The school year is starting and somehow I already feel behind with everything I need to do, however, I do have one thing ready for the busy school year—a freezer full of homemade healthy dinners, breakfasts, and lunch box snacks.
It's been a slow transition but everytime I make a meal I know I can freeze, I make a double batch and freeze it in portions in my Souper Cubes. My freezer has transformed from being stocked with Trader Joe's frozen meals to my own home cooked meals. Not only does this mean we're eating a little bit healthier, but it also means we're saving money by not ordering takeout when my husband and I are too tired to cook.
If I have a little extra energy, I'll add something fresh, like chopped herbs or a squeeze of lime on top to jazz it up and make it feel like I just whipped up a fresh meal.
Benefits of Freezing in Individual Portions
Freezing food in portions means you can heat up only the amount you'll eat instead of thawing an entire recipe. This means you can have a different meal every day for breakfast, lunch, or dinner instead of eating the same thing over and over, or even worse, getting tired of it and throwing it away. Freezing food in Souper Cubes portioned trays means you'll waste a lot less food.
Thawing individual portions also takes a lot less time than thawing an entire recipe frozen in a large block. Even if you want to thaw several portions, they'll thaw much quicker either in the microwave, in your refrigerator, or on the stove.
Best Sizes of Souper Cubes Trays to Use
Recipes for Back to School
Chicken Pot Pie
Pot pie in 30 minutes? Yes, please! This delicious Chicken Pot Pie is full of chicken and veggies in a creamy sauce. Freeze the filling so you can make a single portion, or a big portion to feed a family, in minutes.
Creamy Pesto Chicken Orzo
This recipe for Pesto Chicken, Zucchini, and Orzo uses an entire box of orzo and makes a big batch. Enjoy some now and freeze some for later when zucchini is no longer in season. I like to make it in my 2-cup Souper Cubes then reheat it in the stoneware.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Using shredded rotisserie chicken means this Chicken Tortilla Soup comes together in minutes. After reheating, serve it with fresh toppings, such as cilantro, sliced tomatoes, avocado, and lime wedges to make it feel like you just whipped up the recipe.
More Freezer-Friendly Chicken Recipes
This easy meatloaf is a crowdpleaser for kids and adults alike. You can freeze it cooked or raw in 1-cup or 2-cup portions. Serve it with mashed potatoes, which you can also make ahead and freeze, too!
Shepherds (Cottage) Pie
Freeze the meat base and mashed potatoes together in one with this Shepherd's Pie recipe. Since we made it with beef, it's technically called Cottage Pie but if you're a lamb fan, swap the beef for lamb.
More Freezer-Friendly Beef Recipes
One-Pot Veggie Mac & Cheese
If there's one recipe you'll always want in your freezer, this Veggie Mac & Cheese is it. This easy recipe skips making a classic roux and cooks the noodles in the sauce, making the creamiest Mac and cheese without flour. The recipe calls for broccoli and carrots, but use whatever veggies you have on hand.
Veggie Shepherd's Pie
If getting more veggies and plant-based protein into your diet is important, this is the recipe for you. This Veggie Shepherd's Pie uses mushrooms and lentils to give you a savory filling, then is topped with simple mashed potatoes. To make it vegan, swap the milk and butter for a plant-based milk and plant-based butter.
Like soup, lasagna tastes better the second day, so it's one of the best recipes to prep ahead and freeze. We like to use this veggie-packed spaghetti sauce to keep it vegetarian but you can also use this slow-cooked tomato sauce with beef to make it heartier.
More Freezer-Friendly Vegetarian Recipes
Making crustless breakfast quiche in individual portions means you can customize them for all the picky, or not-so-picky eaters. I like to use the 1-cup tray and make 2 portions vegetarian and 2 portions with sausage, but feel free to get creative!
Steel Cut Oats
Steel cut oats take longer to make than quick-cookie oats but they have better flavor and texture. Luckily, they freeze beautifully so next time you make a batch, make it a double. Freeze the steel cut oats with toppings or add your own fresh toppings, like sliced peaches and chopped nuts for a hearty, filling breakfast.
More Ideas for Freezer-Friendly Breakfasts
Snacks & Dessert Recipes
Freezing small servings of desserts, like these Oatmeal Cookies, allows for individuals or small families to heat up just enough for a serving or two. You can even use your toaster oven instead of heating up your big oven whenever a cookie craving hits.
Blueberry Banana Bread
Baking in Souper Cubes allows for you to make smaller portions of all your baked goods. Here, we use blueberries and bananas in this half whole-wheat quick bread, but this recipe for Blueberry Banana Bread can be made with any berries you have on hand.
Freezer-friendly applesauce is a great way to preserve your apple haul when they are in season. Applesauce is great all on it's own or can even be frozen and then used in baking all year round. Making it at home also means you can control the amount of sugar and spice to you and your families preferences.
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
While zucchini is still in season, whip up a bunch of these zucchini breads to have on hand during colder months. We like them for breakfast or an afternoon snack, but if you need a quick dessert, make a quick cream cheese frosting and you have an easy sweet treat.
More Ideas for Freezer-Friendly Snacks and Desserts
Tips for Freezing and Thawing
If the recipe contains pasta, cook the pasta one minute less than package instructions. When you reheat the food, the pasta will then be less mushy.
To reheat, place a frozen cube in the microwave or on the stove. If using the microwave, reheat in increments, stirring occasionally to help distribute the heat. Adding a splash of water, broth, or milk will help the cube thaw quicker.
For more tips on freezing soup, check out this article: How to Freeze Soup & Reheat It For The Perfect Weeknight Meal