For my birthday I got a deep freezer. I know, very exciting! You can tell you are getting old when you get excited about something like that!
With baby #2 on the way I decided that I needed to stock my freezer with meals that are easy and healthy for the first couple of months of the babies life. When I had my son Will we got off track with our healthy eating and ended up ordering out a lot or eating quick meals that weren’t really that good for us. That was one of the reasons I started A Cedar Spoon—as a way to get back into cooking and make sure that I was preparing healthy meals for my family.
Stocking your freezer is really easy! Here are 5 tips when you are ready to get started:
1) Think about setting aside money to go to your local grocery store or a place like Costco to stock up on big bags of things like meat, frozen veggies, beans, canned tomatoes, broth, spices, ect. These types of ingredients are found in most recipes and buying in large quantities will be cheaper and prevent you from having to go to the store over and over again!
2) Choose your recipes that you will make ahead of time so you can prepare your grocery shopping list. Purchase or have on hand the containers and/or freezer ziplock bags that you will need. Glass Tupperware works great as well as mason jars (make sure you sterilize mason jars and seal them tightly). You can even freeze soups in ziplock bags and lay them flat to save room. Note: make sure you always cool your meals completely before freezing them. Sometimes I will even put the food in the refrigerator for one day to make sure. That prevents freezer burn or the meal loosing its taste.
3) Think about the timing of the recipes you are going to make ahead of time and what prep is involved. For example, maybe this Sunday you want to make Slow Cooker BBQ Pork, Ratatouille and this Moroccan Red Lentil Soup. First I would look at each recipes and see what ingredients are needed. I usually chop the vegetables I need and put them in bowls, set out the spices, broth, meat and any other ingredients to make the process easier. These three dishes would be great because you can throw the pork in the slow cooker, let the Moroccan Red Lentil Soup simmer on the stove while you make the ratatouille. Freezer cooking is all about planning ahead.
4) Think about doubling or tripling recipes so you have even more to freeze. This allows you to eat the food the week you make it and also store some away for the future. I always make a lot more pasta sauce then I need and freeze half.
5) Once you make your recipes let them cool completely and then put them in freezer friendly containers or bags. Always make sure to write on the bag or on a piece of tape what the recipe is, any additional cooking instructions and the date so you know how long the food will be good. Here are 43 Freezer Friendly Recipes to start you off. Stay tuned to more over the next few months!
Sauces (lasts in freezer for up to 6 months maybe longer):
Soups (lasts in freezer for 3 months):
Main Dishes (lasts in freezer for 2-6 months):
Thai Lettuce Turkey Wraps (freeze the turkey to make wraps later)
Turkey Carrot Meatballs in a Healthy Tomato Sauce (freeze meatballs and sauce separately)
Grilled Spicy Turkey Burgers (I suggest freezing these uncooked. Wrap each in plastic wrap individually and put in a freezer bag or use wax paper to separate each turkey burger and put in a freezer bag.}
Slow Cooker Apple Bourbon BBQ Pork (Perfect to freeze for sandwiches.)
Slow Cooker Mexican Red Chili Tacos (Freeze the meat to use with tacos later.)
Breads/Muffins (lasts in freezer for three months):
Desserts & Snacks (Lasts for up to 3 months. Store bars in single layer in a covered airtight container, cookies can be stacked in layers, separated by wax paper and sealed in airtight container.)
**Check out my Freezer Friendly Pinterest board for lots of freezer friendly meal ideas!**
What are your favorite freezer friendly meals?