What easy recipes freeze & defrost well?

Grace - posted on 04/30/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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I almost always cook and eat fresh food. But due to an impending birth, I may need to freeze some meals to make life easier for myself when a newborn comes along. Apart from bolognese sauce, I don't freeze many meals. What's a healthy recipe that freezes and defrosts well without becoming horrible in taste?

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Chris - posted on 05/10/2010

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My favorite tip for casseroles is to line line the pan first, then freeze so that you can remove the casserole-cicle and still have access to your pan.



I also have some favorite reicpes from Pampered Chef that are written with freezing in mind. If you have any questions, just let me know.



Make-Ahead-Chicken

1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

1 tbsp vegetable oil



Cut chicken into ½-in. cubes using Chef’s Knife. Heat oil in 12-in Skillet over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until shimmering. Add chicken and cook 7-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain chicken, if necessary.



Greek Chicken and Orzo Skillet

To Prepare and Freeze:

1 portion “Make-Ahead-Chicken”

2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-in pieces

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (14 oz) garlic and onion flavored diced tomatoes

3 tbsp Greek Rub

In Bag 1, combine chicken and zucchini In Bag 2, combine beans, tomatoes, and rub.

To Finish and Serve:

2 cans (14 oz) each chicken broth

½ cup water

1 lb uncooked orzo



To cook and serve immediately:

Add contents of Bag 2, broth and water to 12-in Skillet; cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add orzo. Cover and cook 5 minutes (or halfway through cooking time according to package directions), stirring occasionally.

Add contents of Bag 1. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes or until orzo is tender and zucchini begins to soften. Remove from heat and serve.



To cook and serve from freezer:

Add contents of Bag 2, broth and water to 12-in Skillet; cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook 8-10 minutes, breaking contents apart as necessary. Proceed as directed above.



Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

To Prepare and Freeze:

1 portion “Make-Ahead-Chicken

3 cups tortilla chips, finely crushed

2 cups frozen corn

1 can cheddar cheese soup

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

2 tbsp Chipolte rub

In Bag 1, combine chicken, chips and corn. In Bag 2, combine cheese spread, tomatoes and rub.

To Finish and Serve:

2 cups chicken broth



To finish and cook immediately:

Add contents of Bag 2 and broth to (4-qt.) Casserole.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook 12-14 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.

Add contents of Bag 1 to Casserole; simmer 4-6 minutes or until soup is thickened. Serve soup with optional toppings, if desired.



To cook and serve from freezer:

Cook contents of Bag 2 and broth as directed above, whisking occasionally using Silicone Sauce Whisk.

Add contents of Bag 1 and cook as directed above, breaking chicken apart as necessary using Bamboo Spatula.



Chicken Dijon Chicken Noodle Toss

To Prepare and Freeze:

1 portion “Make-Ahead Chicken”

2 cups frozen peas

¼ lb deli ham, diced into ¼-in. pieces

1 can (10¾ oz) condensed cream of chicken soup

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

In Bag 1, combine chicken and peas. In Bag 2, combine ham, soup and mustard.

To finish and serve:

12 oz uncooked rotini pasta

½ cup water

8 oz sour cream

1 oz grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)

¼ cup snipped fresh parsley



To cook and serve immediately:

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.



Meanwhile, place water and contents of Bag 2 in (12-in.) Skillet; cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add sour cream to Skillet. Reduce heat to medium; add contents of Bag 1. Cover and cook 4-6 minutes or until chicken is hot, stirring occasionally.



Toss cooked pasta with parsley. Spoon chicken mixture over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.



To cook and serve from freeze:

Cook and drain pasta as directed above.



Meanwhile, place water and contents of Bag 2 in (12-in.) Skillet; cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking contents apart as necessary using Bamboo Spatula. Proceed as directed above.

Smoky Black Bean Chicken Wraps

To Prepare and Freeze:

1 portion “Make-Ahead Chicken”

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 tablespoons Smoky BBQ rub

2 cups cooked rice



In Bag 1, combine chicken, beans and 1-2 tbs rub In Bag 2, combine rice and 1 tbs rub



To finish and serve:

½ cup water

4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

6 11-in flour tortillas

Extra toppings: onion, lettuce, tomatoes, hot sauce, extra BBQ sauce



To cook and serve immediately:

Omit water. Place contents of Bags 1and 2 in Large Skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Assemble wraps as deisired.



To cook and serve from freezer:

Add contents of Bag 1 and water to Large Skillet; cover and cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until hot, breaking chicken apart as necessary.

Add contents of Bag 2 to skillet; cook 4-6 minutes or until heated through.

[deleted account]

pasta with pesto or carbonara is really handy to make and freeze. i would defrost in hot water or oven rather than microwave.

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15 Comments

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Stephanie - posted on 05/25/2010

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Turkey chili, Stews, If you can vac pak even pasta but who would you be cooking for i could help more if i knew other children? spouse? self? are you breast feeding because some dishes you may want to omit heavy garlic and onions otherwise baby could have upset. let me know. I did the same thing when expecting our twins and we had 3 already so it is smart to do.

Jane - posted on 05/25/2010

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Taco meat. Make and freeze the meat, then you can have it in tacos, or burritos, or as a taco salad, or even in eggs as huevos rancheros. :)

Angel - posted on 05/24/2010

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not too sure about great recipes to freeze other than some of the above mentioned BUT i do know that in my family we don't freeze anything that has cooked ground beef in it.... we just don't like the taste of reheated ground beef, we try to make only what we need so that we don't have to worry about it...
another thing that helps some is to portion out your meats before freezing them... right now our baby doesn't eat table food yet so i only have to portion out for 2... Buy a large thing of chicken or chops or w/e you fancy and wrap the amount you need (in my case 2) in aluminum foil then drop in a zip lock bag, when it comes time to cooking you don't have to worry about defrosting too much for one night then having to eat the same meat for the next several nights... Hope this helps at least a little

Monica - posted on 05/15/2010

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This is a great one I learned from "Dream Dinners" .
2 lbs cheese filled ravioli (fresh or frozen)
1 lb cooked chicken breast sliced
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 cups 1/2 in slice zucchini
1/2 cup 1/2 in slice red bell peppers
1/2 cup green onions chopped
1/2 cup store bought basil pesto sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in a gallon size freezer bag and label. You can store for up to 3 months.

When ready defrost in refrigerator over-night. Preheat oven to 350F. Place ingredients in 9x13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cover with foil and bake for one hour.

[deleted account]

Potato Casserole



15 potatoes peeled, boiled and sliced or grated



2 cans cream of chicken soup

5-6 green onions

2c sour cream

1/2 c margarine



1 lb medium cheddar cheese



Boil potatoes. In a sauce pan over low heat mix together next four ingredients. Layer in 9 x 13 pan potatoes, sauce, cheese, potatoes, sauce cheese.



Bake at 350-375F for 20 minutes or until bubbly.



You can wait until completely cool and cut into serving sizes and freeze in smaller amounts so that you can grab some and warm it up in the microwave more quickly as needed.



Congratulations! Hope this helps. :)

Kelly - posted on 05/12/2010

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Just a quick freezing tip, PRESS N SEAL. even if you are putting something in a plastic container or freezer bags, wrap it or cover it TIGHTLY with press n seal. It keeps the freezer burn away. And defrosting, it really is a plus to put it int he fridge the night or day before vs defrosting with the microwave. And heating, heat on medium not high n the microwave. I hope these tips help.

Monica - posted on 05/11/2010

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I like to cook and freeze, Ziti; meatballs in ragu sauce or meatballs stroganoff (easy recipe the one with a cream of mushroom soup) and penne pasta. Rice cooked with chicken stock, garlic, onions, celery, peppers, mix veggies, add to pieces of chicken, previously saute with bacon, or olive oil and add soy sauce.

Rachel - posted on 05/07/2010

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I always make extra for days I don't want to cook and then freeze the rest. Soups: chicken noodle, Beef stew with Barley, Chili, I even have pizza dough I made w/the bread machine in the freezer. Also spaghetti sause or beef or chicken stock. w/spaghetti sause I also use chicken patties and put the sause on with parmasan cheese and bake it for chicken parm or any soft cheese will do and also tuna noodle caserole some one with probobably bring you one or 200 of these to be helpful. Basicly any thing freezes well its about the prep in the deal. I buy in bulk for meat I pre marinate and stick iinto bags so alls I have to do defrost and cook. A seal a meal for full fledged dinners and marinades would be helpful. Also dont overlook 5 min rices and those lipton noodles and sause that you can always add lunch meat to there handy for dinner as well as a side. I hade one baby and a 14 mth old crawlinf around and was able to manage dinner you'll be suprised what you can do. I wish you the best of luck w/future baby and dinner. Just take one thing at a time and its ok for the husband to help you out too.
Good Luck,
Rachel

[deleted account]

I'd say any soup or stew that doesn't contain dairy is good to freeze like chili, goulash soup, green bean stew...

Jennifer - posted on 05/05/2010

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You can prepare many meals and freeze them so that they can be popped into the oven right from frozen. Lasagna or any pasta casserole. Simply prepare the lasagna but do not top it with cheese, tightly seal the top of the lasagna pan with plastic wrap then foil and freeze. When you are ready to eat it, pop it into a 350 oven with the plastic wrap removed but the foil on tight. After about an hour in the oven remove the foil, add grated cheese and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes. The same can be done with pasta al forno very easilly.

[deleted account]

shepherd's pie, chilli, i have frozen sweet & sour before but it still has a short freezer life!! risotto - lasts a while longer and I virtually lived off it when my lo was newborn!! good luck with both the freezing and the birth. x

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