10 easy make-ahead freezable meals
Every mum has nights when cooking dinner just isn't doable, but instead of blowing the family budget on takeaway, plan for these inevitable no-cook nights by stocking your freezer with a few easy-peasy freezer meals. Here's 10 of the best dinners to freeze and serve up later. And hey, any school kid (and any cooking-impaired dads) can press 'reheat' on the microwave!
1) Chicken casserole
Casseroles are the ultimate freezer-friendly dinner (just think how many friends brought you casseroles when you first brought your newborn home). Casseroles retain their flavour and appearance when thawed out and are also an easy make-ahead meal because you can simply double the ingredients when you are making one so that you have enough to freeze for another night. All you need is a bag of frozen veggies and some chicken to make this an easy and quick chicken casserole that will take no time to whip up and even less to heat up later.
Rissoles are a mum's most versatile meal since you can use a range of minced meats and hide lots of healthy, finely chopped or grated veggies in the recipe, giving those fussy eaters a better chance of eating a well-rounded meal. Plus you can use whatever vegetables you happen to have in the fridge at the time. Make a big batch of these budget-friendly rissoles and freeze some in meal-sized portions for easy-thaw meals when you simply don't have time to prepare!
3) Pizza dough recipe
Not only is it super-quick, cheap and easy to whip up your own homemade pizza dough, it is also a great recipe to freeze for later use. Simply use cling film to thoroughly wrap your balls of dough and place them in the freezer then thaw and roll out into flat pizza rounds on the day you need them! Kids love helping to make this easy recipe, so get them involved to make the biggest batch you can so you have plenty to freeze for later.
4) Bolognaise sauce
Next time you cook up your favourite Bolognaise sauce, be sure to double the recipe and freeze some for another time, then you simply need to reheat and serve it up in a myriad of simple and delicious ways. Our easy Bolognaise sauce recipe is great with any kind of pasta and makes a sensational filling for pies, toasted sandwiches and pasta bakes. You can freeze your sauce in ziplock bags to save room in your freezer.
5) Veggie fritters
Vegetable fritters are great to freeze and can be warmed quickly in the oven when you need to grab a quick meal for the family. They not only make a great start to a quick and healthy dinner, but are also popular as lunchbox or after-school snacks - simply heat them up while your kids change out of their school uniform in the afternoon. This deliciously easy recipe for zucchini and potato fritters is sure to become a firm family favourite.
6) Homemade lasagna
Making your own lasagne is always so much yummier than store-bought meals, and since the flavours develop if you leave it overnight, this makes a great make-ahead meal for a busy mum. It's a good meal for freezing as well, so make sure your leftovers make it into a freezer-safe container for another night's meal or lunchtime snack. Our homemade lasagne recipe will feed a large family easily, or make enough to freeze for those nights when you've got the 'I can't be bothereds!'
7) Curried sausages
This classic family meal has been around for decades and there are lots of good reasons that curried sausages continue to make it onto many a mum's regular meal menu. Not only is it a fulfilling, healthy and slightly interesting way to eat rather boring sausages, but it is a great meal for freezing as well. Whip up a big batch of our yummy curried sausages so you have plenty of leftovers to pop in the freezer, ready for a warm-up when you need a quick, meaty meal.
8) Chicken nuggets
Chicken nuggets will always top the list for kids favourite meals, but they aren't always the healthiest option when they are bought deep-fried or filled with preservatives. Making your own homemade chicken nuggets is easier than you think, and you'll have the added benefit of knowing exactly what your kids are eating. Make a big batch and freeze into suitable portion sizes for your family, and you'll have the same convenience that you get from store-bought nuggets.
9) Savoury mince
Not many meals are as versatile as good old savoury mince, and it makes a fabulous freezer meal for the days when you're short on time, too. Not only can you cook up a batch with as many or as few vegetables as you happen to have on hand, but you can use this yummy mince for a huge range of meals and snacks. Pop it on toast for a quick and easy meal, add it to pasta or rice, use it a yummy filling for homemade mince pies, or simply warm up a bowl to eat on its own.
10) Pumpkin soup
Pumpkin soup is a firm family favourite, and this simple pumpkin soup recipe is one that even the kids can get involved in making. This meal is a fantastic option for freezing too, since you can freeze leftover soup in ziplock bags that take up little room in your freezer. When you're ready, just reheat and serve!