Quick Freezer Meals
I've been meal planning for years and I've really only just gotten into making freezer meals in advance. I like freezing soups/stews when I have a lot leftover; let them thaw in the fridge overnight then heat in a sauce pan.
But back to quick freezer meals. Freezer meals are great when you have a busy weeknight; take them out the night before to thaw in the fridge then throw in low on the crockpot the next day. Also great in my life because I travel for work and my husband isn't really a cook. He's able to pull these out of the freezer and have a healthy meal that lasts several nights; having to manage 2 boys and the dog solo, this is one less thing he has to worry about.
Don't overthink them. I need to remind myself of this when it comes to meal planning in general. You can make healthy and tasty meals with minimal ingredients. I have found that in fact often the really complicated meals are not that healthy. Save yourself time and energy and focus on a few key ingredients and season generously.
Meal prep is key!
I do a bunch of prepping on the weekend because, for example, it doesn't take much longer to cut the whole onion than it does to cut a little bit of onion each night. Just do all chopping in one fell swoop.
For example, yesterday I prepped beans and veggies for a turkey chili that I'm making this week. I doubled up on the veggies and beans, and added the second half to a freezer back, plus ground turkey and seasoning. I ran out of tomato, so I made a note on the freezer bag that when it's time to cook I need to add pureed tomatoes.
Just add meat.
Really the only difference between prepping for meals for the week and prepping freezer meals in the meat and seasoning. Add meat to freezer meals and season. For meals cooking during the week, save the meat until the night you are cooking.
Once again I will state, I'm not a huge recipe follower. Especially if I'm making dinners on a weeknight, looking at a recipe slows me down. But I use recipes as inspiration, and as a result I've learned how to more creatively combine different foods (like using squash and sweet potatoes in Mexican inspired dishes) and to learn about different flavor profiles (lime, peanut, and ginger = yum).
Here are the freezer meals I quickly threw together this weekend:
- Mediterranean Chicken: spinach, zucchini, chicken, pesto, lemon, parsley
- Fajita Chicken: bell peppers, onions, salsa, chicken, cumin, chili powder
- Turkey Chili: bell peppers, onions, jalapeno, butternut squash, black beans, white beans, ground turkey, tomato
- Chicken Stew: green beans, carrots, celery, onion, chicken, parsley, thyme (broth will be added later)