When all you have time for is a quick reheat in the oven, these delicious meals will be on the table in a flash with minimal effort. Freezer meals save the day in our house at least once a week- sometimes more. When you haven't had time to get to the store or think about making dinner after a long day of work- it's always a relief to realize you have a delicious meal in the freezer.
There are so many reasons to make meals ahead of time. Sometimes it’s nice to make something for friends or family that they can keep in the freezer until they need it. Sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy.
These are fully "make ahead" freezer meals rather than "prep ahead" meals. So you completely cook the meal before freezing.
The deep and rich flavors of the Moroccan Chicken Thighs Braised with Preserved Lemons, Olives, and Chickpeas, Garlic Braised Chicken with Prunes and Capers, and Shepherd’s Pie for a Crowd, all take some time to develop. I think of these recipes as my weekend recipes. They take a little longer but they make the house smell amazing. We usually make a large batch of a soup or stew or make two dishes in the case of the Lazy Quiche with Sausage, Onions, and Peppers or Shepherd’s Pie for a Crowd. That way we can enjoy the meal the day I make it and I love to know that we will be banking some delicious meals for the future.
How to store make-ahead freezer meals?
Tupperware is the easiest and most effective way to sore most of their meals. You want a contractor that has a good lid to make it airtight.
The exceptions are the Shepherd’s pie and Quiches. For these, you will just wrap them in aluminum foil.
Why not use plastic bags to store the meals?
I love the idea of having a perfectly organized freezer with all the meals stored in flat plastic bags stacked to save space. If you store food in a plastic bag it is best to thaw it out slowly over 24 hours in the refrigerator.
But it turns out that the night I really need a dinner solution life is a total tire fire and I didn’t have the forethought to thaw the meal- so I put the container in a bowl in the sink and run hot what over it until it's soft enough to transfer to the saucepan.
I have found the plastic storage bag does not hole up to this abuse and leaks. With all that said if your life is less of a hot mess- go for it.
Tips for making ahead freezer meals:
- Freeze meals in individual portions. If you are preparing large portions for one or two people, portion out your food before freezing. This makes it easy to reheat food as needed. You don’t want to continuously reheat and refreeze food.
- Don’t freeze foods while they’re still hot. Let them cool to room temperature, and/or place them in the fridge overnight before moving to the freezer.
- Fill the containers so there is as little air as possible. If you have extra space, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface for the food before putting the lid on the container. This prevents freezer burn and helps food last longer.
- Label your containers so you can easily identify the food you want to reheat. Use a permanent marker and freezer tape to write recipe names on bags and containers.
If you’ve tried this Make Ahead Freezer Meals recipes or any other recipe on BalancingBowls, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more tasty meals.
Make Ahead Freezer Meals:
- Best Canned Black Beans Recipe
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Lazy Quiche with Sausage, Onions, and Peppers
- Baharat Spiced Braised Chicken Thighs
- Chickpea Curry Soup
- Pea Preserved Lemon Spread on Toast
- Shepherd’s Pie for a Crowd
- Black Bean Soup
- Braised Chicken with Shallots Tomatoes and Tarragon
- Lazy Quiche with Artichokes, Olives, and Feta
- Mushroom and Turkey Soup (Thanksgiving Leftovers)
- Garlic Braised Chicken with Prunes and Capers
- Lentil Quinoa Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon Soup
- Winter Tomato Sauce
- Moroccan Chicken Thighs Braised with Preserved Lemons, Olives and Chickpeas
- Chicken & Roasted Tomato Stew
- Vegetarian Tikka Masala
- Chicken Tikka Masala
If you’ve tried this Make Ahead Freezer Meals recipe or any other recipe on BalancingBowls, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more tasty meals.