Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Making your own frozen dinners?

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06-18-2010, 02:26 PM
I am a fan of Healthy Choice Steamers and Lean Cuisine. I do find that the sodium is very high and they really do get expensive since both myself, and my husband eat one for lunch most days. I have been thinking about making my own frozen dinners but I am not sure what ingredients will freeze well and how to package them properly so they won't become freezer burnt. Does anyone else make single portion frozen dinners? Do you find that wheat pasta or brown rice freezes well? Should I under cook it a bit? I can't stand anything mushy so if it defrosts too soft, the whole batch will be wasted. Any tips for packaging them? I cant afford a bag sealer at this time. Any recipes to share ;)

Thanks for the help!

06-18-2010, 03:43 PM
I make large batches of soup and freeze it in tupperwares, either large size or small sizes. It's a little trial and error on what freezes well. Some pureed soups freeze well, and and some separate when they thaw and aren't the same. Beans definitely freeze well. I have also had good luck pre-making lasagna, freezing it and then baking it as I have some other casseroles. Cheese also freezes well, as does brown rice. Grains last pretty well in the freezer if you can put them in a freezer bag and smoosh out lots of the air. You can use the bag sealers or suck out the air with a straw if you want to get fancy.

Another thing - you don't have to do it like they do at lean cuisine. I buy large bags of frozen broccoli, add a protein on top (that I made for the week) and take it to work. Microwave it and you've got some good food. You don't have to package it like they do. Good luck. I hope you find cheaper, more delicious and healthier food.

I cook once a week and have for about two years. It works well for me and then I know that I'm going to eat well and on plan for a full week. Good luck!

06-18-2010, 04:05 PM
Im starting to do this too. So far just made turkey chili, seems to be OK. I portioned it into ziplock storage containers.

06-18-2010, 04:13 PM
Yeah I think for the most part you have to think of packaging differently. Getting everything to microwave and thaw at one time is very tough.

Soup is great. Lasagne is great although it can take a LONG time to reheat.

Plain pasta freezes well, but it thaws better by pouring boiling water over it in a strainer than it does in the microwave, or let it thaw on its own. Rice freezes "ok" The texture gets a little chewy. I like thawed rice, many people dont.

In general the protein takes longer to thaw and heat than you would want to cook frozen veggies, let alone pre-cooked veggies.

I would do "kits". Instead of freezing the whole meal together freeze the meat, the veggies and the starch separately. Leave the veggies as frozen as possible, but try to take out the meat and starch to thaw the night before. At work heat up the meat and starch until warm and then add the veggies and nuke the rest of the way.

Beans also freeze well. I make fat free "refried" beans in the crock pot and freeze in small servings. toss that in my lunch with some tortillas and cheese.

06-18-2010, 04:50 PM
For things that you prefer not to freeze (rice, pasta, etc.) you could make a week's worth and portion them into ziploc bags or containers. They should keep all week. Then freeze the other items like meat, veg, etc. Good luck! This is much cheaper/smarter than buying the expensive ones. I make oatmeal on Sundays and take it daily for my breakfast at work.

06-18-2010, 06:10 PM
Thank you so much for your replies. These are all really great ideas! :)