Growing up, I begged my mother to let me eat frozen dinners. All the kids I knew at school devoured their tuna noodle casserole, meatloaf, or fried chicken with the neat-o blueberry cake on a folding tray in front of the TV. Me? I had to sit at our kitchen snack bar that my dad built, staring down at a plate of octopus stew.
The concept of frozen food was foreign to my mom. She cooked every day, and we ate what she made. Period. And if it was too much food, tubs of Tupperware were shuttled to aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents.
Even today, I can’t recall one meal she made and froze for later.
On the other hand, the One and I use our chest freezer so much we have to place dumbells from the never-used weight set on the cover to keep it closed.
These 11 easy meals are large enough and hearty enough to freeze so that you and yours can have a lip-smackin’ dinner in the time it takes to for you to mix a cocktail or three, watch an episode of “The White Lotus,” or pick the kids up from soccer practice.
(No octopus included.)
Homemade Potato Gnocchi
The Pioneer Woman’s Lasagna
This is the lasagna I’ve been making for about 10 years. It is, hands-down, my favorite lasagna! It’s always a hit at family gatherings and potlucks.jennifer v.
Freezer Tomato Sauce
Five stars for this versatile chili recipe! I made a half batch and had three packages to freeze after serving it for dinner with sweet potato cornbread. I kept it thick and used the masa because I can always add liquid to thin out leftovers. Looking forward to future chili dogs and nachos.deb l.
Easy Chicken Enchiladas
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
This butternut squash soup is so simple to make that it feels like “cheating” because it’s so elegant. The roasting of the squash adds a mildly nutty flavor that gently offsets the sweetness of the flesh inside. An excellent starter for fall menus.karis v.
I made these last night. They were juicy and not dry! I’m so bad at meatballs, but this turned out perfect, and I’m not a very good cook. They were so easy and tasty that everyone liked them, which is hard in this house! I will definitely make them again.kathryn t.
Easy-peasy! I do cheat a little with the filling, though . . . I use frozen peaches, cherries, etc., instead of fresh ones because it is soooo much easier to throw together. I make mine small (3-inch pies) so we don’t feel so guilty. I also use the drained peach (or cherry) juice to make the thin icing to top them, along with a 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract. They are sooo good and freeze exceptionally well.grammasue
Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
To avoid freezer burn, we recommend storing your food in airtight containers. If this isn’t an option, wrap the food in freezer wrap and then again in foil, making sure none of the food is exposed to air. Resealable bags are also an excellent option for homemade soups.
Many freezer meals need to be thawed before cooking. For best results, thaw your meal in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing foods on the counter as it can result in spoilage or bacteria growth.
Most food can be safely frozen without developing freezer burn for 3 to 6 months if stored in an airtight container or bag.
What are your favorite meals to keep stashed in the freezer for those busy weeknights or lazy weekends? Let us know in a comment below.