How To Make Your Favorite Meals Freezer Ready
Hi everyone, I’m going on a trip to California this week for the DOLE Salad’tude Summit! Please welcome my guest, Once A Month Mom!
Once A Month Mom is a website that helps you fill your freezer by creating monthly menus using seasonal recipes. And what greater help to someone trying to stay on track in the health and weight department than to have homemade, ready-made meals awaiting them in their freezer? It is the next best thing to fresh! Once a Month mom will show you how to take a few popular Skinnytaste classics and get them freezer ready!
One walk down your grocer’s freezer case and you will find a multitude of items awaiting you. Low-calorie options are available, but even those can be full of preservatives and ingredients that can be unhealthy and add unnecessary calories. Making the food yourself, especially tasty food like you find here on Skinnytaste, ensures that you know the ingredients going into your food and control those ingredients.
And don’t worry! Just because you freeze it, doesn’t mean you zap all the flavor out of it. Freezing your food also doesn’t mean that you have to stick to just casseroles and pastas. There are a world of things that you can prepare easily and freeze just fine. And the food keeps for 1-3 months, so if life gets busy, you don’t waste your efforts.
Day in and day out I hear from my readers that one of the most challenging aspects of staying on track with a healthy diet is having healthy meals at the ready when the hunger pangs hit. Isn’t this the greatest moment of weakness? When you pull open the drawer, the refrigerator or your purse and find that there is nothing healthy that is going to satisfy your hunger. What happens next? Usually it’s a trip to the vending machine, the “snack cupboard,” the drive-thru or your favorite local restaurant. This solves the immediate problem but does nothing for your waistline.
Let’s take a few recipes for example…
These are great for freezing because you can choose to individually freeze them or freeze them as a finished dish ready for the oven.
- Individually frozen – Follow the assembly directions but instead of preparing it in a 9×13 pan, skip to assembling the rolls and then flash freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once they are mostly frozen (30 minutes to 1 hour), place them gently in a freezer bag and freeze. To serve: Place 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan (or adjust if making a smaller portion), place frozen lasagna rolls in the dish. Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake at 350 for 60 minutes (1.5x the originally listed bake time), or until cheese melts.
- Casserole-style freezing – Follow the assembly directions completely but do not preheat the oven. Once covered with foil, instead of baking the dish, place it in the freezer to freeze. To serve: Thaw in the refrigerator for 36-48 hours before serving, and follow the baking directions exactly. OR leave frozen and bake dish for 60 minutes (1.5x the originally listed bake time), or until cheese melts.
Chicken Nuggets are great to have on hand for a quick lunch, for yourself of for your kids. I prefer freezing them already baked so that you can simply reheat them in the microwave or in the oven when you desire them.
To freeze – Follow the directions given to completion, baking the chicken nuggets. Allow them to cool and then transfer them to a cookie sheet or large surface covered in wax paper and flash freeze. Once they are mostly frozen (30 minutes to 1 hour), place them gently in a freezer bag and freeze. To serve: Place chicken nuggets on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until warmed through. OR microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
This is another great recipe that has two options for freezing, uncooked and cooked. My preference for freshness would be to freeze them raw and then cook/grill them on the day you want them, but if you are looking to have a Skinnytaste meal on the go, cooking/grilling them beforehand is also a great method.
- Uncooked – Prepare burger patties as directed. Instead of cooking them as directed, stack them placing a small piece of wax paper between each one or individually wrap them in plastic wrap. Place stacked/wrapped burgers in a gallon freezer bag and freeze. To serve: Thaw. Remove wax paper or plastic wrap. Heat a large skillet on high heat. When hot, lightly spray oil. Add burgers to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook on one side until browned, then flip. Flip over a few times to prevent burning and to make sure the burgers are cooked all the way through. If grilling, clean grill well before cooking and spray with oil spray to prevent sticking.
- Cooked – Prepare as directed to completion. Allow them to cool and then transfer them to a cookie sheet or large surface covered in wax paper and flash freeze. Once they are mostly frozen (30 minutes to 1 hour), stack them with a piece of wax paper in between or wrap them in platic wrap and place them gently in a freezer bag and freeze. To Serve: Reheat in microwave for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.