With all of the snow we’re receiving here in SWPA, I figured today’s topic of make ahead freezer meals would be perfect. Please keep in mind that this is just the research phase of these meals. I haven’t actually made any of them yet. This, however, is the perfect solution to “I don’t know what to make for dinner” or “I’m too lazy to cook, let’s get takeout.” These meals would give me the option of spending a day or two prepping various meals and ensuring my family is eating healthy. They will also save me a ton of time and aggravation once the baby arrives and I have zero interest in doing anything productive.
I found many sites with a lot of good suggestions, but I’m only going to post the meal ideas that my family will actually eat and those that can also be stored in freezer bags. While I’d like to eventually get to the point where we have a freezer full of BPA-free glass containers with beautiful matching lids and so much organization you just want to scream, realistically I am far too cheap to spend that much money on containers at the moment. Besides, I know a lot of expecting moms and I usually like to prepare them a homemade meal like a tray of baked ziti or something along those lines. Those work better in aluminum foil pans because then I don’t worry about getting my container back. Also, as I’ve posted before, this is a time for saving.
The first item that really caught my eye was on marthastewart.com and was for, simply enough, Breaded Chicken Cutlets. While I always try to have chicken on hand in our freezer, I never thought to prepare them this way and have them ready to go. Instead, I freeze them individually, defrost them the day of, and then prepare according to recipe. This would save me so much time and they can be used in virtually anything. Now, when Peanut wants Chicken Parmesan, I can have it ready in a snap. I will definitely be preparing these tomorrow while I’m snowed in and have nothing better to do.
Over at Happy Money Saver, she has a post for making 50 freezer meals in one day. While this seems a little ambitious, I am willing to eventually take that challenge – just maybe not tomorrow. Her lasagna recipe seems simple enough, however, I would go the traditional Italian route and use ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese. She also has a fried rice recipe that I’d like to try. I have a recipe I got off of Pinterest that my family loves, but, again, I never thought of making it in bulk and keeping some on hand in the freezer. There are a few other recipes that stand out, but I’m going to let you check out her site yourself and see what your family would enjoy.
Finally, I went over to Thriving Home and found an article on over 70 healthy freezer meals for your family. While I love the glass pans she endorses, I don’t think they’ll be making their debut in my kitchen just yet. Save, save, save, remember? This woman is super organized. She is part of a Freezer Meal Club (I wasn’t aware those even existed… Friends? Anyone interested?). She has quizzes on food safety and freezer meal labels, and all of her recipes are divided up by category. She is the level of organized I aspire to be one day. I especially liked her breakfast ideas because it means Peanut would still be eating healthy in the morning before school, but also that I wouldn’t have to wake up super early to prepare said healthy breakfast. That’s a win/win situation if you ask me. Her other recipes were very interesting also and I’ll have to look through them further when I have more time. Maybe we’ll try a few out and I’ll write a follow up post to let you know what my family thought of them.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for tonight. I’d love it if my family could go multiple months without dining out. It’s not like we eat out all that often now, but I don’t even enjoy restaurant food anymore. I’ve become one of those homemade snobs without the flair or dedication to cook a homemade meal every night. It’s a very confusing existence. 😉
Have a great night and keep warm. I will write again tomorrow.