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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Cooking on a Budget: OAMC, Make Ahead, Freezing & More / ISO: Make-Ahead Microwave Meals
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    ISO: Make-Ahead Microwave Meals

    mrswaz
    Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:50 am
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    I'm hoping there's been threads in the past that I'm just not finding, and someone could direct me to them.

    But here's my scenario. Two or three days a week my kids and I eat away from home for the evening meal. Our usual meals kind of revolve, one day I do as pasta dish, one day I do a calzone/pizza pocket type thing, one day we'll do a sandwich meal. In the winter I'll throw in a soup every once in a while. We don't all eat together, as the kids have breaks in their classes at different times. Usually I pack our bag with our meals, and then leave a plate in the fridge for DH when he arrives home.

    My time during the day to prepare these meals before we leave is becoming more and more limited. What I'd love to do is do a OAMC-type session where I put together a stack of single-serve meals that can be tucked into the freezer to be pulled out later on our way out the door. We have a microwave available for re-heating, but that's it. Adding to my conundrum, our evening activities (15 hours a week for dd, 10 hours a week for DS) are high-energy dance classes, so I'd like to try and steer our meals towards more protein and veg heavy, and not the carb-fest they've been. Carbs are the easy meals to take on the go, it seems.

    Any thoughts? Suggestions? Directions to appropriate threads would be really helpful. I've been perusing the OAMC recipes, and many seem like they *could* work, but most seem to require heating in an actual oven- which I could do before we head to dance, but then they'd be reheated AGAIN at the dance studio,and I perceive a serious quality loss in that case. I am open to all suggestions though, so thank you in advance for your advice!
    duonyte
    Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:56 am
    Forum Host
    I don't do much in the way of make-ahead meals, there are just two of us, but I always freeze sandwiches ready made with leftovers from Pulled Pork (Crock Pot) . I just double wrap and then keep in a big freezer bag. One minute in the microwave and you have a hot sandwich. If you prep veggies for use during the week (carrot sticks, radishes, celery sticks, jicama, bell peppers), you could grab a bag of mixed veggies and a small container of ranch dressing or something (I buy the small containers at the dollar store for the dressing to take to work), and they would have sandwiches plus veggies for a reasonably good meal.
    mrswaz
    Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:24 am
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    I've never frozen sandwiches already made- that's an idea. Though, I am hoping to steer away from sandwiches, as that's our standard lunch fare every day. But, the occasional pulled pork or sloppy joe already made in the freezer sounds like a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
    duonyte
    Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:04 pm
    Forum Host
    Obviously, things like lasagna, meatloaf, salisbury steak all freeze well. I like those rectangular freezer containers that have two sections - one for the meat and gravy, the smaller one for frozen veggies. I do make plates like this sometime and freeze them for my put a meal together challenged Mr Grumpy who thinks a bag of potato chips is a meal. All of these things freeze very well. I would make sure to season the veggies well with herbs, maybe a pat of butter, before putting in the freezer.
    mrswaz
    Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:31 pm
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    duonyte wrote:
    Obviously, things like lasagna, meatloaf, salisbury steak all freeze well. I like those rectangular freezer containers that have two sections - one for the meat and gravy, the smaller one for frozen veggies. I do make plates like this sometime and freeze them for my put a meal together challenged Mr Grumpy who thinks a bag of potato chips is a meal. All of these things freeze very well. I would make sure to season the veggies well with herbs, maybe a pat of butter, before putting in the freezer.


    So you're kind of making TV dinners then? That's more along the lines of what I'm looking for. I guess I never thought of it simply as making up "plates" and popping in the freezer. Doing a whole bunch of them would be like an OAMC session, only you'd cook thru to the finished product. Hmm, I'll have to think on this.
    duonyte
    Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:19 pm
    Forum Host
    I first did this when I had to go to Europe on business. He at least had some meals that I knew he would like. It worked out pretty well, but we also only had them around for a couple of weeks or so. I used cooked stuff - make a meatloaf, stuffed shells etc., then portion out and freeze - so that this was reheating - did not want it to be too hard.

    I make refrigerated meals for him to reheat in the micro for lunch - even things like hot dogs with the fixings on the dogs already. I don't know if that's an option - preparing them the night before as ready to go meals just to warm up, rather than heat from frozen.
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