, and drizzle with tomatilla sauce and cheese on top. The prep on the day we're going to eat it is very little, because most of the work was done ahead before the "insides" got frozen! I hope you try it and find it a convenient favorite like we do! :) I'm excited for you that your baby boy will be here soon!!

3boysmama said...

I just had baby #3 and did the same thing! I tried to make double of things to stick in the freezer.

Meatloaf is easy, not cooked. Just defrost and stick in the oven.

Chili; chicken tortilla soup; pork chops already marinated

Good luck!

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I use my freezer often! When I make chili, beef & noodles and beef stew I usually make enough for another meal that can be frozen. I also cook up ground beef and sausage so I can easily pull out some for tacos, spaghetti sauce, pizza toppings or gravy.

Chuck went shopping with me yesterday and put a couple of Hot Pockets in the cart. When I saw the ingredient list and the price I thought surely I can do better!! Soon I will be trying to make my own version of Hot Pockets. I will let you know how that turns out.

Lots of great suggestions, let us know how it turns out. Good luck!

Lyn said...

I haven't read through all the suggestions but I would like to add breakfast burritos or even burritos for dinner can be prepared ahead and frozen. It is also nice to have stock that has been prepared and available in the freezer towards making a meal.

How about english muffin pizzas or french bread pizzas - simple but if you make them ahead with just cheese you can add whatever toppings you like later before the final baking. I would lightly toast the bread before preparing them.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are back to posting Monica!
I have a White Chicken Chili that freezes well.
2 cans Navy beans(I sometimes use Great Northern-the other white beans-right?)
1-2 cans chicken broth
chicken(my recipe doesn't elaborate on the amount, but I usually use about 3 breasts)cooked & shredded
1 tbls. oregano
cumin to taste
can of chopped green chiles
Mix all together and heat through. I sometimes will put this in the crockpot.
Great topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips. Enjoy!!

I also tried a recipe from Pleasant View Schoolhouse called Schoolhouse Chocolate Gingerbread. They either eat it for breakfast or dessert. It is in her Oct. archives. So yummy.

Oh, by the way, do you think your potato soup would freeze well?
Elise

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add that the Chicken Chili freezes excellently.
Elise

Susan P. said...

Monica, here is a tried and true recipe that freeze really well!

Swiss Chicken Bake

4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 white cooking wine
1-2 cups stove top stuffing
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts in a greased casserole dish. *I usually pound my down first. On top of the chicken place the slices of Swiss cheese. Mix the chicken soup with the white wine. Pour over top of the cheese. On top of the soup mixture place the dry stuffing mix. I usually use about 1 1/2 cups. If you have a big family just add more but make sure that you increase the butter so it won't be dry. Pour melted butter on top of stuffing. I usually "mush" down with a spoon so the stuffing can absorb some of the soup mixture. Bake for 50 minutes. Let sit five minutes before serving. It's a keeper!!

**Sometimes instead of the chicken breasts I will use chicken strips (like you use for stir fry) If you do this just reduce cooking time a little.

Kelly (The Barefoot Mama) said...

Hey Monica!

I love doing chilis and stews for the freezer. At my blog is a recipe for a crockpot beef stew that I specially make for freezing so that Hubs has something to eat in a pinch when I'm not home! :o)

http://www.thebarefootmama.com/thebarefootmama/2007/11/crockpot-beef-s.html

(Pic isn't showing right now - reuploading all of the old photo files...but trust me, it's pretty AND yummo!)

Heather said...

I love my freezer!!!! One of my favorite ways to make fixing supper easy is what I call "efficient cooking" so that later I can put a meal on the table "fast track" style! For instance, one of my favorite ways to do this is with meat.... I hate browning hamburger so when I do (I buy it on sale in the family packs) and brown 10 + pounds at one time. Then I freeze them in meal size portions in freezer bags. You can get tacos, spaghetti, and many other things on the table with very little effort. I have actually started a website: (if you want to check it out)www.simplefamilysupper.com
My prayers with you in the last stage of your pregnancy. I LOVED having food in the freezer for when the baby comes home!
Heather

Ritsumei said...

I've done twice-baked potatoes before & they freeze nicely.

jen said...

When I had my twins, someone made us burritos, individually wrapped in saran wrap, and then tossed back into the zip-lock tortilla package. They were GREAT, because I could take out 1 or 2 out of the freezer at a time, cook them in the microwave, or toss them in the oven.

These really were a life saver for me. All she did was mix ground veggie "beef" (you could use ground beef, of course) with refried beans, some cheese and salsa, wrapped them up in tortillas and voila...about 3-4 meals for my little family!

thehomespunheart said...

Elise - I don't know if the potato soup would freeze well - it might change the consistency. Hmmm, maybe we'll have to try it sometime!