Even the most enthusiastic cook can get kitchen fatigue. Stocking your freezer with delicious ready to heat meals can save you when you have one of those “There’s no way I’m cooking tonight” days. I try to take a few hours over the weekend to slow roast, simmer or bake something for the week ahead. It saves us from eating too many leftovers and pizza and all I had to do is turn on the microwave. It’s also helpful to have around when you want to make a side dish or salad that’s a little more involved,if you have part of your meal already made, you will be ahead of the game. I also like having friends over during the week and don’t always have time for a big production, so having something in the freezer made so I can pull it out the night before makes entertaining on the fly a breeze.
So here are my top 10 picks for make now, eat later dishes to make your life tastier.
Jambalaya is a perfect Freezer meal. This recipe serves a mob of 20 so you can have some to freeze. This is a great pot luck or come on over for dinner tonight meal.
Turkey and Sausage Gumbo This post was originally posted around Thanksgiving, but I enjoy Gumbo all year around. The recipe is from my days in New Orleans as a chef. It’s tried and true and loves the freezer.
Lemon Barley Pilaf- Great for meatless Monday if you don’t want to cook. I make large batches of rice, grains and other carbs and freeze them in portioned packets. That way I have more choices for sides with dinner without going to the store.
Pesto Potatoes on the Halfshell- Perfect for a do ahead dinner party or spring pot luck. Potatoes don’t typically freeze well, but these little beauties are an exception.
Ricotta and Herbed Meatballs with Sun Dried Tomato Chutney This recipe was also from the class I taught at Byerly’s last fall. Delicious and easy to make, they freeze like a dream. The chutney will also freeze beautifully too.
Creamy Skinny Vegetable Soup This is my go to recipe for cream of anything green soup. Easy to master and portion for lunch, you will use this recipe for every season.
Cranberry Lemon Scones You probably know I have made a few dollars over the years making scones. This recipe will not disappoint and can be baked from frozen. A must to keep in the larder for a last minute lazy weekend morning treat.
Chicago Style Italian Beef it does not get any better than this for Italian beef. You will have to make it and be the judge. Perfect anytime of the year, it’s a winner for picky eaters. The picture does not do it justice. Serve with the spicy relish Giardiniera
Chicken with Apples and Mushrooms- Warms the heart and is easy on the pocketbook. This velvety smooth sauce and succulent chicken dish is a great weeknight dinner or good enough for a company buffet.
Texas Penicillin Now this is a great soup. A contribution from cookbook author and famous Texan Ginny Bivona, it’s a sure cure for anything that ails you. It’s her signature chicken soup for the soul.
So there you have it, some of my favorite dishes to stock in the freezer for that busy time of the year when I don’t have time to cook every night. Every cook should be so lucky to have a stocked freezer.