Freeze Make Ahead Dinners WORK
Make a double batch the next time you make meatballs and tuck a bag full away in the freezer. Meatballs freeze extremely well! To freeze, let cool fully, then place into a zip top freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. Thaw directly in pasta sauce or in short 10-15 second increments in the microwave for quick toddler dinners.
freeze make ahead dinners
Stir together a simple batter of quinoa, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, and either broccoli or cauliflower to make these patties. Then you can freeze them for a quick future meal. Thaw overnight in the fridge or pop into a toaster oven or a 375 degree oven and bake for about 6-8 minutes, or until warmed through.
With vegetables tucked right in the mix and a straight forward ingredient list, these meatballs are a great option for kids. Plus, they freeze well, so you can store some in the freezer if there are leftovers the first go round, or make a double batch. Let cool fully and store in a zip top freezer bag with as much air removed as possible for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or in short increments in the microwave.
This vegetarian soup, which has sweet potato for added nutrition and subtle sweetness, tastes even better the next day. It can safely stay in the fridge for up to 5 day (you may need to add a little more stock if it gets too thick) or frozen in a zip top freezer bag with as much air removed as possible, and frozen flat, for up to 3 months. (See above about making a big batch of rice ahead of time.)
For quicker weeknight meals, packages of pre-portioned cooked grains stashed in the freezer are one of our secret weapons. No waiting for rice or other grains to cook while your dinner companions prowl hungrily around the kitchen. No need to plan ahead. No need to do much more than pull a package out of the freezer and carry on with making the meal.
Now, I make a big batch of grains whenever I have the time, freeze it in two-cup portions, and then have plenty of grains to look forward to for weeks to come. If I have a little fresh rice or barley leftover after a meal, I throw that in the freezer, too.
On the following slides, you'll find some amazing make-ahead meal ideas, but if you really want to become a meal prepping pro, check out Good Housekeeping's Easy Meal Prep cookbook. Not only has each recipe been vetted and approved by the experts in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, but we're also offering tips and techniques to help you flawlessly execute batch-cooking, freeze-ahead meals, ready-to-serve dinners and grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches.
Save this make ahead meal for a night when company's coming. You can stuff the chicken breasts up to a day ahead, refrigerate, and cook them just before guests arrive, leaving you ample time to focus on your Spotify playlist instead.
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food make-ahead meal. Pesto can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container, so all you have to do for dinner is boil some water and pop open a bottle of wine.
Get your fiesta on faster with these make-ahead enchiladas. The tortillas can be filled, wrapped, and frozen for up to two months without the sauce. Or, you can keep the whole casserole assembled in the fridge for up to a day before baking.
So what makes a good meal to freeze for after baby arrives? Well, the answer to this is partly personal. You want to make sure you are making foods that you really are going to want to eat. Just like your tastes can change when you are pregnant, you may find that your tastes change a bit after giving birth. The best piece of advice is to make foods you like towards the end of your pregnancy. You want the foods to be nourishing and healthy, but you also want to make sure you are actually going to want to eat them.
Dairy is an especially common irritant as many babies under the age of 4 months have a milk protein sensitivity, according to LLL. So when you are preparing meals for the freezer, make sure to have a wide variety of meals and make sure to include some that do not have any dairy in them, just in case!
The first thing to think about when planning for freezer meals is, of course, how much space you actually have in your freezer! If you are working with just one freezer, go ahead and clean it out to the best of your ability and assess how many meals you can fit in there. And keep in mind whether or not you think you will need to keep some space open for breastmilk once the baby comes. To be honest, most women find buying a second storage freezer super useful in the early phase of motherhood, so if possible, that would be our recommendation.
The next thing to consider is portion sizes. Who are the meals for? If the meals are for your whole family, it likely makes sense to freeze food in large enough portions to feed everyone. If you are making meals for a family of one or two, plan to freeze smaller portions.
While this post is specifically a guide to stocking your freezer with homemade food, we also know that it is equally as important to make sure your house is stocked up with the ingredients needed for easy quick meals and snacks.
Meal prepped breakfasts are a great way to start the day! These freezer-friendly breakfast recipes will make your mornings so much better. Keep your freezer stocked with a few options and you'll never be scrambling to find something to eat when you wake up.
These paleo freezer meals are all perfect to make ahead of time, freeze and reheat! From soups to stuffed sweet potatoes, meatballs, instant pot meals, and zucchini lasagna, everything in this roundup is freezer friendly, packed with flavor, and also Whole30 compliant! Save this roundup for when those busy times when you need great healthy make ahead meals.
Thank you so much for these ideas! A good friend of mine is going through chemo and I plan to make her family the lasagna roll ups and the enchiladas. I love that if she wants she can just freeze them until needed.
Bonus: Each recipe is a twofer; it makes enough for a meal the day you cook, plus a second full serving to freeze for another day. Some dishes require microwave thawing, while others can be popped directly into the oven.
There's no need to spend Christmas morning with your mixer; these orange-scented pinwheels freeze beautifully, reheat in just 25 minutes, and make your kitchen smell fantastic. Recruit little ones to help make the icing and spread over the rolls just before serving. To round out the morning meal, serve the rolls with a simple fruit salad and a frittata or soft-scrambled eggs.
Cook up as many pizzas as you want tonight, and freeze the rest. The key to the deliciousness (and believe us, these cheesy pizzas are amazing) is to make fresh ricotta cheese, which is more moist and creamy than store-bought.
Your freezer is not just the land where old food goes to die. Stocking it with make-ahead meals helps save yourself time (and money!) on those busy nights when it's hard to get a good meal on the table.
If you're always in a rush to get a good meal on the table during the week, then you might want to consider whipping up any of these delicious, freezer-friendly dishes during your weekly meal prep. This way, you always have a speedy midweek meal at the ready. (Did we mention it makes clean up a breeze, too?)
Bolognese is simmered low and slow to create a thick and hearty, sauce, so the next time you slave over a pot, make it a double (or triple!) batch to freeze for later. Let it cool, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze up to three months.
Finally, a freezer make-ahead meal that's ready in literally minutes, all thanks to your microwave! Freeze foil-wrapped burritos up to three weeks. To reheat, simply remove foil and microwave until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.
Cheesy, gooey, saucy stuffed shells make the ultimate weeknight meal! To make and freeze them ahead of time, prep them as directed, but do not bake. Cover with foil and freeze up to 2 months. When ready to eat, bake from frozen at 350F for 45 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.
This veggie-packed lentil soup is easy to make ahead. Double the recipe, then freeze up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat, covered, on medium, adding more water or chicken broth if it seems too thick.
Tender chunks of beef and a thick, flavorful sauce make this a make-ahead meal to look forward to. Freeze this stew for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat, covered, on medium, while your pasta cooks.
Pulled pork is an easy thing to make in big batches. Stock it into your slow cooker, then transfer the shredded meat and the cooking liquid to freezer bags, making sure to leave at least 1 inch at the top of each one since the mixture will expand as it freezes. Freeze up to three months, then thaw in the refrigerate overnight before heating up on the stovetop.
Beef and turkey burgers aren't the only things you can freeze! Form salmon patties like these ahead of time and freeze for up to 1 month. Cook from frozen at 425F until warm and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
This weeknight staple can be a great frozen make-ahead option. Just make double the mixture, and shape, wrap in foil, and freeze (unbaked) in a resealable bag up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake and glaze as directed.
Pizza is so easy to make ahead of time and stock in your freezer for a super simple dinner (or midnight snack!). Once cool, wrap it and freeze it up to one month. Thaw in the fridge overnight then pop in the oven at super high heat until crisp.
Your family will love this easy, make-ahead Breakfast Burrito Recipe that goes straight from the freezer to the microwave or oven for a fast and satisfying breakfast. My family also loves breakfast burritos for dinner!
Spend a bit of time stocking up on these freezer-friendly meal prep recipes so you have healthy lunches and dinners at your fingertips! This post takes the guesswork out of freezing your meals with vegetarian, and chicken options- plus more!