What Freezes Well and What Doesn’t – One Dish Dinners Tips and Tricks

batch grilled chicken What Freezes Well and What Doesnt   One Dish Dinners Tips and Tricks

When making recipe after recipe for the One Dish Dinners cookbook, I found myself with lots of extra food on hand. I gave away about 90% to friends and family members. And either ate or froze the other 10%.

For the most part, one dish dinners freeze well…with the exception of a few things!

What Freezes Well

  • Cooked pasta/casseroles
  • Enchilada casseroles made with tortillas
  • Brown rice dishes
  • Shredded chicken, beef or pork
  • Grilled chicken, sliced or diced
  • Sauces – spaghetti, enchilada sauce, etc
  • Browned ground beef
  • Cooked beans
  • Meatloaves, meatballs
  • Soups, stews, chili

What Doesn’t Freeze Well

  • Cooked Potatoes, they get mealy (although mashed potatoes freeze well)
  • Soups or stews made with cornstarch
  • Quick cooking rice
  • Mayonnaise based meals, as the mayo will separate as it freezes and thaws
  • Fresh vegetables, that you want to use later as “fresh.” (You can blanche and freeze many vegetables, or even freeze fresh vegetables as they are if you plan to use them cooked into a soup or stew. They will not hold their crunchiness after they thaw.)

Also, remember…it’s best for foods to be at room temperature before you freeze them, to reduce freezer burn.

Did I forget anything?! What has worked for you (or not), when it comes to freezing dinner?!

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19 Responses to What Freezes Well and What Doesn’t – One Dish Dinners Tips and Tricks

  1. Kim Karstetter says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I freeze things often and I almost sent you a message a few weeks ago to get your opinion on whether something would freeze well. One thing I found that doesn’t freeze well is a soup that I make with squash… the squash gets all mushy! In the freezer right now I have a marinade that I made for a brisket. The marinade was for about 5 pounds of brisket, but I only made 2.5 pounds…so I’m hoping that the marinade will still be good for the next round!

  2. Katie says:

    Question – if you cook things like hamburger with taco seasoning, meatloaf, etc – how do you reheat it? Just pop it in the oven or on the stove for a few minutes after thawing, or do you recook it frozen? Thanks!

    • Erin says:

      Hey Katie,

      I always brown ground beef along, and occasionally with a seasoning or sauce. To reheat already cooked beef, I place the baggie or plastic storage container into a bowl of warm water. Depending on how thick the bag is, it can thaw in as little as 20 minutes. If it doesn’t thaw within 30 minutes, then I put it in the fridge in the bowl with the water to finish thawing. Then I use it from thawed.

      Meatballs and meatloaf can be cooked from frozen, it will just take longer than normal. I drop frozen raw meatballs into the slow cooker all the time. And when baking frozen meatloaf (that’s raw), I’d plan on an additional hour of baking, than the recipe calls for.

      Hope this helps!

      Erin

  3. Cara says:

    homemade chicken stock freezes well too

  4. Danielle says:

    Garlic freezer pickles were a flop. When I made moussaka the peeling came off the eggplant Once reheated but still tasted good. French onion soup is very time consuming plus the onions make me cry, so I freeze in individual servings and what a treat. I also freeze most everything on your list along with homemade enchilada and tomato sauces. Good to know about the cornstarch.

  5. Jodi says:

    Cooked, shredded potatoes freeze fine for future hash browns. Cook like a normal baked potato, allow to fully cool before peeling. Shred and then flash freeze them in half cup clumps. I do several at a time when potatoes go on sale around the holidays.

  6. Kristine says:

    Does your new cookbook recommend which recipes can be frozen?

  7. Janene says:

    I’ve been thinking about making egg breakfast sammies and freezing them. I thought I would cook all of the ingredients, freeze them separately, then assemble once frozen and wrap and store in freezer. Do you think this would work…especially with the eggs? Thanks!
    I also freeze lots of meals and pre-cooked meats/chicken for later meals. I love having a huge freezer!

    • Erin says:

      Yes Janene…that should work. You could also assemble them all ahead of time, when the ingredients are cooled. Then freeze that way too!

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  9. click says:

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  10. jack lucas says:

    Hello, I would like to know, as I am cooking a rather large batch of french onion soup, if you can freeze it to consume at a later date?

  11. Lisa Salinas says:

    I would recommend strictly avoid using any plastic in the microwave. I say this as a PhD student minoring in Material Science (Engineer). If you believe it is ok to eat just a “little bit ” of poison, then you are, like most, going to die of cancer.
    Sodium Nitrite in lunch meat,
    Mercury in Flu shots….

  12. Lisa Salinas says:

    do not microwave in ANY plastic.
    If you believe a little poison won’t hurt you and your remain “”unaware”", I can
    guarantee you will die of cancer one day.
    —PhD enginer Student, minor Material Science

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