As I write this post, I can hear the (not so quiet) pop of the nail gun installing our living area hardwood flooring. In preparation for this installation, along with tiling the kitchen area (we will have an open-concept first floor), we had to consolidate what we needed as a “kitchen” onto a small table in the corner, out of the way. Previous to this, the “kitchen” we had was on a larger table where I actually had space to mix and chop things. Not the case anymore. Only the bare necessities. In preparation for this bare necessities situation, I spent an afternoon making freezer meals for two that Graham and I could just pop into the toaster oven for dinner. With these freezer meals in place, I am hoping to avoid any extensive cooking until our new kitchen is done and I have actual appliances to work with.
The freezer meal of choice in our household is what we call “Cassie’s Tots” – our friend Cassie made these chili tots as freezer meals for us after Laughton passed away and we have loved them ever since! We’ve adjusted Cassie’s recipe a bit (sorry, Cass, our household is an olive-free zone) – let me know in the comments below if you would like the recipe.
In making freezer meals for two, knowing I would only have a toaster oven to bake with, I had to take into consideration a couple of things:
Consideration #1. The pan needed to fit into our toaster oven. We purchased this toaster oven just for while we build the kitchen in our forever home. This particular toaster oven is wonderful and can bake anything an oven would, as long as the pan fits. Apparently it can also make rotisserie chicken, but we haven’t ventured into that arena with it.
Consideration #2. We are washing dishes in a small bathroom sink, so I wanted clean up from dinner to be pretty fuss-free.
Keeping these things in mind, I wanted to share what has become the best discovery in making freezer meals for two.
My New Favorite Tool While Making Freezer Meals for Two is:
These foil pans with board lids are AMAZINGLY perfect in size, shape, ease of use, and clean-up. I found a couple at a random Dollar Tree (while in a different part of the state), but they are not available at my local Dollar Tree, so I sought out an option on Amazon (I’m an avid Amazon Prime user).
Not only are they the perfect size for our toaster oven, they provide a meal that is just the right amount for the two of us (plus a lunch for Graham to take to work the next day). We are using the 2-1/4-Pound pan size, but there is also a 1-Pound option and a 5-Pound option.
With the board lids that come along with the pans, I can use a sharpie marker and write the directions right on top.
One of my favorite parts is that the pan sides crimp around the lid to provide a seal. We haven’t had a single problem with freezer burn (something I was worried about with just using this crimped edge to seal the pan), so I can forgo the extra step of wrapping in foil.
An added bonus is that they stack so perfectly without taking up a bunch of space!
As soon as I have a more “convenient” kitchen work space, I am thinking about whipping a few of these up for a couple of expectant parents. They would be perfect for new parents who just need a quick, hearty meal while getting used to parenthood. They would also be perfect for someone who lives alone, or maybe an elderly loved one that can no longer cook for themselves.
Tell me in the comments section – what is your favorite freezer meal option?
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