Dinner in a Pinch – 3 Easy, Freezable Dinner Ideas
We’ve all been there at one point or another – nothing gets taken out or no one feels like cooking dinner. I find myself there quite often and let’s face it, ordering delivery or take out can be a huge pain in the wallet. I wont tell you how much we spent ordering out instead of cooking last month, but I will tell you it’s a crazy amount – like more than our monthly mortgage crazy. I knew something had to change so I sat down with the guys and we talked about how we could change things and save money.
We came up with 3 meals off the bat that we all enjoy and that are easy to prepare (ahead of time too!) Now it’s up to me to make sure that a.) the ingredients are available or b.) I make them ahead of time – freezer meals make things so easy!
I don’t know why some people are so intimidated by lasagna; it’s one of the easiest meals to make. This is a basic vegetarian lasagna, but you can easily add ground beef, turkey and/or sausage if you wish. You can also add in mushrooms, olives, different cheeses – whatever fits your needs.
- 1 box of lasagna noodles,
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce or marinara sauce
- 6 ounces of ricotta cheese
- 2 cups of mozzarella
- 1/2 pound cooked, crumbled sausage (optional)
- 1/2 pound browned, drained and crumbled hamburger or turkey (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Cook lasagna according to the package directions.
- Alternate layers of noodles, sauce, meat (if using) and cheese in a casserole dish.
- Bake for 45 minutes, turn off the oven and return the dish (uncovered) to the oven for an extra 10 minutes.
- If freezing, allow the dish to cool completely and cover with aluminum foil. When ready to serve defrost the dish and bake for 50 minutes at 400°.
- Serve with a tossed salad and garlic bread if you’d like.
Another simple meal?
This is a basic meatloaf which can be jazzed up with mushrooms, olives, onions and/or peppers if you don’t have picky eaters.
- 2 pounds lean ground meat (use your favorite or a combination of beef, turkey and/or pork)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup ketchup or barbecue sauce
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine all ingredients and press into a loaf pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- If freezing, allow the dish to cool completely and cover with aluminum foil. When ready to serve defrost the dish and bake for 40 minutes at 350°.
- Serve with green beans and mashed potatoes
Finally, the 3rd simple meal.
Spaghetti & Meatballs
A fail-proof crowd pleaser, spaghetti and meatballs has long been a go to meal for many.
- 1 pound ground beef, turkey or chicken
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
- 12 small cubes of mozzarella cheese (optional)
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce (or make an easy marinara sauce)
- 1 box thin spaghetti
- Swirl EVOO around a skillet 3 times and heat to medium-high.
- Combine all the meat with the seasonings.
- Pinch off portions of the meat and roll into balls. Wash your hands as necessary to avoid the meat sticking.
- If using cheese, press into the center of the balls and pinch the meat closed around the hole. Re-roll into balls if necessary.
- Fry the meatballs for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
- If freezing, allow the meatballs to thoroughly cool, add to a bowl and freeze.
- When ready to serve the meatballs, thaw them to almost completely defrosted and heat them in the sauce for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the noodles and toss it all together.
- Serve with a tossed salad, garlic knots or bread sticks.