Cooking and Freezing for Another Day
Preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them can be a great way to save time and ensure you have delicious and nutritious meals ready to go whenever you need them. Just add a glass of Monterey Chardonnay!
Below are some ideas for meals that can be prepared in advance and frozen:
- Casseroles: Casseroles are a versatile option that can be prepared in advance and frozen for later. Examples include lasagna, enchiladas, shepherd’s pie, and chicken broccoli casserole. Simply assemble the dish, cover it tightly with foil or airtight containers, and freeze. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight
and bake according to the original recipe.
- Soups and stews: Soups and stews are perfect for freezing as they often taste even better after the flavors have melded together. Make a big batch of vegetable soup, chicken noodle soup, chili, or beef stew, and freeze individual portions in freezer-safe containers. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Pasta dishes: Many pasta dishes can be made ahead and frozen, such as spaghetti Bolognese, baked ziti, or macaroni and cheese. Cook the pasta until al dente, prepare the sauce, and combine them. Portion the dish into
freezer-safe containers or freezer bags, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or microwave.
- Stir-fries: Certain stir-fry dishes can be prepared in advance and frozen for quick and easy meals. Cook the stir-fry as usual, but slightly undercook the vegetables to maintain their texture when reheated. Let it cool before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in a skillet or wok.
- Meatballs and meatloaf: Both meatballs and meatloaf can be made in large batches and frozen for future use. Form the meat mixture into desired shapes, bake or pan-fry until cooked through, and let them cool. Freeze on a baking sheet first to prevent sticking, then transfer to airtight containers or bags. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or stovetop.
- Breakfast burritos: Prepare a batch of breakfast burritos by scrambling eggs, adding cooked bacon or sausage, vegetables, cheese, and any desired seasonings. Wrap the fillings in tortillas, wrap them tightly in foil or plastic wrap, and freeze. To reheat, remove the foil, wrap in a damp paper towel, and microwave until heated through.
- Quiches and frittatas: Both quiches and frittatas are excellent make-ahead dishes that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Prepare the egg mixture with your choice of fillings, pour it into a greased baking dish or individual muffin tins, and bake until set. Let it cool, wrap tightly, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or microwave.
- Homemade pizzas: You can make your own pizza dough and freeze it in individual portions or prepare fully topped pizzas and freeze them. Par-bake the pizza crusts, add the desired toppings, and freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to airtight containers or bags. Thaw in the refrigerator and bake in the oven until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.
Remember to label your frozen meals with the name and date to keep track of what’s inside and when it was made. Most frozen meals can be stored for up to three months, but it’s always a good idea to check for any signs of freezer
burn before consuming.
By taking the time to prepare and freeze meals ahead of time, you can simplify your cooking routine and have a wide variety of delicious meals at your fingertips whenever you need them. Whether you’re a busy professional, a parent
on the go, or simply looking to reduce the time spent in the kitchen, prepping and freezing meals can be a game-changer.
Freezing meals allows you to maintain a healthy diet, save money by reducing food waste, and eliminate the stress of daily meal planning. So, stock up on freezer-friendly containers, unleash your culinary creativity, and enjoy the convenience and satisfaction of having homemade, ready-to-eat meals waiting for you in the freezer. Your future self will thank you for your effort and foresight.