Under totally normal circumstances I’m a bit of a doomsday prepper when it comes to freezer meals. I like to have a variety of soups, wraps, muffins, and readied ingredients on hand for busy and tired moments. Living in Stockholm this has always been a bit of a challenge, as our freezer is so tiny (and frankly, ours is a pretty decent size for a Stockholm apartment). When we move into our new apartment this spring we’re planning a kitchen renovation that includes ripping out a set of cupboards to put in a side by side fridge and freezer… until then, I’ve been playing what I like to call “Freezer Tetris” to try and fit in as many one-handed easy freezer eats as possible before baby Muffin Myth (who, yes, is still freeloading in uterus town) makes their grand entrance. I thought today I’d share with you a bit of what I’ve been putting away, why, and how.
I don’t know why, but I’ve been on a massive granola kick lately. In the last months I was working I’d get up every morning and boil up a pot of multi-seed oatmeal that took a good 20-30 minutes to cook each morning. Now that I’m on maternity leave and am (temporarily) a lady of leisure, I’m all about the quick and easy granola. I’ve made a few batches to have on hand. Mostly (because they’re such easy recipes) this Maple Apple Walnut Granola and I also did a clean-out-the-cupboard riff on this Coconutty Banana Granola in which I threw in an assortment of nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs, and other things that needed using up.
Granola is great because you can make a big batch of it and stash it away. I’ll admit I don’t keep mine in the freezer (not enough space!) but we go through it fast enough that it doesn’t matter. I keep it in the cupboard in a glass jar with an air-tight lid, or in a zip-top bag and it lasts that way for at least a month. If you’ve got the freezer space you’ll extend its lifespan quite a bit. So if you know someone who is a new mom, or want to do something nice for a busy friend, make them a batch of granola. They’ll love you for it!
I’ve also got a couple of batches of these Banana Flax Freezer Waffles on the ready. I make them ever-so-slightly under cooked in the waffle iron, cool them on a wire rack, and freeze them with little squares of parchment separating the waffles. When I want a waffle I pull them out of the freezer and pop them into the toaster as is. To be honest, I kind of prefer my waffles this way as the toaster crisps them up way more satisfactorily than the waffle iron does, so whenever I make fresh waffles I’m sure to make extra to freeze.
We always, always have a batch of these No Sugar Banana Bran Muffins in our freezer. They’re so great for quick and easy breakfasts and snacks. I love them with a bit of strong cheese on the side, or a smear of nut butter for added protein. They keep for ages in the freezer, and I have a feeling I’m going to be really thankful for their presence in the coming months. By the way, a long-time reader let me know that this recipe works really well with flax eggs in place of regular eggs, so if you want to veganize them there ya go!
I’ve also got a big batch of these No-Bake Granola Bars on hand, both in the breakfast / snack portion of the freezer (yes, it’s segmented) and in our pre-packed hospital-bag grab bag. They’re super easy to make, last for ages in the freezer, can be modified to be vegan and / or gluten-free if that’s what you’re after, and they’re really very tasty as well.
In the winter months we have soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches for dinner every Sunday. Every few weeks we make a new batch of soup, and throw a bunch of single-servings in the freezer. I freeze soup in repurposed cottage cheese containers (my fella has a three-tub a week habit, so there are always empty containers on hand) which happen to be the perfect size for two servings (or one if you’re really hungry). We let them thaw just enough for the brick of frozen soup to slide out of the container, then reheat on the stove top. Right now we’ve got portions of this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Spicy Red Lentil Soup, Red Lentil Dahl, Tomato Fennel Quinoa Soup, and a couple of portions of a Moroccan Stew we made from Heidi Swanson’s latest book, Near and Far.
We’ve also got a few portions of pasta sauce squirrelled away, since that means all that stands between us and a hearty meal is boiling up a pot of pasta or whole grain to serve it with. This Tempeh Bolognese is tucked away, as is a portion or two of the ubiquitous Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion, and another pasta sauce that we simply call “Paul’s Pasta Sauce” which is a super chunky vegetable spaghetti sauce.
You had to know there were going to be freezer burritos in this equation, right? And so there are. I made a double batch of these Roasted Butternut Squash, Black Bean, and Quinoa Freezer Burritos and have a dozen of them on the ready for quick, easy, healthy, one-handed meals. A couple of them are in our hospital freezer grab bag as well, as we’ve been advised by those in the know to pack our own food if we want anything good. I freeze these burritos wrapped individually in foil, and when I’m ready to eat them I’ll unwrap and heat them up in the microwave or oven.
I also made a version of this Swiss Chard and Gruyere Strata with frozen spinach in place of the chard. It freezes like a charm and with the eggs, whole-grain bread, and vegetables makes a quick and easy complete meal. I’ve got individual servings in foil-wrapped squares just waiting to be reheated.
There are also a few servings of my favourite indulgent Mac and Cheese and a Spicy Kale and Ricotta Lasagna. Frozen bananas and frozen spinach cubes for smoothies, and possibly a few stray brownies and other treats, if Paul hasn’t discovered them yet.
If that sounds like a lot, it is! But since our freezer is tiny and has drawers, everything is individually portioned and ready to go. There’s no way I’d be able to fit a whole lasagna or casserole in there even if it wasn’t already crammed full, so this is the way it works best.