DIY Freezer Meals That Make Healthy Dinners a Breeze

Instead of stocking up on grocery store meals that may be packed with preservatives, make this trio of homemade, freezer-friendly favorites.

Are you facing long days at the office or just uncertainty about what to make for dinner ? We’ve turned classic frozen dinners that you’d find at your local supermarket into easy, healthy options. Stock these satisfying suppers in your freezer and the answer will be faster than takeout — and more paycheck friendly too.

Chicken & Broccoli Roll-Ups

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon gluten-free flour blend

1 cup unsweetened almond milk, warmed

2 cloves garlic, smashed

4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper

16 broccoli florets, halved and blanched

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flatted to about 1/8 inch thick

Directions:

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the warmed milk and cook, whisking, until steaming hot and thick, about 6 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic and cheese; cook until the cheese is melted, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in half of the broccoli florets until coated.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place 2 broccoli florets in the center of each chicken piece and roll up to seal.

Transfer half of the cheese sauce to a 6-cup glass baking dish and arrange the chicken roll-ups, seam-side down. Cover with the remaining cheese sauce and bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

To eat now: Slice each chicken roll-up crosswise, arrange on 4 plates and drizzle with cheese sauce.

To freeze and eat later: Cover the glass baking dish with a tight-fitting lid and freeze up to 1 month. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. Cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree F oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 302.6; Fat 14.4 g (Saturated 7.4 g); Cholesterol 98.9 mg; Sodium 348.5 mg; Carbohydrate 11.7 g; Fiber 5 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 36 g

Texas Chili-n-Corn Mac

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

One 10-ounce container mushrooms, sliced

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup corn kernels

1 carrot, chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

One 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained

One 8-ounce box quinoa macaroni, cooked until barely al dente

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 scallion, finely chopped, for topping

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, corn, carrot, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper; cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and beans; bring to a boil.

Stir in the cooked macaroni and toss to coat. Divide evenly between two 6-cup glass baking dishes and top each with the cheese.

To eat now: Preheat the broiler to low and cook until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.

To freeze and eat later: Cover the glass baking dish with a tight-fitting lid and freeze up to 1 month. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. Cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree F oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 543.8; Fat 18.2 g (Saturated 7.2 g); Cholesterol 29.9 mg; Sodium 812.6 mg; Carbohydrate 78 g; Fiber 13.8 g; Sugars 4.0 g; Protein 21.7 g

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Garlic Crumb Topping

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound ground turkey, preferably white and dark meat

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup rice cereal crumbs, divided

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 large egg

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt

One 24-ounce can strained tomatoes

8 fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

One 8-ounce package quinoa spaghetti, cooked until barely al dente

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, onion, half of the garlic, 1/2 cup cereal crumbs, almond flour, milk, egg, parsley and 1 teaspoon salt. Shape into 16 1-inch balls and place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet; bake for 15 minutes.

In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and basil to a simmer, stirring occasionally; season with salt. Submerge the meatballs in the sauce; bring to a simmer and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining garlic, remaining 1/2 cup cereal crumbs and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until toasted, about 2 minutes.

To eat now: Divide the spaghetti and meatballs among 4 shallow bowls and top with the garlic crumb topping.

To freeze and eat later: Divide the spaghetti and meatballs evenly between two 6-cup glass baking dishes and top each with the garlic crumb topping. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and freeze up to 1 month. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. Cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree F oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 500.6; Fat 17.6 g (Saturated 3.7 g); Cholesterol 126.5 mg; Sodium 172.1 mg; Carbohydrate 52 g; Fiber 8.9 g; Sugars 2.8 g; Protein 32 g

Related Links:

5 Healthy Breakfasts to Fit into Your Schedule

6 Ways to Nail Meal Prep This Week (and Every Week!)

How to Beat the Clock: 8 Back-to-School Breakfasts Ready in 15 Minutes or Less

10 Foods Your Dentist Wishes You'd Quit

Silvana Nardone is the author of Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed.

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