If you or someone you know is expecting a bub, the best gift you can give yourself (or someone else!) is a giant stack of freezer-friendly meals.
Your future self will thank you. And/or you’ll be the most amazing friend ever. Freezer-friendly meals are the gift that keeps on giving! #mumlife
A fully stocked freezer is a real godsend when it comes to making the days easier and mealtimes less ‘stressy’. These freezer-friendly recipes are perfect for families, easy to make and reheat. Which means dinner is only a ‘defrost’ away.
Of course, freezer-friendly meals are also welcomed by people who are sick, dealing with big life moments or recovering from a trip to the hospital. Pretty much, there’s nobody who doesn’t appreciate a fully stocked freezer od delicious dinners!
So get your cook on, make sure there’s space in the deep freeze and get stocked up!
1. Baked penne chicken and sun-dried tomato
Take dinner to a whole new level with the addition of chicken and delicious sun-dried tomato. And let me tell you, this baked penne chicken and sun-dried tomato dish is yum! No need to defrost, you can bake this one dish wonder from its frozen state (use a foil tray, don’t put frozen glass in a hot oven). Simply let it bubble and blip away in the oven for around 90 minutes. TOO EASY.
2. Bean soup
Soup can be one of the heartiest meals to devour and one of the QUICKEST to reheat. Cook this scrummy bean soup in just 30 minutes. And then simply freeze it in individual portions (plastic cups are great!) for a quick lunch or dinner option.
3. Pumpkin and three cheese pasta
Pumpkin deserves to be celebrated! And this Pumpkin and three cheese pasta is not only full of cheesy and pumpkiny goodness, it’s also great for filling bellies. 30-minutes cooking time is all you need before letting it cool and freezing in a shallow casserole dish.
A favourite dish of mine to give, purely because not only is it delicious – you can eat quiche hot or cold. Let’s face it, with a new baby on board, these are very important things to consider! Mix and bake for just 35 minutes. And then just reheat in the oven on a pizza tray to avoid a soggy bottom!
5. Chili con carne
For a flavoursome easy peasy meal, check out this chilli con carne. The recipe uses beef mince so it comes together SUPER FAST – in under 20 minutes! Freeze in a microwave safe container for a quick reheat. AND if you keep a pouch of microwave rice handy in the pantry, you’re good to go at a moment’s notice.
An oldie but a goodie, lasagne is always a winner! Plus pair it with a stick of garlic bread for the ultimate carb-ilicious dinner. Bake it in under an hour (or cheat with a pre-made sauce and have it done in around 30 minutes!). A great one to freeze in easy to stack (and reheat) foil trays.
7. Tuna bake
An excellent choice. Because kids can rarely resist a tuna bake dinner! Cooked in under 30 minutes, freeze this in individual foil packs for quick defrosting and quick reheating meals for one or two people. Also, this recipe serves eight, so that’s a couple of lunches and dinners, yay!
8. Chicken cacciatore
Fancy it up with a delicious chicken cacciatore meal. Sensational with a side dish of crusty bread (give us all the carbs!) to soak up all that sauce, this is one dish that’s sure to be appreciated in all of its Mediterranean glory. Cooked from start to finish in under an hour, it can be cooled down and frozen in a casserole dish with an airtight seal (or tightly wrapped in foil).
9. Coconut and chickpea curry
One for our vegetarian mamas, coconut and chickpea curry. Disclaimer – you DO have to soak the chickpeas overnight, it’ll be well worth it, promise! Freeze in an airtight container and for added convenience, blitz the broccoli into rice and freeze so it’s ready to cook when required.
10. Turkey meatballs
Or in fact, any meatballs! These turkey meatballs can be cooked in your slow cooker for minimal fuss in just a couple of hours. To freeze, carefully spoon meatballs into a shallow container and tip the sauce over the top. When you want to eat, defrost overnight in the fridge and tip back into your slow cooker to reheat. Or be speedy and use the microwave!
Cooking for someone else
You know how great it is when you don’t have to cook because someone else has done it for you? This is actually one of the PERFECT gifts to give. But listen up, when you’re cooking for someone who has just welcomed a wee bundle of joy, there are a few ‘rules’ one should adhere too. Take note of the following:
- Whatever you cook, make it minimal work for the new parents. Heat and eat is the name of the game guys!
- Play it reasonably safe flavour wise – nothing too spicy or too hot. By all means, make a delicious curry but resist loading it with chilli heat.
- Give the meal in something that doesn’t need to be returned. A disposable container or buy a new dish and make it clear it’s now THEIRS, not to be returned. Remember to also name the dish with what it is and reheating instructions.
- Drop and run! I love the idea of if you know someone is home, dropping the food gifts in a box on the doorstep and sending a text to say it’s there.
Finally, some freezing tips!
- The number one bugbear of freezing foods is ‘freezer burn’. Freezer burn is what occurs when foods are exposed to air, icicles form, food texture changes and discolours. While it’s generally safe to eat freezer burned food, we want to keep things as fresh and preserved as possible. You can do that with these tips:
- Use the right size container. You need as little air as possible between the level of contents and the lid.
- Airtight containers are ideal for freezing food in. Pyrex makes a wonderful Cook & Go range which is worth its weight in gold.
- If freezing in disposable foil containers, double wrap the whole container in plastic wrap before freezing.
- Thaw in the fridge overnight for safe thawing. Even better, get it out the morning before to make sure it’ll be defrosted all the way through for the next evening!
Stock your friend’s freezer for their postpartum party (yes, it’s an actual THING!) or if you know of a mum in need, kindly drop one off and offer to chat while it warms up, your efforts will ALWAYS be appreciated! Happy cooking!