It's the New Year and it's time for some healthy, feel good (family friendly) freezer meals. Here are my favorite 15.
Healthy freezer meals can be hard to find. If you love freezer cooking but are looking for some lighter, veggie packed options, I have compiled the perfect list for you.
Its no secret that freezer meals tend to be heavy, saucy, cheesy casseroles, but they don't HAVE to be. Casseroles are fantastic, true, but burgers, burritos, rice, soups, chili's, stews, stuffed potatoes and peppers all freezer amazingly too.
Save couple of these recipes for your weekend meal prepping, or simply using them as a jumping off point for inspiration.
Cheers to being more organized AND healthier this New Year!
1. Crockpot Vegetable Soup With Pesto-New Leaf Wellness
If this soup looks a little *too healthy* for you, may I suggest adding a few ounces of diced pepperoni to the soup. Just a little will give it a hearty texture & rich taste.
2. Perfect Veggie Burgers-Oh She Glows
I love this tutorial from Oh She Glows. She includes other veggie burger recipes if you prefer a different variation. Bottom line...any veggie burger recipe will freeze great. I fully cook mine before freezing. This makes them perfect for a grab-and-go lunch you can microwave at work.
3. Sausage And Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes-Wellness Mama
I freeze stuffed sweet potatoes all the time. Make the recipe as written, bake them and allow to cool. Pop the whole cooled baking sheet directly in the freezer. Once potatoes have frozen solid on tray, transfer into a gallon sized freezer bag. Simply heat in microwave or oven until heated through.
4. Veggie Fried Rice- Modern Moms Kitchen Academy
This is our family favorite. You can also use brown rice if you prefer. I keep smaller quart size bags of this rice in the freezer, and serve with pan seared chicken breast for a super quick and healthy 10 minute meal.
5. Veggie Ale Chili-Food Network/Rachael Ray
Do me a favor and ignore the photo that accompanies this recipe, it doesn't do this dish justice. I have made (and frozen) this chili dozens of times. It is EXCELLENT. Use a hearty beer like Long Trail Ale, and add shredded cheddar when serving. So. Good.
Photo: Food Network
6. Stir Fry Kits-The Kitchn/Emma Christensen
Separating the veggies from the meat is simply brilliant. Yes, It is an extra step, but if you hate mushy vegetable (like my family does) it will be 5 minutes well spent!
Photo: The Kitchn/Emma Christensen
7. Vegetable Pot Pie-Aida Mollenkamp/Food Network
I make this recipe and serve it as a "pot pie stew" and do away with the crust. The filling, is rich and creamy without using any heavy ingredients. I omit several of her veggie choices and double up on the ones I know my kids prefer. It turns out fantastic.
Photo: Food Network
8. Greek Turkey Burgers-Budget Bytes
Talk about a fast freezer meal. Make your patties and flash freeze them on a baking sheet until solid. You can then stack the raw, frozen patties in a sealed container or freezer bag. Simply let thaw, then fry or grill as directed.
Photo: Budget Bytes
9. Turkey Meatballs & Marinara-Lauren's Latest
I included this particular recipe because of its excellent step by step instruction in case you have never frozen meatballs before. The actual recipe is very basic, so it could be either ideal for picky eaters, or ho-hum if you like more flavor. For the flavor seekers, you can still use the Lauren's Latest technique while making this turkey meatball recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.
11. Black Bean & Rice Burritos- Shutter Bean
Super fast and totally customizable. I use less rice and add sautéed onions and peppers for more veggie power. Happiness is finding a ready to eat burrito in your freezer, I swear.
Photo: Shutter Bean
12. Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore-Skinny Taste
Throw all the raw ingredients into a gallon sized freezer bag, and lay it flat in the freezer. When ready to eat, thaw, toss it in your slow cooker, and cook as directed. You could also serve this over polenta or whole wheat noodles.
13. Clean Eating Taco Stuffed Peppers-Dashing Dish
I adore stuffed peppers and they freeze perfectly. Complete this recipe and fully bake peppers in a disposable tin cooking pan. Let peppers cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze. To re-heat, remove plastic wrap, pop frozen (or thawed) peppers into oven at 350 degrees until they are heated through.
Photo: Dashing Dish
14. Whole Wheat Calzones-Thriving Home
This is a GREAT step by step tutorial. You could absolutely sneak in more veggies to their basic sausage version. I always add spinach to my calzones and pizza sauce. It doesn't change the flavor, and is a great way to desensitize kids to "green bits" in their food : ) Try it!
I feel like meatloaf is one of those Love/Hate foods. I happen to LOVE it. It's fast and easy to make, you can throw in anything from the fridge, and of course it freezes great. If you are not sure your family with dig this version, don't forget you can cover it with ketchup. When I freeze meatloaf, I make the recipe and then freeze it raw in the baking dish. Let it thaw completely (it will take the whole day or overnight, so leave time) and bake as directed. Usually at 350 degrees for about 45 min-1 hour.
Photo: Organize Yourself Skinny
Know someone who could use some healthy make-ahead meal ideas? Please share!