Quick and Freezer-Friendly Recipes
Quick and easy dinners that you can defrost in the morning, rewarm and still taste fresh and delicious!
As a working mom, I search for recipes that I can make ahead and freeze well. Especially in the winter when the day is so short and the kids come home starving. I often need a dinner that is quick and easy that I can defrost in the morning and rewarm. And these recipes taste fresh and delicious even defrosted.
For best freezer results, avoid freezing anything dry roasted and opt for saucey dishes, stews, and soups. Label everything with a date for your convenience and keep your bags/pans tightly sealed to avoid that freezer burnt taste. Cover dishes tightly with foil or in an airtight bag. Freeze when completely cool, and defrost in the refrigerator before rewarming.
Weeknight Pot Roast
Image by: cookingclassy.com
Classic and savory, this one can be frozen and rewarmed. It also can be made a day or two ahead of time. This tougher cut of meat actually softens in the freezer so it can taste even better.
- One (3 to 5-pound) chuck roast or pot roast
- 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, quartered
- 6 to 8 whole carrots, unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cups fingerling potatoes or baby potatoes, optional
Preheat the oven to 275°F.
Generously season the roast with salt and pepper (I use 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper).
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the pot, browning them, about 10 minutes.
Add the carrots to the pot and toss them around a bit until lightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pot. Move the onions and carrots aside, and brown the meat in the pot and brown for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, add red wine to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom with a whisk. Place the roast back into the pot and add beef stock to cover the meat halfway.
Add the herbs to the mixture and stir.
Cover, then place in the oven for about 3 - 4 hours. Halfway through cooking, add the fingerling potatoes, toss to coat in the cooking liquid. Return the pot to the oven to finish cooking.
The meat should be soft and easy to slice when cool. After slicing, return it to the pan. Serve with pan juices, potatoes, carrots and onions.
Chicken and White Bean Soup with Kale
Image by: eatingwell.com
Makes 4 to 6 servings
This recipe is dinner in a bowl! It’s full of nutrients and perfect for a winter night. I serve it with crusty sourdough bread or leftover challah.
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken and sauté chicken for 5 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken and place in a separate bowl. Add remaining 4 tablespoons of oil to the pot. When oil is hot, add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until slightly softened and brown, about 15 minutes. Add tomato paste, chicken broth, sage, thyme, rosemary, beans, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 15 minutes.
Add chicken; simmer until warmed. Stir in kale. Season with salt and pepper.
Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche (Dairy)
Image by: budgetbytes.com
Serves 6 - 8
This is a good Thursday night alternative to pizza. My kids like it with a big green salad and with fresh cheese, melty, and rich right out of the oven. Add any vegetable of your choice and mix the cheese. I like a little herbed goat cheese dolloped on top. It gets browned while cooking and adds a nice flavor.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 ½ cups mushrooms, sliced
- 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 2 large eggs plus 2 egg whites
- 1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 2 ounces goat cheese, cut into little pieces
- ½ teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven, place a baking sheet on the rack and preheat to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round or 8-inch square baking dish.
In a medium skillet, heat oil. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and spinach and cook for another 5 minutes until softened.
In a bowl, mix the eggs, egg whites, ricotta cheese, goat cheese, flour, nutmeg, and mozzarella cheese. Stir in cooked onion mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle with the parmesan and dollops of goat cheese and paprika. Place the quiche on the preheated baking sheet and bake until the center is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash
Image by: createnourishlove.com
This is adapted from a recent Bon Appetit recipe; the squash is a great addition. Serve with spaghetti squash, baked potatoes, over a large bed of rice, or with taco chips.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 (29 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes (you can use regular whole tomatoes but these are available in national markets in the canned tomato aisle)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
- 2 chipotle chilies from canned chipotle chilies in adobo, minced (make sure to mince; these are VERY spicy)
- 1 cup water
- 1 (2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 –inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Grated Cheddar Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Chopped Cilantro
- Pickled Jalapeno Rings
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sauté onion until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add chili powder, tomatoes, beans, chiles and water and cook for about ½ hour to blend flavors. Stir in butternut squash and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Add more water if needed as it cooks. Add kosher salt and serve warm with any garnish of your choice.