I really like to bake, but when the school year starts, cooking and baking becomes a real chore – for anything that takes substantial time. Substantial time at this point in the year is something beyond a grilled cheese. I’m dog-tired.
Well, here are some meal ideas you could use to make many freezer-ready TV dinners. It makes me feel better to have a home cooked meal waiting for me in the freezer. I can eat healthier, which makes me feel better about myself and function better. I also know if my daughter doesn’t want what I’m having for dinner that night, she can put in a different meal and dinner is still homemade and done. Later in the year, I plan and prep meals and put them in the freezer for the week. But in September and late August, it’s plan or eat at McDonalds every day. I love McDonalds, by the way, but it’s not friendly to my waistline or energy level. I especially use these “dinners,” for my lunches. Dinners will get planned, but I often forget lunches.
So here are some freezer-ready TV dinner ideas. I used these glass containers from Amazon and they were perfect. I would preheat the oven to 375 degrees, put the containers (plastic lids off!) and reheat for about 40-45 minutes for all meals. I would also cover it with tinfoil to ensure it didn’t burn. You could also reheat in the microwave, but I’m one of those rare people that don’t own a microwave (except for my classroom 🙂
It is important that you only par-cook the meals ahead of time. If I included vegetables, I didn’t cook them at all. This kept everything pretty tasty and the texture from becoming absolute mush. I just mixed and matched the main dishes with the side dishes and then put individually saran-wrapped desserts in a gallon-sized zip locked bag to pull out (not reheat in the oven unless necessary)
I would make the ingredients and share among the different dishes, assemble and then freeze. There were plenty to make multiple containers. And of course, if you would rather just make one large pan of dishes and side dishes, that would work just fine and dandy.
Pan Fried Pork
Lemon-Herb Salmon (Reheat at a higher temp and shorter time)
Lasagna (Traditional and Taco)
Mini Burritos (brushed with a little oil or cooking spray for oven-crisping)
Spaghetti with penne pasta and herb crust
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (half cauliflower and half potatoes)
Herb Roasted Tomatoes
Macaroni and Cheese
Broccoli and Cheese
Cream of Corn
Asparagus with light mustard – butter glaze (I usually break into smaller pieces)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Crustless Pie: Baked Apples with cinnamon and a little brown sugar (in mason jars)
Muffins (Assorted: blueberry, pumpkin, vanilla-cinnamon, chocolate-chip)
Do you make freezer-ready TV dinners? What do you include? What are some of your favorite ideas?