Healthy Meals for the Freezer

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Lots of families are going to be seeing much more of each other in the next couple of weeks, which makes healthy meal planning even more important. One-way to fight the constant “what’s for dinner?” question, is to cook and freeze!! When making meals, double the recipe and freeze one for ease in the future. Here are some healthy recipes that feed a group, and freeze well.

There are a couple of great freezer meal cookbooks out there as well.

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2–3 chicken breasts (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of frozen corn kernels (canned and drained works too)
  • 4 ounces of low-fat cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Topping ideas: shredded lettuce, diced avocado, sour cream, diced onion, minced jalapenos, chopped black olives
  2. In a slow cooker, add chicken and top with salsa, and black beans. Stir until combined.
  3. Cover and cook on low for about 2½ – 3½ hours or until chicken is tender and white throughout.
  4. Remove chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces or shred it. Add back to slow cooker. Add corn and cubed cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese melts and blends into sauce and corn is warm.
  5. Serve over brown rice with shredded cheese and your favorite toppers.

Note: If you plan to freeze this for later, go ahead and fully cook. Let it cool. Store in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours and warm on low over the stove or in the microwave. For a quick thaw, use the defrost setting on the microwave.

Easy Freezable Roasted Tomato Soup

(One of my favorites, adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1-28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup Olive oil, divided, plus additional for serving
  • Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1½ cups of torn crusty bread

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Crush tomatoes with your hands into a 13×9″ baking dish; scatter garlic over and drizzle with ¼ cup oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing halfway through, until garlic is very soft and tomatoes are thickened, 35–40 minutes. Using a potato masher or fork, mash to break up garlic and tomatoes.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook, checking and stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft, 25–30 minutes (this long, slow cooking draws out maximum flavor). Increase heat to medium-high; add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened in color, about 2 minutes. Add roasted tomato mixture and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, strip leaves from rosemary sprig and toss with bread and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil on a clean rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Toast, tossing once, until croutons are golden brown, 6–8 minutes.
  4. Working in batches, purée tomato mixture in a blender until very smooth (make sure lid is slightly ajar to let steam escape; cover with a towel). Transfer to a large bowl or pitcher.
  5. Pour soup back into pot. Taste and season with salt and pepper; keep warm.
  6. Serve soup topped with rosemary croutons.

Serves 4.

Note: To freeze, let cool and place in a freezer-safe container.

Easy Freezable Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3–4 pieces whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces (enough to fill muffin tins almost to top)
  • ½ cup turkey sausage crumbles
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper (or more or less to taste)
  • Chopped chives, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a muffin tin very well or use a silicone muffin tin.
  2. Drop bread pieces evenly in muffin tins until they come about ⅔ of the way up the tin. Sprinkle sausage pieces evenly in each tin. Sprinkle cheese evenly in each tin.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, ground mustard, and pepper. Pour egg mixture evenly in each muffin tin.
  4. Sprinkle chives on the top of each one to add a pop of color. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through the middle.

Freeze For Later: Bake according to instructions and let fully cool. Place muffins in a single layer in a gallon-sized freezer container or bag. Seal well, squeezing out excess air, and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen:  Wrap a muffin in a moist paper towel and microwave in 30 seconds increments until heated through (about 1-2 minutes). Or thaw in the refrigerator and warm in the microwave.

Turkey and Broccoli Shepherd’s Pie (with mashed cauliflower)

Ingredients

For the casserole

  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 cups turkey breast, cooked and diced into 1” cubes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 4 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the mashed cauliflower topping

  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons, butter or olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. To make the cauliflower mash, place about 2 inches of water in a pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook cauliflower florets, 15 to 20 minutes or until cauliflower is extremely soft when pierced with a knife, remove from heat. Strain cauliflower and pat dry thoroughly with a towel.
  3. Add the butter and salt and blend with an immersion blender until smooth, add any additional salt to taste, and set aside.
  4. For the casserole: Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli to the pan and stir well, turn off heat.
  5. Add the turkey, mayonnaise, eggs poultry seasoning, onion powder, dried sage, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper to the pan. Stir the mixture really well.
  6. Pour the turkey mixture into a 9 x 9-inch dish, using a spatula to smooth the top. Scoop the cauliflower mash on top of the turkey mixture in the dish. Using a spatula to smooth the top of the casserole. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top of the casserole begins to lightly brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.