that one time that i made ten million freezer meals, part two.
I’m back, I’m back!
Here’s an update on all the freezer meals I made before I had a little babe. If you want to see the original post with all the details, click here. If you don’t feel like it, here’s a mini synopsis: I usually loathe leftovers and freezer meals because I’m a brat and want only fresh food. But I had a wacky moment while 9 months pregnant and decided to make a ton of stuff to stock the freezer – if not for me or us, then even just for Eddie for lunches.
Do I think it was worth it? Mostly yes. My exact thoughts on the meals I made are below. Occasionally, I’d think a meal really tasted like “freezer” if that makes sense. Sort of how if you find a (still wrapped) granola bar in the bottom of your purse, it tastes like “purse.” You get me?
I do suggest putting out reminders for yourself if you want the meal on a certain day – most things did NOT defrost in a matter of hours and really needed almost a full day. Some nights, Eddie just ended up cooking something for us or himself from his bachelor days. I really didn’t cook one single dinner for sixish weeks? Maybe I made one. I can’t remember.
As a note, we do still have some meals left. We didn’t get through everything yet, but we pretty much made it through at least one serving of everything.
To make a long story longer: yes I’d do it again.
here’s the rundown:
Spicy beer braised chicken enchiladas: as much as we adore enchiladas, this recipe didn’t freeze super well and was fairly dry. I’m saying that it’s due to my homemade enchilada sauce recipe, which is completely AWESOME but also slightly thick. I probably should have attempted to thin the sauce out before freezing or add double the sauce?
Lightened up beef enchiladas: ditto on the above, just not quite as dry as the chicken.
Pioneer Woman’s chicken spaghetti: so far this was Eddie’s favorite meal. I wish I would have separated it into even more manageable portions though – maybe six?
Smoky white bean chicken chili: definitely my favorite savory freezer meal. I love this, but that is no secret. We reheated it for dinner and then I killed it for lunch over a few days time.
Regular chili: perfect for freezing – Eddie ate it for dinner one night then split it into lunches for that week.
Mother Lovett’s bean soup: this freezes wonderfully and Eddie did the same as he did with the chili: eat it for dinner and split into lunch portions. I had a very small portion the first night because I was like, um, WHY did I make a soup full of beans with a newborn?? Thankfully Max hasn’t had any dietary issues but I still wanted to play it safe.
Butternut squash lasagna: favorite, favorite! The recipe is from my book and I love. It was also so delicious to pull out after not having squash for awhile – felt like such a treat.
Roasted vegetable lasagna: this was awesome. Would you want the recipe or is it too overdone on the internets?
4 batches of whole wheat pizza dough: we’ve only used one of these so far but I’m busting out another tonight! This dough froze great.
Chicken pot pie: this was one of the meals that tasted a little like “freezer” to me, but hey I might be crazy. It wasn’t as deliciously saucy as it is when it comes straight from the oven, but it was still pretty darn good. Eddie loved it.
Saucy pulled pork: I busted this out for tostadas and we ate sandwiches for dayssss. So good.
Make ahead freezer meatballs: these were FAB. I took them straight out of the freezer and threw them in the crockpot on the morning of New Year’s Eve with two cans of marinara. They cooked all day and we had meatball subs at night. If I had to do it all over again, I would have doubled the recipe and the single recipe makes a ton! Eddie loved this so much that he came home the next week with pounds of ground turkey and beef and made them again. This is also from Seriously Delish.
Taco meat: totally wish I would have quadrupled this. We eat tacos a LOT – in many different forms – and on lettuce it’s the best lunch ever. On the same note though, it doesn’t take that long to make this to begin with. I think it was the first meal I made once back in the kitchen.
Banana bread: I’ve only pulled out two (out of four) loaves so far, one being in the middle of the night and come the next morning, man that was an excellent idea. These were still delicious but I definitely prefer freshly baked banana bread. They also didn’t seem to hold up after a day or so – they got very mushy after they sat for another 24 hours.
Pumpkin banilla bread with chocolate chips: this recipe is out of the book and is still currently sitting in the freezer! Maybe I’ll bust it out today.
Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls: it’s a given, but these are always a great idea. We pulled out a batch on Christmas morning which I completely butchered because the oven wasn’t hot enough, and Eddie and I ate the scraps. We then made one more pan and devoured those too. So we still have bunches left.
Chocolate chip cookie dough: BEST FREAKING IDEA EVER. If you’ve read my posts anywhere, at all, then you know I’m still pulling out cookies to bake at night. I actually wish I would have started earlier and made, like, six times this recipe. Yes, I’m serious.
So that’s that! Your thoughts on freezer meals?
P.S. the above photo is Pioneer Woman’s pot roast – not a freezer meal – and it is INSANE. highly recommended.
43 Comments on “that one time that i made ten million freezer meals, part two.”
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who is obsessed with this cookie dough. I made three cookies from the freezer last night! I started making them smaller too…so the cookie dough lasts longer haha…using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop!
xoxo miss you!!!
PS love the idea of freezing cinnamon rolls!
i’ve been waiting for the freezer meal update!! I’m glad you found it to be overall helpful and a great idea. Im sure a little “freezer” taste is worth the sacrifice if it means not being able to cook for a while because your new gorgeous baby needs you every second on the second. I too, can taste “freezer” in a meal sometimes… bleh.
p.s. “taste like purse” ??!! lmao! dead!
Yaaaaaa! Add my vote to the ‘pro’ column. And yes to roasted veg lasagna.
I’m definitely not a fan of freezer meals, but even without a new baby, I can sometimes see their value in the dreariness of winter when I never really want to cook. For the meals that dry out (enchiladas) I’ll usually make more fresh sauce the day I re-heat it, add some to the pan, some when serving. I’m much more of a stew than soup lover and potatoes do not hold up in the freezer….ugh. So, I freeze individual portion of beef soup and reheat with a slurry to thicken and serve over freshly roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes. Freezer + minimal effort fresh is my trick. For breads – I’ve taken to putting together bags of dry ingredients to make 1 loaf of my orange-cranberry-walnut bread then just need to pour into a bowl, add orange juice, milk, and egg, and bake. I put the measurements and baking temp/time on the ziplock bag that anyone can make them….super easy when travelling, too.
Thanks for giving the low-down on your freezer meals! I’ve been looking forward to this post. As my work is getting busier, I’m needing to start using my freezer more.
About your enchiladas, I’m sorry to hear they turned out dry. Whenever I make your enchilada sauce recipe, I double it and freeze the extra in a mason jar, so the next batch will come together faster. It’s not as easy as a freezer meal, but it does save time!
This is such a stupid question – BUT – I’ve never froze cookie dough before. When you want to make cookies from frozen dough do you adjust the baking time, or let fully thaw first?
not stupid at all! i’m sure every recipe is different, but with this one (and most i’ve made) i just use the regular cook time and don’t change anything. they come out PERFECT! (it may depend on ovens though too…)
Thanks so much! I’ll have to give this a try!
I’m a little afraid to ask this…can babies not have beans? LOL that is worded weirdly…if you’re breastfeeding, are beans bad for the baby!? Clearly not a mother here hahah <3
haha no not bad at all! but they can cause gas. ;) at least that’s what i’ve heard – max seems to be okay with beans so far though!
Ooooh, well..that makes sense. I repeat all of the baby knowledge I get from your blog to my fiance, he’ll love hearing this one! Lol
YES to the roasted Vegetable lasagna!
Yes please to the roasted veggie lasagna! And thank you so much for the freezer update :)
thanks for the update this is good ! i ahve frozen enchiladas to and am like eh. i do freeze sauce separate though. im not super into freezer meals either and have a small freezer but maybe i need to be !
Yes to the vegetable lasagna recipe. I LOVE the butternut squash lasagna recipe from your book!
Try slicing the banana bread and storing the slices in Ziploc bags. Works great, and the slices take less time to thaw. Honestly, there’s a store about an hour from my house, and they have the best banana bread. I’ll by a few loaves, slice and bag ’em, and then take out of the freezer to enjoy later. The slices only take about an hour before they’re perfect! (That’s about my time into work plus getting settled at my desk, and it’s perfect-o!)
hopefully i’ll need to look back at this post in the next year or so! that pot roast looks delish!
I haven’t really had good luck with leftover or frozen enchiladas so I’ve started prepping the filling and sauce separately, and then quickly assembling them on demand. You could set them in the oven if you HAVE to when you’re about to serve, but at least you’ve purchased/prepared the meat/ingredients, thought through the flavor combo, and then, all you have to do is thaw and assemble. The tortillas just don’t work. On freezer cooking as a whole after baby, I was a big fan of this approach all around…purchase, prepping partially, and then “finishing it off” on the night we were eating it. It helps with the “I don’t like leftovers or freezer taste” thing.
omg, pleaaaaaseee share your recipe for vegetable lasagna. that’s one of my fav foods of all time!
Please do the veggie lasagna. Do you remember the one with white sauce they had sometimes for lunch at Gcc? Throw back I know but I freaking LOVED that stuff. It was probably made from total garbage but I have been looking for one like that for years!
Glad to hear it was worth it overall! I went on a similar bender in the last few weeks and our deep freezer is officially FULL. I’m 40w2d pregnant with our first (a boy!) right now – my due date came and went on Monday – and now we’re just waiting till he decides to show to bust out all those meals (and cookies…).
Yes to the recipe for roasted vegetable lasagna! You always have a great twist on any recipe!
Some of our friends are having their second baby and they are having a party where people bring frozen meals to fill up their freezer. I’m going to give the chicken spaghetti a whirl! Thanks for sharing!
Yes please to veggie lasagna!!
Ditto to everyone who said yes to roasted vegetable lasagna!
Yes please to the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. = )
Yes to the roasted veggie lasagna!
Making the freezer meatballs tonight!! How long would you bake them (without sauce) if I want them tonight? I definitely want to eat them before I freeze them!
Thank you for posting this update; it was so helpful! While I’m not having a child anytime soon, I am in a long distance relationship, and I make and freeze meals for my boyfriend; usually one meal per a day I’m gone. ;) Given your results, I have some new recipes to add to my repertoire. :)
Thanks for the follow up. I have two bags of cookies so far and meatballs. Glad to hear they are winners. I was thinking about chicken enchiladas. My husband really does not like freezer things so I am really torn about how much I want to do ahead of time or not. He cooks a lot too and says he will when the baby comes but then..what if I want him helping me??
yes pls to lasagna recipe!
I’m not super into freezer MEALS, but I do love to prep components that freeze well so that it just becomes about assembly. Mainly what I find to be the biggest plus in this isn’t the time savings of cooking (I can brown taco meat quickly, as you pointed out), but the time savings of cleaning up the kitchen & doing dishes! Loved this follow-up. *also, frozen cookie dough? danger! That’s even better than actual cookies.
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I have had the same issue with chicken pot pie not reheating as creamily. I freeze my pot pie filling separately. Then thaw, reheat and whisk to combine your cream sauce that has slightly separated. Then top with a crust or biscuit or puff pastry. Bake and enjoy.
When you made the cinnamon rolls ahead of time, did you freeze them prior to letting the dough rise after placing the cut rolls in the pans? Thanks! This was a really helpful post and I look forward to getting your book this year for christmas so I can make the rest of the recipes.
Hey! I made your butternut squash lasagna tonight and it was literally food heaven. I want to make another one for the freezer but had one question…do you freeze it with the fresh sage leaves on top or add those fresh just before baking? I would much rather do the first option since I have fresh sage right now, but let me know if you think it wouldn’t work!
HI there! I love this post! I am 37 weeks pregnant and ready to stock my freezer! I am wondering how you froze the cinnamon rolls? Before or after cooking? Thanks so much!
Follow up questions, do you let these thaw before baking and did you make the icing and freeze or make it fresh when you want the rolls?
Instead of making loaves of banana bread I’d suggest doing muffins instead. I made some zucchini muffins about a month ago and I just take one out in the morning and take it for my morning snack. They are a little different texturally, but one muffin at a time doesn’t seem to bother me as much as a whole loaf getting soggy. Just a suggestion!
hi hi hi! i know this is old, but just coming to say please PLEASE let us know how you handle the freezer meal situation this round : ) we are on the same kid schedule (baby 1 january 2015, baby 2 september 2017 for me!) and i am so glad to have these. i totally did several of these last time (SO MUCH CHILI with a january baby, it was the best. mmm frito pie when the pregnancy heartburn is finally gone) and am super curious how you will do it while including an imperious toddler emperor. ahem. not that mine is like that… anyway, congrats, happy nesting, thought i’d throw in my request now!
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