A menu of some of my favorite (over 50) make ahead meals (or portions of), sides and other items that freeze well. Click on the tag “freezes well” when you see it on a recipe – it will lead you to others! Note: When storing in plastic, only fill plastic with cooled to room temperature ingredients and don’t reheat food items in plastic unless it is specially formulated to be used in such a manner.
Gougere: These (and any) White Cheddar Gougere freeze, unbaked, very well. The can be baked off in 20 minutes for surprise company and are great for a party. Talk about convenience food!
Potato Skins: Left over potato skins can be thrown in the freezer to make baked or fried potato skins. Freeze them solid then package, and they’re better if not thawed before being baked or fried.
Pita Bread: If we don’t use all of our Pita Bread, I chuck it in the freezer to make Pita Chips with later. Even if it’s stale. These marvelous chips are even better with dried out bread.
Smoked Salmon Cheesecake: A savory cheesecake perfect for a party. A blend of smoked salmon & cheeses, it’s no-fuss, doable and make ahead, creamy and delish! It freezes beautifully, too.
Fruits & Berries: I keep a Ziploc on hand in the freezer and if I have fruits that might otherwise perish, I lay them out in the freezer and then gang them up after they’re frozen. They go in smoothies.
Whipped Cream for the Freezer: Whip some up (or use extra from a dessert) and dollop onto plastic. Freeze until firm, then store. Flavor as you wish. No waste, no additives.
Frozen Coffee Frappes: While I don’t freeze the whole frappe, I make sure I have left over coffee stashed away in my freezer to make these at a moment’s notice. These are seconds to whip up and great to make anytime, but impressive.
My Big Fat Green Smoothies: While I don’t freeze the smoothies, mine come in at a budget and I often use parts of items normally destined for the trash or compost. If I have too much, I freeze.
Pumpkin Spiced Lattes: Any left over pureed pumpkin gets put into ice-cube trays and frozen for pumpkin spice lattes when we’re ready to make them. So fantastic!
Many breads & doughs freeze very well and make great home-made convenience foods. Rolls, breads, doughs, pizza dough and so on.
Reheating or baking depends on the item. Most items fare well thawed overnight in the fridge. Small items are often best wrapped in a damp napkin or towel and microwaved.
Stale Bread: Freeze old bread for bread crumbs, croutons, bread pudding. If it becomes too hard to work with soften in a damp towel in the microwave or feed the birds.
Big, Beautiful Muffins: These may be frozen before being baked or after. Simply proceed with the recipe or reheat in a napkin or clean towel in the microwave. Many variations here for the best muffins.
Beer Cheese Bread: Simple to make, this is also a great bread to make in multiples, bake and toss in the freezer for a rainy day. Why not double your time and effort? Reheats beautifully.
Bread Crumbs: Often in my freezer are packages of fresh and toasted bread crumbs. They freeze very well and are so much better than Panko or Progresso. Flavor them, too, if you’d like.
Pretzel Buns: These freeze very well from a pre-boiled state. While they may be frozen after they’re baked and are still delish, the lovely crunchy crust is lost. Recipe makes 16 large.
Pizza Dough: It’s just as easy to make two pizza doughs as one, and squirrel one away in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge and it will be ready after work the next day; making dinner’s a breeze.
Pumpkin Bread: My Grandmother’s recipe makes two loaves so it’s perfect to make one to eat now and freeze another. This beautifully moist bread freezes beautifully, by the way.
Frittatas: They’re so easy to make, I often don’t bother to freeze, but I always snatch any left over, wrap well and toss in the freezer for a quick breakfast another day! Sturdy enough to travel in the car.
Marion Cunningham’s Overnight Yeasted Waffle: Interesting, but I had mixed reviews in my Belgian waffle maker. Very light and crispy after a little time in the oven. These have an almost cult following.
Overnight Waffles Adapted Belgian: I couldn’t let it go; I had to perfect a Belgian Waffle, and it freezes beautifully. Just heat through from the frozen state, don’t thaw first. Instant Gourmet.
Quiche: This absolute classic freezes beautifully several ways! Freeze the filling, ready to thaw and fill a crust or freeze before or after baking. Do not thaw before cooking or reheating.
Scottish Oatmeal Pancakes: Like most pancakes, these freeze absolutely beautifully. Since the oats require an overnight soak freezing is a great way to have them instantly.
Frozen desserts are of course a no-brainer, but many others freeze well. Brownies, cookies, cookie dough, pies. Beware of anything with pudding or custard!
Brownies, Rich& Chewy: Brownies are an excellent candidate for freezing – true confession? I like to eat them right from the freezer, still frozen! Layer with wax paper between, wrapped in plastic.
Chocolate Souffles – Individual: What every you call them, these light, airy chocolate souffles with an ooey, gooey center are always a perfect dessert! These freeze beautifully.
Cracked Black Pepper & Honeydew Popsicles: Knowing a few of these are in the freezer on a hot day is a wonderful thing. Honeydew is so sweet the black pepper dances off your tongue!
Crêpes: A fantastic recipe for this basic building block to so many dishes, make them sweet or savory. Easier than you’d think to make, considering all the mystique, They freeze beautifully.
Fresh Strawberry Sorbet: So much better than store-bought & the best Sorbet you’ll ever eat. Intense and creamy and you’ll want to make room in the freezer for multiple batches.
Inner Sanctum Chocolate Cake: Very simple to make, it hardly seems worth freezing – and yet it does freeze very well. It’s nice to have a dessert to pull out at a moment’s notice.
Lemon Thyme Popsicles: Imagine a dreamsicle but in a bright sunny, creamy lemon flavor. The thyme is best for grownups. One of the simplest things you’ll ever make!
Streusel Topping: When I make a dessert (or my Big, Beautiful Muffins) that requires a Streusel Topping, I double it and freeze. It’s actually better frozen, and then it’s ready to go!
Bone In Chicken Breast: How to buy at a great price, break down, de-bone, divvy into portion sizes – use every bit efficiently and make the most of it. Frozen portions are frugal! No waste.
Best Turkey or Chicken Broth: Having this in the freezer is an asset to be sure! Home-made is a far cry from boxed. Freeze and portion in quantities that work well for you. Condense and it takes little room.
Bourbon Chicken: This simple recipe takes little time, but it’s nice to have some in the freezer. The sauce may be a bit thinner, but instructions on how to bring it back on post. Why crockpot a 20 minute meal?
Chicken & Ricotta Meatballs: If your tastes run anything like mine, you won’t be able to stop eating these fantastic little meatballs. Great in soups, sandwiches or served with a sauce.
Chicken Cordon Bleu: Best if made ahead, anyway, why not make extras to freeze? Can be frozen without breading and thawed in the fridge or frozen with and cooked directly from freezer.
Chipotle Chicken: My copycat recipe is the best out there! Portion chicken, add marinade seasonings and freeze the marinated chicken. Defrost and grill and you’re ready to go.
Grilled Cajun Chicken: Double (or more) the chicken, marinade and chuck in the freezer. As it thaws overnight, the marinade continues to add flavor and a quick grill gets dinner on the table.
Pueblan Chicken, Chicken Tinga: A beautifully flavored, but not hot shredded Mexican style chicken. 3 1/2 pounds of chicken makes about 9 cups, 3/4 cup per serving, wrap well!
Southwestern Lime Chicken: Just as easy to marinate one batch as several, stash a few in your freezer for easy no-brainer meals later. Great as a main, a sandwich or in salad.
Many items made with beef freeze well, as does beef itself for short term. One caveat! Try not to ever refreeze. It’s not a safety issue, but a quality one. Buy roasts and break down. Buy family packs, too and portion out.
Bolognese: Deep, rich, winey sauce that’s hands off – done in the slow cooker. A large batch is the base for other meals – serve over noodles and make Lasagna Bolognese. Freezes very well.
Da Bomb Oven Roasted Hamburgers: Why not make your own hamburger patties some day when you’ve a bit extra time and bulk hamburger? Save money over buying premade frozen!
Picadillo Tacos: Double or triple this fun little taco filling – it’s moist enough to spend a bit of time in the freezer and thaws easily for an “instant” dinner. Think short-term here.
Zesty Sloppy Joes: This recipe makes about 25 sloppy joes, so it’s a no brainer freezer item. Divide in portions your family needs for a meal and throw dinner together in no time.
Swiss Steak, Old Fashioned: This is really a down home, simple recipe, comfort food, to be sure. It relies on little more than the simple ingredients and time. An easy, slow braise perfect for fall.
Tuna Cakes: Since it’s as easy to make many as a few and they bread so much better from a frozen state, why not have them on hand and ready to go? Don’t thaw. Just quickly bread and pan fry.
Pesto: Freezes very well and is a wonderful way to preserve a bounty of basil. The rich olive oil protects the delicate basil in the freezer. Taste summer all winter long when ever you pull out a packet.
Quick Marinara: A rich, full-bodied Marinara that’s out of this world fantastic, and best of all fresh tasting! A little wine, a few herbs and a couple cans of tomato! You’ll look like a genius!
Ratatouille: Bursting with flavor and tons of veggies, this Provencal stew freezes very well. The vegetables may become a bit softer but the taste doesn’t suffer at all! A wonderful main meal or side.
Sparrow Tavern’s Veggie Burger: A burger even carnivores love, ripped off from Diner’s, Drive-Ins & Dive’s. Freeze by wrapping each patty well and then ganging up in a Ziploc.
Stuffed Vegetables: When zucchini is at its most prolific, make a huge batch of stuffed. Portion in individual or family sizes and you’ll have healthy food on hand for a quick meal anytime.
Simple, Quick Tomato Sauce: A no brainer, any spaghetti sauce is an excellent candidate for the freezer. Eliminate waste by portioning in sizes your family uses and have a quick dinner in no time.
White Bean Ragout over Garlic Toasts: Freezes beautifully. Reheats like a dream. Great to portion in family sizes or lunch sizes. Packed with protein vegetarian!
Boston Butt, Pork Shoulder: How to buy at a great price, break down for meals and save time & money. Many recipes made with pork shoulder freeze well, too, as do the roasts.
Lentils with Chorizo & Carrots: This stew is smack in your face with flavor and is pretty much a no brainer for the freezer! Pull it out and serve with mashed potatoes or on its own.
Chorizo, home-made: Super simple to make in the food processor, I started making my own when it was impossible to find at the store, but I kept making it because it is so much more inexpensive.
Old Fashioned Ham Loaf: My Grandmother’s recipe makes two modest or one huge ham loaf. I often bake one for the family and freeze the other for a later no brainer meal.
Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker: When you can’t smoke, consider making this lovely dish in the Southern way – use a rub! This set it and forget it method is so good, so easy.
Red Beans & Rice: If there was ever a better candidate for the freezer, I don’t know what it could be! I often portion half for the freezer upfront since it makes so much; no need to let this languish in the fridge.
Shredded Mexican Style Pork: Double or triple and freeze and you’ll always have gorgeous slowly braised flavor at a moment’s notice! Tacos, burritos, tostadas whenever you wish.
Twelve Days of Ham: Although cooked ham only freezes short-term, divide it into sizes for your favorite recipes. Well wrapped, this will buy you time. Over a dozen recipes for ham.
Cornish Pasty: These little pastry pockets of love freeze beautifully – it’s essentially a pie. Freeze individually, thaw overnight and then bake as directed. A great dish to mulitply out.
Falafel: Falafel need to be made a bit ahead of time so they’re ideal to make and freeze and have at the ready. Freeze the formed falafel or cook and freeze ready to use. Cook from the frozen state.
Runza: The forerunner of the Hot Pocket! But much more delicious. Get the mess over at once, bake and freeze – these reheat beautifully in the oven or microwave.
Many casseroles freeze well. A trick is to line your casserole dish with plastic wrap, then freeze the casserole. Remove and wrap well. When ready to bake, remove plastic and plop into the original dish. A few other casseroles, Turkey Tetrazzini and my Tuna Casseroles freeze well, too. See my Casserole Menu.
Cheesy Chicken or Turkey Casserole: My favorite to freeze, this makes one large or two modest casseroles. Freeze the crumb topping in a small bag and wrap along with the casserole.
Chicken Enchiladas: Double your recipe and freeze one. Make sure every bit of tortilla is covered with sauce & put cheese into a separate packet to add a few minutes before they are finished.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Sweet & Sour Sauce: Every family with an Eastern European heritage and southward probably has their own recipe – this one is particularly good!
Taco Night Casserole: A hearty casserole with the taste we all love, plus a few more vegetables and healthy beans. Freeze the cheese and topping on their own.
Make long cooking “parts” of meals ahead in quantity and stash part of it away in the freezer. Your own convenience food, additive free.
Caramelized Onions: Like gold in your freezer! When I need some, I always make extra so that I can stash some in the freezer for “instant” caramelized onions whenever I want.
Crêpes: A fantastic recipe for this basic building block to so many dishes, make them sweet or savory. Easier than you’d think to make, considering all the mystique, They freeze beautifully.
Dark or Red Roux: Roux takes time and patience, but it freezes wonderfully making all that work worth your while. Have authentic Jambalaya in minutes, with the help of your freezer.
Home-made Egg Noodles: Freeze these on their own if using shortly or in a bit of broth for longer term. Your own convenience food and better than you can buy. They’ll make the meal.
Quinoa: Here are the simple basics to cook a light, fluffy Quinoa; how you modify it and what you do to it is up to you. Freeze for short-term; it’s a blank slate to use in almost anything.
Red Onion Marmalade: A batch of this in your freezer, portioned in small amounts will make you look like a gourmand at a minute’s notice. Maximize your time & no waste.
Ranchero Sauce: A favorite sauce over omelettes, eggs or Mexican food, this is a simple, fresh garden sauce with just a bit of a sweet/sour twang. Quick & easy to make, but a freezer stash is great!
Roasted Jalapenos or other peppers: Freeze beautifully and are great to have on hand for Salsa (or other dishes) at a moment’s notice. Roast extra & control the heat, then freeze what’s left.
Sofrito: Can be used as a more flavorful tomato paste in a lot of dishes or added to any dish that starts out: Onion, Garlic, Peppers & Tomatoes. It’s a fantastic way to get a leg up on a dish.
Wild Rice: This is a long cooking grain, and takes about 40 minutes. It freezes beautifully, though, and I freeze any cooking liquid, too, to add deep, earthy flavors to some soups.
Of all the things I love to freeze, soup tops the list. They’re easy to make huge pots of and divvy up. Stay away from freezing “cream” soups if they contain dairy, or make them up to the point of adding the dairy, freeze, with instructions of how much to add after the soup has thawed.
Beef Barley Soup: A healthy, hearty go to soup after a pot roast, I make a huge batch and squirrel away part of it in the freezer. Truly a family favorite, it freezes like a dream.
Chicken Chowder with Chipotle: Freezes like a dream, leave out the cream and add when reheating. Make a pot of this streamlined version. Add a few garnishes and it’s fresh as can be!
Turkey or Chicken Noodle Soup: So perfect to have two or three or four containers of this fantastic soup to pull out on a winter day! Make it with left over Thanksgiving Turkey!
Classic Vegetable Soup, Perfected: Super healthy, it’s rare to peek in my freezer and not see a container or two of this gorgeous and easy soup. You won’t even miss the meat!
Connemara Soup: Adapted from the Simon Pearce Restaurant in Vermont, this is an amped up Tomato Soup. A little Corned Beef (or a touch of bacon) lends flavor, but it could be Vegetarian.
Cuban Black Bean Soup: Hope you have a huge pot because you’ll want to have a lot of this stashed in your freezer. It’s nice and hearty and filling! Everyone will think you’ve cooked all day!
Elegant Mushroom Basil Soup: So fresh, so bright and lemony, no one will guess it was pulled from your freezer. Double or triple this recipe and freeze it before it’s all lapped up!
French Onion Soup: Yeah, it takes a long time to make – but this is CI’s method, short-cutted – still might as well make the most of your time & double for the freezer.
Italian Wedding Soup: Chock full of healthy ingredients these have a very special Chicken & Ricotta meatball that just makes the soup. So good you’ll never know its good for you.
Minestrone: An easy soup, perfect to double – we like it best (and freeze it) with no noodles! It’s an asset waiting to be pulled out on a busy day, and this one is jumping with flavor.
Navy Bean Soup: This is a gussied up version of Senate Navy Bean Soup and a perfect freezer candidate! You’ll want to have a cauldron of it to portion and freeze. freeze the bacon by itself.
Old-Fashioned American Chili: You can’t go wrong with some of this stashed away in the freezer – a perfect make ahead for a football party, too. Mild enough for the whole family.
Pozole – A hearty, slow cooked dish of Chile, Hominy & Pork, not so much hot as it is rich & flavorful. Just like Pho, it’s the garnishes that really make the meal. This soup has all the flavors of a tamale.
Split Pea Soup: A classic, but this one is better than ever – no dull Grandma soup here. Plus it’s a hearty meal. Make a double batch after a ham dinner & pat yourself on the back for being so smart.
Red Lentil Soup: Unlike cream soups, this soup uses coconut milk & freezes well. Just about as healthy as a soup can be. A personal favorite, I use it as a soup & a healthy dip.
White Bean & Chipotle Chili: This serious Chili freezes like a dream! Cut back the spice if serving the “littles” but you can’t go wrong freezing this by the gallon for football parties!
White Bean & Kale Soup: A healthy & lovely soup that fares very well in the freezer. I often freeze in small containers for lunches. Filling but full of good healthy ingredients and tastes so good.
Wild Rice & Smoked Turkey Chowder: An unusually delicious and perfectly healthy soup – I often freeze it, the wild rice and the vegetable medley that makes the soup!
Vegetables & Sides
Applesauce, Rustic and Chunky: Not just for kids, anymore. A bit homely, but don’t let that fool you. So dense I don’t can it, it does stand up very well to the freezer, and a little goes far.
Bomb Baked Potato Wedges: While some oven fries don’t live up to expectation, not so with these. Take them to the par cooked stage, lay on a sheet & freeze. Cook them up any old weeknight.
Glazed Carrots with variations: A simple way to dress up a simple vegetable, these flavors bring out the best in carrots. Often overlooked, a carrot is a beautiful thing when done well.
Sweet Potato, Bell Pepper and Corn Sauté: With wild rice or without, this is the vegetable portion of my Wild Rice and Smoked Turkey Chowder. I freeze a short-term for a gourmet side!
Traditional Irish Potato Cakes: When I was a child and these appeared on the menu, I knew it was going to be a good night! These prove just how good a left over can be and freeze well.
Twiced Baked Potatoes for the Freezer: These delicious little stuffed potatoes freeze beautifully, and can be pulled out for a quick side. Just portion them up in quantities your family will use.