5 Recipes You Can Easily Freeze and Reheat:
Sometimes our afternoons are too busy to cook an entire meal. On these nights, our freezer comes in handy, especially if it’s well-stocked with some reheat-and-eat dinner that you prepared for these situations. Stocking your freezer doesn’t really have to be a weekend-long affair with a ton of pre-planning.
You can just double up with more staples, eat them once, and then stash the rest of it as a gift to a future, more tired self. These are some of my favorite recipes when I want to cook something that will last for a loooooong time (in the freezer, of course):
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 and a half lean ground beef
- half a teaspoon of dried thyme
- half a teaspoon of dried oregano
- half a teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup of milk
- 2 cups dry white or red wine
- 2 (28-ounce) cans of peeled tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- Heat up your olive oil in a larger skillet over medium heat. Add some onion, celery, carrot, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the onion is completely translucent and all the veggies are softened, up to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook until the garlic’s flavors are out and about, as much as 30 seconds.
- Add the beef, after you break it apart with your spoon, and cook it until it’s browned. Stir in some thyme, oregano, pepper, nutmeg, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Stir in the milk and bring rapidly to simmer. Keep on simmering until the milk has completely reduced and there are few liquids left, about 10 minutes. Stir in some wine and simmer again until it’s completely reduced. Transfer the beef mixture to another slow cooker.
- Open the cans of tomatoes and then strain through a strainer, which helps you keep all the juices. Transfer the tomatoes to the slow cooker, squish them in with your hands or even mash them against the side of the slow cooker, so you can break them into small pieces.
- Add some bay leaves and stir everything. You will notice that the mixture will have a thick, saucy consistency (at least that’s how it should be). If it looks too dry, mix some reserved tomato juice until it gets that sauce-like texture.
- Cover and cook on the low setting for 6 or 8 hours. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, make sure the sauce is good. If it looks too soupy, remove the lid to let excess liquid evaporate. If it looks too dry, stir some of the reserved tomato juices.
All-Star Baked Ziti
Let’s be honest now: the smell of pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese altogether is probably one of the best experiences in the world. What’s even better is that the result will be much appreciated by adults and children alike, without breaking the bank. No wonder baked ziti is one of the best pasta dishes in the world. Cook more so you can reheat it when you want some tasty ziti!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 5 cups marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1 pound dried ziti or penne pasta
- 1 cup of whole-milk ricotta cheese
- half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- Turn on the oven and bring it to 375°F, and cook the pasta and sauce until the oven is heating.
- Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
- Heat the oil in a big pot over medium heat until shimmering. Then, add some onion, garlic, and pepper flakes (if you like it spicy), season with some salt and pepper, and cook, while you occasionally stir, for up to 12 minutes.
- Add marinara and 1 teaspoon salt, then stir to combine everything, and bring to a simmer. After that, remove it from the heat.
- When the water starts boiling, add in the pasta and cook it until it’s al-dente. In the meantime, make your ricotta filling. Mix the ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, and salt together in a bowl, then set aside. When the pasta is done, drain it.
- Bring the pasta to the now-empty pot. Half of the sauce will be added and stirred until the pasta is fully coated. Taste to see if you like what you’ve done so far! Add the ricotta mix into the pasta and fold it in, leaving pockets of ricotta here and there.
- Transfer half of the pasta mix into a baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Pour out the remaining sauce over the pasta and spread everything into an even layer. Bake uncovered until the edges start to bubble and the cheese is fully melted and browned here and there.
Easy Slow Beef Stroganoff
Who says family-friendly classics have to start with a can of condensed soup? This easy beef stroganoff will turn out to be just as comforting as the one you grew up with, but it’s made with fresh mushrooms and a gravy that brings everything together perfectly. The best part of this recipe? You can freeze and reheat it whenever you feel like eating a tasty dish!
- 2 pounds chuck or bottom round beef stew meat, that you will cut into 1 and a half-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, that you will slice 1/4-inch thick
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 8 ounces dried egg noodles
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
- Coat a slow cooker with some cooking spray or olive oil, depending on what you got. Place the beef, the flour, some salt, and pepper in a big bowl and toss everything together until it’s evenly coated. Transfer the beef and any flour you got left in the bowl to the slow cooker. Add some mushrooms, onion, garlic, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce, and stir everything to combine. Cover and cook until the beef is completely tender, 6 up to 8 hours on the low setting, or 3 to 4 hours on the high setting. I’ve mentioned egg noodles there in case you want to eat this tasty recipe with egg noodles, but you can eat it with any other thing you like, whether it’s some spinach, rice, or even quinoa.
Veggie Tikka Masala
As with any other good bowl of tikka masala, this one welcomes you with a rich-tasting sauce that bursts into warm spices. Even if it’s a much lighter approach, this recipe goes full steam ahead with a ton of hearty veggies like cauliflower, carrots, and even peas. Cook this recipe of veggie Tikka masala and freeze the rest of it, so you can enjoy it in a random afternoon while watching your favorite Netflix show!
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large diced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon of peeled and finely chopped ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 and a half teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
- 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into half-inch pieces
- 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup of low-sodium veggie broth
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1 cup of heavy cream or unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
- Cooked basmati rice
- fresh cilantro
- Heat the oil in a high-sided 12-inch skillet over medium until shimmering. Add some onion, ginger, and garlic, and stir everything to coat. Add the garam masala, coriander, paprika, cayenne, and some salt. Cook and stir occasionally, until your onion is completely softened around 10 minutes. Add some tomato paste, stir to coat the aromatics, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the cauliflower and carrots and stir everything well, then coat with some spices. Add the tomatoes and broth and stir everything to combine. Be sure to scrape off the brown bits from the bottom of your pan. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Let the veggies cook until they turn tender. Stir in the peas and cream and simmer without the lid, until they become thick. Serve with basmati rice and top with some cilantro.
Slow Cooker Carnitas
Here’s our version of carnitas (the pork is slow-cooked in juice and beer). You can easily freeze and reheat the dish when you give up on eating it (you won’t manage to finish everything).
- 1 pork shoulder or pork butt
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 garlic cloves, smashed
- 4 chipotle chiles from a can of chipotles
- 14 or 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 to 3 cups of juice and beer
- Trim all the excess surface fat from the pork and discard. Then, cut the pork into two smaller pieces if you have to, and fit everything in a larger slow cooker. Then, sprinkle with some salt, cumin, pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Place it in the slow cooker.
- Place the garlic and chipotles around the pork, add the diced tomatoes and their juices, and the juice and beer around the pork. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, about 8 hours on the low setting.
- Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet, remove and discard the bone if you have to and any large chunks of fat. Use 2 forks to shred the meat into larger chunks. The pork can be served or browned in the broiler.
- If you broil, arrange a rack from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Broil the carnitas until they get a dark golden-brown crust on top, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the carnitas and then broil until the second side is golden-brown. In the meantime, warm the tortillas one at a time, or wrap them in aluminum foil and warm in the oven while the carnitas is browning.
- Transfer the pork to a serving bowl. For carnitas tacos, serve in tortillas with accompaniments, such as sour cream, cilantro, radishes, pineapple, chopped red onion, and some lime wedges.
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