The countdown has begun! You know the one…the one the kids dread and the parents rejoice in. It’s back-to-school countdown time! And while you breathe a small sigh of relief that you just may get eight hours a day of no bickering or whining about being bored, you also know that the craziness just transitions into a new form. While I don’t have a wolf pack going back to school just yet, I have always found that during those times when I know life is going to be hectic it’s all about preparation and organization…and most importantly food. SO, while you’ve still got a little bit of time before the school zones add 15 minutes to your commute, take advantage and STOCK THAT FREEZER momma! Just think what a breeze dinner time will be when all you have to do is turn on a crockpot or crank that oven to 400. You can then focus on the important things…like getting kids to do their homework and deciding which bottle of wine to open for the evening.
Traditional Pot Roast
Ok, I know this is a crockpot meal but here’s the deal: most crockpot meals you can turn into freezer meals. How you ask? By putting the prepared browned meat into a freezer bag and then separately putting all the remaining and prepped ingredients into a second freezer bag. Voila, crockpot got even easier. So for this recipe <<click here to get it!>> you’ll do just that. Follow steps 1-4 and then place the roast in a freezer bag and seal. You’ll place the remaining ingredients in a second freezer bag. Make sure these two bags “hold hands” throughout their freezer journey. When you’re ready, let them thaw overnight in the fridge and then put in crockpot to cook as normal. Throw in some baby carrots about 3 hours before dinner time and serve over mashed potatoes or my personal favorite, creamy polenta – YUMMO! Oh, and for a really easy make ahead bread that goes splendidly with this meal, try out my Lemon Rosemary Beer Bread.
Taco-Filled Pasta Shells
This recipe is a favorite of our very own Krystal Hurst‘s family! Who doesn’t love a good ole taco night? Taco meat is one of those things that’s great to make ahead and freeze, keeping plenty on hand for an easy weeknight meal. This particular recipe <<click here to get it!>> makes them even easier by placing the goodness inside pasta shells so you can freeze the entire meal, making it a cinch in a pinch.
Thai Chicken Meatballs With Peanut Sauce
When thinking freezer meals, THINK MEATBALLS! Seriously, one of the easiest make ahead meals ever. My husband is half Swedish so we do Swedish meatballs every now and then but these Thai chicken meatballs with peanut sauce are our new all time favorite <<click here for recipe!>>. Now, the thing with meatballs when you know you’re going to freeze them is that you only want to cook them halfway – so on this recipe only bake them about 10-15 mins and then put into a freezer bag. For the sauce, make it ahead and then freeze. Let them thaw overnight and then finish baking the meatballs and pour the sauce into a warm pan to reheat before adding the finished meatballs. DELISH. For this recipe I like to serve over Jasmine rice (Trader Joe’s has a delish option here that just takes 3 mins in the microwave). Or make up some of your other favorite meatballs and serve over a salad, pick out some nice hearty bread or just serve over pasta!
Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
Remember how we love taco night? Here’s another spin provided by Bethany Jordan. I love this take on the traditional taco, adding a spice of lime and cilantro pesto – yum! <<click here to get it!>> On this note, think of any of your favorite chicken marinades – most of these will make for the perfect freezer meal. Throw in a side rice and veggie and you’re onto eating in no time.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Orange Soy Glaze
Pork tenderloin is another favorite in our house and not long ago I got into the habit of making two at a time and freezing one for a later date. I found the trick to be only cooking the one I would freeze halfway. Then same as the meatballs, freeze and then cook the rest of the way when I was ready to eat. My favorite recipe I’ve used for years actually uses an orange soy sauce glaze <<find it here!>>. I have found the best way to do this one is use half the glaze in the upfront when roasting the pork halfway pre-freeze and then freezing the rest to use when I’m ready to prepare and serve.
Hope these delicious meals make going back-to-school a breeze for your family!