I confess that I love staying connected to my friends and family with Facebook. It’s true. Social media is also useful when we get to see how much better other people function in situations in which we are… perhaps… slightly less super functional. A moment to explain.
When I was pregnant, my interest in food and nutrition was vigorous during the earliest days, but as my nausea and discomfort increased my interest in the entire subject diminished. Once on bed rest, I would have been perfectly content to skip the whole thing. Poor Mr. Little Sis. Not only did he have to adjust to doing all the cooking, he had to do it for a partner who more often than not said: “Honey, I don’t care. Do what you want. I don’t want anything, but I know I need to eat some, so whatever.”
A few years later I watched in wonder as my highly organized and functional smarty pants friends took the early days of their pregnancy to make LOTS of food – food they loved and that was good for them. Food that they’d want to eat in late days of pregnancy and early days with infants. Gosh darn it my friends are smart. So very smart.
Today, well past pregnancy and days with infants, we face another challenge. In March my rock star orthopedist will be operating on my foot, getting rid of bone spurs and all other manner of hurty bits so that I can get back to moving around as I like to. The unfortunate thing about my recovery is that now that I have spent the last few years staying at home with our kids, and Mr. Little Sis has gotten used to working like a madman, we are even less flexible in the Momma needs to be off her feet department. But now we’ve learned…
In preparation for my impending discomfort and the increased burden on the rest of my family, I am cooking. Because I don’t have a ton of time either, my basic approach is to choose a couple of dinners a week based on: 1) what freezes well, 2) what I like to eat when I don’t feel well, and 3) what helps Mr. Little Sis have at least one meal a day already taken care of. I double the recipe, serve one half and freeze the other.
So what have I been making? Yes, I finally got there – here’s a roundup of pantry favorites that freeze well. As a rule I prepare and freeze the “heart” of the meal and leave it to the night of for fresh veggie and condiment additions. If all you need to do is make a salad or chop up some cucumbers and avocado, your night just got a whole lot easier. Let’s hear it for a little planning ahead – look Ma, I’m growing. ;-)
My Sister’s Pantry Healthful Freezer Faves
1. Spinach Chickpea Burgers with Cumin Cashewnaise (GF,DF) -
These patties are a family favorite and if you have a food processor they are super simple to whip up. Even Ms. Picky Pants (MPP) digs some chickpea burgers, although she prefers hers with ketchup.
2. Leftoverlicious Lentil Casserole (GF,DF) - Another of MPP’s favorites, and a super simple hearty meal. MPP likes a little shredded cheez on top of hers.
3. Baja Hummus (GF,DF) - NOT on MPP’s list, but just about #1 on Momma’s list. This hummus is so delicious and versatile, and YES, you can freeze hummus.
4. Gingery Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup (GF,DF) - Super unexpected, super healthy, and super yum.
5. Sweet Potato Crusted Apple Pie (GF,DF) - I realize that the fact that I’ll be less than mobile for some time means I probably SHOULDN’T be planning much in the way of sweets, but honestly, I think I’m gonna need some pie. What better than one that has an anti-inflammatory crust?
6. 30 Minute Bean and Bulgur Chili (DF) - I know Spring is coming, and it’s possible that it might even act like it in March, but I have my doubts, and some belly warming chili sounds good to me just about any time.
7. Twisted Ratatouille (GF,DF) - Wow does this sound like a great thing to eat with your foot propped up. My sister’s North African twist on a classic French fave. Wahoo.
8. Better Than Porridge (GF,DF) - I really love a hot breakfast, and mornings can be a little nutty (walnutty, har, har) around here. I’m going to freeze some of my sister’s quinoa, oatmeal, walnut porridge to make for a healthful and easy start to the day.
9. Pakistani Lentil Kima (GF,DF) - This super simple dish nourishes the bod and warms the cockles (wherever those are). A longtime fave of mine.
10. Slow Cooker Black Bean, Barley & Corn Burritos (DF) - We use this mixture of beans, barley and corn in burritos, but you could do lots of things with it – how about a nice big burrito bowl?
11. Glazed Apple Lentil Walnut Loaf (GF,DF) - My sister introduced me to this lovely loaf and we had great fun cooking our own versions – it would seem neither one of us like to follow directions very much. ;-)
12. Mulligatawny Soup (GF,DF) - My son calls this curry soup and it has been one of his favorites since he was about 3 years old… I know, it is weird. This soup is a crowd pleaser and I’d like a big bowl right now to take the chill of this last (fingers crossed here) cold blast from the sky.
There you have it – 12 great freezable healthful options. Maybe you’re not having surgery, but are really pressed for time (who, you?). A huge freezeable batch of something delicious and homemade once a week just might be the answer to: “Who has time to cook healthy food?” Freeze well, eat well, be well.