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3 Tips for Delicious, Easy Freezer Meals

Rebecca Fillmore is a talented food blogger, Noonday Ambassador, and mom of three. She is passionate about creating delicious, accessible meals that feed the whole family. Today on Flourish, Rebecca shares her tips for making delicious, easy freezer meals that will make your spring meal planning so much simpler!

Green-Chili-Chicken-CassCasseroles of any kind usually freeze well. Green Chili Chicken Casserole is a family favorite. Previously frozen or not, it gets the job done.

The sun was shining this week! I don’t know about your community, but in Iowa the sun has been hiding for a few months. The sun woke me up a bit and I started spring-cleaning and planning out my next few months. For me, spring brings lots of graduation open houses, end of school concerts, and soccer games. Not to mention when it’s getting nicer outside I find myself gone all day. Then five o’clock rolls around and dinner? Well…it’s nowhere to be found. To fix this problem spring has become my freezer meal season.

Baked-RavioliBaked Ravioli is a great dish to assemble ahead of time, throw in the freezer, and bake when needed. Lasagna is another great dish for this.

Freezer meals used to intimidate me. First off, I never knew which freezer meal to make. Would I even like the meal? Would my family eat it? What container was best to freeze food in? When I started looking up some freezer meal ideas I found plan after plan of how you could make a month’s worth of meals in one weekend…overwhelmed yet? I was! I just wanted a few on hand each week. Is that too much to ask?

I took the issue into my own hands and figured out a way to make this work for my life (this is what happens when determination is in your blood). I came up with a few tips to help out anyone looking to incorporate a few freezer meals a week into their busy spring schedule!

Sloppy-JoesSloppy Joe meat freezes great! You can even freeze a package of buns to go along with it when you need it.

Tip Number One: Don’t search for something new

When considering freezer meals, think about things your family already eats. Does your family love a good homemade spaghetti sauce? Sloppy Joes? Tacos? Maybe you are into rice pilaf or marinated chicken. You can find freezer recipes for anything. So think about meals that your family is already used to. Then look up the freezer meal recipe to see if there are any guidelines you should follow to make it “freezer friendly.” Now you have a freezer meal you know your family will eat.

Tip Number Two: Just make double

Instead of setting a weekend aside to cook a whole bunch of meals, try making a “freezer friendly” recipe for dinner and just double it. Eat the one, and freeze the other. Do this a few times a week and in just a couple weeks you’ll have about seven meals waiting for you in your freezer. Genius, I know!!!

ChiliChilis and soups are always an easy freeze especially since most recipes make large batches.

Tip Number Three: Have freezer containers on hand

There are many options of how to freeze meals. My suggestion is try a few different ways and see what you like best. Then try to always have some of those containers on hand! I don’t know about in your house, but in my house every so often I will make a huge batch of something and we’ll have an overwhelming amount of leftovers. If I have some freezer containers on hand I can pop the extras into the freezer for future consumption.

Which containers should you use? Well, there are a few options here. There are disposable pans with covers (or you can cover them yourself with tin foil). Tupperware comes in all sizes and works well for freezing. You can go with glass as long as it’s freezer grade otherwise it will most likely crack. Personally I like to use freezer bags. I get both the quart size and gallon size freezer bags. I label the bag (before I put the food in it) and put the meat mixtures, chili, etc. into the bags and call it good. Sometimes I double bag it just to be safe. My second go-to is the disposable pans. For casseroles and things that need a more structured container the disposable pans have worked out really well for me. Just make sure to label it so you know what you are eating!

BBQ-DrumsticksAny marinade or BBQ can be combined with meat in a freezer bag and frozen ahead of time. Thaw out the contents in the bag before cooking for flavor that will not disappoint.

A freezer meal works great for planning ahead, and other ideas for “plan ahead” meals include marinades and crock pot meals. I promise crock pots are not only for the wintertime and marinades are not only for grilling.

Now that you have all these great ideas, let’s put it all to the test and try out a freezer meal. (You were afraid I was going to leave you without a recipe, weren’t you?) Asian Lettuce wraps are a hit with my family…every…single…time! We just love them. It’s really a simple recipe and doesn’t take a lot of time to make at all. Double the meat and rice, eat half of it with your family, and freeze the other half for a busy day. Don’t freeze the lettuce though! That won’t turn out well at all. Just make sure to have some on hand.

Asian-Lettuce-WrapsAsian Lettuce Wraps are an easy meal to double and freeze the extra meat and rice.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

By: Becca F. Fillmore, dinnerforeveryone.com

1 lb ground pork

1 teaspoon grated, fresh ginger (or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger)

heaping 1/4 cup green onions

3 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2 cups rice (uncooked)

Large lettuce leaves (iceberg, romaine, or any other large leafed lettuce works)

Start cooking the rice according to package directions. Begin browning the ground pork; add green onions, garlic and ginger before the pork is fully cooked. When fragrant, add remaining ingredients (excluding lettuce and rice) and sauté until pork is cooked through. When pork and rice are done, put a scoop of rice on a lettuce leaf and then use a slotted spoon to scoop the pork on top of the rice. Roll the lettuce and enjoy your wrap!

Meet Rebecca Fillmore

Becca was born and raised in Iowa and is now raising her family there. She is the kind of person that when she puts her mind to something, it gets done, and it usually gets done fast! Getting up and doing something she is passionate about is what brings purpose to her life. So whether it is doing a Trunk Show as a Noonday Ambassador, developing a talent, or adventuring with her husband and three children, she considers it fuel for her life. Becca also LOVES food! Creating a meal and sharing it with others is always an exciting experience for her. She shares this excitement at dinnerforeveryone.com, which features realistic recipes and sincere thoughts.