I love living here, but as I am quickly learning, there all sorts of little challenges popping up that I hadn’t really thought about before.
One hurdle in particular is lunch.
Yes. We were spoiled in town. Hubby came home for lunch nearly every day. It was a sweet time to reconnect and catch up and nourish ourselves. Now… not so much. There are simply too many miles between us and eating out every day isn’t exactly friendly to our bank account. ($5 Footlongs from Subway can only charm a person for so long.)
I wasn’t really prepared for the whole packing-a-lunch ordeal every morning. Packing for the kids is easy. (Kid-friendly ideas here: Lunch Much?)
My sweetheart, on the other hand, eats at least three times as much, craves massive amounts of protein and is very… specific about his food. There have been more than a few recent mornings where a grumpy hubby left the house lunchless simply because I didn’t plan ahead. (Oops!) Sandwiches and soup were getting old really fast.
Then a lightbulb…
Several weeks ago, while preparing a larger-than-usual pan of enchiladas (one of the few meals that everyone in the family will actually eat without someone rolling their eyes and pushing the plate away), I hit a wall. The dish was stuffed to overflowing and I had 4 lonely enchiladas left over. What to do? Epiphany. I wrapped each one individually and stuck them in the freezer. Hubby’s lunch! He was thrilled and they reheated perfectly for his mid-day meal. Now I make a double batch and freeze away!
Homemade, perfectly portable, and oh-so-yummy. Not to mention, exceedingly inexpensive to make.
Some other things I am filling my freezer with for this purpose:
Pepperoni Pizza Poppers
A homemade version of a pizza pocket. Use refrigerated biscuit dough (or homemade!). Roll each out to a thin circle. Fill with sauce, cheese and desired toppings. Fold over into a semi-circle. Use fork to press and seal the edges. Bake at 450 for about 8 minutes. Wrap individually for future use! Experimenting with other fillings is fun, too: chicken, cheddar cheese, and broccoli; ham and cheese; chicken, barbecue sauce, and cheddar cheese; etc.
Microwave for about 2 minutes to enjoy.
Use your favorite meatloaf recipe and scoop into a muffin pan. Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes. Cool, wrap individually and freeze. (Mix it up and top with marinara sauce, Italian seasoning and mozzarella cheese or barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese!) Microwave for about 2 minutes to enjoy.
Meatballs & Marinara
Freeze your homemade meatballs (this recipe is my fave: Italian meatballs). Store in an airtight freezer container or freezer bag. For lunch, pack with a small container of marinara sauce for dipping. (A baby food jar is the perfect size!) Microwave for about 2 minutes to enjoy.
I cannot take any credit for this, but my amazingly kitchen-talented friend, Lori sent me this idea awhile ago. (Check out her blog here: 4newtons.) Press refrigerated biscuit dough into a muffin pan, fill with taco meat, cheddar cheese, and bake! I imagine these would freeze equally well, but haven’t yet tried it!
Almost any casserole can be frozen in individual portions in the same way. I’ll be experimenting some more with this…