We’re doing some remodeling at Funky Farms these days. We started the kitchen demo last week, so I’ve been cooking freezer-friendly stuff the last few weeks to stock up for the next few weeks without a kitchen (someone talk me off the ledge). I decided it might be helpful to share here what our go-tos are when it comes to our favorite freezer meals to prep ahead of time.
These all make great meals to drop off for friends in need too. If I’m on top of things, I like to make a triple batch of these – one batch to eat tonight, one batch for the freezer, and one batch for a friend (or to put in the freezer in the “friend section.” I love leaving frozen stuff for friends because I can just leave it on their porch – I don’t have to bother them, and they don’t necessarily have to eat it that night because they can easily throw it in their freezer and save it for an emergency).
In no particular order, this is what I’ve been stocking the freezers with lately:
- Curried vegetables and lentils. This is super easy and a staple around our house. I love making it on Sundays or Mondays for Meatless Monday, and then using it for lunches for me all week long. This makes a meal all by itself, so I just thaw it out and warm it up.
- Roasted squash and apple soup. Our butternut squash plot did great this year, so we have lots of winter squash for this tasty, easy soup. I’ll likely serve this with a big salad or some yummy bread. Since we won’t have a kitchen sink or dishwasher for a few weeks, limiting the number of dishes is the name of the game.
- Curried sweet potato soup. This is super clean, and we all love it. We will probably eat it once a week to help even out from the extra pizza nights we will in all likelihood be enjoying too.
- Chickpea and chard soup. I made tons of this because the kiddos love chickpeas, and I had lots of Swiss chard to use up. I actually froze the soup and chard separately, just because I don’t like to risk the greens getting wimpy. That extra step certainly isn’t necessary though (and to be honest, the soup is delicious even without the greens).
- Chili is comfort food at our house, so I plan on saving this for the nights when I’m feeling a little fragile about the state of my kitchen.
- Chicken tortilla soup is another comfort food favorite at our house, and it’s super easy to throw together.
- Black beans and rice. We probably eat this once a week even without a kitchen remodel (leftovers with eggs = heaven), so I obviously have several stashes of this waiting in the freezer.
- Meatballs. I like to always have this stashed away in the freezer because 1) everybody loves them and 2) they are a bit time consuming to make upfront, but once you’re in grove of making them, it doesn’t take that much longer to make 50 versus 25. Side note: I also canned lots of red sauce from the tomato harvest, but that stuff freezes beautifully too.
- Sloppy joes: This is another easy one to double or triple when you’re making it with virtually no extra work, and then portion out the other batches and throw them in the freezer. Grant asked for sloppy joes last week because I hadn’t made them in awhile, and I thought I would triple the batch for an easy, crowd-pleasing meal during the kitchenless days.
- Beans: I also made lots of smaller batches of beans that I can easily thaw out – add to salads or throw in some rice or quinoa, and you have a yummy, healthy meal.
- I like to freeze our goodies in wide-mouth glass jars, old yogurt containers (we get these giant ones from Costco, so they hold about 6 cups of soup), or, if I don’t have any other containers left, gallon-sized plastic bags. Wait for the food to cool before storing it in the freezer.
- When you’re ready to use it, try to lay it out to thaw a few hours before you’re ready to eat. If you don’t have time for that, fill a large bowl with water, and put your jar/container in the bowl to thaw out more quickly (unless you’re using large plastic bags, then just put them in a bowl without water since they are more prone to leaks).
- Label, label, label. Seriously, learn from my many mistakes, and label everything even if you think it is totally obvious what it is. I keep some of that blue painting tape in a cabinet by our stove, and use little scraps of that to label our goodies.
- Never freeze pasta or soups with pasta. Pasta is so quick that you’re much better off just making a fresh batch to add to your soup or meatballs on the day-of. (The same is not true of rice. Rice freezes beautifully and, once it’s thawed, makes for the best fried rice. I probably won’t have a stove for awhile, so I’m not planning on any fried rice, but fried rice bowls with lots of veggies is one of our go-to meals on a regular week).
Send me your best freezer-friendly meals – and remodeling – tips!