Sunday, March 17, 2013

Minimalism: Reducing Food Prep with Freezer Meals

One of my favorite ways to make meal time easier is freezer meals.  I started making freezer meals before Baby was born.  I knew we would be tired and healing (me) after he was born, but we would still be hungry.  I didn't want to result to fast food or junk, so we made some freezer meals ahead of time.  Now, I mostly just make double batches of certain things and freeze half for another time.

I don't have any of my own special recipes to share (I wish I did).  But, I thought I would give you a list of my favorite freezer meals.

Lasagna
I never use the whole box of lasagna noodles, and since I don't make this dish very often,  the noodles sit in my pantry for ever.  So, instead, I make one to eat and one to freeze.

Enchilada Casserole
Basically the same situation as the lasagna.  I don't use the whole package of corn tortillas, and I don't use them for much else, so I make another casserole to freeze.

Pasta Bake
Pasta Bake is nothing super unique, but sort of a random thing I threw together once and love.  It's so yummy.  Just noodles, veggies (peppers and onions in our house), sauce and cheese mixed together and thrown in a casserole dish.  I double the amounts and make an extra casserole dish to freeze.

Kevin's Stew
Our friend Kevin made this stew for us after Baby was born.  It was so good.  Although I'm sure he didn't create the recipe, we now lovingly call it "Kevin's Stew".
This is a slow cooker recipe.  Those tend to be large recipes.  I only make 1 batch, but it makes at least 2 meals worth.  Once it cools, I store it in freezer storage bags.  This means I can lay it flat in the freezer and it doesn't take up much space.
When we want to eat it, I take it out and let it thaw on the counter or in the fridge for a full day (we have a standing freezer that gets things REALLY frozen).  Then, I just dump it into a pot and heat it up.

Potato Soup
This is simply a matter of chopping more stuff, so making extra to freeze isn't much work at all.  I do the same thing to store this as I do with the stew.

Burritos
This is my most used freezer meal.  I usually make a big batch of burritos when we are already making them for a meal.  It doesn't take me long.  I am very simple and just use black beans and cheese.  Not crazy healthy, but still better than fast food, and I'm quite certain it's cheaper.
I keep the burritos in a freezer storage bag, and I leave it at work.  This means I always have a lunch for the days that I do not have something to bring.  I take a burrito out in the morning and put it in the fridge to thaw.  Then, I stick it in the toaster oven for about 15 minutes.  It's a very yummy, very easy lunch.

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