Hectic schedules make cooking dinner from scratch every night impossible. Whether you find yourself behind on schoolwork, staying late at the office, or rushing to drive your kids to soccer practice, cooking an elaborate dinner gets pushed off the to-do list. Somewhere between arriving at the grocery store and returning home with the groceries, exhaustion sets in for the night.
To lighten the load a little, try making dinners ahead and freezing them for those nights when you just can’t muster the energy to make a whole meal from start to finish. Use your extra time wisely. If you find spare hours on the weekends, make large batches of food you can reheat and serve throughout the week. Leftovers will keep in your fridge for three to four days, but they will keep in your freezer for three to four months.
Freezing meals is easy as long as you remember a few simple tricks. First, cool food completely before freezing. To speed up the process, set up an ice bath to quickly cool pots of meatballs or stews. Once the food is completely cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, freezer bags, or an airtight container. Then, freeze. When you are ready to reheat your meal, gently heat on the stovetop at a slightly lower temperature than the recipe called for to keep the food from drying out.
Try these easy-to-freeze recipes, and dinner will no longer be another thing on your to-do list that you have to dread.
All-American Cheeseburger Soup
Shutterstock / Catherine Murray
Don’t have time to make cheeseburgers? This soup, made with ground beef and cheese and topped with your favorite burger toppings, is easy to cook, cool, freeze, and heat up on the stove when you need it.
Click here for the All-American Cheeseburger Soup recipe.
Beef and Mushroom Stew
Angela Carlos is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.