Tired of the daily cook, eat, repeat cycle? Same here. That’s why we’ve compiled a few of our favorite freezer-friendly meals — future you will be thankful for the break from the kitchen. We chose these meals based on ingredients that have a good freezer ‘shelf’ life, so they’ll taste just as great as the day you made them. They’re perfect meals to have on hand for those nights (or afternoons) when you just can’t.
Chili is a great freeze-for-later dish because you can whip up a giant batch and divvy into portions for later. Instead of beef, use green peppers and carrots to bulk up the dish — cauliflower rice is a good option, too. Simply reheat in a saucepan with ¼ cup of water when you need a warm bowl of goodness. Don’t forget a side of toasted sourdough bread or crackers!
Dinner’s never been easier. You can roast any veggies you have on hand. Puree for an ultra-easy meal, or use them as a base for a roasted veggie broth (link to recipe). Make a huge batch and store in airtight containers. Soups are probably the easiest options to defrost — just throw in a pot with ¼ cup to a ½ cup of water (so the soup doesn’t scorch) and bring to a boil. Bada-bing, bada-boom! Serve with bread or pair it with a grilled cheese.
Another great option for a minimal effort, maximum reward meal — load it up with your favorite vegetables and then freeze the whole pan either uncooked to bake later, or store them as leftovers once you’ve enjoyed a helping. Whatever way you do it, you can just bake it straight out of the freezer — no defrosting time necessary.
4. Stuffed Vegetables
Load up bell peppers or squash with your favorite fixings — it’s an easy way to get your daily serving of veggies in a hearty, flavorful dish. Freeze each stuffed pepper or squash individually, and you’ve got perfectly portioned meals for whenever you want them. Quinoa is a great filling, and you can mix and match toppings to suit your mood. Easy to make, easy to store, and super fun to eat. What’s not to love?
5. Mac & Cheese
There’s never a wrong time for mac and cheese, which is why it’s such a freezer necessity. Take your favorite recipe and double up the portions — one for now, and one for later! Like lasagna, it freezes well and is easy to reheat in the oven.
You can put virtually anything in a casserole: green beans, spinach — whatever filling your heart desires. Casseroles will last up to 3 months in the freezer, which makes them ideal for those no-cook days. Looking for a twist? Make ‘em mini by buttering muffin pans (or use coconut or avocado oil for a non-dairy alternative) and baking that way. Cool completely and then pop them into a freezer bag for an effortless breakfast or quick little snack.
Got a queso the Mondays? Fear not — quesadillas to the rescue. This 30-minute meal will have you chillaxing in no time. Leftover quesadillas can be wrapped in foil and stacked into resealable freezer bags. When you're ready for another round, thaw the quesadillas at room temperature and give it a quick reheat in a frying pan.
Meal Freezing Tips
We don't want all that cooking to go to waste. Once you've prepped your meal of choice, make sure you freeze it properly to ensure the best results when reheating.
- First rule of thumb: chill your food before freezing it. Putting your food in the freezer while still warm may raise the temperature and cause surrounding items to thaw and refreeze, affecting their flavor.
- Next, plastic wrap and freezer-safe zip-top bags are a great way to insulate your meals and avoid freezer burn. Pro tip: zip-top bags are also a great way to freeze in smaller portions so that when you're ready to reheat, you can defrost only what you need.
- Finally, before you throw your meal in the oven or on the stove, it's helpful to defrost it first in the refrigerator or the microwave. Never defrost at room temperature to avoid contamination!
There you have it — say goodbye for good to mealtime dread with any of these fix-and-freeze meals. Make a few each week and you’ll have a stockpile of amazing meals ready to go anytime.