Before I get into the specific items that went into my freezer, let’s talk about what didn’t:
- Scrambled eggs – I make these every week because my kids usually eat them, they’re an inexpensive source of high-quality protein, and fast to make. Straight up scrambled eggs do not freeze well, but the prep and clean up are so fast that they really are not overwhelming to whip up for dinner, even with a new baby.
- Roasted sweet potatoes – I love fresh roasted sweet potatoes so much, and it breaks my heart that they do not freeze well. I tried it a couple of different ways to try and make it work, but it really just does not work. The texture suffers. I cooked them a couple of times when I had the time to dice potatoes, but otherwise we made do without them.
- Most pastas – Baked pastas freeze well, so in the past I have made a lot of them for freezer meals. However, my kids have been going through a “won’t-eat-foods-touching-other-foods” phase, and that makes casserole-style meals a struggle. Instead of fighting with them, I chose to make and buy different sauces for most of our pasta dinners (the exception being a baked penne that we really love). The meatballs with red sauce, pumpkin sauce, and baked penne with roasted vegetables went into the freezer; I could have added the pesto to my stockpile as well, but it was just as easy to buy it at the store as needed. Making just the sauces instead of pasta casseroles allowed me to serve sauce on the side for my kids and saved me a bunch of space in the freezer.
- Pizza – We don’t have a great pizza place near us, and even if we did, ordering takeout every week can get expensive. Pizza dough actually does freeze well, but I have yet to master the art of stretching out pizza for a New York-style pie. What I do make about once a week is a Sicilian-style pizza. The dough for this pizza is so sticky that I have not found a good way to freeze it (if you have any insights here, please let me know!). However, it does refrigerate well! I experimented and learned that I could mix the dough first thing in the morning, let it rise for two hours, stretch it, then pop it into the fridge until I was ready to bake it. If you try this technique, make sure you stretch the dough before refrigerating, otherwise it will need to warm up before stretching – learned that the hard way! Pizza sauce would freeze well, I just never got around to making a big batch of it.
- Slow cooker chicken thighs – It felt like a waste of a plastic bag to “prep” these for the freezer, seeing as how it would just be the chicken in the bag. My own very easy recipe requires so little prep work that it is easier to make it the day of than to freeze it ahead of time.
Next up is Part 3, all about freezer-friendly main dishes!