21 answers

What Can I Freeze to Eat Later?

I want to start spending several hours on the weekend making meals for the following week. The problem is that I have no idea what freezes well and what does not. What kind of foods freeze the best and which ones should I not freeze? Should I cook the meal and then freeze it or put it all together and then freeze it? Any advice would be appreciated!

3 moms found this helpful

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Featured Answers

That is a good idea....another time saver is a wok - I made dinner in 15 minutes last night - I cooked beef (thin cut at the store, takes 3 mins to cook), bean sprouts, bok choy, mushrooms, and added some sauce - sesame seed oil or soy sauce or both works well...you can also use chicken, etc and it's super fast and easy - it took me 15 minutes because I made rice on the stove with it - but some rices take more/less time. That way you sneak in veggies and have a balanced meal with a glass of milk. :)

S.,

I freeze almost everything. I actually normally only really cook every 4 to 6 weeks. With Steak or beef (not ground) I recommend that you cook it slightly less than you normally would. For example, I like my steaks med well, so I cook them medium and then freeze em using a vacuum storage system, that way when I reheat them at work or for dinner, they are cooked perfectly. For soups, stews, crock pot cooking a container works well. For spaghetti, steak, chicken pork, etc I use the vacuum storage system.

Good Luck.

K.

More Answers

S. ~

Good for you! Preparing freezer meals is a wonderful solution to using your time effectively and making meal time with a baby about easy on you. There are many resources to get you started and I always start with the free ones!

The public library: I have found many freezer-meal cookbooks that have been the source of some of my favorite do-ahead recipes. Many have a section on what foods freeze well and which ones do not. Remember to check out the magazine section while you're browsing. This time of year you may find recipes for soups and stews that freeze well.

Your friends: Ask! Most women, especially those who are experienced cooks, usually have a recipe or two that they know works well from freezer to table.

The wonderful internet: Here are some links I have used (personal favorites) as well as recommended to clients:

http://www.recipelink.com/rcpmenus.html

http://food.ivillage.com/quickeasy/dinner/0,,9wqs,00.html

allrecipes.com - love this site! Spend a few minutes here and you'll see why!

http://allrecipes.com/Search/Recipes.aspx?WithTerm=make%2...

http://allrecipes.com/Search/Recipes.aspx?WithTerm=recipe...

And this site has a great guide to getting started on filling your freezer!

http://organizedhome.com/freezer-cooking-guide

With a bit of reading and some practice, I'm sure you'll be on your way to filling your freezer with homemade meals and goodies. And enjoying stress-free mealtime with your family!

Many blessings ~

C. McKenzie
Certified Professional Organizer

2 moms found this helpful

I do a lot of weekend cooking, and I have found that most casseroles freeze well unless they contain potatoes - I have never had luck freezing potatoes. I prefer to assemble and freeze the meals before cooking, but I also freeze already cooked meals (for example, when I make goulash or lasagna I make twice the amount and freeze half). A lot of crock pot meals lend themselves well to freezing - I chop everything and put it in a freezer bag, and then throw it in the crock pot after it's thawed - then all I have to do at dinner time is add some bread and a salad.

There are some great freezer meal cookbooks - my favorite is Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer. I also have the Dream Dinners cookbook and just got Fix, Freeze, Feast from the library and it looks like I may be buying a copy for myself. Check out your library - what appeals to one person may not appeal to another, and you can try some of the meals before investing the money to buy the cookbook.

The best tip I learned is how to flash freeze stuff - it really keeps your freezer from getting too full and saves your dishes. The basic idea is to line the dish you will cook the dinner in with foil and then with plastic wrap (enough to overlap to cover the whole meal), and assemble the meal in the dish. You freeze it for a few hours, and then take the meal out of the dish and put it back in the freezer. Then when you take it out to thaw you put it in the refrigerator, take the wrap off after a few hours when it is slightly thawed and place it in the baking dish. It works great for things like casseroles and enchiladas - things that wouldn't look that great if you just froze them in a freezer bag.

1 mom found this helpful

lasagna, soups, chili, anything that you see in the frozen section of your grocery store - you too can make at home.

Cake, bread etc. Yes, prepare first then freeze.

I make a pasta sauces and veggies to freeze, so when I need it I just dethaw and then make fresh pasta. Other dishes that are good frozen are quiches. A great website to checkout is allrecipes.com

www.jenniferzaranis.com

That is a good idea....another time saver is a wok - I made dinner in 15 minutes last night - I cooked beef (thin cut at the store, takes 3 mins to cook), bean sprouts, bok choy, mushrooms, and added some sauce - sesame seed oil or soy sauce or both works well...you can also use chicken, etc and it's super fast and easy - it took me 15 minutes because I made rice on the stove with it - but some rices take more/less time. That way you sneak in veggies and have a balanced meal with a glass of milk. :)

I agree about cooking the meal on the weekend and then freezing. Then you can get out a meal the night before you need it. If it is not all the way thawed the next day, you can heat it up in the microwave in individual portions. Beef Stroganoff is one of our favorites, I cook the noodles fresh and add the meat sauce that was frozen. Good luck!

S.,

I find that making ready to microwave meals the best way to freeze food. So, yesterday I made a batch of green curried vegetables with brown jasmine rice. I set out four containers and set some of the rice in each and then piled the curried vegetables on top. I use scotch tape and a permanent marker to label everything I cook and make sure that I date each item. If you think about the kinds of frozen meals that you can get in the grocery store, you can make anything they make. I find that making single servings makes unfreezing easier and less wasteful in the long run. A food saver is a great investment if you want to buy items on sale and then freeze them for later. Again you should label everything so that you know how old it is. Soups are great to freeze. Pesto and homemade pasta sauce freeze well and can be taken out in a jiffy for some great pesto pasta or pizza. Good luck and have fun.

M.

Hi there

i dont know how much you cook but this is what i usually do.

i freeze Spaghti, lesgna, i make my on meat pies/ with pastry but you can buy the pastry and line a pan and just cook up some meat and veg together put in the pie then cook till golden brown take out cool completly and then freeze all you have to add is potato when you serev.
do you know how to make sheperds pie. no crust involved and very easy.

also if i make a roast chicken on the weekend my hubby picks the meat of the bones ( ihate that job) and then i make it in to chicken pot pie

you can also make home made fresh Tomato or carrot soup and freeze that then serve with crackers or garlic bread.

do you have a crock pot.

I have a couple good recipies that you can do first thing in the am and it will be ready for you come dinner. fast enough for you to put together while she is in the high chair for breakfast.

well if you want any actual recipies Just email me at ____@____.com

good thinking and good luck

Almost any casserole is fine if frozen first, they can also go straight from the freezer to the oven. Lasagne is a perfect example, put it all together, cover & freeze. Then when you get home from work, just pop it straight into the oven & allow some extra time for it to cook through. Also soups work really well, just don't put any pasta or noodles in with the broth before you freeze it because it will soak up all of the broth & get mushy.

Hi, S., Here are some things that freeeze well: soups, chili, spaghetti sauce; casseroles, i.e. Chicken Divan, "Best Chicken Casserole". Yes, cook first, then freeze. Great idea; you'll love how easy it makes life! Good luck! N.

not sure as far as actual meals but around here we buy like 5 loaves of bread and stick 4 in freezer and take them out when needed. Bread defrosts perfectly fine :)

soups and stews freeze great. I buy meats for my husband in the whole form(saves $$!), then make soups and stews off the leftovers/bones. This stuff freezes great and just thaw/micro and eat. The real trick is making sure you have quality storage containers that you can efficiently stack or pack your freezer with and indentify with tape. I freeze everything, trying not to waste a thing. I freeze pan drippings, that last leftover 1/2 glass worth of wine, the store bought broth I didn't use all of- you never know when you will need it. Some of my best off the cuff concoctions some from my 'empty the box' cooking sessions. Especially in these economic times- take advice from your grandparents or great grandparents and WASTE NOTHING!

I like to make my spagetti meat( I use Turkey) and sauce and then place it in a freezer bag and freeze it. By the time I use it which is within the week, everything has marinated together and it taste wonderful.

I find that soups freeze great. Just don't add any starches until you thaw and cook them that night (noodles, rice). Add the hot soup on top of hot noddles or rice. Yum!

I buy the whole chicken rotisserie roasted (not much more than buying a whole roaster and doing it yourself). One meal that night, and toss the rest in a pot of boiling water while I do the dishes for the soup stock. Peel off all the leftover meat, and refrigerate overnight. Next day, skim off the fat, and freeze for soup later. For soup, just thaw the stock, add your veggies, some seasonings, the fresh rice or pasta, and it's a nice meal for 1-2 nights. You can even re-freeze after it's soup (just don't add the starch!).

I also make meatballs and cook in a frypan to make them firm (I don't like mushy meatballs!). I make several pounds at a time and freeze enough for a meal in each zip lock. The for the meals, I throw the frozen meatballs into prepared sauce and simmer until heated through and cooked down a bit and serve over pasta.

Lasagna freezes well, esp. if you don't cook the noodles! Just put the lasagna together with the dry noodles, and cover with foil and freeze. Make one for tonight and one for the freezer! When you take out to thaw and cook, the baking takes care of cooking the noodles, and they don't end up all mushy from the freezer.

I cube up leftover steak and pork roast bits, even roasted chicken and put in the freezer until it's time to make chili. The I thaw out all those "Chili Fixins" bags, throw them in with the regular chili ingredients and almost never have to add hamberger. I made a BIG pot of chili just this week that will last us for many meals, appetizers, chili dogs, and even breakfast burritos.

Any pot roast or swiss steak, BBQ pork or beef or chicken (I do the Carolina style with vinegar), or tomatoe based sauces will freeze well.

Cream sauces will not freeze well, and be careful re-heating anything that has a cream base (soups). Try not to boil!

I've also heard you can cut up all your salad fixins (Except the lettuce, that browns once you tear it)for the week in baggies, and throw a salad together quickly that way.

Sometimes a big bowl of cereal or an omelete and toast for dinner is really good!

Good luck and happy cooking!

This is such a great way to "make" more time in the evenings for some of the other 50 million things we moms have to get done before bed! LOL We love Tater Tot Casserole (just leave the tater tots off until the night you will eat it), Spaghetti Sauce, Lazagna, Stuffed Shells, Chili, etc. And all of them freeze great. I cook them all just like we were gonna eat them that night, let them cool, swtich containers and freeze. Be sure to label them so that you will know what container has what dinner in it. LOL

Crock pot cooking is a great way to save lots of time too. Feel free to email me and I'll gladly share what I have learned over the years with you anytime. ____@____.com

Happy New Year!

Take Care,
N. :) SAHM homeschooling 3 boys and very happily married for 15yrs. I love to help other moms reach their goals!

You can freeze just about anything. The only thing i know of that can't be frozen and eaten just like it is is banana's they can be frozen but when you take them out you have to run the under water and strip the peal off and make them into smoothies. But if you want to eat them AS banana's they won't work. But i freeze all my banana's when they start going bad and use them for smoothies because they don't go back in the freezer. good luck.

I think you can freeze just about anything. i have never had problems freezing meals. AF

I often freeze spaghetti sauce (not the noodles), chili, vegetable soup, chicken casseroles, roast (just the meat - not the potatoes and carrots), hashbrown casserole (uncooked), red beans and rice, BBQ, and lasagna. I freeze my things after I have cooked (most are cooked)them just to save some time later. I typically take the food out in the morning or the night before to let it thaw.

This saves time for me because I am very busy with extracurricular activities for my 9 year old.

Hope this helps.
V.

I think typically moist things freeze the best--then they don't dry out as badly when you reheat. I haven't done this in a while, but when I was first married, my husband and I actually lived in different states while I was in school. When I would visit on the weekend, I would cook a lot and freeze so he didn't just end up eating chips and dip for dinner all week. Don't know if you are a fan, but Shrimp Jambalaya freezes GREAT (I can get you a recipe, if you want). Also, beef stew does well. I would also make him a simple bread pudding and freeze it in 1 serving sizes (in little ziplocks) and then he could have dessert if he liked! Enchiladas freeze well and meatloaf did pretty well too, but like I said, we would freeze in serving sizes, which made reheating easy.

most casseroles, pasta and cheese dishes freeze well. meat does fine as long as you cut it up small or shred it, big pieces of meat are icky after freezing.
this is a great idea, you will be so thrilled with yourself when your weeknights are made so easy!
:) khairete
S.

S.,

I freeze almost everything. I actually normally only really cook every 4 to 6 weeks. With Steak or beef (not ground) I recommend that you cook it slightly less than you normally would. For example, I like my steaks med well, so I cook them medium and then freeze em using a vacuum storage system, that way when I reheat them at work or for dinner, they are cooked perfectly. For soups, stews, crock pot cooking a container works well. For spaghetti, steak, chicken pork, etc I use the vacuum storage system.

Good Luck.

K.

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