June 29, 2015

How to stock your freezer with ready-to-eat dinners

Black beans.  I hate buying canned goods.  They're heavy and they take up space.  Sure, they're not really expensive.  But I also hate opening cans.  So by making my own black beans, I'm eliminating a bulky grocery item.  You buy a bag of dried beans, you follow that recipe I'm linking to there, and you get 4 quart-size freezer bags of beans.  In each one, I put a little more than you'd get in a can.  Don't fill the bags the whole way.  Lay flat to freeze.

Pinto beans. See above.  Scott brought home a giant bag of pinto beans from a farmers' market last fall.  I finally got around to making some of them, and I ended up with about 8 bags to add to vegetable soups and chili.

Salsa Chicken.  I don't do these in lettuce wraps because lettuce wraps don't have carbs and I like tortillas and tortilla chips and stuff made with lots of carbs.  You could do just about anything with this chicken though.  Salads, quesadillas, nachos...it's my go-to recipe.

Marinara.  My friend's recipe is the one I use. Not going to lie: I use this mostly as pizza sauce because we don't do a lot of pasta.  This just means I don't have to buy the bulky glass jars of Barilla Tomato Basil.  I appreciate that.

Chicken stock. Another recipe for those of you who hate putting cans in your shopping cart, putting cans on the conveyor belt, putting bags of cans in your car, carrying bags of cans into your house, and then putting them in the cupboard.  This, I'm pretty sure, is why I make my own stock.

Fajita meat.  I posted this recipe a few weeks ago with some quinoa.  You can put it in tortillas with fajita fixings, grill it up in quesadillas, or put it over some quinoa or rice Chipotle-style. Very versatile.

Tortilla Soup. We love this soup.  I make it when I want something really good to eat on the weekends and I freeze bags of it for later.  It might be one of the best recipes I've ever found online.

Mongolian Beef. This is also a go-to recipe of mine.  It's a people-pleaser. Perfect for potlucks (I've taken it to work before) or for freezing.

White Chicken Chili.  I really liked this.  I don't make it nearly often enough.  I'm not a fan of ground beef, so this is the chili I would opt to make.  I have the hardest time finding ground chicken for some reason.  They never have it at the commissary and sometimes I can't even find it at Safeway.

Vegetable Soup. I haven't posted a recipe for this yet.  Truthfully, I make it a bit differently every time, but I'm working on a batch this week.  It's perfect for when your husband wants something for dinner and you don't want to cook. Will share soon.

Do you have a favorite freezer meal?  Make anything in advance?


  1. I have been doing a lot of freezer meals lately, with Kyle's unpredictable schedule it helps so much!

  2. These are such good ideas! I never even thought of making my own black or pinto beans. Also, I need to finally try doing stock.

  3. I NEED a bigger freezer. Mine is so tiny, there's no way I could stock this much frozen food...but I'm dying to! Lately I've been making a lot of on-the-go types of foods for Isaiah to take to work with him...homemade hot pockets, breakfast sandwiches, taquitos, etc. That plus my normal freezer stuff (veggies, frozen fruit, etc) and it's stuffed to the point where food wants to fall out when I open the door. Someday we will have a garage and a deep freezer...!!

  4. I said just yesterday that I need to do more freezer cooking. I used to do it a lot, with casseroles and stuff but since I stopped working in an office, I've gotten out of the habit. I'm lazy, though, and I hate cooking on the weekend so I should just bite the bullet and make a few.

  5. Finding ground chicken is hard! But I do like ground turkey. I like to make my chili with that instead of ground beef when I can. :)

  6. We eat black beans a lot. I need to start making my own. I like to make stuffed shells for a good freezer meal. One batch makes two meals.

  7. And this is why your blog is one of the few I'll always read :)

  8. Pinned the mongolian beef. It's about time for me to re-stock my freezer. I typically have soup (stuffed pepper, veggie beef barley), chicken stock, pinto or black beans, chili, shredded BBQ or regular chicken, taco meat already made, and mexican stuffed shells.

  9. Thanks for posting this! I tried the Mongolian beef and it was gooood. A pleasant change from the usual freezer fare! It's also hard to find ground chicken here in the UK, ditto turkey. What's up with that? And I'm going to get on board with the dried beans thing. I've always been intimidated by them before (no idea why) but now I have no excuse to man up and deal with it!

  10. I've been wanting to start freezing things for a while but haven't committed to it. I saved some of the recipes and will give them a try.


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