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Monday, February 2, 2015

Freezer Meals for Freezing Weather

By Lisa Bayer, dietetic intern — University of Minnesota-The Emily Program
Reviewed by Hannah Jastram, registered dietitian — Extension Center for Family Development

On these cold winter days, hot, hearty meals are just the thing to warm you up! One-pot recipes are a great option any time of year, but they’re especially welcome during winter when you come in from the cold and dark and don’t want to spend a lot of time making the evening meal. What’s more, you can plan ahead and freeze one-pot meals for later use.

One-pot meals are called that because they combine many of the food groups into one dish — and only get one pot dirty. Examples of one-pot meals include soup, chili, and casseroles, which are easy to prepare, leave you feeling full and satisfied, and yield plenty of leftovers. Here are some ideas for adding flavor and nutrients to one-pot meals. Try using:
  • Different vegetables to change up texture and taste.
  • Beans or lean meat to provide protein.
  • A variety of fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables to add fiber (as well as nutrients).
You can make one-pot meals ahead of time to last a week, or even a month if you’re especially ambitious. Try making a double batch of a dish and freezing one batch for later use. For example, bake two pans of a casserole on the weekend, serve one at dinner, divide the second pan into individual portions, and freeze them for weekday lunches.

Freezing individual portions is a snap when you place them in zipper storage bags or small, portable containers. You can then take these portions with you for lunch at  work. Or, if you’re looking for a quick dinner, take individual portions out of the freezer to thaw in the refrigerator before you leave in the morning for work.

Goals for this Month

  • Choose one of the one-pot recipes below to try.
  • Freeze individual portions of leftovers.

One-Pot Recipes

Baked Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken Wild Rice Hotdish
Easy Macaroni Goulash
Mexican Chicken Soup
Make Your Own Casserole
Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup (236 K PDF)
Shepherd's Pie (293 K PDF)
Vegetable Chili (316 K PDF)

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