Freezer Meals for Beginners

It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? To cook one day and eat for a month and save money in the process? So many moms on Pinterest do it like it’s no big deal. For some reason, though, the idea of making a bunch of meals and freezing them for the week or month has always seemed intimidating to me. Thankfully, this month’s Recipe Redux theme is freezer meals, so I had some motivation to overcome my fear of cooking in bulk. I did my research and have compiled some tips for other beginners (like me) right here:

Things you’ll need:

  • Freezer bags or freezer safe plastic containers
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 6 quart crockpot (but not for today’s recipe)
  • Freezer space
  • Large mixing bowls
  • Permanent marker

Honestly, that’s about as far as I got in my research before realizing I can totally handle this and so can you! So let’s get right to it. My very first freezer meal is a seasoned turkey burrito bowl. I chose this recipe because you can easily freeze each component separately to use in other dishes if you get tired of eating burrito bowls. I was also inspired by the cooking philosphy in the cookbook “Well Fed,” in which Melissa Joulwan does all the chopping of vegetables and cooking of meats on Sundays like a CrossFit workout for time and then assembles the prepped ingredients on weeknights to finish off her meals in just a few minutes. Thinking of meal prep as a timed workout helps to make the process more efficient! By the way, if you’re cool with eating the same thing every night, you could store this meal in the fridge instead of the freezer and enjoy dinner for one 5 nights in a row. 

  
Turkey Burrito Bowls

Ingredients:

(Serves 5)

-20 oz lean ground turkey

-2 tablespoons taco seasoning

-1 cup brown rice

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 large onion, sliced

-1 green bell pepper, sliced

-1 red bell pepper, sliced

-1 can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

-For serving: shredded lettuce, salsa, avocado, shredded cheese, and/or sour cream

Preparation:

1. Brown the ground turkey in a 10″ skillet, breaking it into crumbles until no longer pink inside. Add taco seasoning and stir to thoroughly coat the turkey. Set the meat aside to cool.

2. Cook the brown rice on the stovetop or in a rice cooker by combining 2 and a half cups of water with the cup of rice, bringing to a boil, and reducing to a simmer until all liquid is absorbed (30-45 minutes).

3. Heat the olive oil in a 10″ skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, sauté the vegetables until they begin to soften and caramelize, abot 5 minutes.

4. Divide the ground turkey, cooked brown rice, sautéed vegetables, and black beans among 5 sandwich sized zipper bags or pint sized plastic freezer containers. Freeze until ready to serve.

5. When ready to eat, transfer the contents of the freezer bag or container to a microwave safe dish and defrost according to microwave instructions. Alternatively, you can thaw the contents of the freezer bag/ container in the fridge during the day and zap for a minute or two on high power when ready to eat.

6. Top with shredded lettuce, salsa, avocado, shredded cheese, and/ or sour cream and serve! 

That really wasn’t so bad! I don’t have much freezer space, but I’m excited to try some more freezer meals for a family of two. Pre-prepped meals will definitely be useful over the next few months while I’m studying for the MCAT and have no time to cook!

  
Check out some more healthy freezer meals below:

Mini Taco Cups

I’ve been cooking a lot, but not posting much lately. I wanted to share this awesome easy recipe with you today since I have a bit of time on my hands. Before coming up with this easy version, I was making a similar but more labor intensive stuffed egg roll recipe. These taco cups are cute, crunchy, and satisfying. Serve them at a football party or pack a few in your workday lunch. They’re tasty hot or cold!
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Ingredients:
24 wonton wrappers (sold in the produce section of your grocery store next to the tofu)
1/2 lb lean ground turkey or beef
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup salsa
1-2 tsp taco seasoning
Cooking spray
1/2 cup 2% reduced fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
Cilantro, sour cream, and/or guacamole for garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly spray two 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.
2. Brown the ground meat in a frying pan until no longer pink. Drain.
3. In a separate pan, saute together the bell pepper and onion until tender. Add to the ground meat.
4. Stir in taco seasoning, black beans, and salsa. Mix until well combined.
5. Press a wonton wrapper into each lightly greased muffin cup. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the meat and vegetable mixture into each wonton cup.
6. Top each cupful with a pinch of shredded cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until the corners of the wonton cups turn golden brown but not burned.

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This recipe serves six semi hungry, four hungry, or two ravenous people :)
There are approximately 280 calories per four cup serving. Enjoy!