Now that I am getting ready for baby in a few weeks, I am all about making meals to freeze. I will share some of my favorites as I make them this month, because finding new meal ideas to freeze ahead are one of the biggest requests I get.
As I started to think about what to make, I looked to the meals that I have bought and liked in the freezer aisle. At the top of my list was this entree from Kashi:
I always feel great after I eat this, and knew it froze well, so I thought, what if I recreated it at home? Turns out it is super easy:
I was also excited to get to use this ingredient that friends and healthy food writers have been raving about:
This is supposed to be the healthiest fat we can eat, though I used it as a flavor booster, with the healthiness factor as a bonus (always my priority levels).
You start with these grains, and while they cook according to their packages:
You make the yummy sauce for the top with these ingredients:
Note the jalepeno – I decided to leave it out since my kids don’t love spicy, but if you do, leave it in! I was so happy to discover how easy this dish is. First you melt the 2 T. of the coconut oil on med-high heat, then saute the aromatics in it:
I can’t believe how much the pureed Lemongrass and Ginger speed up this dish, and you don’t even notice the difference. If you can’t find these ingredients in these tubes, try to get the original and just use about the same amount (1 T.) of minced ginger, and about six 1-inch pieces of lemongrass stalks (about 2-3 stalks, tops trimmed) removing them after the sauce has simmered. Then you add the chicken:
Then after the chicken has turned mostly white, add the cocount milk and lime juice, simmering on med-low for 10 min. to infuse the flavors:
After 10 min, mash this mixture of flour and coconut oil together and add to sauce thicken it (it does a beautiful job! It is just like thickening a french sauce with butter and flour):
When it is all cooked, add the veggies (I love how the frozen bag of stir fry veggies felt like I was eating the Kashi meal since they are perfectly cut, also super speedy):
Cook until veggies are cooked through, then serve over combined grains. If you are freezing them like I did, just lay out 3 medium sized containers, letting sauce cool before assembly:
Ready to freeze! I did layer grains with sauce on top, so each container is like the entree, even though this picture looks like I froze them separately. It was so good I made a second batch the next day and we ate if for dinner – the kids were licking their plates.
Lemongrass Coconut Chicken (printer version here.)
1 c. wheat berries – cook according to package
1 c. red quinoa (use regular if you can’t find red) – cook according to package
1 c. brown rice – cook according to package
2 T. coconut oil
1 large shallot, chopped*
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 T. lemongrass
1 T. ginger
3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced (I try to use organic)
1 t. salt
1 can light coconut milk
2 T. lime juice
2 T. flour + 1 T. coconut oil
Bag of stir fry veggies (broccoli, carrots, snap peas)
* If you like it spicy, can add 1/2-1 jalapeno minced with shallot and garlic, or serve with Sriracha sauce.
Cook grains according to package directions. Rice will take longest, around 50-60 min, and a rice cooker helps, so put it on first. Then wheat berries and quinoa should be around the same time, so you can cook them together on stove, around 15 min. Look at packages to get amount of water needed.
While the grains cook, melt coconut oil on Med-High heat in a large fry pan. Add shallots and garlic, saute for 3 min until fragrent. Add lemongrass and ginger, saute for 1-2 min. Then add chicken, and sprinkle with 1 t. salt. Cook 3-5 min., flipping over until chicken is mostly all white. Then add coconut milk, and simmer for 10 min. While it cooks, mash together 1 T. coconut oil with 2 T. flour, then add to chicken/coconut milk mixture to thicken it. Cook for a few minutes then add veggies. Stir to combine and warm up veggies.
Serve over combined grains when hot, or freeze in portion sized containers.
Please let me know what your favorite make ahead freezer meals are!!
Nina ParrottApril 14, 2013 at 9:24 am
First, good luck on the last few weeks! Hopefully the delivery will be right on time and QUICK!
Also, I would love to bring you guys a meal once the baby is born– I know that was MY favorite baby present, especially the 3rd time. My friend brought over a farro salad with roasted veggies and I almost started to cry I was so excited to not eat frozen food! Just let me know any foods to avoid.
But since you have to eat some frozen food, I just wanted to give my input that paella freezes beautifully!! I cook the rice two-thirds of the way, and spread it all out to cool… then add all the sausage, chicken, veggies– everything but seafood, and freeze in as shallow a layer as possible. Then when I cook it, I defrost, then add the stock and any seafood that I want–
Anyway, it tastes 90% as good as if you make it all fresh.
Please let me know if there’s anything I can do once the baby is born– or before: pick up Sophie and Lucy from school– add some groceries to my list (I go almost every day, it seems! I also go to Golden Harvest at least once a week)… whatever!
KatieApril 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm
First, I am sure anything you make would be delicious and you are so kind to offer. Farrow with roasted veggies – what a good friend!! We have no restrictions (except mushrooms I guess, which is a kindness to my husband, who doesn’t love them).
Thank you so much for the paella idea, I am so going to try that! I love love paella and that is such a smart idea. And thank you for offer to help! I will keep you posted but I just hope I get to see you after baby – I tell everyone about the fantastic kids birthday party you threw (especially the wine part).
Thanks again! – Katie
CynthiaMay 1, 2013 at 1:19 am
Katie! Just wanted you to know that I tried this recipe tonight…and it will soon become one of our favorites her at this house. Lemongrass is one of my favorite additions…soooo good!
Hope you are well. Praying for you and baby.
JessicaJuly 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm
I’m glad this re pie is still available. I noticed I haven’t seen this in the store for a really long time and I started craving it suddenly. This clone looks great and it also looks perfect for meal prep. Thanks!
KatieJuly 10, 2017 at 3:09 pm
Thanks, Jessica, I am glad you like this recipe! I am piling healthy recipes to make for the freezer and this is definitely one I will make as it is one of my favorites. Enjoy!