View Full Version : Healthier Freezer Food?
01-19-2008, 01:09 PM
I used to go to those Make-Your-Meal places, which is great if you have the extra income, but started to realize I could do this myself without too much effort or putting aside an entire day or two to make the whole months worth. In December I spent a week making dinner as usual, but would double up or do extra work (i.e. instead of cooking just chicken breasts for my meal, I might poach/bake a few more for a recipe down the road that called for cubes/slices of baked chicken, etc....or make two different marinades for pork tenderloin that might share some ingredients - garlic, onion, oil, etc - to do chopping all at once, etc). After one week I had enough meals for four weeks. Sweet!
But my problem is that I'm having problems finding freezable recipes that aren't full of processed foods. So many of them use canned cream soups, canned veggies, pkg'd sauces/marinades/seasoning, super-fatty, HFCS items, but my goal this year is to use more natural ingredients. So many of those OAMC websites have some shockingly unhealthy recipes! I'm not being crazed about it, but I want to be better about it -- first I'm working on more natural; fats/calories, etc hopefully follow. I have found some good recipes here and there (curries, tomato based pasta sauces, marinades/toppings I can make ahead of time for chicken, fish, etc), but I'm already starting to run out. Honestly if I see one more variation of chicken parmesan or lasagna I'm going to run screaming.
Especially hard to find is good freezer-fish recipes -- if there is one thing I miss about the make-your-meal places is that they always had good, healthy fish entrees...but I really can't seem to find any freezable ones online.
Anyone out there have any freezable recipes you feel good about serving to yourself and your family? Anyone want to see some of the recipes I found and didn't bomb (oh yes, I've had a few stinkeroos :rotfl: )?
01-19-2008, 01:15 PM
Please I would love to see your recipes. I am having a baby soon and would love to have the freezer stocked.
01-19-2008, 01:20 PM
Vegetable soup and stews freeze well. I always buy talapia frozen (thaw for a day in the refrig) and that with a pack of frozen veggies and maybe some rice is a quick meal. I have frozen extra spaghetti sauce too for a quick dinner.
01-19-2008, 01:23 PM
Well around Thanksgiveing I bought a 20 lb Turkey for 5$ and change. Today I cooked it and then I broke it up into 3 meals for my family(6) After I seperated it into containers. I put it in the freezer to just be able to grab for a quick dinner. I do this all the time and I have never had problems with the turkey. Here are some of my plans. One night hot turkey on a roll with gravy.
maybe turkey chilli
This is better than Mc Donalds and cost way less;)
01-19-2008, 02:59 PM
Here are some of the more successful, low preservative recipes I've tried - your mileage may vary depending on how much seasoning, salt, etc you prefer. Over the next month I will be trying some new recipes -- I'll post those as well if they are successful.:
Pork Paprikash (the only thing I might change about this recipe is to add garlic, more salt/pepper, use lighter sour cream)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 oz wide egg noodles
1 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1, 1lb pork tenderloin, halved lengthwise and cut into 1” pieces
2 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 can (14 oz) whole peeled tomatoes in juice (I just used diced tomatoes)
½ cup sour cream
If you plan on eating this right away, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles until tender; drain and return to pot. Stir in butter; cover and set aside
In a medium bowl, combine pork with 1 tbsp paprika. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high. Cook pork, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
In the same skillet, reduce heat to medium and add remaining tbsp oil and onion. Cook until onion is soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add pork, remaining paprika, tomatoes with their juice, and ½ cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cook until sauce is slightly thickened, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, 2-4 minutes.
Now you can freeze this part if you want or go on to the next step. When ready to eat again, thaw and heat in skillet, and take the next step.
Remove skillet from heat, and stir in sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over noodles.
Grecian Pork Tenderloin from Allrecipes.com (makes 2 tenderloins)
3/4 cups fresh lime juice
¼ cup + 2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons dried oregano
2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins
Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and oregano in a large resealable plastic bag. Shake sealed bag until ingredients are well mixed. Taste the marinade for tartness. If too tart, add a little more oil. Not enough zing, add more lime. The garlic and salt flavors should also be up front, yet not overpowering. If cooking right away, place tenderloins in the bag, seal, and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 5 hours. If freezing, freeze marinade alone. When preparing to eat, thaw marinade and pork tenderloin seperately in fridge - when thawed, place pork in marinade for 2-5 hours. (I tried freezing the pork in the marinade and the lime juice made the outside a little too tough)
Preheat grill for medium heat. Lightly oil the grill grate, and discard marinade. Grill tenderloins for 20 to 30 minutes, turning once, or to desired doneness or
TO ROAST: Roast uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Use an oven thermometer to get it perfect.
Curried Coconut Chicken (revised from Allrecipes). Serves 6.
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 onion, thinly sliced/chopped (to preference)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (or 1 tbsp)
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk (some people use lite coconut milk)
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed, diced tomatoes (drained)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1.5 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup peas (optional...just not canned, use frozen)
Rice (as desired)
1. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil, curry powder, onions and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with curry oil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and juices run clear.
3. Pour coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar into the pan, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. I add the peas about halfway through.
4. Serve now over rice or freeze.
5. If freeze, simply thaw and reheat in skillet. Serve over rice. I actually thought that it was better tasting after it was frozen/reheated than it did fresh.
Baked Fish with Curried Pecan Topping (revised from Bon Appetit)
1/3 cup Finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup Fresh French breadcrumbs
1 tbsp Finely chopped onion
1 Garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp Curry powder
1/2 tsp Ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
1 Egg white
4 Tilapia fillets
1 tbsp melted butter
Preheat oven to 350. Mix first 7 ingredients in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Add oil; stir to blend. Bake until pecan mixture is light golden, about 8 minutes. Transfer pecan mixture to plate and cool. Freeze mixture.
Thaw mixture (and fillets if they are frozen).
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat egg white in medium bowl until foamy. Dip fish fillets 1 at a time into egg white, then into pecan mixture, coating both sides. Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange fish in dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Press any excess pecan mixture atop fish fillets, drizzle with butter. Bake until fish is opaque in center, about 20-25 minutes and serve.
**It's of course a no-no to freeze, thaw, and refreeze fish, and most of the "fresh" fish you find at the fish section has been frozen and thawed out. If I had truly fresh fish, I would coat the fish with the topping and eat it right away or freeze it in a disposable baking dish. But since finding never frozen fish is hard for most, I buy frozen tilapia fillets and keep the topping separate until baking.
01-19-2008, 03:13 PM
Barbecued Mushroom-Turkey Burgers (revised from oops, can't remember where I got it from)
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
3 teaspoons butter
1.5 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1.5 medium carrot, grated
1/4 cup dry red wine mixed with 1/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1.5 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
6 hamburger buns, split
In a large nonstick skillet, saute onion in butter for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and carrot; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add the wine or broth, salt and pepper; simmer for 2-3 minutes or until liquid is mostly evaporated. Transfer to a large bowl; cool slightly. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into six patties. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or freeze as separate patties.
To cook: Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting the grill. Grill patties, uncovered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear, brushing occasionally with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomato and remaining barbecue sauce. Yield: 4 servings.
**I personally cook this in a pan, and brush very little BBQ on the patties.
Asian chicken and water chestnut patties (revised from bon appetit)
Makes 6 servings.
1.5 lb ground chicken breast
1 (8-oz) can whole water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
1 bunch scallions, chopped (1 cup)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh jalapeño chile
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I skip this due to a cilantro issue)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Special equipment: 6 (8-inch) wooden skewers
Pulse water chestnuts, scallions, garlic, and jalapeño to processor and pulse until finely chopped, then add in a bowl with chicken along with soy sauce, oyster sauce, cilantro and salt. Stir together with your hands until just combined.
Form mixture into 18 (2-inch-diameter) patties, place on wax paper in layers and freeze.
Thaw patties. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then either cook as individual patties or transfer onto skewers until golden and just cooked through, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter and keep warm, covered with foil. Add remaining teaspoon oil to skillet and cook remaining patties in same manner.
**I personally don't eat these patties as skewers -- tend to fall off. Instead, I like to put them into pitas and eat with a little yogurt. Mmmmmmmm.
01-19-2008, 03:31 PM
this site may help ;)
you do have to purchase the menu/recipes but I think its well worth it, hope it helps :thumbsup2
01-19-2008, 04:35 PM
I've been doing prep and freeze meals for the past two months after going to Super Suppers and realizing how easy it would be to do myself. I've found some pretty good recipes in the book, "Don't Panic- Dinner's in the Freezer" as well as Super Supper's own cookbook. Although strangely, some of the recipes in Super Supper's book are NOT freeze and prep or even cook and freeze. I was very pleased with the lack of cream of XXX and canned vegetable recipes; I was interested in OAMC a few years ago but those kind of recipes really turned me off.
I just got the book "Fix Freeze Feast" from Amazon last week and it looks really good also. I haven't tried anything from it yet but I like that it has side dishes and they scale the recipes on trays of meat from Costco/Sams/BJs. For example, the first recipe is for Cherry Skillet Chicken. It calls for one tray (about 6lbs) of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and will make 3 entrees of 4 servings each.
For fish recipes, I find it easier to just buy frozen tilapia or other mild fish and thaw it as I want it. Usually I'll make up little foil packets with tilapia, olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, onion and mushrooms and bake them in the oven. Sam's also has bags of frozen tilapia that are breaded with crumbs and parmesan cheese that are pretty tasty and make an easy, quick meal.
Called Once a Month Cooking. It is basically the same thing, for you to do at home. It has a section on healthier choices.
I have done this before each child was born....it is a TON of work. Expect to spend most of a weekend shopping, prepping, cooking & assembling.
I have used the dinner assembly places. Ours lists the nutritional info on the web, so we plan our meal accordingly. I know which ones we like best. When I was throwing together the Cranberry BBQ Chicken a few weeks ago, I though how easy this would be to do at home, for about half the price. BUT these meals run about half the price of eating out. DH loves that the meal is in the fridge, I can workout, and he can throw dinner together. (he can cook, but he's not a good menu planner). When I balk at the price, I realize she has done all the menu planning, shopping & prep work. And it saves us money so we eat out less.
I do choose the meals that run less than 500 cals/serving (prefer less than 400). If there are higher calorie items, I short them a bit. I increase veggies & spices on nearly every dish (she is OK w/ this; only meat must be exact). Most items do not have trans fat (we are eliminating this as much as possible). Her pasta isn't whole wheat, which we prefer. But once in a while, that is OK.
I like these places for convenience, and for DH to prep dinner when I am working out, if I didn't throw anything in the crock pot. We eat out as a family about once a week, plus we have a place that offers $5 large cheese & pepperoni pizzas on Mon/Tues--I can barely do dinner for $10 these days! If I don't work out, I have an easy meal I can throw together planned.
I make meatloaf and freeze it. I also make meatballs and freeze them. (freeze them on a cookie sheet then put them in a bag so they don't freeze together) I don't cook them before I put them in the freezer. Chili freezes nice. If you put meat in the chili cook it before adding it to the freezer. The chili can just be thrown in a crock pot in the am. Just add the sauce to the meatballs in a crock pot.
I buy chicken and pork, trim it when I get home, put it in a bag and freeze it. I just have to defrost and grill or bake it.
01-19-2008, 06:23 PM
There's a website called 30 Day Gourmet which has recieps for freezer cooking and has some electronic cookbooks you can purchase. One is for vegetarian cooking and most of the recipes can easily be made vegan (the author tells you how) and they are generally quite healthy and freeze well.
01-19-2008, 08:30 PM
I have the "Fix Freeze Feast" book in it's previous incarnation, "Warehouse Gourmet". It's pretty much the same recipes from the same authors.
I like it alot, the Salisbury Meatballs is now one of my family's favorite meals - my picky DD requests them.
Several of the recipes are for just protein - you will need to add a starch and vegetables to make a complete meal, but it's nice to have dressed up meat. we like the zesty flank steak and caribbean jerk pork tenderloin.
it is lacking in fish recipes - there is one for salmon, but if you read it, you are just making and freezing the marinade, which makes no sense as it takes 2 minutes to toss together. it's very good, but not really a freezer recipe.
01-19-2008, 09:05 PM
I also like savingdinner.com. Try out their sample menus and see if it is for you. I have bought a few of their freezer meal and regular menu ones. My DH favorites all come from the low carb menu which is easy to adapt to freezing. I found it was simple enough to add side dishes to these. I also like that it has shopping lists attached. I just cross off everything I already have and I am set to go. I wish I had a real freezer to really benefit from making ahead. I don't know how to fit everything in to the one on top of the fridge.
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