Attention Parents: These 5 Easy, Make-Ahead Freezer Meals Will Save You Tons of TimeSeptember 9th, 2016
There’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal—in terms of taste and nutrition. You know exactly what ingredients went into every bite, and can make it just the way you like it. Of course, slaving away over a hot stove isn’t always possible, especially when you’re about to become a new parent.
This is exactly why we have a chapter in our Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook dedicated to make-ahead freezer meals. It’s a win-win—you get homemade, healthy eats on the table in just a few minutes. Put your friends and family to work, too! When they inevitably ask what they can do to help, send them a few make-ahead recipes and ask them to whip up a big batch.
Get started with our five favorite types of freezer-friendly recipes—there’s one of each in our cookbook, too.
Load up homemade burritos with any fillings you like—fajita veggies, beans, tofu or meat, even quinoa—then freeze them. Fajita seasoning will amp up the flavor, too. We love them because they’re really easy to eat with one hand, while you’re busy with a newborn in your arms. A few tips:
- Don’t overstuff, so you get a good, tight roll
- Wrap in plastic wrap, then foil, then store in an airtight freezer bag to prevent tortilla-related freezer burn
- Label them with what’s inside, because all burritos look the same once they’re wrapped!
Frozen treats aren’t just for dessert—they make awesome breakfasts, too: whip up your favorite chia pudding or protein smoothie and freeze in popsicle molds. You can enjoy it frozen, or let it defrost in a bowl in the fridge overnight.
It’s not always easy to get enough veggies, which is why we love keeping homemade veggie burgers on hand. Opt for a bean-based burger and you’ll automatically get a major boost of protein and fiber, too. And you can make a few different flavor variations simply by switching up the spices you use—curry powder, chili powder, and Chinese five-spice are some of our faves.
Enough said, right? Homemade banana bread can be made much healthier than store-bought by swapping in whole-grain flour for all-purpose, and reducing the amount of sugar. After your loaf cools, slice it and wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and store in a freezer bag. When you want the ultimate comfort breakfast (or snack), just pop a slice in the microwave or oven to warm it up.
We are totally obsessed with egg breakfast muffins because they’re simple, satisfying, and perfectly nutritionally balanced. The combination of eggs, veggies, and cooked whole grains gives you everything you need for a filling breakfast or lunch. Best of all, you can then freeze them and warm them in the oven or microwave in just a few minutes. Try the recipe below to get started!
Cheddar-Quinoa Egg Muffins
These breakfast muffins are like mini crustless quiches—made with quinoa, eggs, and broccoli—are packed with all of the nutrition you need for a complete breakfast. They’re portable and easy to grab when you’re rushing out the door or hurrying to feed baby. For a snack or breakfast in less than 60 seconds, pull one out of the freezer, microwave, and enjoy—or have two or three with some fruit for a well-rounded meal.
Yield: 12 muffins
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Cooking spray or oil
6 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup finely chopped broccoli
3⁄4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons sliced scallions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a standard 12-cup muffin tin—either line with baking cups, spray with cooking spray, or grease the cups lightly with oil.
Whisk together the eggs and egg whites. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bake until eggs are cooked through and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Let muffins cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then, using a knife to loosen the edges, remove muffins from tin and cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Once they’re cool, you can freeze the muffins in a large freezer bag for up to 3 months, or keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.