You’re stuck at home and you ran out of ideas of what to bake next. Don’t get bored! Now is the time to stock your freezer and save you some time in the future. When life gets back to normal and you’re busy with your work routine again, you will thank yourself for making these prep-ahead meals.
Lasagna is one of those ultimate comfort foods and the possibilities are endless. You can make beef lasagna, chicken lasagna, and even vegetarian lasagna – stuffed with meaty mushrooms. Just prepare the lasagna as you normally would, up until it’s ready for baking. Freeze the prepared (unbaked) lasagna in an aluminum foil tray for up to 6 months. When you want to make it for dinner, take it out the night before to defrost in the refrigerator and bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 40 min.
Casseroles are great weekday dinners. It’s filling, nutritious, and a great way to use up any leftover veggies you may have. Make and bake the casseroles as you would normally, leave it to cool, and freeze. To make sure your casserole keeps well in the freezer, it’s best to use a glass dish with a tight-fitting plastic lid. Pasta and rice freeze well, so you can make a complete meal like baked ziti, chicken casserole, or even a tamale pie. Get creative!
Pulled pork and pulled chicken can be quite a hassle to make, especially if you want to make large quantities. Pulled pork takes a long time to cook, so often times you need to plan ahead. Now that you have a few extra hours on your hands, why not make a large batch of pulled pork (or shredded chicken) for your next few dinners. Cooked and shredded pork, chicken, and beef freezes very well. You can portion out the amounts you would need for your dinner recipe and thaw only the necessary amount. You can thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, or use your defrost option on your microwave. Unsure what to make with your cooked meats? Keep dried taco shells in your pantry for a quick pulled pork taco dinner, or a pork mac ‘n cheese. Use shredded chicken for a chicken salad, pizza, or broccoli and chicken casserole.
Now is the time to prepare for any sweet tooth cravings you may have in the future. Did you know brownies and muffins freeze extremely well? When you want to freeze your baked goods (brownies and muffins), wrap them tightly with plastic wrap (cling film) and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Cookies can be a lot of fun to eat, but you’re always left with a messy kitchen. But cookie dough freezes well for up to 3 months. Make a large batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, shape into balls, and freeze. Next time the cravings hit you, simply bake the balls on a cookie sheet. There are many recipes for cookie dough, so you can take some time to experiment!
To prevent freezer burn, make sure you get all the air out of your bag (if you use Ziploc bags). Also cool off hot foods first before placing it in the freezer.