Cooking can take up so much time, effort and ingredients. Although it can be a lot of fun, many collegiettes find themselves microwaving Hot Pockets and Lean Cuisine out of convenience. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional two-minute mac n’ cheese, but sacrificing nutrition for speed can be bad for your health.
Luckily, there’s a shortcut to getting a healthy dinner in: make it beforehand! Similar to meal-prepping, making food in bulk and freezing it for later is a really great way of saving time and energy during busy weeks. Find some time next weekend to test out these four foods that will last for months in your freezer:
Soup is definitely the most versatile thing you can store in your freezer. Tomato soup, minestrone soup, baked potato soup (and so on and so forth) are all healthy options that don’t take too much time to make. Soup often includes vegetables and broth, and it’s easy to make multiple servings at a time. Pick your favorite one and spend a Saturday afternoon stocking up.
If you want to add pasta in your soup, don’t freeze it with the soup. Pasta can be a hit or miss when it comes to putting in the freezer depending on how you cook it, so it’s best to cook it separately the day you’re reheating the soup and adding it in separately.
Chili is hands-down our favorite thing to make and freeze. It’s a hearty meal, especially with protein coming from beef and black beans, so you don’t need a ton of it to feel full. It stays well in the freezer and only takes a few minutes in the microwave to reheat.
If you’re vegetarian like many of us at Her Campus, Trader Joe’s has a “Beefless Beef” that is a wonderful meat substitute for chili. For vegans, dairy tends to be an add-on rather than a main ingredient – chili tastes great without sour cream or with vegan cheese.
College students tend to eat a lot of pasta with store-bought sauce, but we all know it’s never as satisfying as homemade. Luckily, tomato sauce and pesto sauce keep well for months on end in the freezer, making it easy to heat up and add to a bowl of spaghetti. Basic recipes for both can be found all over the Internet; just be sure to leave out any cheese when freezing and add in separately when you decide to eat your meal! Dairy is okay in the freezer, but it’s definitely better fresh.
Image via Personal Creations
Craving Mexican food? Enchiladas are your best bet when it comes to making in bulk and saving for later. They’re larger and provide more sustenance than tacos, so you won’t eat all of them at once. But you can still make multiple at a time and save them for later! Plus, you can include all different kinds of ingredients and spices in enchiladas, meaning you’ll have a lot of variety.
Like the others on this list, save the toppings for when you actually want to eat the enchiladas.
It’s not the healthiest breakfast choice, but that doesn’t mean you should stop yourself from making pancakes in bulk anyways. From our own experience, recipes from scratch do very well in the long run, where generic pancake mix doesn’t hold up in the quality department. Double your usual pancake stack, freeze, and reheat in the oven for a rainy day.
See any recipes you want to add? Comment below and share your favorite freezer food! Happy dining!