When you’re a busy mom or dad on-the-go, it can feel like the last thing you have time for is prepping a meal for the entire family to enjoy. While there are plenty of dishes out there that take only a few minutes to actually cook, the preparation part can actually be a pretty lengthy process. That’s why we’ve been so excited to see the surge in popularity of make-ahead, freezable meals you can just grab and throw in the oven or microwave for easy, enjoyable eating without a lot of work or waiting. One weekend afternoon of careful meal preparation can equal an entire week of stress-free eating. Great, right?
There’s just one tiny, occasional issue— sometimes, those ideas for make-ahead meals aren’t the foods we’re normally craving. Is there a way to take the foods we’d be craving and making anyway, and turn them into freezable, make-ahead dishes? YES, and for the answers, we’re turning to The Domestic Geek, who’s an absolute master at meal prep and freezing all kinds of make-ahead meals. I mean, just look at her freezer:
Is that not a thing of make-ahead-freezer-meal beauty? I have organizational meal prep envy! Plus, it’s stuffed to the gills with foods we adore, all turned into make-ahead versions. Watch The Domestic Geek explains how she does it, the read on for more details.
5 MAKE-AHEAD FREEZER MEALS
- Breakfast: Smoothies
We all know that smoothies are some of the healthiest – and tastiest! – ways to start any day. Plus, they make for great snacks throughout the day, too! The only problem with make-ahead, homemade smoothie mixes is the fruit’s tendency to freeze together and congeal within their baggies. Solve that problem by slicing your fruit, then freezing those slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Once they’re frozen solid, make up your baggies filled with other ingredients, and you’re good to grab and go! In the morning, just drop the contents of the baggie in the blender, add juice or milk – or a little of both – and you’ve got a fantastic smoothie.
- Breakfast: French Toast
Yes, you can totally freeze French toast— and pancakes and waffles, too! The next time you have a leisurely morning and you’re making some French toast for brunch, simply double or triple your batch. Allow them to cool completely, then simply store them in plastic zip-top bags. Place sheets of parchment paper between each slice of toast (or pancake or waffle) to keep them from sticking together while they freeze. Reheat in the toaster, and you’ve got a delicious breakfast in minutes!
- Lunch: Burritos
The first step in freezing a burrito is making sure all of the elements and ingredients are at room temperature. Cold tortillas will tear, and warm fillings will lead to soggy burritos. Also, never freeze the sauces; keep them separate and add them when you reheat your burritos. Wrap each pre-made burrito in plastic wrap before putting with others in a large freezer bag. Then just grab however many you need, and reheat in the oven or the microwave! That’s it.
- Dinner: Casseroles
Of all the dinner possibilities out there, casseroles are some of the most tried-and-true freezable options. Want to take them straight from the freezer to the oven and make sure they’re as tasty as possible? Try this alternative way of wrapping and freezing the casserole. Before you even begin to make the casserole, line the dish with foil and leave plenty of excess foil hanging over the edges. Once you fill the casserole dish with all the casserole ingredients, use that excess to wrap the casserole! Freeze, and when it’s solid, it’ll lift right out of the casserole dish. Transfer to a plastic bag and store that way until you’re ready to eat. That way, your dish isn’t stuck in the freezer, and the aluminum foil lining means less clean-up once you do cook it.
- Dessert: Cookies
Yes, your desserts should be just as make-ahead convenient as the rest of your meals! Cookie dough freezes well, so you can whip some up whenever you want and then save to enjoy fresh-baked cookies at your convenience. Roll the dough into balls and freeze on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once they’re solid, pop into a freezer bag to store. Then just bake as normal, just with an additional three to five minutes of baking time.
So. Smart. I love the tip for preventing frozen fruits from sticking together, and that way of freezing foil-wrapped casseroles is genius. Be sure to watch the video to see The Domestic Geek put these ideas into action, then tell us which one of these twists on freezable make-ahead meals you’re making first. Do you have any tricks of your own to share?