When my parents would visit me in college (many moons ago), they would often bring tupperware filled with various frozen foods. These little frozen containers were perfect for those busy days filled with classes and studying, which left me no time to prepare a healthy meal. Hungry? Grab a frozen container of pasta & ham, or curry chicken, or Spanish rice with pork! Insta-meal! This way, I got home cooked meals (not to mention, healthier food choices than commercial frozen meals) quickly, with little effort.
Fast forward to a decade later ::cringe::. One of my biggest pregnancy worries is how I am going to juggle all of the “pluses” of life–which include food preparation. I shared my worries with a nurse and she recommended that I start mass preparing food to freeze. That way, at least during the first couple of weeks of having a newborn in the house, I won’t have to worry about food. Genius! So now that I am home on an early maternity leave, I am slowly preparing foods to freeze.
Last week I made my favorite Simple Turkey Chili Sauce. Please, please, please take a look at this recipe. It is so easy to make and is ridiculously tasty. It also freezes really well– stews like this can stay delicious for 3-4 months (<~see link to foodsafety.gov, which I use often).
Tips–> I personally enjoy milder flavors, so I use a very light hand when adding the chili powder. Keep that in mind when adding the different spices!
To keep my calories low without compromising taste, I pour the cooked chili over quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”). Some people haven’t heard of this magic grain, but it is a low calorie superfood that is the perfect substitute for pasta, rice, or couscous. It cooks similarly to pasta or rice–you just boil it in a pot. Quinoa is also high in protein and gluten free. It’s just amazing–buy it and cook it up.
This week, I will be making my favorite slow cooker recipe, Cocido Madrileño (Madrid Stew). The main ingredients are chickpeas and meats. While not a perfect representation of the stew I am used to from Spain, it is the closest and easiest one that I have found. It is important to note that this recipe has many variations, so not all stews may look the same (learn about it here). Cocido is amazingly delicious. Honestly, I can’t wait to make it this week–eat a little for dinner and freeze the rest. Though the last time I was supposed to freeze it, my husband and I ended up killing the whole thing…I’m hoping to exercise more discipline this time around.
Tip–> I don’t buy the chickpeas that need to soak overnight–I just throw canned chickpeas into the slow cooker. Serve the Cocido with brown rice for a healthier spin on the meal. This dish also tastes really good with cornbread or platanos/maduros. But keep in mind that those two side dishes can add a bit of calories to the overall meal.
Old post from my Instagram account, Livingfortwoplus
If you have any dishes that freeze well, please share! I’m 34 weeks along–not much time is left until I’m going to need to start defrosting these meals. 😉