Homemade Frozen Meals

Mexican rice bowl with tempeh, pinto beans and peppers

If I teach the world one thing and one thing only, let it be that microwave meals are a horrible waste of your hard-earned money (and health). They’re expensive, packed with preservatives and so full of sodium not even your fat pants will fit on account of the inevitable bout of post-meal water retention. Plus, they’re disgusting. Oh and they create the illusion of convenience when, in reality, making a similar (albeit far superior) meal yourself is really not as challenging (or time consuming) as the packaged food industry would like you to believe. In short, they are stupid.

(Tell us how you really feel, Katie!)

I get the need for convenience foods. Believe you me, I get it. I am currently rolling on a three-day bender with a 5am – 1am schedule wherein I crank out a 10-page paper somewhere during that 20-hour waking period. I’m on my way to the 24-hour coffee shop as we speak to write another 10-pager for which I do not even know the prompt… It’s ridiculous, really.

The trick to writing semester-long papers in less than 24 hours is coffee. Coffee and 24-hour coffee shops. Coffee and 24-hour coffee shops and sitting in the most uncomfortable seat in the coffee shop so you don’t fall asleep. Coffee and 24-hour coffee shops and the uncomfortable seat and mad, mad skill.

And this hat my roommate got me.

The point is I don’t have time to eat lunch let alone make it. That’s why I make all my meals on Sunday. And then freeze them. Homemade microwave meals.

You can make any flavor profile you want–Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean–but the base is the same:

  • 1/2 cup prepared whole grain
  • 1/3 cup beans
  • 1/4 cup protein of choice
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables
  • 1/3 cup sauce

Por ejemplo:

  1. Mexican Rice Bowl: 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/3 cup pinto beans, 1/4 cup crumbled tempeh, 1 cup frozen tri-color peppers and onions, 1/3 cup salsa
  2. Mediterranean Bowl: 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/3 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup crumbled tempeh, 1/2 cup frozen spinach, 1/2 cup frozen artichokes, 1/3 cup marinara sauce
  3. Asian Rice Bowl: 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/3 cup cubed tofu, 1/4 cup cashews, 1 cup frozen broccoli, couple tablespoons of soy or terriyaki sauce

It took me 15 minutes to throw five of these together and into the freezer on Sunday and I can’t tell you how grateful I’ve been to be able to just grab and go in the morning. I microwave them for 3 minutes when I’m ready to eat.

They’ll be a little low on fat as described above so plan to top with avocado, nuts or cheese.

Depending on the ingredients you use, this should come in around: 400-500 calories, 8-12g fat and 15-20g protein. Hot damn. And it’s dirt cheap, too.

Dream it, do it.

15 thoughts on “Homemade Frozen Meals

  1. This is a great idea – I always threw a couple of frozen meals in my grocery cart for days when I really don’t have time to cook (I figure it’s still cheaper than takeout) but I might start doing this instead.

  2. I wish I could plan ahead like that, but I just don’t. I’ve learned all sorts of ways to make quick, healthy meals over the years, though, and I’m so with you on homemade food tasting way better than the packaged stuff. On occasion I’ll but a pre-made meal for convenience, and then usually regret it. Haha.

  3. I try to do a similar thing every weekend, especially to prepare for the middle of the week when I’m teaching all day then going straight to grad school until 10pm (who loves eating three meals away from home? This girl!) It takes nearly no time, and I’m always grateful that I’ve thought ahead.

    Hope your writing bender is nearly over!

  4. Love the idea of making your own frozen lunches. But…can I (very politely) call BS on these taking you just 15 minutes to whip up on Sunday? Unless you already have pre-cooked rice, pre-cooked quinoa, pre-cooked beans, and pre-sliced veggies, how is this possible?

    Also, if you’re making them on Sunday to eat for the week, you could probably skip freezing and just refrigerate, right?

    Also…I haven’t commented on your blog since offering to mail you bike lights. Offer still stands! : )

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