It's easy to get lost in the chaos of your busy schedule and find yourself too tired or without ingredients to prepare a healthy balanced meal at the end of your day. I know that as a full time university student, I've quite often had the dilemma of coming home at 9-10 pm and finding that I've got nothing in the fridge or cupboard to make into a proper meal and resorting to ordering pizza. I kid you not, the pizza guy delivered pizza for my housemate last night and asked her why there was no diet coke with the pizza. Apparently my order is well known with my local store! Oops! Over the last few weeks I've started to develop the habit of preparing meals 1-2 weeks in advance and storing them in the freezer. Frozen meals don't have to be limited to soups, currys and casseroles and it's possible to make and freeze summer meals like stir fries as well. They're healthy and cost effective and it reduces a lot of stress if you can come home and pop something straight into the oven or microwave with minimal preparation.
Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes can be prepared and frozen in single and multiple serves. If you're serving your family, you can freeze this in the baking dish or in aluminium trays. If you're just cooking for one, try freezing portions in zip-lock bags or chinese take out containers, then place them into a smaller baking tray when you're ready to heat it up.
Lemon and Olive Chicken
Lemon and Olive Chicken is good to make on a Saturday or Sunday night. Double the batch and freeze what's left over. When you're ready to reheat thaw in the microwave, then put a small amount of water in the bottom of a baking pan (enough to cover the bottom) and simmer until hot.
Thai Beef Stir Fry
If you're approacing summer, it can be difficult to find easy make ahead meals that are light and fresh. This Thai beef Stir Fry is quick and easy and you can prepare the vegetables and salad the day or night before.
Spicy rice 'meat'balls
Meatballs is a favourite in so many households. A quirky twist on the traditional, this recipe uses rice instead of mince to prepare the balls. You can easily adapt the recipe however to substitute the rice for mince. Cooking time is similar, though depending on the oven so check your meat balls every 10-15 minutes.
Being a full time student, cooking is quite often poorly ranked on my list of things to do, so I usually make 3-4 different meals at the start of the week and freeze them so I don't get stuck having the same thing over and over again. As I make a couple of serves of each, I end up having enough frozen meals to last a couple of weeks. Do you have any favourite freezable recipes or tips for freezing leftovers? What makes it easier for you to prepare meals ahead of time?