Want to eat healthier but you can hear the convenience of the drive-thru beckoning on your way home? I get it, that struggle is real! You’ve had a long day and you know that there’s more obligations and responsibilities waiting for you when you enter that door…school work, laundry, dishes, bath time, etc. That drive-thru sure would make the evening go a lot smoother…but that’s a slippery slope, one that if you’re not careful will drain you physically and financially. Thus, in an effort to limit takeout, stick to a food budget, get more veggies in your family’s diet, and ultimately feel better here are 3 easy recipes that you can prep in advance.
Every few weeks I try to prepare a few dishes that I can place in our freezer. It is always comforting to know on those crazy days when I simply don’t have the energy to cook, when our kiddos have events in the evening, when unexpected company joins us for dinner, or when I, or my husband, have a meeting in the evening that there is a meal already prepared in the freezer.
A couple of weeks ago I prepared Italian inspired cuisine to place in the freezer that definitely came in handy! I prepare Baked Ziti, Veggie Lasagna, Manicotti, and Meat Balls. Which were each very easy to prepare and were budget friendly so I instantly thought, I have got to share these with other moms! So without further ado….
- 1 box of ziti or penne pasta
- 1 Egg
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 jar commercial spaghetti sauce (whichever kind is on sale or you prefer)
- 2 cups Mozzarella
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (to be used after it is baked)
Follow directions on box of ziti or penne pasta to boil. Once the pasta is boiled, drained, and then place in pan 13 x 9 pan that is freezer friendly. Beat 1 egg and pour over pasta, mix it. Sautee onions then mix onions, spaghetti pasta, and 1 cup of Mozzarella together.
Pour mixture over pasta and mix so that sauce covers all the pasta. Sprinkle remaining Mozzarella over the top. Cover with aluminum foil. Label, date, and add directions with a permanent marker (this makes it effortless for your hubby, sitter, etc. to pull it out of the freezer and prepare).
I know we did. The Baked Ziti I made was enjoyed with my in-laws who came over to celebrate my birthday.
Manicotti (image above)
I joined a cooking club in November and this Manicotti dish was one of the meals we made. It was so delicious that I have added it to my fill the freezer regime. This is a dish I have managed to master after preparing a few times. At first it can be tricky stuffing the Manicotti but after some trial and error I am sure you will find your own technique.
For the Manicotti recipe click here to be directed towards Lilly’s Kitchen Lab.
Our Manicotti dish came in handy the evening I taped Moms’ Timeout.
Italian Meat Balls
These are perfect for Spaghetti night or meat ball subs. Meat ball subs are one of my hubby’s favorite lunches. If you freeze these in Ziploc bags you can divide them in serving sizes so that you can simply grab 3 meat balls to heat up with sauce and place on a sub with some Mozzarella.
- 1lb of ground meat (turkey or beef)
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 2T bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 2tsp Italian Seasoning
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
Directions: Mix everything together in a bowl and then form into 2inch balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (make sure they are cooked through). Let cool completely and then divide into bags per your meal plans.
Like I said, my hubby adores meat ball subs thus; these went to a few subs over the past few weeks. I love the fact that he can have a hot meal for lunch and I don’t have to cook.
Veggie Lasagna / Lasagna Roll-up
This is by far my personal favorite! I like to prepare these as roll-ups because they are much easier to serve though it does take a little longer to prepare but I think it is worth it. For the Lasagna recipe and some yummy bread to accompany it click here.
And last but not least, make this fun, put on some music, (I prefer the Lumineers ) and grab a glass of wine while you prepare…try some Julia Child lingo…make it fun!