How To Make Your Favorite Meals Freezer Ready

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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…

 

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

These are great for freezing because you can choose to individually freeze them or freeze them as a finished dish ready for the oven.

  1. 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.
  2.  Casserole-style freezingFollow 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.

    Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets

    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.

    Turkey Zucchini Burgers

    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.

    1. UncookedPrepare 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.
    2. CookedPrepare 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.

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    104 comments

    1. I live alone and love this website. I usually cut the recipe's in half (3 servings instead of 6) and when I serve myself, I get the Ziploc plastic containers out. I serve myself one serving, and place the other two servings in containers. One goes in my freezer and the other in the refrigerator. I use these for quick dinners or to take in my lunch. My "frozen" dinners are always better nutrition choices than those from the freezer aisle in the grocery – low sodium and delicious as SkinnyTaste makes it!

    2. Perfect timing with this post, as I'm currently freezing up some meals for my expected due date in 3 weeks! I have one question though….how do I adjust the cooking time when freezing a recipe, such as veggie enchiladas? I read somewhere to double the cooking time…would you agree?

      • Smart lady! Wish I had done this, especially when baby #2 came and I had a newborn and 18 month old.;)

    3. This is great! I was already planning to make your chicken nuggets this week, and my husbandw as upset we were going to have chicken all week.

      Now, instead of knowing that my hubby will be eating bad frozen snackees, I know that he will reach for this instead! So excited, I will making a bunch of these tomorrow and freezing them.

      More freezer posts would be awesome! I will also be freezing the lasagna ones too, and eventually the turkey burger.

      As usual, thank you gina!!!

    4. I'm gonna save so much money now that I won't be spending it on Kashi and Lean Cuisine frozen meals. Yay! Thanks!

    5. This is a great idea! I start nursing school in the fall so time to cook a good healthy meal for my husband and I will be hard to come by. This will be my go to aid for staying on track.

    6. If you use a foodsaver (vacuum sealer) do you still have to flash freeze the items?

    7. We just bought a huge box freezer. Perfect timing!

    8. I see lots of references to OAMM website. What is it?

    9. Fantastic tutorial, Gina! This will be useful for me, but I bet that expecting families and those going through other times that keep them away from the kitchen will appreciate this.

    10. I love this post! I don't know why I hadn't thought of freezing things before!

    11. This is awesome. Thanks so much for the info!

    12. Great post, do you mind if I give readers on my blog a link to it in a post?

    13. Wow! Two of my most favourite blogs meshed together! You ladies are amazing! (And thanks for the Spinach Lasagna Rolls – one of our family favourites!) One question though, generally when cook a meal from frozen we just 1.5x the cooking time? I've recently started cooking whole sized recipes and freezing half (as its just 2 of us) but I've been hesitate to use anything yet, as I'm not 100% sure how to cook it. I know I know, you'd think I would have thought this through first…. lol

      • If you cook it from a frozen state, 1 1/2 x is probably fine, or you can that it in the refrigerator the day before.

    14. I agree, great post. I never know what I can freeze and how to thaw or cook post freezing.

    15. This is a great post! I always freeze food and it ends up going bad, so I know I'm doing soemthing wrong. Thanks for this!

    16. This is great! I own a NuWave oven in which you can cook from frozen and quickly so this is perfect. I can just take the stuff out of the freezerm, pop it in the NuWave, set the timer and walk away.

    17. The Santa Fe Chicken and the chili recipes also freeze very well. I freeze them in individual portions and it's so convenient for lunches or easy dinners. Thanks!

    18. Yes. Can you show the best way to freeze? Thanks

    19. excellent tips!

    20. Great post! I freeze everything!! But now your showing us the proper way to freeze. Thank you!