After sharing an example of what we eat on a typical day, you can see how much food we go through. While it is a lot of food, there is also a lot of time that goes into making everything we eat. If I can find ways to save time and make things easier, I am all for it!
When I cook, I like to make more than what I need, that way I have left overs in the fridge to use for another meal. Sometimes I don’t want to use the left overs right away,so a great way to keep them for longer is to freeze them. After freezing the meal, it is so easy to just pull it out of the freezer the day before I want to use it and then it is ready to go the next day. It is also a time saver to freeze individual food items that you could eat on their own or add them to a recipe.
Before Jackson, Olivia and Levi arrived, I prepared a lot of meals ahead of time and froze them. I knew it would help tremendously when we didn’t have time to think or make dinner. Here is a list of the top 11 foods that I found worked perfectly to freeze.
Meatloaf is the easiest and simplest meal to prepare and it freezes really well too. I have made both beef and turkey meatloaf and even small ones in muffin tins for Emily. When I find ground beef on sale, I like to buy an extra pack and make meatballs from the meatloaf mix. The meatballs are easy to make and you end up with another meal!
- Chicken Enchiladas
They are so simple to put together once you have all of the ingredients ready. I set up all the ingredients in an assembly line with 3 dishes and continue to make enchiladas until all the dishes are filled. In the end I have 3 separate meals. I also made individual ones for Emily and they were handy to have when she needed to eat dinner before us.
- Chicken, Veggies and Rice Casserole
This is another straight forward dish and involves taking all the ingredients, adding them to a casserole dish, mixing together and then baking. The recipe is only 5 ingredients; chicken, frozen mixed veggies, rice, cream of mushroom soup and water and you can easily double this recipe and make it in a larger dish. I cook this meal completely and then freeze it, that way I only have to worry about heating it up when we go to eat it.
Spaghetti is an all around favorite for everyone and is another easy to make meal. You can make a large quantity all at once, with very little effort. I use the store-bought pasta sauce, but add in my own vegetables. The first time I did this, I had bunch of roasted vegetables that Emily wouldn’t eat, so I added them to the sauce and blended everything up. I then tried again and she ate 3 plates of pasta! I mix everything together in the pot then put it in a casserole dish or tin foil trays and freeze.
- Butternut Squash Soup
I was skeptical the first time trying this soup, but after that first try I was hooked and it was so yummy. I found a recipe to make my own butternut squash soup and it is a perfect soup for everyone to eat. I made this soup for Emily all the time and she loved it, plus it is made with all veggies and she didn’t even know.
- Green, Red, Yellow, Orange Peppers
I never thought to freeze peppers at first, but when I bought a barrel from the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, I had to think of something to do with them before they all went bad. I couldn’t eat them fast enough, so I thought why don’t I freeze them. I looked up how to freeze peppers and it was pretty simple. I cut them into slices, parboiled them, let them cool and dry then freeze. By parboiling them I would be able to take them right from the freezer and add them to whatever I was making and it also helped to keep their bright colors.
I found potatoes cut into small squares are perfect for Emily and the triplets to pick up and eat themselves. I was buying the packaged hash-browns from the store, but they were too small and I was spending a lot. I thought I could just buy a bag of potatoes and cut them up myself, that way I could make them the size I wanted and it was also a lot cheaper. It does take a little bit of time to cut the potatoes all up, but you have so many ready to freeze when you are done.
- Banana Bread
We go through so many bananas in a week and yet we still end up with bruised or brown bananas. When that happens I like to make banana bread or banana muffins. I can also find discounted bananas at the store for roughly $1.00 per package, which is great if I know I am going to need a lot to make a few loaves or muffins. From one package I have enough bananas for 2 loaves or 2 batches of muffins. I like to make mini banana muffins for Emily and the triplets and they make a perfect on the go snack. When I make the loaves of banana bread, I cut the loaf up and freeze the individual slices, that way I can just grab a piece when I want one.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Now this is more for me, well all for me and I guess Dan too, but who doesn’t want to have cookie dough already made and ready to bake? I make a double recipe of cookie dough and using an ice cream scoop, I freeze the individual balls on a cookie tray. Once they are frozen, I put them in a freezer bag and they are ready to take out whenever I want. I like doing this because when it is just Dan and I, making a whole batch of cookies is a lot, so to pull out a few works perfectly.
- Berries – Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries
We all love any kind of berry, but sometimes they can be so expensive, especially when they are not in season. During the summer when we go to the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market can find all the berries in season and a good price. I like to buy the biggest basket of berries they have and bring them home, wash them and then freeze them. I dry them really well and lay them on a baking sheet, making sure they aren’t touching. Once they are frozen I can take them and pop them into a freezer bag. Now I can have berries throughout the fall and winter… if they last that long.
Frozen yogurt is a good snack to have during the summer and you can easily make your own frozen yogurt pops, by putting a spoon into the top of a yogurt cup and freezing it. I also like to make smoothies with frozen yogurt. I buy the tubs of yogurt and then divide it up into ice-cube trays. Once they are frozen I pop them out and put them into freezer bags. To make the smoothies, I take 3 or 4 frozen yogurt cubes, with some of the frozen berries I have, add them to a blender with some orange juice and then I have smoothie. I also saw on Pinterest, hundreds of recipes for different smoothies and how to make individual smoothie packages. This would be a perfect way to have smoothies on the go and all you have to do is pull the package out of the freezer, blend and you are done.
Freezing food is such a good way to save you time in the future, especially if you are freezing food you are already making. The list of foods and meals you can freeze is endless and if you are ever unsure about whether or not you can freeze something, you can always look it up. It can also save you money when you buy extra of something that is on sale or if you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. I hope my list of foods that I freeze has helped and got you thinking of food you make on a regular basis that you could freeze too!
Have you tried making freezer meals? What ones have you found worked the best for you?