I love having meals prepared in my freezer but I’ve never been able to set aside hours at a time to do freezer meals. For me, the easiest way to stock the freezer is to freeze leftovers. This works for me because I am already preparing a meal anyway and have all the ingredients out that I need. Sometimes the recipe I am making is already large enough to have leftovers. This is usually the case for a lot of casserole dishes. Sometimes I add a few extra filler ingredients in to make it go farther. This works really well with soups. Sometimes I will just double the recipe. That is usually the route I take with baked goods.
For the next six weeks of Menu Monday, I will be preparing 2 to 3 recipes that can be used as freezer leftovers. I thought this would be fun to do now since the holidays are coming up. How nice would it be to have a week or two of meals in your freezer while you are busy planning and running errands for the holiday season!
Here are some types of meals that I think work great for freezer leftovers:
Muffins and Breads
My family is a huge fan of muffins. I try to make a batch at least once a month. I recently found a recipe for the muffins pictured above. It is a recipe for Healthy Cranberry Yogurt Muffins. I had been wanting to try a muffin recipe using oats since they are such a super food. These turned out delicious. I did substitute chocolate chips for the cranberries this time since that is usually Graylie’s request. This site also has a new recipe for Spiced Chunky Apple Muffins that I think would be perfect for fall! It is so easy to freeze leftover muffins and breads such as rolls or biscuits. I just throw them into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.
Pancakes and Waffles
Pancakes and Waffles are another family favorite! I love trying new recipes to change things up. We recently tried one for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Swirled Waffles. That was a lot of fun and of course my little chocoholic loved them! The recipe made a huge batch though so it was nice to be able to freeze the leftovers for later. I’m also interested in trying the recipe pictured above for Spelt Flour Pancakes. You can substitute whole wheat flour for the spelt flour if you don’t have spelt flour on hand. When it comes to pancakes and waffles, I still freeze them in freezer bags but put a little wax paper between each one. That just makes it easier to grab a few at a time when you are ready for them.
Pasta Dishes make amazing freezer leftovers! Who doesn’t love to come home and be able to throw a home-cooked meal in the oven or skillet? The Southwest Beef & Pasta Skillet pictured above is a recipe we tried this summer. We love tacos and we love pasta so this was the perfect combination. Lasagna and Tetrazzini are a couple of other pasta dishes that are great for freezing. For pasta dishes, I freeze them in glass casserole dishes so they can go straight into the oven.
Soups and Stews
Soups and Stews are one of the most common freezer foods. The Crockpot Taco Soup pictured above is one of our favorites! We also love Lasagna Soup, Chicken & Wild Rice Soup, Beef Stew and Chili. For freezing soups, I use a plastic bowl that will hold just enough for a meal. I don’t really like to reheat things more than once so I try to only do what I know we will eat in one sitting. I reheat this in a pot on the stove otherwise I would use a glass bowl. Soups are great for freezing individually as well. They make great lunches in the winter.
Fajita and Taco Meat
Okay, there might be a theme here. We really love Mexican Food if you couldn’t tell! I like to make fajita meat in the oven, skillet, grill or crockpot. There are so many different ways to change up this dish like using the meat in quesadillas like the photo above. The best part is you can freeze the leftovers for later. That is assuming that there are leftovers! 🙂
I could keep going on about all the awesome meals that you can freeze but I’ll stop right here. I would love to hear about some of your favorite freezer foods! I’ve actually just started a Facebook Group called Healthy Meal Planning on a Budget. I thought it could be a place to share recipes and tips for all of us trying to save money and eat healthy at the same time. It could also be great inspiration for those of us wanting to jump in on this freezer challenge! Hope you’ll join me! 🙂