Photo: Iain Bagwell

Make your week a breeze by prepping ahead these Cooking Light Diet-approved, family-friendly freezer meals.

June 26, 2017

When you know the upcoming week is full of busy office meetings, baseball games, and dance class, sticking to healthy eating, or your Cooking Light Diet plan, can get tricky.

What could be better than filling your freezer with ready to-go, healthy options? A week worth of ready to go foods, a smoother schedule, and cheaper grocery list sounds good to us. Just remember to always label and date your food, avoid keeping food frozen for more than 3 months, and leave a little wiggle room in containers for liquids to expand.

With recipes in hand and an empty freezer ready for the week to come, we have the meals that will get you out the door and feeling good about your choices; no fast food in sight.

Monday

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Breakfast: Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins

Bake a batch of these kid-friendly muffins for a quick breakfast that will stay freezer fresh beyond just this week. After the muffins have completely cooled, place them in a single layer in freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight or pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 20 seconds in the morning.

View Recipe: Blueberry-Sour Cream Muffins

Lunch: Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas

These pizza bagels give your leftover office pizza a run for its money. Cook pizza bagel according to recipe. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bag and store. When you’re ready to eat, reheat in a 375F toaster oven for about 10 minutes, but if you're in a pinch for time you can pop it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

View Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Bagel Pizzas

Dinner: The Big Omega Sandwich

Make raw patties according to instructions, shape patties, and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet, but do not cook. Freeze uncooked patties on baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag until ready to use. When dinnertime rolls around, thaw patties at room temperature for 10 minutes and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and brown. Top toasted buns with aioli, salmon burger, onion slices, and arugula.

View Recipe: The Big Omega Sandwich

Tuesday

Photo Courtesy of Oxmoor House

Breakfast: Sour Cream- Blueberry Pancakes

Cook pancakes according to recipe and cool. Place parchment paper in between cooled pancakes so they don’t stick and put into freezer bags. When you’re ready to enjoy, microwave pancakes for about 45 seconds or until warm and fluffy. Top with fresh blueberries and enjoy!

View Recipe: Sour Cream-Blueberry Pancakes

Lunch: Black and Blue Quesadillas

Cook quesadillas according to recipe. Cool quesadillas and freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, wrap individual quesadillas in aluminum foil and freeze in a freezer bag. When you’re ready for lunch, unwrap and pop in the microwave for 2 minutes or until cooked through. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of balsamic glaze and dig in.

View Recipe: Black and Blue Quesadillas

Dinner: Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders

Create chicken mixture and let cool. Spoon cooled chicken into a freezer safe bag and store. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw the bag overnight in the fridge and reheat in microwave until warm, about 3 minutes. Spoon 3 tablespoons of chicken on a toasted bun, top with 1 pickle chip, and dinner is served.

View Recipe: Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders

Wednesday

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Breakfast: Morning Glory Muffins

Wake up with dates, walnuts, bananas, and pineapples. After the muffins have completely cooled, place them in a freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight or pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 20 seconds in the morning.

View Recipe: Morning Glory Muffins

Lunch: Black Bean and Corn-Topped Potatoes

Bake potatoes according to recipe directions. Once baked, cut lengthwise but not through and let cool. Wrap in aluminum foil and freeze bean mixture in a separate freezer bag. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw bean mixture overnight and microwave unwrapped potato from frozen for about 10 minutes, or until warm. Spoon 1 cup of bean mixture over the potato and top with cheese and cilantro. Note: This recipe is listed as Cheesy Southwestern Spud on The Cooking Light Diet.

View Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Topped Potatoes

Dinner: Fast Chicken Chili with Butternut Squash

Cook chili as recipe instructs. Once cooked, allow to cool before transferring soup to freezer safe bag or container. When ready to enjoy, thaw in microwave in 2-minute intervals. Once liquid, transfer to pot and heat over medium until bubbly. Spoon 1 ½ cups of chili into bowls. Prepare cilantro mixture and top each bowl with 1 teaspoon.

View Recipe: Fast Chicken Chili with Butternut Squash

Thursday

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Breakfast: Sausage, Spinach, and Apple Breakfast Sandwiches

Follow recipe and assemble sandwiches, but omit the sliced apples at this time. Place sandwiches in freezer safe bag and keep in freezer until ready to use. To reheat, place sandwich on a paper towel and microwave for 1 minute or until warm. Layer a few Granny Smith apple slices on sandwich before enjoying.

View Recipe: Sausage, Spinach, and Apple Breakfast Sandwiches

Lunch: Spinach and Lentil Soup with Cheese and Basil

Make soup according to recipe directions and cool. Transfer individual servings, about 1 ¾ cup of soup, into a freezer friendly container and freeze. When ready to enjoy, thaw in microwave in 2-minute intervals until warm. For a faster lunch, defrost in the refrigerator over night.

View Recipe: Spinach and Lentil Soup with Cheese and Basil

Dinner: Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Béchamel

Line baking dish with foil and prepare lasagna as directed. Freeze uncooked lasagna until frozen through. Remove from baking dish and wrap tightly in foil until ready to cook. When you’re planning to heat and eat for dinner, remove from foil and place in a greased baking dish. Cover with foil and thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake as directed. If you’re in a time crunch, bake frozen lasagna for double the time.

View Recipe: Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Béchamel

Friday

Photo: John Autry

Breakfast: Ham and Swiss Egg Sandwiches

Prepare ham, cook egg as scrambled or mini omelet style, and layer on English muffin with cheese. Skip the broiler, and place sandwiches in freezer safe bag and keep in freezer until ready to use. To reheat, place sandwich on a paper towel and microwave for 1 minute or until warm.

View Recipe: Ham and Swiss Egg Sandwiches

Lunch: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Skip Panera at lunchtime and opt for this freezer ready, homemade version. Prepare and cook soup according to recipe directions. Once cooled, transfer individual servings, about 1 ¾ cup of soup, into freezer friendly containers and freeze. When ready to enjoy, thaw in microwave in 2-minute intervals until warm. For a faster lunch, defrost in the refrigerator over night.

View Recipe: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Dinner: Vegetable and Rice Burritos with Quesadilla Cheese

These lightened up burritos will put Chipotle to shame. Prepare all ingredients for inside wrap and cool. Place room temperature tortilla over a square of aluminum foil and fill with cooled ingredients according to recipe. Roll and secure by wrapping in the foil. Fill freezer bags with a single layer of wrapped burritos and freeze. When you’re ready to eat, unwrap and microwave on high for 1 minute on each side or heat in toaster over at 350 for 12 minutes.

View Recipe: Vegetable and Rice Burritos with Quesadilla Cheese

Saturday

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Breakfast: PB&J Stuffed Multigrain Pancakes

Cook pancakes according to recipe and cool to room temperature. Wrap each pancake in plastic wrap and place in a larger freezer bag to freeze. When you’re ready to enjoy, microwave unwrapped pancakes for about 2 minutes or until warm and fluffy. Top with 1 teaspoon of butter and 1 ½ teaspoons of powdered sugar.

View Recipe: PB&J Stuffed Multigrain Pancakes

Lunch: Herby Frittata with Vegetables and Goat Cheese

Prepare frittata according to instructions and cool cut wedges. Once room temperature, wrap in saran wrap and place in freezer bags to freeze. To reheat, unwrap wedges and microwave for 5 minutes or until hot or heat in a 350F degree oven for 12 minutes or until warmed.

View Recipe: Herby Frittata with Vegetables and Goat Cheese

Dinner: Spicy Tortilla Soup with Shrimp and Avocado

This spicy soup is a perfect way to use up leftover tortilla chips from your summer barbeque. Prepare and cook soup according to recipe directions. Once cooled, transfer into a freezer friendly container and freeze. When ready to enjoy, thaw in microwave in 2-minute intervals until warm. Serve 1 ¾ cup of soup topped with 2 tablespoons of chips and ¼ of avocado per bowl.

View Recipe: Spicy Tortilla Soup with Shrimp and Avocado

Sunday

Photo: Linda Pugliese

Breakfast: Pesto Egg Sandwich

Prepare sandwich as recipe instructs and place sandwiches in freezer safe bag in freezer. To reheat, place sandwich on a paper towel and microwave for 1 minute or until warm. Note: The pesto egg sandwich listed on the Cooking Light Diet swaps cheese for tomato to lighten up the recipe.

View Recipe: Pesto Egg Sandwich

Lunch: Open-Faced Crab Cake Sandwiches with Tzatziki

Follow instructions up to cooking crab cakes. Instead, freeze uncooked cakes on baking sheet. Once frozen, wrap in saran wrap and transfer to freezer bag until ready to use. When you’re ready to eat, thaw patties overnight in the refrigerator and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through and brown. While cooking, prepare yogurt mixture. Top toasted bread slice with lettuce, patty, and 2 tablespoons of yogurt mixture.

View Recipe: Open-Faced Crab Cake Sandwiches with Tzatziki

Dinner: Linguine with Ricotta Meatballs

Prepare meatballs in sauce according to the recipe but do not cook pasta. Once meatballs and sauce have cooked through, cool to room temperature. Freeze meatballs and sauce in freezer safe bag or container until ready for use. When it’s time to eat, heat sauce and meatballs in saucepan until bubbling. While reheating, prepare pasta according to package directions. Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon and stir cooked pasta into sauce. Serve 1 cup of pasta, 4 meatballs, and 1 ½ teaspoons of cheese.

View Recipe: Linguine with Ricotta Meatballs

The Cooking Light Diet makes meal planning a breeze, and these are just a few of the many examples of freezer friendly recipes available. For more, head to the Facebook community group, or learn more at CookingLightDiet.com.