We have a new freezer! So what are your favorite cook & freeze meals?

I always wanted a full-sized freezer. Now I have one (woohoo!)

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to take a day off and just cook food to be frozen and re-heated for lunch and supper. Lasagna florentine is on the list, as is chicken curry. And I’m going to cook some things like stewed chicken or and mac’n’cheese, that I package separately, so that I can put together a meal from components & fresh food.

What is your favorite meal to make a double batch of and freeze for later?

Not exactly a whole meal, but I like to make a double batch of true Ragu Bolognese. It’s easy to make but somewhat time-consuming.

If you’ve never had it, it’s a meat sauce which is far less tomatoey and herby than American-style meat sauce. It’s full of minced vegies as well as assorted ground meats, only a little tomato, and has milk in it. Thaw out a quart of it, and serve it atop fresh-cooked tagliatelle or pappardelle, and it’s heavenly.

Meatloaf, lasagna, and spaghetti sauce. Also, homemade stock (mostly chicken) with or without meat in it. I freeze the stock in single serving portions, so that if I’m sick, I can grab a container and heat it up. I might cook some noodles or rice in it, or I might not. But it’s very comforting to realize that I won’t have to rely on canned or dried soups. And the spaghetti sauce is for those times, too, because if I am not cooking dinner, my husband likes to pull out a package of sauce and cook up some vermicilli.

I will only freeze meat once. This means that I won’t pull some ground chuck out of the freezer, make a meatloaf, and then freeze the meatloaf.

STEAK. No, wait, that’s freeze and cook, not cook and freeze.

Chicken Curry. I make up a good-sized batch (I have a recipe book in which all the recipes are for 6 people) and 6 peoples’ worth of rice, then half-fill tupperware with rice and top up with chicken and sauce.

get a vacuum sealer (seal a meal type)

pasta already in sauce (I make huge batches, my crock pot that holds 7 quarts is almost full of sauce when I do this, end up with about 20 dinners)
mufflettes (something I saw on this board but could not remember the name, chop up veggies, bacon, sausage, whatever fill muffin tins and then add egg to near the top, bake at 325 for 30 min, they freeze and reheat great)
I have a smoker so smoked meats cooked a bit rare and sliced up are good for a quick reheat for sandwiches

Yum, sounds good. I use ground beef, pork and pancetta, spices in mine, with minced carrots, celery and onions, four cups of broth reduced with a little red or white wine, and a can of tomatoes. Four hour recipe.

Stock! When I got a stand-up freezer, I started making chicken and beef stock in large quantities and freezing it.

Other things:

  • Marinara sauce
  • Sloppy Joe mix (ground beef, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, molasses, chipotle, whatever else I have lying around)
  • Homemade sausage. I grind and case my own, but it’s easy enough to make bulk sausage from coarse-ground store-bought pork.
  • Chili

You didn’t ask, but I’ve found that plastic take-out containers have been a GREAT help in keeping my freezer organized. I buy 'em at GFS, but I’m guessing any restaurant supply will have them.

I use Painter’s Tape to label them, since I do re-use the containers. Painters tape + a permanent marker = an easy-to-read label that comes off easily.

Do mark everything with what it is and the date you put it in the freezer. Trust me, Marinara sauce, chile, and hot sauce all look the same in the freezer, as does brown chicken stock and beef stock. You don’t want to have to thaw them to figure out what the heck it is.

Oh, more food suggestions:

  • Carnitas, for quick soft tacos and enchiladas
  • Beans, because beans-from-dried taste so much better than canned but take forever to cook and they freeze pretty well

I make a big old batch of meatballs, cook them, freeze them, and vacuum seal 'em. I usually make them in 2 sizes - regular, for pasta, and mini, for soup.

Chicken stew (based off a recipe in my Colonial Williamsburg cookbook) - start with 3-4 cups diced cooked chicken by whatever means necessary. Dice 2 onion, 2 carrot, 2 celery stalk, sautee until soft and a little brown in 4 TBSP butter. Add flour and stir until it forms a paste (~5 TBSP). Add 4 cups of chicken broth 2 cups at a time, whisk until smooth, simmer until it begins to thicken. Fresh pepper and salt to taste. Some thyme if you like it. Add chicken and 1/4 cup half & half, simmer again for 10 minutes to mix the flavors.

When defrosted, serve with egg noodles, or, my favorite, farina dumplings. You make 2 cups farina according to the package directions (I add black pepper and dill), then remove from heat and quickly beat an egg in. Then drop by heaping tablespoon into soup or stew, and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

These enchiladas from Tyler Florence are stellar. The only problem you’ll have with freezing and re-heating them is that you’ll eat them all before you can get around to doing that.

I find that meat in the crock pot gets so soft it shreds… so I use the crock pot for pulled pork, pulled salsa chicken to go in tacos, and pulled beef for beef & noodles. It’s SO easy to cook a crapload of meat this way and get several meals out of it.

I also use the crockpot for chili and gumbo, which freeze well.

Lasagna and lasagna florentine are obvious… I also like to make moussaka and chicken tetrazzini, which freeze well.

I cook and freeze for the week ahead. I cook everything - sausages, bacon, ham slices, hot dogs, chicken, and hamburg hamburg hamburg (patties, raw or cooked, and cooked crumbled hamburger for mixing with sauces), rice, mashed potato patties. Not pasta or vegetables, though. Wrap up well, put in containers, use fairly soon so it doesn’t get that freezer burned taste. It saves SO much time, just thaw and heat.

This thread inspired me to make a nice batch of creamed spinach to freeze!

You can also freeze pesto. Of course you can buy pesto, but if you like to make your own, you can freeze it. I put it in these 4oz Gladware containers, then pop out the little pesto hockey puck and vacuum seal it for long term storage. For short term storage I just leave it in the Gladware.

Oh, another thing - I bake sweet potatoes and mash them, then freeze them in dinner sized portions. Baking sweet potatoes is such a bother on a week night, and it reheats really well. Also works for winter squash (acorn or butternut type).

You don’t like to cook sweet potatoes in the microwave? I find it easy, only takes 7 minutes for a smallish one, and serve as is, slit open at the top.

No, I don’t. The microwave doesn’t do a good job of cooking them evenly, I find they very often have hard spots. Especially when you cook more than one (the sizes and shapes vary so much).

My mom will parcook them in the microwave then finish them in the oven, I find its less trouble to cook a whole bunch, mash & freeze.

whoops double post.