freezer-friendly meals you can make ahead

By admin
March 15, 2013

By Holly Clegg

No matter how busy life gets, you still want to give your family wholesome, homemade meals that are quick and easy, yet healthy and full of flavor. Try planning ahead and creating some freezer-friendly recipes to have on hand when time is short. This make-ahead strategy can help solve those daily cooking dilemmas on hectic days. A couple of great things about preparing and freezing your family’s favorite comfort foods, is you can do it in your own kitchen and you can control the quality of their ingredients. Think of your packed freezer as your own ready-made pantry where you can access home-prepared meals at your convenience.

Holly’s freezer-friendly tips:

• Food must be at room temperature before freezing.

• Do not put a cold glass or ceramic dish in a hot oven, to avoid having the dish break.

• When the power goes out, if your freezer is unopened, it’s full and well insulated – foods will stay frozen from around two to four days.

• Air and moisture are the two main elements that cause freezer burn, so freezer storage containers and wraps must be moisture proof and airtight. Freezing food in the proper container can prevent freezer burn and prolong the freezer shelf life of the prepared food.

For more about freezer-friendly meals and so much more, visit and Check out the healthy, hearty and freezer-friendly recipes from Holly Clegg’s kitchen on the following page. Holly’s trim&TERRIFIC™ recipes make it easy to prepare ahead and freeze great family meals. Look for the “snowflake” symbol in her cookbooks, which indicates recipes are freezer-friendly.

Easy Beef Enchiladas

Ridiculously easy and absolutely delicious dinner pronto!

Makes 10 enchiladas

1 pound ground sirloin

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 cup salsa

1 cup corn

1 cup packed fresh baby spinach

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese

10 (6–8-inch) flour tortillas, room temperature

1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large nonstick skillet, cook meat 6–8 minutes or until meat is done. Drain any excess fat.

3. Add chili powder, salsa, corn, and spinach; continue cooking about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside.

4. Spoon about 1/4 cup meat mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese onto a tortilla. Roll and place seam side down in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

5. Pour enchilada sauce evenly over filled tortillas in baking dish and sprinkle with any remaining cheese and green onions. Bake, covered with foil, 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Nutritional info per serving: Calories 64, Calories from Fat 31%, Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 8mg, Sodium 196mg, Carbohydrates 6g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Total Sugars 2g, Protein 5g, Dietary Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat

Quick Chicken Rice Casserole

These five ingredients make a memorable family-pleasing dish that we devoured in no time at all.

Makes 8 (1 cup) servings

2 cups chopped skinless rotisserie chicken breasts

2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chilies

2 cups fat-free sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups cooked rice (white or brown), divided

2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, combine chicken, green chilies, sour cream, and season to taste.

3. Spread half of rice in prepared dish. Cover with half of the sour cream mixture, sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat layers. Bake 30-40 minutes or until well heated.

Nutritional info per serving: Calories 274, Calories from Fat 23%, Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 4g, Cholesterol 59mg, Sodium 495mg, Carbohydrates 29g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Total Sugars 4g, Protein 23g, Dietary Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 lean meat

Terrific Tip: For a step-saver, freeze leftover rice to use for this quick dinner.

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