Gyro slices, lasagna, pita bread, and banana bread cake for the freezer!
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You ask for more freezer prep meals, so here are three more freezer meals and a dessert for busy weeknights. They are all dishes that freeze beautifully and make life so easy. If you have something coming up that you know you’ll be too busy to prepare homemade meals, it’s good to have these on hand. You won’t have to order out or buy frozen processed food. Plus, everyone loves a home-cooked meal better!
Homemade is SO much better
So many of you watch my channel and cook for your families to avoid unhealthy ingredients in processed foods. You can get all these meals in your supermarket’s freezer section. However, when you look at the ingredient list, you’ll realize how much better the homemade version is for you. There are terrible oils, preservatives, and hidden ingredients in these processed foods that I try not to put in my body, and I know many of you try as well. I draw the line at cooking in foil trays. I’ll cook in foil trays, but I don’t want to eat things my body doesn’t know what to do with.
Speaking of foil trays…
You don’t want to tie up your regular dishes by using them to store things in the freezer. So, get some disposable aluminum foil baking pans in various sizes for your freezer meals. Also, pick up foil to cover the pans and a sharpie to label them. I write the dish and the date on the top of the foil. I know there are healthier options out there for trays, but ceramic and glass don’t do well going from the freezer to the oven. The only other option I would recommend is stainless steel. I don’t have many stainless pans or a place to store them. Use whichever works best for you, and have them ready when it’s time to make your freezer meals.
Tips for making freezer meals
One of the best ways to stock your freezer is to get in the habit of scheduling freezer meal prep days. I typically set aside 3-4 hours on these days and cook as much as possible for the freezer. So many things freeze well, and you’ll find freezer directions for many of my dishes written right in the blog posts. You can also make double batches of things that freeze well. It takes just a few extra minutes, and you’ll have both dinner and a freezer meal. Winning!
One of the other things that is so important when making freezer meals is to clean as you go. Whether you’re cooking double batches along the way or making a day of it if you don’t clean as you go, it defeats the purpose of the meals making your life easier. Especially since a pile of dishes doesn’t scream, “life is so easy!”
Gyro slices are one of the most popular recipes on my YouTube channel and my blog because they’re so easy to make and taste so good. The ingredients are high quality without the added junk in pre-prepared gyro slices you find at the store. One of the most popular store-bought packages of gyro slices has cottonseed oil, soybean oil, MSG, and… “flavorings?” I don’t know what that is, but I don’t want to eat it. My recipe is made with fresh ground beef and lamb, onions, warm spices, and herbs. It’s easy, delicious, and stays fresh in the freezer for up to two months. Here’s the recipe!
It is so hard to find really good quality flatbread at the store. It’s either dry or so squishy that it tastes artificial, and it’s because a lot of the ingredients are things you don’t want to eat, highly refined soybean oil, rice dextrin, and a bunch of other things that aren’t good for you. When you make it at home, it’s 4-5 ingredients, it takes just a little bit of time to put them together, and after 30 minutes in the oven, you have 20 pita breads. You can store them in the refrigerator for a week, or they stay fresh frozen for up to two months. Here’s the recipe!
You may have baked more than one frozen lasagna from the store. It’s so easy to pull from the freezer, put in the oven, and then have a hearty meal for your family. However, frozen lasagna has a lot of sodium and other preservatives that don’t need to be there. If you’ve ever felt intimidated about making lasagna, let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to make than you think. Once you make the meat sauce and stir the cheeses together, you simply layer the noodles, meat sauce, and cheese mixture. It’s easy, and you’ll realize that making two at a time isn’t any more effort than having an extra pan for the freezer. Homemade lasagna is absolutely delicious and will keep fresh in the freezer for up to three months. The recipe is at the bottom of this page!
Did you know that banana bread cake freezes well? It does, and making banana bread is a great way to use ripe bananas. Whenever I have a banana that gets too ripe to eat, I peel and freeze it. Sometimes I can even find a bag of bananas marked down at the grocery store because they’ve ripened before they’ve sold. I always buy a bag for my freezer to make sure I have enough on hand. My recipe will make two banana cakes because one never makes it to the freezer. Everyone loves it! I cut slices and store the whole thing in the freezer for up to two months. However, you can wrap individual pieces for the freezer and have individual treats for lunchboxes or picnics. Here’s the recipe!
Since I usually do freezer meal prep days, my video takes you through making all of these recipes for your freezer at one time. You can follow along with the video to help guide you through your prep day and see how I do it. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I have some tricks up my sleeve to make things go smoothly. Once you’re done cooking, you’ll be able to clean up the last dishes and put everything away while things finish baking. It will take just a few hours, and you’ll have so many things for the freezer. I can’t wait for you to try these and let me know if you have questions or would like even more freezer meals. Kali Orexi!
- 12-15 lasagna noodles
- 1 pound Ricotta cheese
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
- a handful of shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 jar marinara sauce
For the Meat Sauce:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5-6 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 28-ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
- 3-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 °F, 190 °C.
Make the meat sauce: Add the onion to a pot along with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat until soft and golden. Add the garlic and warm through until fragrant.
Add the ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink.
Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, and crushed red pepper flakes and about a cup of water. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens. 25-30 minutes.
Add the oregano and chopped parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Assemble the Lasagna:
Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Drain and drissle with olive oil. lay them flat on parhment paper so that they don't stick.
In the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles.
Spread a thin layer of the meat sauce. Add some marinara sauce on top (optional to make it more juicy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with the parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Mix together and add some dried oregano to it. Optional: add italian seasoning or fresh herbs such as basil and parsley.
Note: if you do not have enough ricotta you can make a quick bechamel sauce. (see video).
Top the meat sauce with a thin layer of the cheese mixture. Have some extra shredded mozzarella on hand to sprinkle in-between the layers for a very cheesy lasagna.
Continue layering the lasagna in the same way ending with the cheese mixture on top. Add a layer of shredded mozzarella on the top.
Cover the tray with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until melted and bubbly.
Let the lasagna rest for 15-20 minutes and then serve.
Freezer Instructions: Assemble the lasagna, cover with foil and label it along with the date. It will keep fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then follow the baking instructions. Allow extra time to bake the cold lasagna so that it warms through properly.
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