Recipes, tips, and tricks on stocking your freezer! These delicious meals can be made ahead and frozen for another day.
I got a touching email from a reader a few weeks ago and this Stock Your Freezer post is the result of it. This is what one sweet Café follower wrote:
My question is in regards to freezer meals. After several years of infertility, our daughter will be having our first grandchild in late October! We are very blessed. They live 4 hours away and have just moved there so we want to fill their freezer with yummy meals. Which of your recipes would you recommend are the best to prepare and freeze for them? If I've missed a post on your website, feel free to point me in that direction.
That got me thinking that there might be others of you, who'd love to stash some yummy things away to have on hand for a mom with a new baby, a friend who's having a rough day, a neighbor who has a house full of sick children or for those busy days when you yourself don't have time to think about cooking. Although I love to cook, there are definitely days when having something delicious in the freezer (that just has to be popped in the oven) is a welcome thought!
These are mostly dinner ideas, but if you're looking for bread, cookie, cake, etc. recipes that freeze well, you can also check out this post: Company’s coming! Stock your freezer!
A creamy, super delicious Tomato Basil Soup with no cream! A scoop of Greek yogurt and lots of healthy pureed veggies are the creamy secrets!
Tender and full of Asian flavor, the oven does the magic with this Slow Roasted Honey Soy Pork after your 10 minutes of hands-on time. Serve it in tacos, wraps, sandwiches, rice bowls - you name it!
These Italian Chicken Meatballs are made from boneless, skinless chicken breasts, not ground chicken. They’re lean, light, tender, juicy and full of flavor!
Dinner party-worthy and super flavorful, this Chicken Andouille Gumbo can be made ahead for easy, relaxed (and delicious) entertaining!
This make-ahead, Homemade Manicotti is beyond delicious with an Italian sausage marinara and tender melt-in-your-mouth pasta.
Let the oven do the magic instead of messing up your stovetop! This delicious Slow Roasted Short Rib Chili (can also be made with chuck roast) is loaded with chunks of super tender beef and lots of healthy beans and veggies!
If you enjoy the cuisine of Italy, you’re going to love this Italian Black Lentil Soup! It’s bursting with delicious flavor and will make your kitchen smell like a fabulous little trattoria!
If you love meatballs, Asian cuisine and like to keep things decently healthy, these fabulous Strawberry Balsamic Glazed Chicken Meatballs are calling your name!
This easy slow cooker (or instant pot) Brown Sugar Balsamic Pulled Pork is healthier than most, takes minutes to put together and is a delicious crowd pleaser!
This healthy, delicious Chicken Black Bean Chili, made with rotisserie chicken and lots of fresh veggies, is a perfect way to warm up a chilly day.
This make-ahead Italian Chicken Sausage Ravioli Lasagna is bursting with fabulous Italian flavor and tastes like you labored for hours! No one has to know the delicious little secret.
A few Café Tips for Stocking Your Freezer
- When freezing individual things like muffins and cookies, after baking them, place them in the freezer on a sheet pan or a plate for about an hour, then transfer to a ziplock bag or storage container. Then you will be able to pull out just the amount you need and they won’t be squished or stuck together.
- For soups and chilis (and anything else hot), cool completely before freezing either in the refrigerator or over an ice bath if you’re in a hurry.
- I find it helpful to freeze things like soup and chili in smaller quantities instead of the whole batch. This way they thaw faster, plus, you'll be able to pull out only the amount you need.
- Be sure to label and date your food!
- The safest way to defrost food is in the refrigerator. The FDA recommends 5 hours of defrosting time for every pound of food.