I am in need of meals that are freezer friendly. Both of us work and we are trying to find ways to reduce evening frustration and having meals already prepared is one solution. I am new at this so any helpful info about tricks of the trade would be great.
Most meals can be freezer friendly depending on how you prepare them in advance and store them.
For soups: these can go in any tupperware container or ziploc bag after being prepared and then frozen. To cook later, just remove from the freezer and let thaw as soon as you get home from work for about 15-20 minutes, then toss in a pan and warm til ready.
For casseroles and any other meal you would reheat in the oven: You can store these in tupperware containers as well, although oven ready containers are better. You can get aluminum pans cheap at the dollar store. These allow you to have the casserole ready and all you do is throw them in the oven for 20-40 minutes at 350 degrees.
You can also make your own skillet meals by combining frozen or fresh chopped veggies, cooked meat, cooked al dente noodles and seasoning in a ziploc bag. You can do any variation of meat, veggies, and/or noodles and then just change the seasonings for different flavors (ie Italian seasoning, mexican seasoning with rice instead of noodles, etc.) When you take it out of the freezer, add it to a heated pan with appropriate oils and voila a skillet sensation!
Most freezer meals require you to cook on the weekend and package for the week, but you could probably make enough for a month over a whole weekend if you had the room.
Some rules of thumb:
*Most meals can be kept for up to 90 days. Depending on your packaging, this may be less.
*You will want to reheat your meals to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Even though the meals were frozen you will want to avoid any food borne illnesses by heating them to the appropriate temperature.
Just take a look at the sticky links above for some great recipe ideas. Most of them can be frozen and reheated later. You can also PM me if you have any other questions!