Freezer Recipe Round-up and Freezing Chicken Nuggets

September 17th, 2010 by katie

So I promised you recipes that freeze well, and now you’re about to get more freezer-ready recipes than you are probably interested in.  I mentioned on Monday that we don’t eat a lot of casserole type dishes, so you won’t find many of those here.  What you will find are easy grab and go breakfasts and snacks, main dishes where a major component can be prepped and frozen beforehand, and sides, soups and desserts that can be frozen in large batches.  There are also a few things you may not have realized could be frozen, or the advantages of doing so.  The experts could probably point out many other recipes on this site that can be frozen easily but these are the ones I do routinely. 

For all of the recipes below you should cool the items completely before freezing them. If the directions state to re-warm in the microwave, I typically wrap the frozen item in a paper towel and heat it for 30 second intervals until warm throughout, longer for soups and entrees.

Snacks, Homemade Convenience Foods

These are the items you can make in bulk and then store in the freezer for grab and go convenience-perfect for quick meals, snacks, and lunch box additions.  I have found that the homemade version of typical processed convenience foods are much heartier and more filling.  A two pound bag of homemade chicken nuggets, for example, lasts us about twice as long as the freezer aisle version.

  • Chicken Fingers/Nuggets:  Cook as directed in the recipe. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  To re-heat, bake as many as desired at 400°F for 16-20 min.
  • Bean Burritos: Wrap in plastic and freeze. Re-warm in the microwave.
  • Corn Dogs: Cook according to recipe. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  To re-heat, bake for 20 min in a 400°F oven.
  • Pizza Egg Rolls: Cook according to recipe.  Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  Re-heat in the microwave or in a 400°F oven for about 15 minutes or until hot through.
  • Calzones: You can freeze these baked or unbaked depending on your preference.  Either way, place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  To cook or re-warm from frozen simply bake for 15-20 minutes at 475°F.  You can re-warm cooked calzones in the microwave.
  • Pizza Bagels: Place on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  For crispy bagel bites bake the desired number at 450°F for about 15 min or for chewy bagel bites re-warm in the microwave.
  • Pizza Bites: Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. To re-heat, bake at 400°F for 16-20 min.
  • Potstickers: Place uncooked on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  To cook, heat a frying pan with a lid to medium heat, add a couple tbsp of oil.  Place potstickers flat side down in the hot oil and fry for several minutes or until golden brown.  Add 1/2 cup of water and cover.  Cook until water has cooked off.  Flip potstickers and brown all sides.
  • Sliders: Wrap each sandwich in plastic and freeze. Re-warm in the microwave.
  • Banana Bread: Slice and freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts: Freeze in portions.  Thaw in the refrigerator, stir in some fresh dressing if needed.  You can also freeze as sandwiches, make sandwich, slice then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.  Thaw in fridge overnight, then add to lunch box in morning.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies The Chewy: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Sugar Cookies and Glossy Icing: Freeze frosted or unfrosted, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).

Breakfast

Most of these are great, quick, on-the-go breakfast items.  It is easy to eat a wholesome breakfast when all you have to do is snatch it out of the freezer.

  • Breakfast Sandwiches: Wrap in plastic and freeze. Re-warm in the microwave.
  • Breakfast Tacos: Wrap in wax or parchment paper and freeze. Re-warm in the microwave.
  • French Toast Sticks:  I actually did this recipe wrong and need to re-do it.  You should cut the toast into sticks before battering and frying it.  Place the sticks on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  Then simply re-warm the number of sticks you want in the microwave.
  • Sausage Broccoli Frittata (Crustless Quiche):  Freeze unbaked.  Bake from frozen, allowing for extra time, or thaw in the refrigerator and bake following instructions.
  • Cranberry Orange Scones: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Blueberry Muffins: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).
  • Pancakes: Freeze on a baking sheet until hard then store in a freezer bag.  Toast from frozen until golden brown and hot.

Main Dishes

You can bake many casseroles from frozen but baking time will be shorter if you allow the dish to thaw over-night in the refrigerator.  All of these dishes would freeze and re-heat just fine fully cooked, but to avoid feeling like we are eating nothing but left-overs I like to freeze dishes uncooked and then cook them before serving as often as possible.  You can choose how you want to freeze most of these dishes, whole for serving a larger group or in individual portions for lunches or single dinners.

  • Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Jalapenos and Cheese:  Place uncooked on a cookie sheet and freeze, once frozen place in a large freezer bag.  You can grill these from frozen just watch for flare-ups since it may take slightly longer to cook through.
  • Beef Fajitas: Add the meat to the marinade, then freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator a day in advance and cook as stated in the recipe.
  • Bun Thit Nuong:  Add the meat to the marinade, then freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator a day in advance and cook as stated in the recipe.
  • Chicken Pot Pie: You can either freeze the filling, thaw and add to a fresh pie shell then bake.  Or you can freeze the whole uncooked pie then reheat by baking it in the oven from frozen.  Or you can freeze the whole pie after baking and just re-warm in the oven.
  • Chili Texas Red: Portion into freezer containers and freeze.  Re-heat on the stove-top or in the microwave.
  • Chipotle Honey Lime Pork Tenderloin:  Add the meat to the marinade, then freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator a day in advance and cook as stated in the recipe.
  • Fried Rice: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Chicken Fajitas:  Add the meat to the marinade, then freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator a day in advance and cook as stated in the recipe.
  • Dirty Risotto: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Macaroni and Cheese: Either portion this into freezer containers and re-warm in the microwave or freeze in a greased casserole dish (or several smaller dishes).  Bake frozen casserole at 350 until browned and bubbly (20-40 minutes, depending on size and if thawed or frozen). You can also add additional shredded cheese or seasoned bread crumbs to the top before baking.
  • Lasagna: This is a good one to make into two smaller casseroles.  Freeze unbaked casseroles.  Bake from frozen.
  • Pastitsio Greek Casserole: Like a lasagna, this is a good one to make into two smaller casseroles.  Bake casserole about half-way, then cool and freeze.  Bake from frozen until hot and browned.
  • Root Beer Pulled Pork: Freeze meat in a freezer bag.  To serve, warm in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs: Freeze sauce and meatballs together in freezer containers or bags.  Re-heat on the stove-top and serve with fresh pasta.  If sauce gets too thick, add some pasta water.  Alternately, you can freeze the meatballs without sauce on baking sheets then store in a freezer bag when hard, thaw in the microwave for making meatball subs, etc.
  • Spaghetti with Bolognese Meat Sauce: Freeze sauce in freezer containers or bags.  Re-heat on the stove-top and serve with fresh pasta.  If sauce gets too thick, add some pasta water.
  • Meat Sauce: Freeze sauce in freezer containers or bags.  Re-heat on the stove-top and serve with fresh pasta.  If sauce gets too thick, add some pasta water.  Can also be combined with spaghetti noodles and frozen in a casserole, to serve bake in the oven topped with fresh cheese.
  • Tacos: Portion meat into freezer containers or bags and freeze.  Re-heat in the microwave or stove-top. Serve with fresh tortillas and pico, etc.. Or use in recipes like Taco Bread or Enchiladas.
  • Spicy Sausage: Portion meat into freezer containers or bags and freeze.  Re-heat in the microwave or stove-top.
  • Sloppy Joes: Portion meat into freezer containers or bags and freeze.  Re-heat in the microwave or stove-top.

Sides

These sides can be frozen as a large side item or portioned into smaller individual sides and paired with individual frozen entrees.

  • Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole: Portion cooked casserole into freezer containers and re-heat in the microwave, or freeze unbaked casserole and bake from frozen.
  • Rice-a-Roni: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Corn Casserole: Portion cooked casserole into freezer containers and re-heat in the microwave, or freeze unbaked casserole and bake from frozen.
  • Twice Baked Potato Casserole: Portion cooked casserole into freezer containers and re-heat in the microwave, or freeze unbaked casserole and bake from frozen.
  • Basic Mushroom Risotto: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Risotto: Portion cooked rice into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Refried Beans: Portion cooked beans into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave.
  • Garlic Bread: Wrap in plastic wrap or foil, freeze.  Bake from frozen at 400°F until soft, then broil until toasted.
  • Garlic or Regular Naan: Freeze, thaw at room temperature (it only takes a few minutes).

Soups

This group might be a little obvious, but here are some instructions specific to each soup.

  • Beef and Mushroom Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Chicken Pot Pie Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers-do not add potatoes.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • French Onion Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers-do not add cheese or bread.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Posole: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.
  • Sausage and Tortellini Soup: Do not add the tortellini to to soup.  Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat on the stove-top, adding tortellini to the simmering soup and cook until done.
  • Stuffed Pepper Soup: Do not add rice to the soup.  Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top.  Serve with fresh rice.
  • Tortilla Soup: Portion cooked soup into freezer containers.  Re-heat in the microwave or on the stove-top. Serve with fresh tortilla chips.
  • Chicken Stock (Crock Pot): Portion cooked stock into freezer containers.  Thaw in the microwave or on the stove-top.

Desserts

Cakes, cupcakes, and cookies (see snacks, above) all freeze great.  In fact, some would argue that their textures improve after a short stay in the freezer.

I know a post like this probably generates more questions than it answers so if you have comments, questions, or suggestions, leave them below in the comments section and I will endeavor to answer them all.

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Posted in Breakfast, Budget, Desserts, Main Dish, Menus, Sides, Snacks/Appetizers

13 Responses

  1. Kelly @ Kelly Cooks

    What a fantastic, concise roundup! Thanks for posting this 🙂

  2. Amanda

    Wow, what a great list! I can’t wait to try some of these (especially in the breakfast section). Thanks for all the ideas!

  3. Beth

    OMG bless you for this. I’m a single girl (but a single girl that loves to cook) and I’ve had to completely reteach myself how to cook for one since divorcing a few years ago. Freezing things is essential for recipes I can’t scale down. Plus my schedule is often hectic but I’d much rather have home cooked food than eat out. This is a great list, plus it’s sparked a bunch of ideas of my own.

  4. Michelle

    Wow, that is a really comprehensive list and full of great ideas.

  5. Aileen Chang

    THANK YOU for this post — you have made my life so much easier!! I work 2 jobs and kick myself everytime I stop by for fast food — so convenient, but bad for you. Now i have alternatives!! I am now going to stuff my freezer–thank you so much!!

  6. Andrea

    This is fantastic! i’ve been wanting to freeze some things, especially for my kids. I think i’ll make some chicken nuggets tonight! I’m eager to try and freeze your naan recipe as well because I usually use the Trader Joe’s naan. Homemade is always better in my book!

  7. Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife

    I am so glad I found this!! I am 30 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and I’m planning to stock my freezer full of yummy meals for when the baby comes! Any ideas on how long these would last in the freezer?

  8. Kim

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon this list. What a fantastic resource! Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. Sharon

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…..found you through Pintrest…..these look fabulous

  10. Marcie

    omg! this is awesome. cant believe all the money and time this will save our family. with a growing teenager and 8 mo old baby this list will come in handy. thank u!

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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