We Want Your Fabulously Frugal Freezer Recipes

Somehow I don't think Mr. FW's caprese salad with homemade bread would freeze well...

I don’t think Mr. FW’s caprese salad w/homemade bread would freeze well…

We want your recipes! As I shared a few weeks ago, Mr. Frugalwoods and I recently came into possession of one chest freezer and are ready to fill ‘er up. Many a new parent has regaled us with tales of struggling to feed selves and baby during the disorienting early months post-birth, and with the arrival of our first child fast approaching, we’re aiming to be prepared.

Since take-out and restaurants don’t fit with our extreme frugality lifestyle, we’re going the old fashioned (and best) route—homemade and from scratch.

Chef Mr. FW plans to devote himself to the loving labor of cooking meals to freeze for us over the next 10 weeks before Babywoods’ birth. But this is an entirely new culinary venture for him! Heretofore we’ve fallen exclusively into the camp of readying foods on a weekly basis and then gobbling them all up without resorting to freezing.

As we tossed around possible recipes the other night, we had a brilliant (if I do say so myself) jolt of inspiration. Who better to ask about homemade frugal frozen foods than our fabulous Frugalwoods readers? You all are chief frugality experts and many of you already shared fantastic recipe ideas and freezer tips in response to my freezer acquisition post.

A Few Notes On Our Eating Proclivities

OK yum to pizza, but not every night

OK yum to pizza, but not every night

Mr. FW and I adhere to an eating style that serves the dual masters of healthy and thrifty. Much as we love us some frozen pizza (especially 7.5 months pregnant me!), we don’t want to partake in indulgent feasts every night. Hence, we’re on a quest for concoctions that are nutritious and cheap.

We don’t eat much meat (for reasons of health and frugality) so mega bonus for vegetarian ideas. However, some meat is a good thing—especially since as a breastfeeding mama I’ll require extra calories and protein—but we’re not steak-every-night folks.

A simple & cheap dinner we love: homemade hummus and fresh veggies!

A simple & cheap dinner we love: homemade hummus and fresh veggies!

Additionally, we’d like to whip up a few recipes that are soy-free and dairy-free, just in case Babywoods turns out to have an intolerance to either. Other than these caveats, we’re rather adventurous eaters. Unique flavors, spices, and combinations are always met with high praise in our kitchen.

While we adore frugal recipes in general, we are specifically in need of your tried-and-true meals that freeze well and taste delectable after spending a few weeks in the deep freeze. We don’t have much experience with freezing our cooking, so let us know what remains flavorful and what descends into mushy morass.

Help Us Become A “Freezer Family”

Our chest freezer stands ready!

Our chest freezer stands ready! P.S. do you like my hand modeling?

Since we’re a zero food waste family, creating clever strategies for ensuring our new freezer meals don’t meet a trashy demise is paramount. I’d love to know what systems you fellow chest freezer folks employ to track, record, and consume your homemade frozen delicacies in an efficient manner. Let me know what works for you!

Plus, how do you package and store your meals to stave off the dreaded freezer burn and other deleterious maladies? What types of containers are best for keeping foods fresh? To foil or not to foil?

Reheating: What Should We Know?

What pitfalls should we be aware of when it comes time to reheat? We do own a microwave and, though it’s rarely used at present, we’re happy to fire that baby up in service of these dishes. Do you use the oven? The stove? A blowtorch? Clue us in!

P.S. I also plan to freeze breastmilk in the chest freezer, so we’ll have food for the whole family on hand (or on ice, as it were).

And now, please fire away! Leave us links or full recipes for your favorite homemade freezer meals in the comments section below. We can’t wait to test them out! Thank you for helping us prepare for Babywoods!

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180 Responses

  1. Angela in Ohio says:

    A slow cooker is your friend and will continue to be as you become a parent. Set it and forget it. When I did freezer cooking, I would freeze stuff flat in ziploc bags. put in fridge to thaw the night before you want to serve, dump it in the slow cooker in the morning and forget it and its ready when you get home from work. It worked for us!

    • bev says:

      Agreed! Good advice for the new mom-to-be.

    • MM says:

      Slow cooker congee! Prep time: 2 minutes. Cook overnight or at anytime.
      1/2cup-1cup rice or millet or oats
      5cups-10cup water (depending on how much grain you use)
      any veggies: kale, celery, yams, ginger, squash

      Cook on high 2 hours and low for 8-12. Season with sea salt and fat when servings – I like to add 1 can of Trader Joes coconut cream about 1 hour from being done from cooking. This recipe is easy, tasty and comforting.

      I use a programmable slow cooker, http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-PSC-350-2-Quart-Programmable-Cooker/dp/B001E5CWVU/ref=pd_sim_sbs_79_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1PRHVNAN2VZZ0V3KNK7W&dpID=41tnAbGk3cL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_

      You just set the cooker to “cook” and forget about it, when the timer is up the slow cooker automatically switches to “warm”. It’s amazing. Safe enough so you can also cook overnight which is perfect. I eat this congee when I want something nourishing and easy to digest. Perfect for new moms and it takes no time. I also use this slow cooker to cook yellow split pea soup or just regular split peas or adzuki beans for hummus since these smaller beans are easiest to digest! Any meats like chicken thighs or pork shoulder cook beautifully in the slow cooker. Basically stick to veggies and grains and you will be fine! I like this better then frozen food because it’s fresh and the congee keeps for over 48 hours. Although we go through it much quicker.

      A final recommendation, Meg Wolfe’s Minimalist Cooking book 2 has many great stew recipes that are delicious. We rely on this $3 kindle cookbook when we feel like something “different” but still want it homemade, fresh and cheap! In particular her Kielbasa stew (you can skip the meat and just use liquid smoke if you want), Mushroom Barley stew, and Pacific stew. I prefer jasmine rice which is available at Costco in 20lb bags!

      Also, things like Kirkland guacamole are lifesaver when you have no energy – it is easy to digest!

  2. Mrs. Cheapheart says:

    Chili and soups are very easy to freeze and then reheat in a saucer pan on the stove. There are many vegan chili recopies online you can pick from. There are also some soups you can make vegan like split pea soup. Good luck!

  3. Rachel says:

    Gallon freezer bags work well. Try to freeze them as flat as possible. For us we just stacked from the bottom up. But if you get them freezing flat you could line them up for an easier way to get to them. One thing I didn’t think of when prepping freezer meals for after baby was to avoid a lot of onions and spicy and to avoid garlic. (Garlic apparently makes breast milk taste bad.) I just made batches that were multiple meals so we just pull the next freezer meal for the crockpot a couple days prior. And so I wasn’t using a whole bunch of ingredients and to streamline I made 3 batches of each meal I made. Also what worked well was go label each Ziploc freezer bag (I wouldn’t cheap out on these) and then write the cook time and if anything needed to be added (like potatoes).

    One recipe I like for the freezer is creamy ranch chicken. It’s cream of chicken (homemade) with ranch powder( also possible to do homemade) chicken, carrots and potatoes.

    I learned that potatoes don’t always freeze well so apparently blanching then freezing is the way to go. It worked well to do potatoes in separate bags.

    Chicken pot pie is a good freezer meal. Foil pans worked fine. Lasagna is always good too. I bake mine then freeze them.

    And my recipe for chicken pot pie is a lot of this and that… I just have a recipe for the crust I follow.
    Beef stew freezes well as does chili.

    Also there is a site called 5dollardinners.com that I pulled some other freezer recipes off of.

    That’s what has worked well for us over the last 3 weeks and counting. We also bought one pack of gift cards from sams for pizza just to have. It was at least a cheaper option( I packed our freezer full of meals and frozen pizzas didn’t fit.)

  4. Kent says:

    My go to for preparing freezer meals is an easy two steps: Make soup. Freeze soup. Ha!

    More to the helpful tips: this works great with chili, chicken tortilla, cheddar broccoli, garden tomato, and, although slightly less great, beef stew. Not so great on fancier ones like chicken tortellini (the pasta disintegrated on the reheat).

    Make a big batch, and freeze leftovers in Tupperware containers. I use the cheap Glad ones that some lunch meat came in. Find something that’s a good size for two servings and is shaped so that a whole frozen soup block could fall out. Also, make sure the container size is similar to the reheat pot size.

    For preparing, just run the container under some warm water to get the soup block out. Then I just put a bit of extra water in the pot (1/4 to 1/2 cup) and put the lid on. The water helps with steaming up the block and from letting the soup get too thick on the re-heat. Heat medium high-ish to get thawing under way, and then stir periodically and decrease heat as it all thaws and cooks.

    Haven’t tried many other freezer meals, so I look forward to coming back to find more.

  5. Shannon says:

    Oh this is going to be a fun post! I am looking forward to all the replies!

    Here’s a good curry to freeze:

    30-Minute Squash Coconut Curry
    [Notes: add cilantro the day you reheat it, stored in a BPA free Tupperware, I crockpot my squash or roast it in advance, super hearty, a small amount really fills you up, peanuty spice Thai curry taste, vegan, cooking bulgur involved pouring hot water over it and waiting 1 hour]

    more to come…

  6. Lee says:

    Brisket-grass fed-5 lbs
    1 cup sherry
    2cups broth or water (organic)
    4 cloves garlic chopped
    1 whole onion sliced
    1 can marzano tomatoes mushed
    Kosher salt
    Cook 2-3 hrs
    Freezes amazing and juices over mashed, polenta, pasta,
    Really, really stretches

    Also basil, olive oil, sea salt, crushed red pepper
    blend in food processor-freeze in ice cube trays

  7. Mrs. Cheapheart says:

    You should also freeze snacks like banana bread and blueberry scones. Take it from a breast-feeding mom – while breast-feeding you will eat a lot more food than you have ever eaten in your life. You will need some snacks that you could eat while the baby is nursing. Best of luck and enjoy every minute!

    • sarah says:

      Second this! We found the cranberry walnut cake/bread recipe on the back of bagged fresh cranberries to be a lifesaver. It freezes well and is quick to make. I like to stock up on cranberries when they’re on sale and freeze them to use for this cake all winter. Cake is also great toasted and buttered (for more calories).

      I also recommend batches of oatmeal raisin cookies (chocolate chips help). I was often ravenous in the middle of the night- a couple of cookies would help me get back to sleep.

    • Julia says:

      YES! I want to eat so much. I think we will probably spend less money feeding a toddler than we do feeding me while breastfeeding. I didn’t feel up to cooking before the baby came and my husband wasn’t sold on the frozen food thing, so we didn’t have a lot of freezer meals ready to go… but I had my mom make the budget bytes morning glory muffins, and I’ve made them a couple times since.

  8. Frugalme says:

    My favourite webcites for freezer meals are
    I have just started making freezer meals and have found it to be very helpful and frugal with a big family. So I think you are on the right track while preparing for your new baby.

  9. Katie says:

    My fiancé and I both love soups and they reheat really well. I usually start with one big carton of stock (or homemade if I have some) and then add lots of beans, a little meat to give it flavor, and then whatever veggies we have that are getting a little softer. I chop up leafy greens and usually add in a big handful or two. It takes me about 15 minutes to chop up everything and then I put it on the back burner on low and check it every 15 minutes until all the veggies are cooked to our liking. Serve it over a big bowl of rice and it is delicious! Sorry it isn’t a standard recipe, I change it up every time! I usually make around 8 servings so we can have it that night for dinner (lunch the next day) and then I have 4 servings in the freezer to reheat some other time. To reheat I just dump the frozen block of soup in a pot and put on low on the back burner. I make fresh rice every time (usually basmati- it can be cooked in the microwave!)

    Good luck and congrats!

  10. Nancy S says:

    I love love love this Budget Bytes black bean soup for freezing. http://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/07/slow-cooker-black-bean-soup/ The recipe is for a slow cooker but would work well on the stove too. I usually double the recipe but add less liquid so it all fits in my slow cooker. Then I portion it into 5 or 6 quart containers and add extra water/broth to get the right consistency. It reheats perfectly in the microwave or on the stove. If you’re extra hungry cheese quesadilla goes great on the side.

    • SSS says:

      I wanted to second the LOVE of Budget Bytes. My favorite recipe of hers for freezing is potato soup – http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/12/slow-cooker-potato-soup/ and we also love her blackbean soup, in fact we had it from the freezer last night.

      Like many others, I make a batch as big as my slow cooker can handle, we eat it for dinner & then freeze the rest in 2 serving portions in Ziplock bags. (I freeze the Ziplocks flat as mentioned.) FWIW, Costco has great prices on the real ziplock bags.

  11. I’m a big fan of batch cooking and freezer meals. I also like to make plain pasta and rice for the week on Sundays. Then we can just add to recipes as needed. If we’re doing meat that week, we’ll also make plain crockpot chicken ahead of time to add to recipes. As far as freezer meals go, check out Happy Money Saver and click on Freezer Meals. I try to reheat in the saucepan for soups and chilis or use the oven for other meals. But the microwave works when we’re pressed for time.

    • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

      This was going to be my suggestion too. In my house I can’t cook a meal, then freeze it and serve it to my husband. He hates the way it tastes. The website above provides recipes that you put all the ingredients together prior to cooking. Then you thaw and cook according to the instructions (crockpot or otherwise). Also a good idea is having meal components frozen. I have lots of favorites that call for either shredded chicken or ground beef. I get both of these in bulk from a local butcher shop for 1.99/lb. I put big batches of boneless chicken in the crockpot with some water, a couple of bullion cubes and my favorite basic spices. I boil it then use the paddle attachment on my kitchen aide to shred it all. Then I separate it in to the amount I need for the recipes. Flatten it out and freeze. Then I can pull it out the night before and make whatever I want! You can do the same with ground beef for making tacos or pasta dishes. You can get your veggies in bulk and keep aside what you will use for the week and then chop and freeze a mixture to throw into any kind of soup, pasta or for stir fry.
      I’m hungry now. 😉

    • Precious says:

      Be sure to look at the blog newleafwellness.biz. for hundreds of crockpot freezer recipes.

  12. Sara says:

    Quiche or other egg casserole type dishes. Perfect for after a baby, too as you can eat it for any meal, warm or cold. I’d cook it normally, then freeze it in pie pan covered with plastic wrap and a large gallon size bag.

    Soup is one I always make double and freeze half. I freeze in tupperware or other containers. Lasagna (veggie or meat) as well as other pasta dishes freeze great, too. Just assemble and freeze. Later thaw and then bake.

    I have several Pyrex casserole dishes that I use to freeze casseroles. They have plastic lids that snap on easily. When I go to bake the item, I remove the lid and use the glass top to bake.

    I don’t label my freezer dishes, but just keep an eye on my freezer as I’m meal planning. Most of my freezer has meat and cheese, so there are only a few premade meals in there at one time.

    • heather says:

      I too use pyrex dishes but i add a layer of foil to the bottom of the dish before freezing. once frozen the foil will lift out of the dish and you can move it to a ziploc. i find they fit in the freezer better without the dish, plus i can use the dish in the interim.

  13. jestjack says:

    Hmmmm….Our experience has been that chili, spaghetti and lasagna freeze well…Foil is used for shorter term storage….longer term we use the “vacuum sealer” BUT a word of caution…those bags and plastic are pricey…..so “count your bullets”. IMHO the most important thing is to stay organized and write the date on the stuff you’re trying to save. We have had good luck using our dehydrater to save vegetables from the garden. It is amazing to taste a Roma tomato in soup in the dead of Winter after it has been dehydrated….they taste like you picked them that day. We dehydrate the tomatoes and peppers , put them in re-sealable containers and put them in the freezer. Saves a lot of space and money…Good Luck…

  14. Tara says:

    egg bakes, quiches, etc generally hold up well in the freezer. It’s also a great way to cook up a bunch of veggies on the edge of spoiling. I’ve cooked 4 quiches at a time and frozen three. Just stock up on eggs at the grocery store. I always add cheese for extra creaminess.

    also, freezer burn doesn’t happen as much in chest freezers. a big problem with un-tasty frozen food is air rushing over it–in a shared fridge/freezer, you even get the added un-bonus of smelly fridge air circulating with your food, making it all taste bad. a chest freezer has no fan or blowing air so you don’t have to worry about the damage from forced air drying out food.

  15. Tracy says:

    My two favorite books (check your library!) are Don’t Panic — Dinner’s in the Freezer and Don’t Panic — More Dinner’s in the Freezer. Since the men in my life all believe it isn’t a meal without meat (sigh) I don’t recall how many vegetarian recipes are in them, but I’ve never eaten a bad meal from these books. Even if you don’t like any of the recipes, they do a great job suggesting what can freeze, how to freeze, how to rotate through, and not lose meals to freezer burn.
    I’m also a huge fan of prepping meals that can go into my slow cooker. They go straight from the freezer to the cooker and I come home to fabulous meals. Have fun!

  16. Precious says:

    If you don’t own a crockpot, perhaps someone can loan you one. I use my Foodsaver to shrink wrap meals for the freezer. But if you don’t have one, use gallon size freezer bags making sure that you get most of the air out before you close them up. Lay them flat to freeze on a cookie sheet. When they are frozen, stack them in one of your baskets or a box with the flaps cut off.

  17. Hmmm… I don’t really follow recipes so it’ll be hard to share specifics.

    But here’s what we freeze for later consumption:

    Taco meat (could be ground beef, shredded pork, chicken)
    Guacamole – freezes pretty well though never as good as fresh
    Homemade salsa
    Cooked beans (think bulk dried beans, a crock pot and 4-6 hours)
    Chili – so many varieties
    Soup – easy to make gallons and freeze in Qt size bags or containers
    NC style pork shoulder BBQ
    Curries – just thawed out some mind-blowing coconut curry shrimp with bamboo and skinny white mushrooms nom nom nom
    Frozen vegs of all sorts – great for stir fries
    Thin sliced raw meat in sandwich ziplocks – I’ll slice up chicken, pork or beef into thin slices and freeze about 0.5 lb in small ziplocks. Then I can quickly defrost and pop into a stir fry or slice onions and make fajitas. Or toss the shredded meat into pho or other soups.
    Bones – great starter for soup or pho or beans in the crockpot
    Spiral sliced honey ham – bag in small portions. Also try the silicone cupcake pan pucks for individual servings. Buy the hams around T-Giving and Xmas for about a buck a pound and enjoy the whole year! A few pucks of ham defrosted then into a frying pan is a great meat for breakfasts (or any time really 🙂 ). If you skip the honey glaze you have smoked ham. This stuff is also great on sandwiches and about 1/4 the regular price of sandwich meat from the deli.

    General tips – get a silicone cupcake/muffin pan to freeze 1/2 cup portions. Works excellently for hot dog chili, taco meat, and beans. Use ice cube trays to freeze smaller portions of things like salsa and guacamole. I can whip up Insta-Tacos or nachos using a bean puck, a meat puck, a salsa cube and a guac cube. It also scales if you have unexpected company. I continue to amaze friends and family (even Grandma!) with this Insta-Taco trick.

    Wow, that’s like a blog guest post right there. 🙂

  18. Mrs. Cheapheart says:

    My lactation consultant told me to eat garlic because babies like garlic, Also she advised to avoid dairy for the first few months since most human babies are lactose intolerant when they are born and then they grow out of it eventually (my son grew out of it by the time he was 5 months old). More foods to avoid in the first few months because they give the baby gas are: brocoli, cabbage, beans, pears. My son is now 2 years old and still breast-feeding – the best part about it that he now likes all the foods I like because he has been tasting them in my milk all along. He loves asparagus, brocoli, soups and home made meals, all fruit! It’s amazing! We never make special foods for him or order anything from the kids menu, he just eat off of our plates. Makes life so much easier.

  19. Karina says:

    The most frugal is the gifted freezer meal! When family/friends ask what they can do, mention your freezer filling mission and you will likely be surprised by wonderful (free) additions. My godmother hooked us up! I got ideas from onehundreddollarsamonth.com. My personal favorites were turkey potpie (use a bag of frozen mixed veggies to be super quick) & spinach lasagna roll ups. Good luck!

  20. Mrs SSC says:

    Do you have a crock pot? For both babies – we prepped a ton of freezer meals… both crock pot and casserole style. Casseroles were the obvious – lasagna, or Mexican lasagna (noodles with salsa, corn, cheddar). For crock pots, I love chicken thighs. Mix it up with BBQ sauce, or salad dressing, throw in some corn, onions, peppers. Mix them up in a gallon bag and freeze it! (Don’t forget to label) I also pre-cooked rice and froze it in portions. Unfortunately, I don’t follow recipes… so I can’t provide any. We cook intuitively. You could also prep frozen bags of chicken noodle soup for he crock pot and add the broth on the day you cook it. I hope that helps!

  21. Cath says:

    I sooo remember these days and think you’re very smart to fill the freezer now! With our first coming 6 weeks early, we were behind the 8-ball for a very long time.

    One thing I most remember is only having one hand available for food at any given time. So I would recommend also making a few batches of protein-rich muffins or homemade granola bars that you can eat day or night with one hand while carrying, rocking or breastfeeding Frugalbabe. I think Soulemama has a good formula for leftover oatmeal muffins that might be right up your frugal breakfast alley!

    I second the soup suggestion, but do remember having a very colicky wee one after a friend kindly brought us a spicy indian soup that had always been one of my favourites. Maybe try gentle spices and smallish amounts of legumes at first until you are sure Frugalbabe doesn’t react. Oh She Glows has a lovely potato / split pea soup that I like; I also make lots of squash soup and beef barley or chicken noodle, all of which freeze very well.

    I tend to freeze or can lots of applesauce this time of year, and find it’s a great thing to have on hand — we stir it into oatmeal or yogurt, make muffins with it or just eat it plain, and depending on whether you puree it, it will come in handy once solids are on the horizon too.

    We do eat meat (from a local CSA), so I also tend to make big batch meatballs or freeze sliced roasted chicken for easy pasta nights or quesadillas.

    Good luck! Do share your favourites!

  22. Jenna says:

    my go to inexpensive last minute freezer meal is “perogie lasagna”
    you need a bag of frozen perogies [any flavour] + a can of spaghetti sauce [any flavour] + grated cheese [volume of your choice].

    in a 9×9 pan layer. start with a base of sauce and then frozen perogies, sauce straight from can, cheese, repeat.
    in my pan – a small bag of perogies usually gets two layers, a large bag with a 9×13 pan there will be leftover perogies to go bag into the freezer.
    place in 350 oven for about 40 – 45 minutes.
    emphasis on perogies – straight from freezer, sauces – straight from can, cheese – right from grated bag.
    you can fancy it up – by adding cooked veg, meat, etc between the layers if you wish…. but I’ve never bothered.
    prep time is under five minutes including clean up.
    it is also my most requested meal for potlucks – which I love because it is so inexpensive to provide.

  23. Amanda says:

    Yes, freezer meals are the way to go! Also, people will want to help you so you can also suggest gift certificates to delivery services like Foodler (just in case). I found that to be an excellent gift versus the various stuffed animals and toys that we received (and appreciated) but didn’t really need so many of. I’d also like to plug the slow cooker as The Best Parenting Accessory Ever! I prep it in the morning and by dinner time (which has consistently been my little one’s melt-down time) dinner is already made. I feel like my mom snuck in and made dinner for us. We also do awesome hot cereal breakfast overnight and they are amazing when we wake up bleary-eyed from a bad night of sleep with our kiddo.

  24. Mrs. Cheapheart says:

    We love our chest freezer. It serves as a place to preserve food as well as extra counter space and was an integral part of our design for our $10,000 kitchen renovation.

    Basically the key to freezing is to limit contact with air. Soups, tomato sauces, stews all freeze beautifully. Pesto is nice to have on hand. Also a frugal tip from Jacques Pepin: have large ziplock bags in your freezer to store leftover bones to make stock with, as well as another for vegetable scraps. When you have built up enough reserves you can dump them all into a pot with water, simmer, strain, et voilà, stock!

    When whole chickens go on sale Mr. Cheapheart buys a few and freezes them. As we roast them off, we use the pickings for another meal, save the fat in the fridge to roast veggies in (yum, not bad for you contrary to what “they” say and saves you a lot of money in olive oil) and throw the bones in the freezer for stock. Soups and stews will be very nourishing after giving birth. I just defrost enough to to release the soup/stew from the container and plunk the frozen block into a pot with a bit of extra water, cover and heat gently on the stove. We don’t have a microwave.

    Bread doughs freeze nicely too. Defrost in the fridge overnight, knead and let rise again and bake. Also, a bread tip for Mr. FW: if you have a pizza stone or steel and pizza peel, put the stone in the oven when you preheat, put ready to bake dough on a peel with cornmeal on the bottom so bread will slide around, have lots (two trays worth) of ice cubes ready and in a container that you can use to fling them into the bottom of your oven. Flick the dough onto the stone using the peel and quickly throw the ice cubes into the bottom of your oven and shut the door fast. This mimics the steam ovens that the pros use to make really great bread. Pizza dough also freezes nicely, as does pie crust-savory pie for dinner-yum! You could freeze the filling too.

    Frozen fruit is nice to have on hand for smoothies or an impromptu cobbler or crisp.

    If you want to buy a big piece of meat on sale to portion out and freeze it is important to get all of the air out of the ziploc. Vacusealers are great, but expensive. The thrifty way to do it is to put the meat in the ziplock and slowly immerse in water with the top open to push all of the air out and then close.

    Label and date everything. Masking tape is your friend. Our friend has a clipboard with a running list of everything that is in the freezer. Cleaning it out, defrosting and organizing is good to do every six months. Happy freezing!

  25. Mrs PoP says:

    TVP Chili! It’s cheap – one batch makes a ton!, vegan, high in protein, soy-free (as long as you double check you’re not getting TSP!) and freezes well in individual containers – just pull a couple out and put on the counter to defrost and they’ll be good to go in the microwave in a few hours. And did I mention it’s tasty? =)
    Here’s my go-to recipe.

  26. J.Scott says:

    Freezer Lasagna – The ricotta cheese adds to the cost of the dish, but it may still be a candidate. https://newleafwellness.biz/2014/11/25/freeze-lasagna-without-cooking-ahead-time/

    Coconut Curry Lentil Soup – YUM! Great over rice. The soup freezes well and the ingredients are somewhat flexible. http://vegangela.com/2014/01/09/coconut-curry-lentil-soup/

  27. ashley says:

    You are wise to stock the freezer before babywoods comes. Those first 6 weeks are super hard, especially if you are nursing! We ate exclusively from our freezer stash and takeout provided by visitors. (P.S. friends and family visiting these fine folks after the baby comes, if you visit the baby, you must bring them a prepared meal!)

    Most of our freezer meals were meat based: Taco meat (super versatile makes burritos, taco salad, nachos), sloppy joes and pulled pork can be cooked ahead of time and reheated in the microwave. Frozen hamburger patties and turkey dogs were standbys too. Those are extra nice because you don’t have to do dishes if you grill. Chicken teriyaki, taco soup, black bean soup can be assembled frozen cooked in the crockpot when you need it.

    +1 for freezing some baked goods we froze a batch of cornbread and had frozen buns on hand. Freeze everything squishy or liquid flat in gallon bags and stack them to save space.

    I know it isn’t frugal or environmentally friendly, but we had paper plates and plastic cups on hand for the first month. Getting by on less than 2-3 hours of sleep is a temporary possibility. Once you have the time and energy to shower every day you can resume washing dishes. Not before then!

    Congrats! New babies are overwhelming at first but it DOES get easier.

  28. Rachel says:

    Make sure you leave some room in that freezer for breast milk storage! If you happen to make a lot of milk, you’ll need a bunch of space to keep it stored. I thought that was why you may have gotten the freezer in the first place.

    We freezed a ton of stuff before my kid was born. There are lots of good suggestions so far!

  29. hbr says:

    I don’t have any particular recipes to share. However, I do enjoy following Andrea Dekker’s blog as well, and she has a whole section on cooking for the freezer, http://andreadekker.com/category/food/freezer-cooking/ (She just had baby number 3 and also stocked up). Good luck!

  30. Melissa F. says:

    I know you don’t eat a lot of meat, but you are right that you will crave protein! We aren’t huge freezer meal people (fresh seems to taste better to us) but I do like to cook five pound packages (or larger) of ground beef on low in my crockpot. If very lean meat, I add a little water or broth. I also add seasoning, but you could season individual bags differently before freezing or season later. I stir every hour or two to break the large clumps up, then cool and freeze in one pound bags when done. (There are four of us, you may want to do smaller bags.) Works well for quick spaghetti or sloppy Joe recipes where the rest of the ingredients wouldn’t freeze well. You could do the same with shredded chicken or other meats for a “semi-freezer meal”.

  31. Sarah says:

    One of my favorite freezer meals is this chicken pot pie: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chicken_potpie.html

    It’s packed with veggies and oh-so-delicious on a cool autumn evening. I just freeze the filling and make the biscuit topping when I’m ready to bake. You can obviously use whatever chicken you like, or leave it out entirely – you don’t have to use a rotisserie chicken. Also pearl onions can be expensive, so I’ve made it with both regular and pearl – it’s whatever you prefer. I make extra of the filling when I make it. I think I make about 1.5x a recipe, and that’s enough for 2 smaller batches. (I freeze in the Pyrex 6 cup covered casserole dish, but you could also freeze in a ziploc bag and lay flat to freeze.) Then, the night before you want to bake, let it thaw in the fridge. The next night, make the super easy biscuit topping, bake and enjoy.

  32. Kellie Flower says:

    I’ve always been one to make big batches and freeze – it saves so much time and you can really capitalise on cheap and seasonal finds. One absolute staple is a lentil recipe. (We’re vegan, so all of our recipes are too, but you could add other things if need be…having said that, lentils pack a massive protein punch so you don’t really need anything else). Lentils are cheap and nutritious and you can make a variety of cuisines with them…starting with an Indian style.
    Split red lentils are best for this. sauté onions, garlic coriander stalks (I’m not a baby expert, so if these are not good for breastfeeding, you could use asofatida, which is a root used for flavour by many religions that do not take onion/garlic). Now the key is here that you can add almost any veg that is in season or cheap. Favourites for us are cauliflower, carrot, eggplant, celery, cabbage ….almost anything. you add chopped bowls of that in, with a simple (store made) curry powder then add water and simmer, usually for 1/2 hour to 45 ,mins until the lentils are soft and the whole pot is a nice thickness. You then add some flavour, seasoning, salt, pepper, etc. This freezes VERY well and you can either put it alone in tubs or bags, or make portions with rice (these are good for microwave heating, the tubs of the dahl alone can be put in a saucepan after defrosting and added to water – rice, add water and have as a soup with bread etc). With different flavouring you can have a different cuisine too…no curry powder? Use some Italian herbs, mushrooms etc for a more European flavour 🙂

  33. Amanda says:

    I like to freeze individual servings of egg and veggie scrambles (they make really quick meals to pack if you aren’t prepared for lunch), sliced apples in fall for homemade apple sauce all year (just cook down with water and some sugar in the crockpot and mash with potato masher), breads, muffins, pancakes, cookie dough, soups without starches (add at the time of reheating if you like) and frozen veggies to toss in with frozen shrimp.

  34. bev says:

    Since Babywoods is arriving in the fall going into winter, I’d suggest any kind of soups, vegetable, chicken, etc. They mostly freeze well and go well with some good homemade bread he makes. Also, chili (many meatless recipes out there, or we use ground turkey), bean soups and stews. Dakin Farm has a wonderful packet of beans that you soak and make a great nutritious stew, can be bought online I’m sure. But any kind of bean soup recipes also. Hearty, healthy, and easy to freeze.

  35. Cindi Myers says:

    I try to keep our freezer stocked with meals. When I work late or we spend the day hiking or doing something else fun, I want to come home with something fast to fix. My favorites to keep on hand are:
    Vegetarian lasagna
    Taco meat
    Beans — eat them with rice, or stuff them in tortillas for burritos or into taco shells
    Spaghetti sauce
    homemade macaroni and cheese
    Cooked chicken pulled off the bone — use for quick tacos, mix with veggies for stir-fry, add BBQ sauce for sandwiches, etc.
    Scalloped potatoes — with or without ham or bacon mixed in.

    The secret to keeping food in the freezer is to wrap it air-tight. Suck the air out of zipper bags and seal casseroles tightly with foil. If I think about it ahead of time, I like to take meals out the night before and let them thaw in the refrigerator before I transfer them to the oven or stovetop, but I have cooked direct-from-frozen plenty of times. It just takes a little longer.

    Undercook pasta and rice a little if you are going to freeze it.

  36. Margaret says:

    Hi! Stumbled on your blog a short while ago, and love it! Here’s a recipe that I adapted from here…http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/717009292// Has become one of my favorites – Freezes and reheats very well! I usually freeze in screw-top ziplock containers for most left over meals; work very well with no issues. I like to take out of freezer the night before and put in fridge…. reheats nicely in microwave or stove top. I’ve wanted to try adding some green veggies (spinach, zucchini, green beans…..) to this, but haven’t tried that yet… yummy and would add more nutrition for mom and baby!

    Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls – makes 6 svgs / 1 ½ cups = apx 225 calories – is very good!

    3/4 lb (+/-) lean ground turkey (can use lean beef)
    mist olive oil
    1/2 (or more) large onion, chopped (i use sweet onion)
    1 t minced garlic (or more!)
    1 half head cabbage, chopped
    2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes w/ green chilis (or without if you prefer milder flavors)
    1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
    1/2 cup water
    few dashes of black pepper
    1 T (or more) of smokey paprika (this really adds a lot of flavor)
    few dashes of red pepper (optional to taste)
    few dashes salt (optional)

    Mist large skillet w/olive oil (use medium heat) brown ground meat, (drain if needed) adding onions early. Add the garlic, cook an additional minute before adding the remaining ingredients. Bring them to a boil, Cover, reduce the heat and simmer about 40 minutes (or more, until the cabbage is quite fork tender)

  37. Anne says:

    Fiber and fat! After four years of breastfeeding practice between my two boys, I’ve found that you’ll really want to emphasize fiber in the first 6 weeks. Childbirth is rough on the digestive system (huge understatement) and breastfeeding/trying to stay hydrated makes it worse. I’m also a yoga mama who eats a diet that is sounds very similar to yours. For me, with no claim to science, this diet didn’t do it for quickly growing babies. They seemed much more satisfied when I really upped my protein/fat intake. And I second having lots of snacks on hand. Lots of lovely stone fruit and apples in Boston area right now, both great for sauces/compotes and some freeze whole – we always freeze tons of peaches. Many good wishes to you three!!

  38. Linda says:

    Foodsaver sealer is a must. Keeps air out of food packets and veggies taste as fresh as day 1 from our garden. Air is the enemy when freezing items. Website STILLTASTY. com gives freshness/expiration dates for all foods. Also make double or triple batches and seal meal size portions with Foodsaver. Microwave or drop sealed pouch in simmering/boiling water. Dinner in minutes and nutritious! No food is ever wasted.

  39. Ann Irwin says:

    After Babywoods arrives, your family and friends will shower you with gifts for your little one. If you think you already have everything you need, why not ask a family member or close friend to set up a daily meal delivery “gift registry” instead. When my third was born, my best friend did this for me and it was the best and most practical gift ever! Everyday, someone different (family, friend, neighbour) was scheduled to bring prepared meals to the house at an appointed time. We dined like royalty for 6 weeks, and because our circle of friends is very multicultural, we tried foods from all around the world. Everyone who participated said they thought it was a fantastic idea because they knew they were giving us something we needed and appreciated. Instead of spending time in the precious first few weeks of our son’s life cooking and cleaning up the kitchen, we spent it getting to know and bond with him. I’ve since done this for two of my friends, and they’ve loved it too.

  40. Anne says:

    I am the queen of organizing meal trains for babies 🙂
    Freezers: Elaine from MortgageFreeinThree keeps a muffin tray in the top of her freezer. When veggies or fruit are about to go off, she dices them up and puts them in the muffin tray. If/when it gets full, she transfers the pucks to a container or ziplock, and uses them in smoothies (fruit) or soups. Tossing a few pucks of random veggies in a pot with some stock is very frugal and keeps every little scrap of veggie from going to waste.
    This is one of my favourite things to give, as it’s GF, DF, soy-free and is vegan by swapping the fish sauce for a dash of GF tamari: http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/1010443-Ymir-Curry-Bowl If I’m giving it as a freezer meal, I make it up until the adding of liquids, then add the last ingredients to it in a ziplock bag and deliver with some cans of coconut milk, and suggest they dump it all into a slow cooker.
    Good luck collecting great recipes!

  41. Danell says:

    I love freezer meals! I freeze EVERYTHING. Here’s a link to my post I recently wrote. http://www.thesmartandfrugalpath.com/50-things-to-freeze-to-save-time-and-money/ .

    I’ve tried doing it in a variety of ways. For my family we’ve found we prefer to freeze food that is “prepped” but not baked or cooked yet. Things taste fresher and aren’t mushy. For example put chicken pieces in a ziploc along with ingredients for it to marinate in, like a teriyaki honey sauce or something and freeze. Then all you do is get it out of the freezer the night before and put it in the refrigerator. It’ll be thawed out by dinner time the next day. Then you just dump it in a pan and bake or grill if you have a grill. I write the directions for how to finish the dish & the date right on the bag with a Sharpie. The prep work is often what takes time and energy in cooking. Once it is in the oven, slow cooker or on the grill, it’s easy. So if you can do the prep for main dishes that will help a lot. There are some things that we still enjoy even after it’s been baked first, but for maximum fresh taste, we prefer not baking first.

    I agree with the others, freeze things like quick breads, muffins, rolls, cookies ( I know not the best) because you will eat more than you’ve ever eaten when you’re breastfeeding. It’s great, though! 🙂 You can make breakfast burritos and freeze them individually. Just make a bunch of scrambled eggs with your favorite add ins, meat or no meat, cheese or no cheese, wrap in flour tortillas and then in plastic wrap, fill ziploc bags and freeze. Microwave to thaw and heat. I also freeze a lot of soup. The easiest thing is to just start making double or triple batches every night for dinner and freeze the excess instead of keeping it in the refrigerator and eating as leftovers.

    A site I first got started freezer cooking with is http://www.30daygourmet.com/ There is a freezer tips tab and a recipes tab. Tons of recipes on there. Some require you to be a member to get the recipe but there are plenty that you don’t have to be.

    As for how to store things, I use the cheap plastic rectangle containers that deli meat comes in for soups. They are just the right size for one serving if you don’t fill quite to the top. It’s what I often would take to lunch at work. You can freeze soup in any old leftover plastic container, but I prefer the square or rectangle ones instead of a variety of shapes and sizes for better use of space. Things that are squishy and can easily be dumped out when thawed go in a ziploc the appropriate size. Squish it flat and lay on a tray to freeze till solid, then you can stand them upright. I use Aldi brand freezer bags and don’t have any problems with them. However, I always use new ones when putting things in the freezer and not ones I have washed out and saved, just in case it has a hole. I usually only use foil to wrap a loaf of quick bread before putting it in a ziploc, but sometimes I don’t even do that.

    Have fun “nesting”!

  42. Okay, I don’t know what your spice cabinet is like, so you may have to borrow a few things from friends, but this is one my husband and I went to TOWN on after his kidney transplant in 2014 (I also had the bright idea to cook ahead of time, since I had no idea what recovery would be like for him and me too): Baked Egg Rolls!

    1 lb package egg roll shells (ours are sold next to tofu, we get something like 25 wrappers for $4, but I think you could get them cheaper if you shopped at an Asian market)
    3 cups shredded cabbage
    1 cup shredded carrot
    1/2 yellow onion, diced
    1 cup cooked ground pork or cooked garbanzo beans, depending on if you want a vegetarian meal or not

    2-3 dashes soy sauce (or if you’re holding off on soy, you could use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
    2-3 dashes Mirin rice wine vinegar (can also use white vinegar, as I know from experience!)
    3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and then diced
    dash crushed red peppers
    dash sesame oil
    lots of black pepper

    Preheat oven to 400. Combine spices and sauces in a bowl with cabbage, carrot, and onion, toss to coat. Place in a skillet with rim, cover and cook on low 10 minutes or so until cabbage is cooked down and translucent, stirring occasionally. Take off flame, add beans or meat, stir to incorporate. Fill egg roll wrappers one at a time by laying out like a diamond, spooning 2-3 spoonfuls of filling down the center, tucking in ends, and rolling shut. Place finished egg rolls on greased baking sheet. Brush with olive oil before baking for 10 minutes. This makes about 10 well-stuffed egg rolls.

    This is exotic spice-intensive but at our house we cook a lot of Asian food so these are things we always have on hand. Otherwise, even with the big expense of the egg roll wrappers, this meal ends up being frugal, since you should have about 15 wrappers remaining. Wrappers can stay in the fridge for 10-14 days without drying out, so you can make a big batch of egg rolls or several smaller ones over a couple of weeks. We served with rice and either soup or salad. Also, if you want to dip like a pro, blend 2 parts sesame oil, 1 part soy sauce (or liquid aminos) and some sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. This is my dream meal!

  43. JH says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing the suggestions here because I’ll be starting up a crazy work/school schedule again in a week. Last year, I found that my best friend in the winter and spring sessions was soup (as others have mentioned). I make vegan versions of minestrone and ribbolita soups, as well as chili. One thing I’ve found is that although I love bell peppers (I sometimes eat them like apples), they sometimes don’t do so well in frozen dishes, so I tend to cut back on them a bit in dishes that I know might go into the freezer for a while.

    Another dish that I make ahead and freeze is batches of stuffing for dishes like stuffed peppers – it also makes a nice vegan main course for a holiday dinner (and a side dish for other guests). My standard recipe (for a huge quantity to freeze) is as follows:
    – 5 cups of cooked brown rice, quinoa and/or barley (I particularly like barley)
    – 2.5 cups of cooked beans (e.g. black, pinto, navy or garbanzo beans)
    – As much garlic as you can handle (I would use about 6 cloves for a recipe of this size)
    – 1 large chopped onion
    – 3 tablespoons of dried herbs (I often use an Herbes de Provence mix, but basil, oregano, rosemary and similar herbs are good)
    – 2 cups of cooked, chopped vegetables (I usually use a mixture of mushrooms, peppers, carrots, fennel and eggplant and spinach, but whatever you like or that you need to use up from your fridge works – try to aim for a mixture of firm-ish veggies like zucchini or carrots and a few softer ones like mushrooms, eggplant or squash. You can also add a leafy green like spinach but if you do so, I would cook it very briefly, just so that it wilts.) To yield 2 cups of cooked vegetables, you’ll probably need to start with 3 cups of chopped, raw vegetables (more if you use a lot of water-laden veggies like mushrooms.)

    To prepare the dish, I cook the grains in a mushroom broth, with a bit of the garlic and the dried herbs). I tend to use canned beans (for convenience) but dried beans of course are cheaper. While the grains are cooking, I cook the veggies, either by stir-frying them (with olive oil, the chopped onion, the garlic and the remaining herbs). You can also use roasted or grilled vegetables. You want the veggies to be cooked to the point of being al dente, because they will soften up a bit when frozen/thawed. Once everything is cooked, you toss the ingredients together, let the mixture cool and then package it up into single or double servings. Later on, you thaw the mixture and serve it stuffed into roasted peppers, tomatoes, or squash or as a side dish for a protein.

    PS – Ribbolita soup is basically like minestrone only add bread cubes (instead of pasta) to the soup. I like to use a high protein, grainy bread (such as bread that incorporates quinoa) and toast the cubes before adding them to the soup, in the last 10 minutes of cooking.

    • JH says:

      I’m replying to add one other recipe idea. Back when I used to eat meat, I would call this recipe “hunter” stew, as it was based on a French “chasseur”-style recipe, but now that I don’t eat animals, I just call it tasty. It’s another one of those recipes where you can adapt the ingredients to use up the veggies you have on hand. The core elements are the tomatoes, mushrooms and and thyme.

      – 4 cups of mixed, chopped raw mushrooms (I include some portabellas and shiitakes for flavor, and supplement with regular mushrooms to keep the price down)
      – garlic and onion to taste (I’d probably use 3 cloves of garlic and half an onion but if you think you might be sensitive to those flavours you could use less)
      – 1 large can of tomatoes (chop the tomatoes and reserve about half the liquid for another dish)
      – 1 or 2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into fairly large pieces (I usually use red ones for color; they’re often less expensive than the orange and yellow ones; the green ones tend to lose all their color when cooked and then frozen)
      – feel free to add another vegetable or two, like some carrots, fennel, zucchini or squash
      – 16 oz of seitan, cut into small pieces
      – 1/4 cup of wine and 1/4 cup of brandy (optional, and the alcohol cooks off so I don’t think the baby will get drunk)
      – 2 tablespoons of dried herbs of your choice (thyme and tarragon together are good; another good combo is rosemary and thyme)
      – 1 cup of vegetable or mushroom broth
      – Olive oil for stir-frying

      In a large pot, heat a little oil over medium-high heat, then add the onions, garlic and herbs. Saute for a minute or two, and then add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they start to release their liquid, then add the other chopped vegetables and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the tomatoes and broth. Cover, turn the heat down and cook for 30 minutes until any firm vegetables in your mixture (like carrots or fennel) or al dente. After the dish is cooked, if you find that it seems like there’s too much liquid, you can extract some of that liquid and use it for another purpose (e.g., use it as part of the liquid for cooking rice). Alternatively, you can add a small quantity of something like cornstarch to thicken it up. Serve the stew over a hearty grain (brown rice, a quinoa blend, barley, etc) or a small pasta like orzo.

      One final suggestion (not specifically about freezing but more about quick-to-prep meals). I sometimes plan a dinner that incorporate brown rice, but then I get home late or am famished and realize that I don’t have the patience to cook it for 50-60 minutes. Of course, it would be great if I had some in the freezer, but sometimes I don’t. In that case, I turn to Lundberg’s brown rice couscous – which cooks really fast (about 10 minutes, I think) and is light and fluffy like couscous but tastes much more interesting (slightly nutty) because it’s made with brown rice. It isn’t as good for you as brown rice, but it’s better than regular couscous.

  44. whizbo says:

    Pesto. I usually makes a big batch and then freeze it. I put it in small ziplock bags, flatten them out, and then squeeze dividing lines into the “patty” with a chopstick. Then later, you just snap at the line and you’ve got a pre-sized portion. I’ve also heard of people freezing it in ice cube trays.

    Also, Chili and soup recipes work well in the freezer.

    Note: You may become sensitive to some flavors after birth. My wife found that she couldn’t handle anything even remotely spicy for a year or two. I’ve also heard of dislike of onions or Garlic.

  45. Elisabeth says:

    Freezer meals and easy crock pot dinners were my go-to after my daughter was born last year. I stayed home for 4 months and have always been responsible for the “inside” chores in our house, and I wanted to avoid take-out. I froze several fully-assembled lasangas: layer all ingredients of your favorite recipe, then use tin foil to cover, and then wrap in plastic to avoid freezer burn. Simply remove from the freezer, let thaw at room temp all day, and pop in the over to melt cheese etc. Easy. I also save all our pastured chicken bones in ziplocks in the freezer. It’s the ultimate frugal dinner: add bones and some veg trimmings (onion tops etc) to the crock pot with a few tablespoons of vinegar, and let it cook all day. Strain the bones and scraps from the stock, put on the stove, and add whatever veggies you have around: carrots, potatoes, broccoli (add later than root veggies to avoid mush). Steeping the bones all day release the highly nutritious gelatin and proteins from the bones – extra important for giving your baby a great start if you are nursing. And, it’s super satisfying to avoid wasting all the nutrition in the bones, and adds great flavor to an otherwise vegetarian meal.

  46. Julie says:

    Wintertime is perfect for this. Classics are lasagna or soup of any kind. We’ve also frozen pasta sauce, pre-cut fruit for smoothies, and even pancakes and cookies! Even though it won’t help fill your freezer, don’t forget about the awesomeness of your Crock Pot. That’s a lifesaver during busy times too.

  47. stephanie says:

    One of THE most delicious and cheap soup recipes ever! my kids LOVED it and I brought it work for leftovers and got lots of ‘that smells amazing’ from heating it up. You will not regret adding this slow cooker soup into your plans! I don’t know that I’d freeze it, but this takes about 3 min to put together. Maybe you could precook the sausage and freeze that. I typically use the other half of the sausage for eggs/sausage scrambles for the next night’s dinner (also pretty frugal).

  48. I have been successful freezing, believe it or not, pasta.

    In olive oil, cook a little onion if you want. Sweet onion is especially good if you can find it. Then take about half a pound, maybe 2/3 pound, of Italian sausage. (I buy bulk with I can find it, otherwise I cut the casing open.) Cook it in with the onion. Put in some minced garlic to your taste. (I use a few cloves.) When the sausage is cooked and the onion is soft, add a bunch of fresh greens. Arugula is especially delicious, but I usually use kale.

    When that’s cooked, stir it into a pound of cooked pasta and add a handful of cheese. (Parmesan, Romano, whatever you like.) And a little more olive oil.

    Mr. FP can really put away some pasta, and we have the little guys, so we don’t usually get two full meals out of this, but you might.

    If you have large enough pots, you can cook a double batch. I did this by cooking the sausage and greens in my wok as two bunches of kale is a whole lotta kale.

    Thaw in the fridge and reheat in microwave, adding more olive oil to the leftovers before reheating. I have used both quart-size freezer bags (which I wash and reuse, of course) and plastic-topped Pyrex dishes.

    Good luck!

  49. sara says:

    Not a recipe, but SOUP! Especially if you ever have chicken or other bones and can make some delicious stock. I often just heat up a really nice stock and add some small potatoes, pieces of broccoli or zucchini or whatever I have and it makes a fantastic dinner.
    Also– make sure you have a friend set up a Take Them a Meal site for you for when Babywoods comes along. It was so helpful for us at the birth of our daughter! People signed up to bring us dinner for almost 2 months after she was born– such a gift!!

  50. Chrissy says:

    The easiest to freeze is spaghetti sauce. Make a large batch of it, divide into meal sized portions and store in a tupperware container. Whenever you would like homemade spaghetti or pizza, just dethaw the sauce in the microwave for a few minutes.

    Also, taquitos are pretty easy to freeze. Heat up corn tortillas, place a spoonful or two of black beans, peppers and onions (with seasonings – I like lime juice, lemon juice and red pepper flake), roll into a mini burrito with a closed end on one side. Place on pan and spray with olive oil, then bake at 350 until lightly browned. Let cool, and place leftovers in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When it comes time to nom on taquitos again, place on a plate and nuke in the microwave for a few minutes. Dethaws perfectly fine. <3

  51. Amy K says:

    Our favorite thing to make new moms is the Engine 3 sweet potato lasagna,


    We usually bake it and take it over, but it would probably freeze fine unbaked, defrost overnight in the fridge, bake when needed. Our friends made us a shephard’s pie which was wonderful.

    Like Mrs. Cheapheart and Cath I heartily recommend snacks. Especially one handed snacks. Our cousins gave us a quart jar of a tasty nut blend that seemed strange to me at the time but was a lifesaver for me when my husband went back to work and I was nursing for what felt like 8 hours/day. The jar lived next to my nursing chair, along with a pint glass of water.

    I’ve been making individual pizza crusts, small enough to fit in our toaster oven. Our recipe calls for parbaking 10 minutes, then pulling out to top with sauce and cheese. We make a double batch, make some for dinner that night, and freeze the remainder after parbaking. Pull out of the freezer, top with sauce and cheese, pop in the oven for 10 minutes and BOOM, food! I’m not sure how well that will work for you guys, but it’s fairly quick and fairly healthy (I make whole wheat crusts, can’t make that much cheese healthier though).

  52. NewAtThis says:

    Soup, soup, soup! I make a huge pot of chicken noddle, but I don’t make it the Campbells way. I use the broth starter, but you could honestly also make your own stock if you wanted. From there I saute a ton of onions and add it in. Then I just throw any vegetables I have in there – carrots, peppers, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli. It’s a great way to use up any veggies you need to use up! You can also add in some angel hair pasta! The trick with soup is just to let is simmer away and not rush it. But the great thing is that soup freezes great! The best way to freeze soups that aren’t cream based is to drain all the broth and freeze that separately from the veggies – it keeps the veggies from soaking up too much liquid and getting mushy before it freezes. You can defrost on the stove top or microwave!

  53. Tarynkay says:

    Homemade bread freezes really well- just slice it first, wrap in tin foil, then put it in a freezer bag. On the recommendation of many veteran breastfeeding friends, I am also laying in a stock of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. These are allegedly excellent for helping with supply issues. Also breastfeeding hunger is apparently no joke, so its nice to be able to grab a reasonably healthy and filling cookie at 3am. Things you can eat one-handed are really helpful with a new baby- think about things like hearty muffins or muffin tin sized quiches, or freezer burritos. If you make these up yourself, they can be as healthy and vegetable filled as you like.

    Smitten Kitchen has a great list of less typical freezer friendly meals- typical being cream of chemical soup casseroles.

  54. Rachel says:

    Chicken bean burritos
    2 cans chili beans
    1/2 pkg cream cheese
    Chicken diced cooked (can be omitted just add extra can of chili beans)
    1/2 cup flour
    Onions diced
    One pepper diced
    6 tbsp butter
    1 cup diced tomatoes
    24 tortilla
    3 cups chicken broth
    Taco seasonings
    6 cups Monterey jack cheese

    Saute onion n pepper in butter until tender, stir in flour, add broth, bring to boil , reduce heat add tomatoes n seasonings, stir in chili beans n cream cheese until melted, stir in chicken,
    Spoon filling in tortilla shells sprinkle in cheese, place in greased baking sheet, repeat for rest of tortilla shells
    Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 min
    To freeze , cool unbaked dish of burritos, cover with fool and freeze. To use partially unfreeze in fridge then put in oven at 350 baking as directed, increasing time till they are done
    I also wrap these individually in foil and bake in oven straight from the freezer for about 60 minutes in the foil….we don’t have a microwave so that would prob be quicker. ..but they always come out great. 🙂

  55. Stef says:

    Do you guys have a blender? We like to buy organic frozen berries from Coscto, and whenever we’re feeling hungry (and lazy) we whip up a smoothie of said berries, a banana, whatever fresh fruit we have on hand (like apples, pears, etc), chia seeds (also bought in bulk at Costco), coconut oil, honey, green veggies (like kale), hemp protein powder (since we’re avoiding dairy and soy), any nut butters you have on hand, sugar-free cocoa, etc. Maybe not all of these ingredients at once (mix and match and experiment), but you get the idea. :]
    It’s super quick, healthy, and surprisingly filling. And requires no cooking – just an occasional trip to the market for fresh produce.

    Congrats on pending Babywoods arrival!

  56. Lain says:

    I also live in the land of Market Basket and their fairly cheap roasted chickens. I would suggest Mr. Fugalwoods buy some of these chickens. Strip the meat off and freeze the meat in gravy (I am fond of McCormick packages). The meat in gravy can be the basis of so many meals – over rice, potatoes, pasta, over toast~ add veggies as you like.

    Break the carcasses apart and throw it (bones and skin) into a stock part a cover with water. The MB chickens have a fair about of spice on them so you can make stock without doing much in the way of spicing. If you got a sad looking onion or carrot, you can throw themi n there too. Broth freezes well and can be used a the basis of quick soups and to flavor rices.

    Sometime the stock prep “frees” some additional meat. I have taken that meat and used Mexican spices on that meat for taco fillings.

    Love the column.

  57. Denise says:

    Proper chilli from Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Eat is amazing, vegi, and freezes very well. Which is great because the recipe serves 8! I found the recipe for you online, but the book (both her books) are well worth a frugal splurge! http://gasmarkfive.com/2015/04/01/proper-chilli/

  58. Lizzie says:

    Anything tomato saucy freezes well – think chilis, lasagnas (meat or veggie), and most soups (just not cream based ones). I also make these (http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2013/08/banana-oat-blender-pancakes-gluten-free-dairy-free-recipe/) banana oat pancakes in huge batches and freeze them – just layer them in wax paper and you can pop out just a few for a meal and top them with a little peanut butter and honey. Nom.

    I’ve used freezer bags for soups and chilis before but prefer mason jars. My two biggest tips directly contradict each other in terms of cost savings, but it works for me! (1) Roast a whole chicken and once you get all the meat off of it use it for stock – if I don’t have time to make stock right away I put the bones in the freezer bag and add bits of veggies that most people throw out (like onion skins, carrot tops, celery bottoms) as I come across them while cooking other recipes and then make stock when the bag is full. This is super super cheap, yummy, and healthy. (2) Foil pans are your friend! Head over to Ocean State Job Lot where they are super cheap and use them for lasagnas, cabbage rolls, chicken pot pies, whatever you like. It’s better than trying to buy a huge stack of glass freezer containers and it will make cleanup easy when you’re exhausted from 3am feedings. I’ve learned that the loaf pans are the best – they are exactly the size of one lasagna noodle and are deep enough that you still get two perfect adults sized portions of whatever you layer in them. I usually try to pull them out the night before I need them into the fridge, but if I don’t just add more time in the oven – the foil can handle the temperature change better than glass.

    Good luck with Babywoods!!

  59. Vicky says:

    Egg burrito roll ups. I used to make up a big batch for my son and husband to grab on the way out the door for breakfast, but they’ll work for any meal. Recipe at thesimpledollar.com Here are the ingredients: to make thirty two delicious breakfast burritos. for about $26 (less if you use homemade beans):

    Three dozen tortillas – $8.85 ($2.95 per dozen)
    Two dozen eggs – $4.40 ($2.20 per dozen)
    Four cans of black beans – $6.00 ($1.50 per can)
    Saran wrap – $3.95
    Jar of salsa – $2.95
    Total cost – $26.15 ($0.72 per burrito)

    You can easily save $4 on the black beans by buying a bag of dried black beans and boiling them yourself, but it would add some significant time to the cooking process.


  60. Mrs. Cheapheart says:

    Something wacky happened. I only posted one comment, starting with, “We love our chest freezer..”, but a couple got posted under my name. Also, I was viewing other comments and found myself logged in as other users for a period of time.

    That said, the people who accidentally posted under my name had good point–things you can stuff in your face with one hand while breastfeeding are great. My two year old son still nurses also and I never cut back on garlic, but we are all different.

    I used to make frozen burritos a lot. Wrap in foil and freeze. To reheat fry super slow and super low (35-40 mins) in butter directly out of the freezer in a covered frying pan. Super crispy and flaky exterior, yum! You could defrost and reheat a number of ways.

    Can’t wait to see what the rest of this thread holds!

  61. MC says:

    Make smoothie packs. I combine just the right amount of frozen fruit, kale and spinach in sandwich bags and then put the sandwich bags in a gallon freezer bag. I find using some frozen items in smoothies gives it a nice frozen dessert consistency. Using all frozen makes it like hardened ice cream that’s hard to eat. So I combine the frozen pack with a little yogurt and some juice and blend away. I also use an immersion blender, which is a lot easier to clean than a regular blender.

    Ditto what others said about freezing in gallon ziplocs and freezing them flat. If you use containers, use square or rectangular ones. Round are a waste of space.

  62. Pat Pickett says:

    One thing I didn’t see yet but never too soon to think about it. The frozen meals I made pre-baby and after baby could be put in a blender so that baby (when old enough to begin solids) has the same meal as the rest of us. When my twins were born, I didn’t know about blenders, etc. so they got Gerbers. Then, I read a horrifying article about all the “stuff” in babyfood. Never again did I buy babyfood in a jar. As for frozen meals themselves…I have a ton. I’m going to look through them to find a couple of the best. A ton, you say? Well, I had seven children in a few years and it seemed like I was always freezing and blending!

  63. Kristia says:

    Congratulations on your first baby! That is so exciting. We had our first daughter in the fall.

    We are not vegetarian, but my favorite freezer meals include: enchiladas, chilies, stews, and burgers. Also, fall is a great time to make big batches of sugar-free applesauce to store in the freezer. And if you love fall squashes, they can easily be roasted and stored in 2 cup portions in the freezer. And when you’re little nugget is ready for food, you’ll have homemade babyfood squash in the freezer. AND don’t forget about breakfast recipes, they can also be frozen.

    My recipes and tips: http://www.familybalancesheet.org/category/freezer-cooking

  64. jen says:

    my go to freezer meal is Bean Spinach Quinoa Burritos

    A few notes-
    1- i’ve tried replacing quinoa with rice to make them cheaper but did not like the texture. plan to try wheat berries or barley in the future.
    2. i use a really mild chili powder. my toddlers have not whined about spiciness.

  65. MC says:

    I recently discovered this gem for freezing cookie dough. Make a batch of dough and then flatten the whole recipe about 3/4 inch thick on a large piece of wax paper with some room to spare. Then cut the dough into squares using a knife. Without separating the squares, wrap the extra wax paper around the dough and place the whole thing in a ziploc bag and freeze flat. Because you cut the dough in to pieces, you will be able to break off squares of dough to make cookies later. Nestle sells frozen dough like this. Strangely square dough makes roundish cookies. You could also make balls of dough, freeze them on a cookie sheet and then but the frozen dough balls in a ziploc but that’s more work.

  66. MG says:

    Don’t forget about snacks…if you end up breastfeeding you may find that you have a bit of a caveman need for food: fast, indiscriminate and dense (food ME NOW!) so these granola bars were and remain my absolute favourite freezer snack (from http://www.minimalistbaker.com (doubled):
    2 C pitted dates, blended/processed into a paste (a little soak in water helps)
    3 C quick oats
    2C nuts and seeds (I love 1/2 sunflower and 1/2 walnut or almond)
    Note: I like to toast the oats and nuts/seeds, you don’t need to
    1/2C peanut butter (any nut or seed butter)
    1/2 C honey (you can mess with proportions, I think 1C of goop is the idea, I don’t think it matters how much of it is honey)

    Warm up PB and honey then mix all ingredients in a big bowl. Spread over saran or parchment lines cookie tray with lip, add another layer of saran or parchment and press with a rolling pin. Freeze for 15 minutes, then slice and store in a zip lock in the freezer. Delicious right out of the freezer, especially with tea or the gallons of water you will be consuming. You may like this for a dense and delicious hiking food too!

    Feel free to mess around with adding coconut, dried fruit, whatever flavours you like.

    Also, my doc said that the chance of cow dairy making through your GI tract into your breast milk is vanishing and possibly not possible, so it’s one of those follow your own doc and your own instinct items. If you don’t want to restrict your diet, don’t, if you do, then do. As with most things pregnancy/birthing/child rearing-related nothing is proven with many of these ‘yellow light’ (non life threatening) issues and your best bet remains doing what you feel most comfortable with.

    Great idea, maybe this could be a series….have everyone chime in on a particular topic on their strategies/recipes/tips and tricks? I’m sure many of us would look forward to participating and also reading what’s happening in other households!


  67. MG says:

    Oh also, I just tape a lined piece of paper to the top of the freezer, along with a pen on a string. Something goes in, it’s added. Something comes out, it’s scribbled off. Low tech but instant. Easy to separate into meats, meals, desserts, crock pot etc as well so at a glance you can see what’s there. Especially helpful if you’ve got multiples from a sale, I just write “frozen whole chicken 1 2 3 4 5” then check off the numbers in reverse as they come out. Voila!

  68. Sara says:

    It really is a lifesaver to have things in the freezer with a new babe in the house. Here are some links to some great recipes:
    1. This soup is fantastic. I freeze it in pint or pint and a half canning jars then move to the fridge in the morning for that night’s dinner. Or you can always microwave if you forget to defrost. http://orangette.blogspot.com/2013/11/but-soup.html
    2. Not a freezer recipe, but this makes quick work of a whole chicken you have in the freezer. No need to defrost first, but it will take longer to cook. If you start it midmorning that is still fine. Add some extra veggies to the bottom of the slow cooker and you have the whole meal. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/02/25/recipe-the-best-whole-chicken-in-a-crock-pot/ Turn around and put your bones back in the slow cooker along some some celery, peppercorns and onion, top off with water, cook for 12 hours and you have homemade chicken stock.
    3. Breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, a bit of cheese, beans and salsa are easy to reheat and eat with one hand.
    4. Yogurt with homemade granola is hearty and cheap to make.
    Best of luck!

  69. Angela says:

    The Vegetable Samosas from the Moosewood Cookbook (easy to find at any library if you do not already have it). The samosas freeze very well and the dipping sauce can be frozen in ice cube trays.

    Instead of freezing pizza ingredients, I like to freeze already baked calzones and Stromboli. Serve with some of the spaghetti sauce you’ve frozen!

    I am a sucker for breakfast for dinner, so I often make extra pancakes or french toast when making a batch. They are easy to warm up in a toaster or toaster oven!

    I have a small kitchen with no room for lots of small appliances, so I rely on Glad Press n’ Seal instead of a vacuum sealer. Works great for almost-airless storage, which equals less freezer burn.

  70. Kandice says:

    I concur on the suggestion above about accepting meals and/or a meal train from friends and family. When I had my daughter, my work colleagues got me the best gift – it was a delivery of freezer meals from a (probably very expensive) service. Our friends also delivered meals for several weeks. I was so full of gratitude for that.

    Some yummy casseroles that freeze well include anything rice based, such as broccoli cheese casserole or shrimp and rice casserole. Also, an incredibly indulgent (calories wise) and filling casserole is baked potato casserole, although this version is dairy laden. Mix the following in a big bowl: a bag of frozen hash browns (I prefer the shredded – about a pound, or just shred/dice your own potatoes), 1 diced bell pepper, diced onion and garlic if you wish, 8 ounces of shredded cheese (sharp cheddar works best), 1 stick of melted butter, and 1 can of cream of mushroom/chicken/whatever soup. I throw in whatever seasoning and spices sounds good. Bake at 350 until warm and gooey. A small serving goes a long way, but holy goodness it’s delicious. Be prepared to crave whatever foods you consider comfort foods, drink enormous amounts of liquid to quell your perpetual thirst, and as someone else also mentioned, make sure you have snacks on hand that you can eat with one hand and no napkin. Also, not food related, but sage advice from my OB: give yourself a gift by not getting on a scale for at least 2 weeks. Your body will retain a ton of water in the first few days and it will take a couple of weeks for it to process out. You may have just delivered an 8 pound baby and placenta, but you won’t be down 10 pounds immediately.

    One last note – save some room in that chest freezer for breast milk if you plan on breastfeeding. Whether you plan on returning to work outside the home or not, having a stash of breastmilk is a really good thing. Milk stored in a chest freezer can be kept there for up to 6 months, only 3 months in the freezer side of a refrigerator. With both of my babies, we had a chest freezer for this purpose. Let’s just say I was really good at producing, so we used plastic bins to organize frozen milk by date. This way we could stack and re-stack the bins on top of each other without much effort. There’s a reason they call it liquid gold. Nothing will induce tears faster than spilled or spoiled breastmilk.

  71. MY says:

    Stuffed peppers! Easy to modify – particularly vegetarian options.

  72. The Freezer is ready for fun meals, like Lasagna, Tomato soup, shredded Turkey meat. I wouldn’t leave them in for long but it will hold up ok for a week or two. You can make some good meals with these three main courses.

  73. Joanne says:

    Hi, I second all the recipes above and loved eating the yummy food I had frozen prior to giving birth. Just one bit of advice – lots of people have posted how exhausted you are going to be, no time to shower, paper plate usage etc. if I was you I’d plan that you’ll get a good nights sleep every now and then, that you’ll always have time for a shower and everything will go swimmingly. I had this mindset and can honestly say it was far easier to expect it to be manageable than expect the worse. Enjoy your baby girl – they aren’t little for long! Xxx

  74. Leah says:

    Since it’s apple picking time, I highly suggest you get a bunch from an orchard (usually cheaper than stores) and process into applesauce. It’s nice to have some sides. Applesauce freezes really well.

    We buy the ball freezer plastic containers. They are reusable and ultimately save over ziplocs. They’re perfect for making broth, tomato sauce, or apple sauce. They click together and thus stack nicely.

    For broth . . . save your veggie trimmings in a freezer bag. Buy a whole chicken and roast for dinner. With the carcass, throw in a crockpot overnight with veggie trimmings (we like onion — including the skin, garlic, bell pepper, etc). I cook on high over night. When I wake up, I strain everything out and leave the broth in a large pot. I put that in the fridge, and then I can skim the fat off and ladle into jars after work.

  75. We have a 2-month old baby. I encountered some serious challenges in the beginning days with breastfeeding (the little guy lost a lot of weight, my doctor was making noises about possible jaundice and formula, and boy oh boy was the baby cranky). My only piece of advice is: do NOT underestimate how many calories you are going to need. It is a lot! All of my challenges with milk production were solved once I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to spend weeks lying on the couch, nursing little bud every 1-2 hours during the day, watching Law & Order, and eating tons of high fat foods, including ice cream, beer, nuts, and cheese. So maybe stock up on some ice cream and beer? Frozen soup with fatty cuts of meat? Lasagna?

  76. Bracken_Joy says:

    Hummus freezes incredibly well, and has the bonus that you can eat it one-handed. Something few people mention in the “starving new parent” conversation: you want meals you can eat one handed, not with a fork. Freeze hummus (I use mason jars and reusable lids)- just be sure to leave anything BELOW the brim of the container, as food expands when frozen. Obvious, but it’s easy to forget. Best case scenario your lid pops off. Worst case, you have an exploded jar or tupperware. No good.

    My family IS a meat every day sort, so my recipes reflect that, but what I’ve found freezes well:
    Spaghetti sauce. We eat this more as a stew, since we don’t do pasta.
    Beef stew. Yum.
    Chili. Double yum. Also goes great on top of things.
    Taco meat can be made up and frozen in individual serving size baggies.

    I will also add another thumbs up to crockpot meals- any recipe that you can dump component parts in the crockpot and have no prep are a major win. This has an advantage over most freezer meals because you don’t have to babysit the oven- it doesn’t matter if there’s a blowout, or baby is asleep on you and you don’t want to move. You can just leave the crockpot another 30-45 minutes with no issue. Not so with oven cooked meals!

    I find freezers MOST useful for freezing ingredients. Buy a bunch of ribs or roasts on sale, make up salsas and BBQ sauce and freeze them, etc. Then from there you can dump in a crockpot (bonus: lots of crockpot recipes work great from frozen).

  77. Homemade chicken soup: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/220416/chef-johns-homemade-chicken-noodle-soup/?internalSource=hn_carousel%2001_Chef%20John%27s%20Homemade%20Chicken%20Noodle%20Soup&referringId=1246&referringContentType=recipe%20hub&referringPosition=carousel%2001.
    Don’t cook or add the noodles after you thaw it. You can just use water & add some bouillon cubes near the end of cooking if you don’t have homemade stock. We like to add cumin.

    Another tip: don’t go overboard pre-freezing baby food. There may be some things your baby just will not eat, and unless you want pureed green beans to end up on your “eat all the things” menu, you might want to trial them a few times first!

  78. Randall says:

    http://cookforgood.com Is good for super simple good for you fare that will freeze well. In fact this site promotes freezing. Most recepes can be altered to suite your taste. Get Mr FW ro bake up a bunch of scones and freeze those. I buy day old bread and freeze that and you always have bread. Just remember to defrost.

  79. Terri Deeds says:

    I just had a baby 6 weeks ago and filled my freezers with 3 months worth of dinners and a couple months worth of breakfasts. The Dollar Tree sells foil containers that are great for freezing dinners and they are the cheapest that I’ve found. Check out Pinterest for freezer meal ideas. I don’t have specific recipes for a lot of the foods, since I rarely follow a recipe exactly. Also, I did some slow cooker freezer meal workshops with a neighbor who sells Wild Tree Products, so those accounted for a big portion of my meals. My only suggestion is to make sure you actually like the recipe before making up large batches and freezing it. And don’t forget about breakfast and snacks, breast feeding makes you HUNGRY!

  80. Susan says:

    I LOVE you blog (and the blogs of many young frugalistas). I was a curious mix of frugal and wasteful but have finally come to the frugal side – just in time for retirement – thank god! But back to the subject at hand… Soup! Soup and more soup… Create your broths, add the more dense vegetables mushrooms, root veggies etc). Freeze and thaw as needed, then add potatoes, greens and additional herbs – not many, just one or two – and heat. You can also add fish to certain broths, small amounts of chicken, beef, pork if desired either at the beginning (longer cooking =more flavor) or during heat up. Add a loaf of bread (from the freezer) and you’ve got a great meal.

    Enjoy your new family as it expands and we’ll enjoy all the new frugal-baby stories!

  81. Ashley says:

    Someone may have already mentioned this (I didn’t read all the comments because holy comments, batman!), but check out once a month cooking (just google it). Their website has customizable menus, ingredient list, instructions for prep and cooking, all kinds of stuff! You can pay for a membership that has a lot of features, which may be worth it for you since you’re new to this, but you can still access 99% of their content without paying. Good luck!

    • Ashley says:

      Ah, sorry, it’s Once a Month MEALS, not cooking! Also, you can make up smoothies and then freeze them. Just let them defrost for a bit and bam! Healthy, quick, and delicious!

  82. MK says:

    If you can find more of the coated wire baskets for the top, they help a lot with organization. And cutting plywood (or thick cardboard) dividers for the bottom area made it seem like less of an abyss. I think ours was about twice the size of yours, though. When our chest freezer died, we replaced it with an upright. Now I don’t need a spotter to help me dive to the bottom!

    I echo others’ suggestions of pizza dough, bread dough, muffins, quiche, scones. I have found that I use frozen prepped ingredients to put together a meal more often than frozen fully-prepared meals. I don’t know why. There are some soups that have been sitting in there for a long time, but I can hardly keep frozen broth on hand.

    As for foil, I see that others have had no problems, but I have found that tomato sauce eats through foil. I had a lasagna in my fridge for less than a week and there were holes in the foil.

  83. I love turkey chili like this one frozen: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/80969/simple-turkey-chili/

    So easy to quickly reheat and enjoy, especially as the weather cools down when Babywoods makes her debut. So excited for you guys! 🙂

    I wish I would have made more freezer meals before Little Miss was born, you are so smart to be planning ahead for this!!

  84. Helen says:


    Sweet potato chicken chili is my favorite freezer meal. I eat this almost every day for lunch in the winter!

  85. Marie-Josée says:

    I would be prudent with bean and cruciferous vegetable recipes, since you plan on breastfeeding and beans and cabbage, kale, brocoli may induce colic in your baby. I would hold on those and cook easily digestible meals based on veggies and meat or fish:

    – lots of soups and purees based on carrots, celery, squash, chard and spinach…
    – sheppard’s pie without the corn. I make it with ground turkey or chicken instead of beef and use sweet potatoe or squash instead of potatoes.
    – vegetarian lasagna
    – patties (vegetable/rice/fish) or (meat/rice/fish)
    – stews (can be made with chicken or turkey, instead of beef)

    From reading your posts, I know that you and Mr. Frugalwoods are fully aware that you will be tired and a overwhelmed for a few weeks. I really recommend that you stock up on nourishing and comforting food. My daughter recently gave birth (Emma is now 8 months old) and I spent a few hours every day with them for the first two weeks. My most appreciated contribution was cooking a warm and comforting dinner every evening.

  86. Winnie says:

    I make vegan minestrone all cool-weather long and freeze portions of it. It’s originally a Laurel’s Kitchen recipe but I know it by heart. Note that some beans (white) get mushy but chickpeas and red kidney beans tend to stay firm upon reheating. Undercook your pasta before freezing or add it upon the reheat — I love the store brand whole wheat shells from Whole Foods. They tend to stay firm. I don’t like the soup with rice so much (another minestrone version). The rice gets goopy.

    I keep all nonmoldy, scrubbed veggie trimmings (onion skins, garlic squeezings and all) in a zipper bag in the freezer and when it’s full I make veggie stock. Sweet potato trimmings (I make sweet potato chew flips for the dog) add a GREAT flavor.. Sadly we don’t have a compost pile or they’d do double-duty there.

    I’ve found that any kind of aromatic herb/spice (basil, oregano, garlic, any curry spice) loses potency upon the reheat … so I tend to over-season (not over-salt) the original batch.

    I also re-use my food storage bags — wash with a mild solution of dishwashing liquid, invert to dry, and re-use as long as possible. I have found that the food storage bags with “zipper slides” are the worst in terms of sealing — they leak out the “seal.”

  87. ARBM says:

    I don’t have a lot of experience with freezer meals, although I am planning on doing a bit of freezer cooking this weekend, so maybe I’ll come back and comment after I try that out… but the ones that have been hits in my house are mac&cheese casseroles and shepard’s pie. For the mac&cheese, I just make a giant batch when we are eating it for dinner (and include some protein and veg tossed in) and then make the sauce a little thinner so it doesn’t get too dry in the process. Shepard’s pie is pretty simple… I just make a big batch and freeze them in meal size portions… I’ve read a bunch of great ideas in the comments already, so I will come back later and maybe take a few ideas with me for this weekend.

  88. jen says:

    Welcome to the world of chest freezers! I love mine.

    I have found that all kinds of bean recipes freeze wonderfully. I second the advice of others to freeze things flat in ziplocs but don’t actually do that myself. I use freezer safe Ball jars and freeze them for a few hours with the lids off just in case because I hate losing jars/food. I like that they are not plastic plus they are stackable.

    Here’s one of my favorite bean recipes. It’s from a fabulous indian food cookbook called. Vij’s at Home. I love this cookbook!

    Kidney Beans and Rice (Rajma Chawal)

    1/2 cup cooking oil (I use ghee or coconut oil)
    2 cups chopped onion (1 large)
    2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic (6 medium cloves)
    2 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
    1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (3 medium, or use canned)
    1 1/2 Tbsp mild mexican chili powder (I never use this, I just use more cayenne)
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 Tbsp ground cumin
    1 Tbsp ground coriander
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper (optional, I never use)
    1 tsp cayenne (optional but not for me)
    1 cup plain yoghurt (optional but really good)
    5 to 6 cups water
    3 14 oz cans kidney beans, drained
    (I never use canned. Instead I take 1 cup of dried kidney beans and soak them overnight)

    Heat the oil, add onion and sauté for 8 mins, add garlic and sauté for 2 mins, stir in ginger and tomatoes, add chili powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, cayenne and sauté the masala for 5 to 8 minutes until the oil glistens on top (I didn’t get this at first but you’ll see once you do it, it really does glisten when the masala is ready). Put the yoghurt in a bowl and spoon about 3 Tbsp of the masala in and mix. This is to prevent curdling. Put it all back in the pan and sauté another 2 mins. Add beans, add water and cook until the beans are done. If you used canned (what frugal person uses canned beans?) you only need to cook for 3 mins, if not 30 mins to an hour.

  89. Claire says:

    My go-to freezer meal is chili for a few reasons:
    1) The best part about chili is you can modify it countless ways (vegetarian or meat loving) and take advantage of seasonal produce.
    2) You can serve it a variety of ways to add variety. Chili topped with cheese, chili over rice, chili topped baked potato, top tortilla chips with chili and cheese and bake for nachos!
    3) It freezes well and heats up easily in the microwave (just make sure to cover it up as the beans can EXPLODE)
    4) It is stress free cooking – just throw everything in a pot and let it cook for 40-60 minutes on medium/low heat.
    5) The beans have protein for a nursing mom and you can top with cheese for calcium.

    Chili Base
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 yellow onion (diced)
    2 cans of diced tomatoes (unseasoned)
    1 can black beans (rinsed)
    1 can pink beans (rinsed)
    1 tablespoon cumin
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    optional – cayenne pepper if you like spicy
    1 red pepper (diced)
    1 green pepper (diced)
    Salt and pepper to taste

    **Seasonal Options:
    Summer –
    3/4 cup corn kernels (or about 1 ear of corn)
    Add a cup or two of green or yellow squash
    Fall/Winter –
    Add a couple of cups of diced butternut squash

    **Meat Option
    Skip the squash and add a lb of ground turkey or ground beef

  90. Ruby Julian says:

    I have some Rubbermaid divided plates with lids that are used to make homemade frozen meals (kind of like TV dinners for the frugal). My favorite meal to freeze in these is pinto beans cooked with a nice chunk of ham, cooked mixed greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens), sweet potatoes whipped with a little milk — you could use water instead — and seasoned with a dash of cinnamon and a little butter. Add a couple of corn muffins on the side, and you have a delicious mostly-veggie meal.

    All kinds of muffins, sliced pound cakes, and home-baked cookies freeze well.

  91. SisterX says:

    Butternut squash soup is one of my FAVORITE meals, and it freezes wonderfully. I reheat it in a pan on the stove, because the microwave just makes a mess and doesn’t heat it evenly.
    My recipe is: Celery, carrots, 1 onion, a few potatoes (any variety), and one butternut squash. Cut into large chunks, cook in enough chicken broth (or veggie broth, but you’ll most likely need the chicken broth while breastfeeding) to almost cover the veggies. Cook until all the veggies are quite soft, almost falling apart, then turn the heat off and blend until it’s pureed. Add some freshly grated nutmeg. Eat some that night/afternoon, then freeze the rest. If baby doesn’t have a milk intolerance and you find yourself needing a few more calories, add a splash of milk just before serving, but not when it’s at a boil! That will cause the milk to curdle.
    Also, lasagna freezes really well. That’s an easy one to add a bit of ground beef to, or not, and to add lots of veggies. I like to include zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, onion, garlic, and extra tomatoes.
    This is a good recipe for freezer biscuits: http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/02/homemade-freezer-biscuits-recipe.html#_a5y_p=904948. You can make them with whole grains, if you wish, although I’ve only ever tried it half whole grain/half white flour.
    My little one has a milk allergy, but I’ve mostly found that she’s ok with stuff that’s cooked or more processed. She can handle small amounts of cheese (we’ve only ever tried small amounts) and butter, and goat yogurt, but no cow or goat milk, nor cow yogurt. When she was nursing, as long as I avoided drinking glasses of milk we were fine. I cook with butter and cheese a fair amount and that never bothered her.
    Please also remember that fat is very necessary for babies and don’t shy away from it! Fat is actually a key part of brain development in babies and I was actually able to see a bigger proportion of fat in the milk I pumped when I ate more eggs and butter. (I also lost the most weight when I did that!) Plus, eggs are really quick to cook and nicely filling.
    Also, your regular morning oatmeal is excellent for breastfeeding moms. 🙂 I’ve never tried freezing oatmeal, but if you have a rice cooker I’ve had good results making oatmeal in mine. You set it up the night before (water off to the side), then when you wake up you can just add the water, flip the switch, and go nurse baby or change a diaper or something while it cooks. Lifesaving, for me.
    I second the idea that while breastfeeding, you will eat more food than you ever thought yourself capable of putting away.

  92. Eva says:

    i recommend getting a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. My husband and I use ours all the time. It completely eliminates freezer burn, the food stays good for up to two years, and the bags are reusable–just wash.

    For a tasty recipe that freezes well, look up Emeril Lagasse’s Shrimp Étouffée recipe online at Food Network. Use whatever protein you like in it–we frequently use chicken. With some rice, it’s a hearty meal

  93. Erin Flynn says:

    I can’t find the one I used before, but $5 Dinners has several freezer meal plans, on a reasonable budget ($5/meal). Which actually may be a bit more than you normally spend, but perhaps you can find a way to do them even cheaper! http://www.5dollardinners.com/

  94. Ben says:

    I’m a big fan of Jeff Novick’s recipes.

    They’re all vegan, frugal, and extremely simple to put together. I make one of these each week, put it in 2 cup tupperware containers, freeze, and take to work for lunch. I usually eat them over a baked potato, sweet potato, or brown rice.

    He also has a series of DVDs if you’re seriously hurting in the cooking department:

  95. joan says:

    Sweet potato burritos
    Make mashed sweet potatoes I add a bit of brown sugar to mine
    Black beans I used canned
    Mexican cheese
    Flour wraps I use Costco
    Sounds weird. Tastes amazing. Bundle all the above into a wrap. Wrap each one in Saran Wrap. Freeze in a big Baggie. Pull out as needed and add some sour cream on top.

    Can also use the wraps with taco fixings freeze the same way.

    • SisterX says:

      That actually sounds amazing, and now I’ve got a note on my computer so I can make those soon!
      We have friends who just had a baby, and the mom has a dairy allergy, so we’re taking some meals to them and this sounds like something she would love–minus the cheese and sour cream. 🙂 Thanks!

  96. Laura says:

    I will admit that I have not tried most of these, but I have a Pinterest board of freezer recipes: https://www.pinterest.com/lcl/freezer-cooking-recipes/ Most of them are more like, “Prep these in a bag to put into the slowcooker the day you want to eat it.”

    Money Saving Mom also has some great resources: http://moneysavingmom.com/downloads/freezer-cooking-planners

  97. Susan D. says:

    I make large batches of Spanish rice with black beans, hamburger optional (I only use 1/2 lb.), spaghetti, chicken alfredo, etc. Since I live alone, I freeze small portions in plastic containers such as margarine or veggie dip containers. When I reheat in microwave, I put the food in the serving bowl that I will serve it in, instead of heating it in the plastic. I just use a piece of masking tape and a sharpy marker to write what is in the container, and the date that it was made. My single servings usually cost about 80 to 90 cents each.

  98. jamie says:

    I am totally committed to this woman’s amazing freezable meals: http://www.iamthatlady.com. They have changed our lives!!! good luck guys!

  99. catherine says:

    You should consider doing a ”Big Cook” before baby…look up these cook books at your library: http://www.thebigcook.com/ I’ve done it a few times and most of the recipes were hits.

  100. catherine says:

    Also I don’t know if you mentioned, if you own, or someone else mentioned but especially since becoming a (working) mother I can’t imagine my life without a crock pot. Life changer. A purchase well worth it if you don’t own 🙂

  101. jamie says:

    I forgot to add that you made 20 at once – yep, 20! And its amazing!!!! I have felt so much stress melt away. I adapt them for our family – add less salt, more veggies, more beans, etc. But seriously they are awesome!! 🙂

  102. Kim from Philadelphia says:

    Crockpot salsa and bean chicken

    -1/2 to 1 lb boneless chicken, skin removed (quantity dependent on degree of meatiness desired)
    -2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    -1 diced onion
    -large jar of salsa ( I suggest mild for breastfeeding purposes)
    – 1/3 cup lemon juice
    – fresh chopped cilantro ( optional)

    Place chicken on bottom
    If crock pot. Mix all other ingredients and pour over chicken.
    Cook on high for 6-8 hours.

    Freezes well.
    Remove from freezer the night before you want to enjoy and allow to defrost in the refrigerator.
    Delicious with a salad or brown rice

  103. Jessica, from Good Cheap Eats, has a book called, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead Freeze Cookbook. She also has freezer recipes on her site: http://goodcheapeats.com/category/freezer-friendly/

  104. Lilliget says:

    I had my Grommet in July and was cooking up a frenzy when I was nesting.

    We did a lot of baking and freezing muffins. Look for breakfast egg muffin recipes to freeze as well as regular muffins. They’ll keep for a while.

    We like to make thick puréed soups like potato leek or ginger carrot to freeze as well. These portion out and freeze well in yogurt containers.

    We also froze crepe cannelloni (make crepes
    Instead of pasta shells, roll in ricotta mixed with thawed out and well drained frozen spinach and season with salt and pepper, arrange in foil baking containers and top with sauce and Parmesan. You’ll only need to heat it through in the oven since nothing really needs to cook in it. This is the recipe that will really get you through in the cold months.

    Pizza dough freezes well. If you invest in a good pizza stone, pizza is a fantastic quick make when you’re busy. Preheat the stone in a 500 degree oven and put the dough on the hot stone before dressing it.

    I also looked for deals on fresh fruit like peaches, blueberries, and grapes. I also freeze bananas (peeled and sliced) when they’re on their way out. These are my dessert options.

    Sliced veggies like grilled eggplant and zucchini, or roasted peppers (red peppers are best) freeze really really well. Beans freeze well too.

    Look into refrigerator jar options as well, like chia seed pudding and grab and go overnight oatmeal.

    Make sure you eat what you freeze within 6 months.

    In Canada we have bags of milk that we can buy (packages of three 1 litre bags of milk) that freeze really well and we thawed out bags as we went when I was in school. Might work if you buy milk in plastic jugs and empty some our so the jug doesn’t burst.

    Don’t over-pump breastmilk to freeze. Milk is designed for the baby at each stage of life and milk you pump now won’t work for baby in a month or two. You’ll end up having to throw it out. There are cautions for thawing and freezing/refreezing breastmilk. Google is a wonderful thing.

    • Michelle says:

      You can keep milk jugs sealed for freezing. The round indentations on the side pop out when the liquid expands; that’s why the jugs were designed that way.

  105. Kim from Philadelphia says:

    Admittedly I find many crock pot/ freezer recipes to be too meat-centric and heavy for my liking.

    A freezer trick is to freeze elements of easy to assemble meals, like corn tortillas, good quality cheese you pre-shred, salmon, marinated/cooked tofu or other proteins. This way you can pull salmon from
    The freezer( the night before) and later steam it stove top ( fresh lemon and dried dill) while you are assembling a green salad. Serve the salmon atop the salad.
    Quesadillas can be stuffed with cheese and some sautéed veggies ( whatever you have on hand)
    Cooked and marinated proteins are great with any stir fried veggies and rice.
    We have also enjoyed homemade egg salad (eggs billed in the morning and cooled in the fridge) with crispy crackers and raw veggies.

  106. Barb says:

    TEST YOUR RECIPES before batching!! Cook, freeze, thaw and eat. Otherwise you may have unpleasant surprises. ONLY batch cook tested recipes that you really really like.

    You already have your own favorite split pea, lentil and chili recipes. Just make bigger batches and freeze them. All soups seem to freeze well.
    Consider the time the cook is going to spend and avoid time-consuming prep work type recipes. For instance planning to roast chickens and then bone and dice is a LOT of work for batches. In cases like this maybe pay a bit more for boneless chicken. Just this once. 😉
    Consider HOW you will freeze: a whole lasagna or in two serving portions? You can freeze the uncooked casserole, then thaw/cook and eat that dish for two to four days, or you can cook it and freeze portions and then nuke or bake before eating. More flexible but may taste warmed over.
    For frozen-in-portions items what can you add to moderate the flavor just before serving? Chili – add diced onions and grated cheese, enchiladas add sour cream and diced tomato, etc.
    You like hummus – it can be frozen, with a layer of olive oil on top to preserve flavor.
    You like salads but they take time to prepare – temporarily switch to frozen veggies to go with your salmon. Either nuke or boil.
    Make a really fast homemade guacamole by adding store-bought or frozen salsa to mashed avocados – a great time saver!
    You can freeze cookie dough or banana bread mix, or you can bake them and then freeze them. How much time do you want to save?

    Most casserole type dishes freeze well either before or after cooking. Look at your current recipes and see which ones you want on hand, trying other people’s recipes is always an experiment. I have had good luck freezing meatloaf and chicken enchiladas but it doesn’t seem that you eat things like that very often. Spaghetti sauce is another thing that freezes well.

    KEY THING: make really BIG batches of those lunches of beans and rice and freeze LOTS of them in portions to free up weekend time in the future!! You already know you like them, eat them every week, and can very easily freezer-test them. Even if you freeze nothing else if you do this you will always have a fall-back meal handy. If you don’t have pots big enough for large batches either borrow them or ask Buy-Nothing.

    For freezing in portions: ask your Buy-Nothing project for square plastic tubs with lids in whatever size matches your lunch portions and your glass lunch containers. Freeze the food in the plastic container, when frozen solid pop it out and wrap in saran-wrap, then put multiple portions in gallon zip-lock freezer bags (which will not get dirty so will be reusable!), then put another batch in the containers to freeze. The tubs won’t need to be washed every time because you only put cooked food in them and froze it. Eventually when all of the batch is repackaged you can wash them. This way you still take lunches to work and reheat them in glass containers, and you minimize use of expensive zip-lock bags and plastic tubs by using saran wrap next to the food. Best of all you don’t have a never-ending supply of plastic tubs to wash as you empty your freezer of food – oh, that was a BAD experience. Never again. Its well worth it to throw away some saran wrap.

    If you don’t have a crockpot then again ask your Buy-Nothings for help, everyone has these things and many people don’t really use them. Figure out soup recipes and test them out now before you need them. You can have a fresh cooked crockpot meal waiting in your kitchen at the end of a workday anytime you get tired of reheating frozen foods!

    Your real goal is to eliminate time spent in the kitchen to free it up for Babywoods. So eyeball how you are spending your time now: where can you trim prep time by making simple changes to your food choices? One of the best ways I can see is switch from time-consuming salads to frozen veggies that can be nuked in minutes while you do something else. And a freezer full of lunches. Good luck and good testing!!

    [sorry this post is so darn long]

  107. I’m very fussy about frozen foods and refuse to eat anything that doesn’t taste good after it defrosts. I find that soups are the perfect solution, as they generally taste as good post-freezing as they did pre-freezing. Here are two of my favourites (all vegetarian), both of which I’ve made on multiple occasions:



  108. I love the ease of having food in the freezer but I hate leftovers. It is a very complicated world but my best tip is to cut up things and freeze them in containers to make them easy to heat up meaning small enough for the two of you. I found that brown rice freezes really well so if you cook up a huge batch of rice in indvidual bags then it is like having those uncle bens rice pouches and you just open the edge and stick it in the microwave or boiling water for 1 minute. The best rice that I have found is Lundburg Short Grain Brown rice (we call it popcorn rice because it smells like it when it is cooking and is super easy to freeze). Push all the air out and flatten plastic bags and after they are frozen you can lean them like books for easy access. I love homemade rolls and these are super easy to make and freeze. They reheat just as well as fresh!! http://novafrugalfamily.blogspot.com/2012/07/hamburger-and-hot-dog-buns-recipe.html We like to eat them with frozen salsa sloppy joes (http://novafrugalfamily.blogspot.com/2012/09/salsa-sloppy-joes.html) or philly cheesesteak/french dip sloppy joes (http://novafrugalfamily.blogspot.com/2012/11/philly-cheesteak-sloppy-joes-or-maybe.html). I also make taco meat whether chicken or ground beef and freeze so that I can throw it into a quick enchilada casserole (http://novafrugalfamily.blogspot.com/2012/05/enchilada-smash-casserole-recipe.html). I normally cut up chicken breasts and have them in the freezer with different marinates to grill or cook easily. The thing that I can’t wait to add back to the freezer is Sausage Lasagna (http://novafrugalfamily.blogspot.com/2014/07/sausage-lasagna.html) which I make big batches and freeze in small pans which are perfect for us and we have leftovers. Perfect winter meal!! You can pretty much take any meal and make things ahead of time like if you like garlic bread with pasta, butter and put garlic on the bread and put them face to face and wrap in foil so that you just have to throw it in the oven when it is time to eat. If you want something else tasty, these pizza dippers or garlic knots are perfect to freeze and then you can have with soup and pasta for a yummy meal (http://novafrugalfamily.blogspot.com/2013/01/garlic-knots.html). I wish you all the best filling the freezer and having a great time at it.

  109. Catina Marie says:

    Great idea! I nursed my son for 9 months so there was a good amount of freezing breast milk in my house. I don’t have any freezer meal ideas but can answer any random questions you may have. Great job!

  110. Chris says:

    You should consider asking friends to bring cooked meals instead of baby cloths that you don’t need (if feasible).

    As to prepared frozen food, I found that cooked rice freezes well; package in Saran Wrap, then freeze. It can be microwaved to heat.
    Soups also can be easily prepared ahead of time, and do well frozen or canned. I use Mason jars, clean them well, rinse with boiling water once (twice for the lid) and then fill in the soup. It can be stored for weeks that way. The same works for any fruit compote / apple sauce, they make great snack together with yoghurt.

    If you like potatoes I’d recommend to get some flakes to make mashed potatoes (Aldi has them cheap), you can pour boiling water over the flakes, add cream, butter and cheese /spices, and have a quite filling instant meal.

  111. MS Barb says:

    I make a big pot of a “Base” recipe: onions & green peppers sauteed in olive oil; then add canned tomatoes (whole, diced, chopped) & simmer…cool down & freeze in small containers (I use pint size) After this is thawed, you have many options:as soup base; chili base; with rice; w/ pasta; w/ taco seasoning & then over corn chips…

  112. MS Barb says:

    I like to make a big batch of brown rice, then I freeze this in single serving (3/4 cup) containers. I keep bags of frozen stir fry veggies in the freezer, so I will add some (frozen) vegetables w/ the (frozen) rice, a small amt of minced garlic, spritz it w/ Bragg’s Amino Acid (tastes like soy sauce w/out all the additives) & put in the microwave for about 4-5 minutes. HINT: You’ll just have to wait & see if Mrs. FW &/or baby are sensitive to garlic, broccoli, cabbage, etc. (the foods that gave me gas, also gave my (4) babies gas!)

  113. Rob in Munich says:

    I’m going to go in a completely opposite direction. We have a slow cooker but hardly use it.
    Sweet Potatoes – Awesome with a capital A microwave them till soft and eat with sour cream (which we can FINALLY get in Germany) and butter

    Eggs and Bacon (which again is widely available) used to be a staple for dinner but now it’s breakfast

    Jamie Oliver Hamburgers You’ll never do hamburgers again on the BBQ after trying this ones. We make a huge batch and freeze them and oh oh oh you only have to fry them up. Note wife recommends frying the bacon bits with the onions and adding them to the burgers. Also she doubles the eggs and bread crumbs which stretches it. They freeze great and only take a few mins to fry up. The only problem I have is getting them all the same size.
    We often freeze meat loaf as well.

    Pork and Beans is another fav – can’t find the link so posted seperatly

    What didn’t work was frozen Quiche ended up throwing it all out.

    Generally speaking unless it’s for the BBQ anything my wife can make can be frozen.

    I highly recommend checking out BBC and Jamie Oliver recipes (although for some strange reason all his recipes are metric) we’ve gotten some great ideas

  114. Rob in Munich says:

    This is sooooo good especially the soda bread

    For the baked beans
    • 14oz dried white beans (such as haricot blanc), soaked overnight in cold water
    • 2½oz rapeseed oil
    • 7oz smoked streaky bacon, chopped
    • 7oz onion, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, grated
    • 2 x 400g/ chopped tinned tomatoes
    • Tin tomato purée
    • 150g soft dark brown sugar
    • 150ml red wine vinegar
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the soda bread
    • 11¾oz wholemeal flour
    • 11¾oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
    • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
    • 3oz butter, softened, plus extra to serve
    • 21fl oz buttermilk

    Preparation method

    1. Drain the white beans and put them in a large pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Drain again and return to the pan. Cover with water and cook for approximately one hour test before , or until just soft. Remove from the heat and drain. Add 1/4 tsp. of baking soda*
    2. In a large saucepan, heat the rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Add the streaky bacon and fry until crisp. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the onion is soft. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar, vinegar and 500ml/18fl oz water. Bring to the boil and then add the soaked beans. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 1½-2 hours, or until you have a thick sauce with soft tender beans
    3. Meanwhile, make the soda bread. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
    4. Mix all the ingredients together and form into a loaf shape of your choice.
    5. Place on a baking tray, dust with flour and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the loaf is golden-brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
    6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Slice and toast when needed.
    7. Season the beans with salt and pepper and serve with slices of toasted soda bread.

    * this is a must do or the beans will never get soft no mater how long you cook them

  115. Rob in Munich says:

    Again freezes great, assuming it lasts that long

    Zucchini Bread

    butter and flour all bottoms

    3 eggs
    1 3/4 cups sugar
    2 cups (3 medium) shredded zucchini
    (use the finest blade => food processor – skin and all)
    1 cup oil (do not reduce, use Oliver oil)
    2 teaspoons vanilla or Dr. Oekter 4 packs
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cups nuts (I used sunflower seeds!)
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon cloves (ground)

    Heat oven to 170-180 C. Grease (not oil) bottoms of two 9×5 or 8×4 inch pans. In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Stir in sugar, zucchini, oil and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients ; by hand, blend well. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 325 F for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes ; remove from pans. Cool completely.

  116. Kelli says:

    We make and freeze all kinds of things – and I make and freeze meals for my college son to take with him back to school. We don’t eat meat, so I have a few! First college boy’s favorite: bean burritos! I cook two huge pots of beans, 1 pinto and 1 black, after soaking overnight. I add chopped onions and peppers the last 1/2 hour of cooking. I cook mine in veggie broth, by the way (which I make myself and freeze!) After cooking, I combine the two types of beans (black beans cook faster, so I don’t cook them together!) and blend a bit while they are still warm with my immersion blender. Anything will work, though. Spread a spoonful down the center of each tortilla, add a sprinkle of cheese, and roll up. They freeze great, but separate the layers of burritos with something. I use wax paper.
    The beans themselves freeze well, too. Just make sure they have enough cooking liquid in them to pretty well cover the top.
    We make homemade pizza dough, cook it halfway, then freeze for fast but nutritious pizzas. I buy big containers of our favorite pizza sauce at Sams Club, then freeze it into individual portions.
    Veggie soup and veggie chili freeze well, in either large containers or individual portions. Everyone has a favorite recipe for both of these, so I won’t bore you with mine.
    The freezer will really come in handy when it’s time to make baby food! You can freeze all kinds of tasty veggie and fruit purees when they are in season to feed the little one later.
    Now I’m going back to read the other submissions. What a great idea asking the readers, since this is clearly THE frugal weirdo gathering spot. 🙂

  117. Liz says:

    Lasagna and enchiladas are my favorite freezer meals. You can make large batches and freeze them in smaller containers for multiple meals. I like to freeze in glass dishes that can also go into the oven. Soups are another great freezer friendly option. When I did this last year to get ready for my first baby, I made a list of what was in the freezer and taped it inside a kitchen cabinet. Then as we ate meals I crossed them off the list. I also labeled and dated everything in the freezer. You’re smart to make dairy free soy free options. I didn’t do that and ended up with a baby who is sensitive to both. Be sure to label the food as either dairy free soy free or has dairy has soy because a few weeks into new parenthood and sleep deprivation you won’t remember what’s what. Good luck!

  118. Karen says:

    I wanted to do the same thing until my daughter arrived four weeks early and let us know she was in charge now.

    I’ve had success with recipes from the Washington Post and they have a lot of freezer friendly recipes:


    Thekitchn.com also has a good selection of recipes.

  119. Bree says:

    I did this with both of my children and it was hugely helpful! I was never able to find very many main dish recipes that had enough veggies, so I ended up doing a hybrid of freezer/fresh cooking. To start, I would freeze portions of main dishes to thaw later. Mine were usually meant centered, but you could do pastas, lentil/vegetable soups and stews as suggested. Then, once a week I would shop for a week’s worth of veggies that can be roasted and salad fixings. When I got home I would spend an hour or so chopping the veggies and putting them in containers. For salads, I would chop up all the fixings and put them in 1 container, so that when I wanted a salad I could just pull out a handful of greens, add a big scoop of fixings, and my dressing and be set. For the other veggies, I found that almost anything from baby carrots to brussel sprouts can be tossed on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roasted at 400 degrees. This does take a bit more energy than just !pulling a one-pot meal out of the freezer, so you may want to wait a few weeks after baby comes, but I found it to be well worth it! Good luck

  120. Cindy says:

    A good way to find recipes that freezes well is to go over to the dark side of the grocery store, the frozen meals section. If they sell it as frozen food, your version will probably freeze just as well. For lunches, I usually freeze in Ziploc reusable containers: it’s sturdier than bags and they can be put in the lunchbox and reused multiples times.

    You should also take a look at pressure canning, especially for baby food and soups. The texture is a lot better than frozen food, and knowing how to can is a skill that will come in handy on the homestead.

  121. Heidi S says:

    I love to freeze split pea soup, or snack Baggie sized portions of things I can combine into meals – ie one Baggie of mashed potatoes, one of veggies, one of protein- so I can mix and match to my mood.
    My favorite website for cheap eats that freeze well is from “poor girl eats well”. http://www.poorgirleatswell.com

    Also, something is wrong with your webpage- my name and email fields in the ‘leave a reply’ section were pre-populated with the name and email of the previous commentor.

  122. Passing Reader says:


    This is one of my favorites, although it does contain black beans, which one of the commenters above suggested avoiding while breastfeeding – I don’t know anything about that.

    This is my own version of a recipe I found in a book called Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd, so please note that this makes 24 SERVINGS – that is TWENTY-FOUR – and you need a GIANT POT at the end. It’s totally possible to make a smaller amount but you will need to adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly.

    You can freeze the assembled burritos, but it comes out better and takes up less freezer space if you freeze the filling and tortillas separately, then assemble and bake when you want to eat them – assembly/baking is less than 30 mins. They are best in the oven or toaster oven, but you can cook them in the microwave too – the tortillas get a bit soggy but otherwise it’s still delicious.

    sweet potatoes, cubed – 6 lbs
    black beans – 5 1/4 cup dried (2 lbs 4 oz)
    olive oil – 1/2 cup (any veggie oil is fine)
    ginger root – 3 Tbs, minced
    garlic – 10 cloves, minced
    onions, chopped – 1 1/2 quarts
    bell peppers, chopped – 2 cups
    crushed red pepper – 1/2 tsp
    cumin, ground – 2 Tbs
    thyme – 2tsp dried, or a small handful fresh
    orange juice concentrate – 1 small can
    salt to taste
    8″ tortillas
    sour cream to top (optional)

    If using dried beans, soak overnight, drain, and cook in new water for 30-45 minutes. Drain.


    Saute ginger and garlic in oil for 1 minute. Add crushed red peper, onions, and cumin. Saute until onions are softened, then stir in celery, bell peppers, thyme. Saute until veggies are tender.

    In a separate pot cooked the diced sweet potato until tender but not overcooked. Drain and combine with the beans and the vegetable saute. Add the orange juice concentrate and peel. Salt to taste.

    Fill each tortilla with about 3/4 cup filling, roll up, and bake in oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes. (Optional: serve with sour cream on top).

    • Passing Reader says:

      I forgot to add – I get my tortillas at BJs because they are much cheaper there, $3 or $4 for a giant package. There is likely to be a similar deal at Costco.

  123. Bethany says:

    This is an awesome post – looking forward to reading through the comments! Maybe when you’ve been through the whole freezing and thaw and eat thing you can let us know how it turned out and what you learned!! 😉

    We don’t freeze a lot of meals, but as far as reheating, if we’re in a hurry we do use the microwave, but generally things are so much better via stovetop reheating or in the oven on a well greased / used heating stone. So much better than the microwave! And don’t use saran wrap over the food when you reheat it – plastics = bad in microwave. We put on a plate or in a glass container and cover with either paper towel or we do have a plastic raised cover that won’t come in contact with food.

  124. Marie says:

    Hope you are able to plan time off work with your new baby! Here is what NPR has to say about Asian traditions in the first postpartum month:


    Sending hugs and well wishes!

  125. Sarah says:

    It does have meat in it, but it makes a TON of portions and it’s so easy in the slow cooker! I recommend freezing, then running some warm water over the Tupperware to pop it out and put it in a bowl. Then, pop the bowl in the microwave on 50% power for a few minutes and let it defrost. Finish with 1 minute on high to heat, and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan. My go-to freezer meal that has saved me for work lunch many times.


  126. Barbara says:

    No recipe, but a couple of suggestions: mark each frozen meal carefully (what it is, when it was frozen, and possibly cooking instructions); and keep a running list of what you have in the freezer, crossing items off as you consume them.

  127. Jennifer says:

    For baby, freeze bags flat, then put into a gallon Ziploc standing up, labeled with the date range so you can easily find it later.
    For y’all, eggrolls were HEAVEN right after baby, you can actually cook the filling with peanut butter for extra protein, and fry (or bake) and then heat in the oven when you are hungry (likely at 2am while nursing baby). Lasgana is awesome frozen, and you can do a combo of eggplant/zucchini for filling. Ratatouille also does great in the freezer.

  128. I make vegetable stew and freeze it in 6 portion packets. There are no real measurements for any of these ingredients. I just cook them all in a big pot for about 2 hours. The ingredients change some based on what I have in my fridge!

    Vegetable broth
    small chopped carrots
    red lentils
    small pieces of broccoli
    Cabbage (chopped small)
    (Any other smalll vegetables will do)

  129. BURRITOS!!! (we buy the tortillas at Costco)
    1) breakfast burritos (eggs/cheese/other protein or vegetable of choice)
    2) Veggie burritos (rice/black bean/cheese/peppers & onions, etc).

    I roll each and then wrap in plastic wrap + foil, then I place as many that can fit into a freezer bag. I heat them up in the microwave wrapped in a paper towel, although if you can use an oven/toaster oven they turn out much better!

    You can also do quesadillas in the same manner!

  130. Kathy says:

    Freezer pesto – I can’t live without it and grow a “field” of basil just for freezing. I take about a 1/4 C of raw cashews and soak in water, a big handful of basil or two, a couple cloves of garlic, a squeeze of lemon, a swirl of olive oil, a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast and throw it all in a food processor and blend until smooth maybe adding just a little water. Double, triple, quadruple and freeze in small jars. Mix with pasta and yum (especially in January)! Great appetizer, too, spread over toasted baguette. I combine with my “summer in a jar” (cherry tomatoes) recipe for a festive appetizer. I just set out a little container of pesto, a little container of summer in a jar and a big plate of toasts and let guests smear their own. You can see my summer in a jar recipe on They Draw and Cook (website) – Kathy Sturr Summer in a Jar.

  131. Emily K says:

    I love Smitten Kitchen’s recipes, and she has a great section of freezer meals that she’s always adding to: http://smittenkitchen.com/recipes/#Freezer

    I also have a Pinterest board of freezer meals that I’ve been adding to – we are not heavy meat eaters, so you may find some dishes on it you will like that are frugal: https://www.pinterest.com/emily893/freezer-meals/

  132. Darcy says:

    Absolute awesomeness- double/ triple the garlic and I use chicken stock but use whatever you have on hand. Also, use whatever lentil you have around. It freezes well. http://www.food.com/recipe/stewed-lentils-tomatoes-barefoot-contessa-377484

  133. Ashley says:

    One thing I don’t think I have seen posted yet is meatballs. You could make a bunch of different types (beef, chicken, pork, etc.) and freeze them to add to pasta, sandwiches or just have on their own.

  134. I also vouch for lasagna, stews and curries. (Try a lentil curry which is inexpensive and delicious.)

    Another good one is gnocchi. Make gnocchi from scratch but don’t cook it. Freeze it in small batches in ziploc bags. When you’re ready to cook, then dump them into rolling hot boiling water.

  135. TomTrottier says:

    If you really want to be frugal, instead of a slow cooker, get a “thermal cooker”. It is a pot which fits into a vacuum(preferably)-insulated thermos. You heat your stew/beans/brownrice/whatever to boiling on the stove., put the cookpot into the thermos, and it cooks without any electricity for the next 6-12 hours. Good for summer & car-camping, too.
    Use an electronic scale to measure your freezable portions.
    I think storage in glass is safer for microwaving, but you could always put out to thaw in the morning for the evening dinner.
    Date everything with the best-by date.

  136. Try this Frugalwoods. Our favorite:

    Sausage-and-Grits Quiche


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    1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach
    1 (16-oz.) package ground pork sausage
    2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup whipping cream
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    1 cup uncooked regular grits
    1 cup grated Asiago cheese
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 cup (4 oz.) freshly shredded white Cheddar cheese, divided
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 1/2 tablespoons plain white cornmeal

    1. Thaw spinach; drain well, pressing between paper towels.

    2. Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; remove from skillet, and drain.

    3. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring broth, cream, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits, and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in Asiago, pepper, and 3/4 cup Cheddar until melted. (Mixture will be very thick.)

    4. Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot grits into eggs; stir egg mixture into remaining hot grits. Stir in spinach and sausage until blended.

    5. Sprinkle bottom and sides of a lightly greased 10-inch deep-dish pie plate with cornmeal. Spoon grits mixture into pie plate; sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese.

    6. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until set. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool 30 minutes.

    To Freeze: Prepare recipe as directed through Step 5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place quiche in a 2-gal. zip-top plastic freezer bag. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, and bake as directed.

  137. Susan says:

    Have to share this easy, tasty freezable gem adapted from Country Living:
    (Not Too Spicy) 3 Bean Chili:
    Heat 2 tbsp oil, add 2 chopped onions and 3 cloves garlic. Saute 10-15 min.
    Dump in 2 (28 oz) cans of tomato, crushed or whatever you like, 2 (16 oz) cans of UNDRAINED kidney beans, and black bean. Add one (16oz) can of undrained garbanzo beans, 2 tbsp cumin and chili powder, 1 tbsp hot pepper sauce and pepper to taste. Heat through. Serve over rice, with tortillas or however you like it. Freeze any leftovers. Or in your case, freeze the whole thing for easy dinners. If you want the most frugal version of this recipe, bust out that pressure cooker and make your own beans. Add a bit of extra veg broth or water to compensate.

  138. Darcy says:

    A giant pot on my stove right now- will freeze half or more- insanely easy:
    I try to pre-cook the beans to prevent trash in the form of cans and also save money (also, I made extra beans and froze them so next time I make this I can just pull out of the freezer- beans freeze well.) Also, the ranch packets and taco packets can add up $. If you decide you like it, I recommend going to a restaurant supply outlet for a large container of powdered ranch and costco should carry taco seasoning (or make your own of both!) Neither Costco nor sams carry the large ranch containers anymore near me (and since I’m in the south, I figure if they don’t carry it here, they don’t carry it anywhere.)
    Sante Fe Soup
    1 15oz can each pinto, black and kidney beans
    2 cans shoepeg corn (yes, the shoepeg makes a difference. It’s a bit pricey but I recently found it sold in the freezer section in bags so I stock up when it’s on sale. Reg canned or frozen corn can be substituted, but I can tell a difference.)
    2 cans rotel tomatoes- less if you don’t like a little spice
    2 cans diced tomatoes- more if you cut back on the rotel
    1-2 packets ranch dressing (dry) (each packet is 2oz if you’re measuring from bulk source)
    1-2 packets taco seasoning to taste
    1 bunch cilantro, chopped (If you don’t like cilantro, you’ll need to find an alternative bc it does add a lot of flavor)
    2 c water
    if you want, make with .5-1# ground beef but I don’t use it every time. If you opt for it, brown it first in the pan then dump the other ingredients in and heat. One pot and really insanely easy. Hope you try it and like it. Great for emergencies as it’s really fast. And you can always make it from cans in which case it’s REALLY fast. Just heat and eat.

  139. Magnolia says:

    SOUP! Going into the fall/winter…

    -Split Pea Soup
    -Homemade Tomato Soup (I use the base of this soup to make tomato sauce)
    -Sweet Potato Soup
    -White Bean/Navy Bean Soup (or don’t puree them down as a soup and eat plain)
    – soaking beans overnight releases the enzymes that can cause gas
    -Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (I throw in root vegetables and mushrooms to bulk it up)
    -Muffins (blueberry; oat; zucchini; carrot)
    -Roast – I’m not a huge beef eater but I love pot roast with mashed potatoes

    I like to add smoked turkey for flavor and a little bit of meat.

    Good Luck to you and the FW family!!!

  140. Kathryn says:

    About freezing breastmilk in the deep freezer….we have a similar deep freeze and have that little “shelf” to the right (guessing the motor sits underneath it). I bought stackable baskets at Target to help store. Freeze the bags flat, then you can “file” the bags in the baskets according to date. I kept my most recent basket on top for easy access to adding to it, then the next basket was the oldest so when I needed to use freezer milk, it wasn’t buried at the bottom (hope that makes sense). Even though it uses more bags and is not as frugal, I recommend not freezing more than 3-4 oz in a bag. You would rather group multiple bags to get a bottle together than waste some of your precious milk. Formula babies eat more oz per feeding but my 8.5 month old who has not had any formula has yet to eat more than 4oz at once (usually 3-3.5).

    Best of luck breastfeeding. It is not easy but you can do it and it is a true gift. The first few weeks are HARD, but don’t get discouraged. I now laugh at how natural it is for us given that the first few days had us both in tears. You’ll get there too.

  141. Kathryn says:

    Lactation cookies
    • This recipe makes a lot of cookies! Instead of baking all the cookies at once, freeze some of the dough. Scoop the dough into balls onto a large baking sheet or 13×9 inch pan. Place in the freezer until hard. Then transfer to a ziplock bag or air-tight container. This allows you to bake one tray at a time and enjoy fresh hot cookies whenever you want! Bake frozen dough for about one minute longer.
    2 Tablespoons milled flax seed meal
    4 Tablespoons water
    1 cup butter, soften to room temperature
    1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
    2 eggs, room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups flour (all-purpose or white whole wheat)
    3-4 Tablespoons brewer’s yeast
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 cups rolled oats
    1 cup chocolate chips
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2. In a small bowl, combine the flax seed meal and water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
    3. In a large bowl or stand-up mixer, beat butter and brown sugar well.
    4. Add eggs and beat well.
    5. Add flax seed mixture and vanilla, beat well.
    6. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, brewer’s yeast, baking soda & salt.
    7. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mix well.
    8. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
    9. Scoop by rounded tablespoons onto baking tray.
    10. Bake 12 minutes.
    11. Cool on baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
    Be creative and try these variations or additions:
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • dried cranberries, cherries, apricots or raisins
    • white chocolate chips

    • Rebecca says:

      I agree, these are amazing! The freezing part is a great idea or you’ll eat them all at once! My favorite combo was with cranberries and white chocolate!

      Another thing to keep in mind, I really wanted to start cooking again once I had my baby, but it was making the decision on what to eat that was the hardest part for me, not the prepping or cooking. I would suggest having some simple go to meals that Mr. Frugalwoods can pick up groceries for on the way home. It really helped me get back to normal, and it was nice to make and eat fresh food after so many casseroles/pasta/heavy foods.

  142. Jenny says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments here so I may be repeating others – sorry if I am. I don’t make a lot of casseroles but I make soups all fall and winter long, and most of them freeze really well. Soups are flexible and forgiving; it sounds like Mr. FW is a pretty accomplished cook and can improvise with whatever seasonal ingredients you have on hand. I like this recipe for potato leek soup (https://icydaylight.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/potato-leek-soup/), nearly everything I’ve tried from Deborah Madison’s book Vegetable Soups (I’m sure you can get it from the library), and vegetarian chili (which you could easily add meat to, if you wanted, but I find it’s hearty enough without).

    For storage, we use tupperware or old yogurt containers, and mark the dates in marker on masking tape on the top. For reheating, move the container from the freezer to fridge a day before you plan to eat it, then reheat in a pot on the stove – or reheat directly from the freezer, it’ll just take a little while.

  143. I made a whole series of posts a few years ago on freezer cooking – how we do it, how we store things (unfortunately, still ziploc bags for raw meats – but the blue avocado reusable bags are in a testing phase right now). There are links to all the recipes I use, most are meat-based, but Dad prefers vegetarian lunches, so there are several vegetarian recipes linked. Good luck! http://3isplenty.com/tag/freezer-cooking/

  144. Bec says:

    We really love this soup recipe! It does contain meat, but I’m sure that you double or triple the recipe and keep the sausage quantity the same as the original. It tastes even better after you defrost it. The potatoes do get a little mushy but it doesn’t bother us! I use Better than Bullion from Costco to make the chicken broth and I tend to add in more veggies and use frozen spinach instead of the kale. This goes great with homemade cornbread muffins, which you can also freeze and toast before serving!


    Enjoy and congratulations!

  145. Rachel says:

    Black bean soup. Doesn’t require a freezer, but might be another good option to always have on hand for a quick meal:
    2-3 cans of black beans
    1/2 -1 jar of salsa
    Puree in blender or food processor 1-2 cans of black beans. Add 1 more whole can of beans and 1/2 or 1 jar of salsa. Heat up.

    Yummy (and cheap) black bean soup on the quick. Serve with cheese or sour cream if you want extra flavor. Or tortillas/chips. It’s really really yummy!

  146. Mrs. FI says:

    We did a freezer meal experiment a while back (http://www.fibigsky.com/crock-pot-challenge-results/) and I was happy with the results. I found the recipes on Pinterest and there are so many more out there! The recipes I chose used only a few ingredients each and many of the ingredients overlapped, making it a rather easy trip to Costco and then boom, I was ready to put the bags together and freeze for later. 🙂

  147. We learned this lesson with our second kiddo (and when we were also drastically reducing our budget and also finally stopping the takeout). My favorites to freeze were black bean chili, lentil soup, carrot ginger soup (recipe here: http://joyfulveganfamily.com/2015/05/21/recipe-carrot-soup/) , and yellow lentil dal (recipe at the bottom of this post here: https://etvegan.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/essay-triage/) I also have recently started buying the large frozen bags of broccoli at our favorite Everett Costco, and those, plus some carrots and tofu, make a super easy stir-fry dinner any night of the week.

  148. Randy says:

    I second the person who said “Hummus”! It is quick to whip up a huge batch and keeps well in the freezer. Freeze some whole wheat pita bread while you’re at it. Don’t buy canned chickpeas! It is east to cook your own and you get much better results. Buy dried chickpeas from an Indian grocery. (Also all other kinds of beans, spices so cheap you will freak out!) Put dried chick peas in your crockpot crock in the morning and let them soak while you are at work. (Or do a night schedule if you don’t go to work the next day.) HERE IS THE SECRET! Add 1 Tbs baking soda to the soaking water. It gives the cooked peas a creamy texture. After soaking, drain, add fresh water and cook on high 2-4 hours until they squish easily between your fingers. Drain and save the broth for soup. Make hummus and freeze in containers. . Also Chana Masala is an Indian comfort food that freezes well. You can freeze just the cooked chickpeas too for use in recipes.
    Thai curries freeze well too! (Make a non-traditional Thai chickpea curry!)

  149. Chris says:

    I make freezer burritos on a regular basis, and they serve us very well as an emergency dinner or even office lunch.
    For the vegetarian version, I put in mashed sweet potatoes, black beans that were sauteed with onions and garlic, and smokey canned bellpepper. Wrap it in aluminium foil and freeze. Before eating, put it into the microwave for 3 minutes. We usually prepare about 30 burritos in an hour and are good to go for many weeks.
    Other than that, I have currently in the freezer: pumpkin coconut soup (easy: cook pumpkin pieces, puree the pumpkin with a can of coconut milk and spice it up with some garam masala), arrabiata sauce with chicken for a quick pasta dinner, homemade chicken stock for anti-flu-soups, and an apple tart in single servings for the occasional sweet craving. Plus homemade no-knead focaccia (recipe from the budget bytes site), which is the best sandwich bread and can be reheated easily in the microwave as well.
    I also had success with freezing curries, stews, muffins and liver paté. When I make naan, I just make some extra portions of dough and freeze it after it has risen, so I can make a flatbread side easily if I want to.
    Have fun with your freezer, it’s a really cool feeling to have good, healthy and cheap food waiting for you whenever you want 🙂

  150. Marisa says:

    My best-cheap freezer meal is Vegetable Enchiladas using this recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/351778/vegetable-enchiladas
    I am not a fan of crockpot cooked meals, so I recommend trying some out before you go crazy making up a bunch of ziplock bags.

  151. Marisa says:

    Just found this website that I think you’ll find helpful. Simpatico name. http://www.thefrugalpantry.com/search/label/Freezer%20Meals

  152. courtney says:

    So this has meat, but we made it the other night and it was delicious and quick, and would work well in the freezer. I made a chili casserole. 1 lb ground beef (or turkey) as bottom layer in casserole pan. then layer chili beans (i used canned, but i drained it mostly) then shredded cheese and tater tots on top.

  153. anna says:

    This peanut butter and squash stew is one of our favorite freezer meals. http://www.jsonline.com/features/food/29241964.html It’s vegan (although we sometimes throw chicken in there for extra protein), and the recipe makes a lot. I usually halve the amount of garlic and ginger and oil and add extra tomatoes to stretch it. When it’s done I let it cool, then freeze flat in ziploc bags.

    I’ve also had good luck with Smitten Kitchen freezer meals – spinach strata, baked pasta with sausage (usually sub kale for broccoli rabe), and zucchini rice bake have been great!

  154. Jenny says:

    I really love this kitchn recipe for lentils with a cracked egg: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-spiced-lentils-baked-egg-14389

    I usually make the lentils/split peas ahead of time, then freeze them into individual portions. Frugal and super tasty!

  155. Bronwyn says:

    I freeze baked good a lot for snack for myself and my son, these bars are pretty healthy and freeze well : http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2014/02/healthy-banana-bread-chocolate-chip-oat-breakfast-bars-vegan-gluten-free/ I don’t do the chocolate drizzle. I just take them out a few hours before or heat them up for about 30 seconds in the microwave and they are good to go.

  156. Me'lisa says:

    Try economy burgers. Vegan & made with oats. I use 1/4 cup coconut aminos and 1/2 cup of gf nutritional yeas in my version. I also sautéed the onions first. A co Horst says they freeze beautifully. When I reheat them, I add ketchup before and it reminds me of meatloaf. Yummy goodness. I was a vegetarian for 16 years and practiced extended breastfeeding with both kiddos. Stay hydrated. And yes…..eventually you will be able to move off your couch/rocker. The first three months…..I had so little downtime between feedings. No one warned me. Blessings on your new addition and happy freezer stocking. Found you thru a mrmoneymoustache link:)

  157. JL says:

    Indian food!! India has more vegetarians than anywhere else on the planet. The food is high protein and vegetarian and lots of recipes are easily frozen. I would recommend either Julie Sahni’s “Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking” (which happens to be available on Amazon for $2.83 used) or Madhur Jaffrey’s “Vegetarian India.” Keep several tasty and different dals in the freezer. Simply defrost, make some rice and a yogurt raita or salad, and you have a delicious and filling meal with a complete protein and a riot of flavors. Added bonus: you can make milder versions and mash into baby food when Babywoods is ready.

    My favorite recipes are Julie Sahni’s Bengali red lentil dal and Madhur Jaffrey’s cilantro chickpeas or her saag paneer.

  158. Marie says:

    Buy farm direct fruit and veg, roast , flavour etc and store in reusable takeaway containers. I prefer to freeze over canning as its safer and easier. Freeze your own passata, pumpkin soup, stewed fruit etc. I defrost on bench or in my oven.

  159. SassyG says:

    +1 for the cooked dried beans in the freezer! Canned beans are much more expen$ive! You can make a laaaarge batch of your favorites, and freeze them in portion sized baggies for easy use later. Some of our house faves:

    Adzuki beans in veggie stir fry rice bowls

    White beans in pesto pasta dishes (think pesto broccoli penne, or ravioli layered with fresh spinach), or tossed with leftover fish for a Tuscan style bean salad, etc..

    Black beans in… well… everything! Over polenta and sauteed veggies for a “tamale” bowl! Soup! Chili! The fun never ends!

    Chickpeas: quick hummus (natch 😉

    Kidneys: If black beans aren’t your thang…

    I’ve seen so many references to the slow cooker (energy hog = wa$$te?) and no references to the humble rice cooker! One of my best investments was a Zojirushi rice cooker, which makes rice based dishes a snap. Load it up in the morning (make extra!), set the timer, and voila it’s done for dinner. It also keeps the rice at perfect temperature as long as you like, but I find 3 days is about max.

    **WHY is this relevant to a freezer meal discussion? Because some of the best freezer dishes are things you can thaw and put over rice! Curries – Thai, Indian, whatever! Frozen veggies that get sauteed/steamed/stir fried, throw in a small packet of frozen beans beans (see above), and spoon over your favorite starch (rice, quinoa, pasta, polenta, grits!)

    Also, rice makes a great breakfast oats alternative (congee!), or snack. Toss with some sesame/seaweed sprinkle, and voila! Warm, cozy, comforting…

  160. Catherine says:

    My boyfriend and I have been living a frugal, minimalist lifestyle for almost a year. We rarely go out to eat (only for special (very special!) occasions) and we prepare our meals for the week on Sunday. We typically prepare chili (definitely one of our favorite meals, if not our favorite meal!) and a stir-fry meal (our other favorite meal!) or something with a lot of vegetables. We prepare the chili in the crock pot and though we eat the entire thing over the course of the week, it could easily be frozen to consume at a later date! It would certainly reheat well, also. My suggestion would certainly be a chili recipe to freeze, which is simple to create and customize the flavors and spices and a bonus is that it could be a vegetarian chili, beef chili, or chicken chili. Perhaps even freezing a big veggie meal and just draining the excess water as it reheats would be a success also. It is so nice reading about your life and knowing that there are other women out there living frugally as I am, and at a younger age (I am 22!). I love your blog!

  161. Holly says:

    Just something for your freezer: Blanch, dry, and freeze some chard, kale, spinach, and lamb’s quarters now (summer) for soups for the winter:)

  162. Iris says:

    Your microwave is your friend – for defrosting and reheating. The inexpensive plastic containers now available are great for the freezer, especially if they nest for storage. However – don’t put food with a significant fat content into them when the food is warm, and don’t reheat those foods in them. A little warming of the bottom of the container (hot water, or hands) will let you pop the food out into a glass bowl. This is not a plastic phobia, but you’ll have a devil of a time getting them truly clean, meaning all the grease off of them.

    I have a stash of genuine Tupperware containers, from when we had a huge garden and when Tupperware was more popular and before Glad and Ziploc containers, though we don’t garden at the moment. For the most part they last forever, but they also want to hold onto grease, and need to be cleaned attentively.

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