Meals that I can make ahead of time, freeze, defrost
August 14, 2014 9:31 AM   Subscribe

I will be working for the next two weeks outdoors and for long hours. I would like to try and eat actual, healthy meals or snacks, but it will be hard because I won't really have access to a microwave. Therefore, I will need recipes for things that I can prepare ahead of time, freeze and then I can eat later without having to heat it up. It will have ample time to defrost (it's hot outside!), but I just won't be able to microwave it or anything. Are there any meals out there like this?

Things I do not like:
- beef
- pork
- strong curry
- anything too smelly, since I have to work with people!

Cooking level: basic... I can follow a very detailed and clear recipe.
posted by cyml to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hummus and guacamole are two things that freeze well, and together with some pita and/or other veggies will get you some good carbs and good fats.

Cold or not-heated protein is going to be a challenge, or at least it would be for me. Maybe quiche, or hard-boiled eggs (which you wouldn't freeze, but can last a long time in the fridge after having been cooked).

Anything with a high fat content will freeze well.
posted by vignettist at 9:35 AM on August 14, 2014

Will you have access to a microwave before you get to work? Maybe you could heat things in the morning and put them in an insulated container? That will open up your possibilities.

You could make taco meat (we use ground turkey at our house) and freeze that in portions, defrost at night, and assemble your tacos in the morning.
posted by vignettist at 9:38 AM on August 14, 2014

Black Bean & Sweet Potato burrito

You could make & freeze these, and they should be ready to eat by lunchtime. You might want to test my theory though - I would not want you to bite into a still-frozen burrito!
posted by lyssabee at 9:56 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I recommend making a simple solar cooker to re-heat food, or using a camp stove of some sort. Food left in the heat may get bacteria-laden, causing illness, that's no fun. Better and safer to make re-heat-able meals, keep cool, then re-heat.
posted by theora55 at 10:03 AM on August 14, 2014

Frozen PB&J holds nicely on a hiking trip.
posted by 724A at 10:08 AM on August 14, 2014

Yes! Hummus or other bean spreads freeze really well and you can make so many variations. Here's some recipes:

You can leave out the garlic if that's too smelly for you. But you can also add things like roasted red peppers, basil, salsa, artichoke hearts, scallions, etc. You can also make it with edamame, lentils, fava, pinto or cannelini beans to give yourself a variety of legumes and flavors. Then you can bring pitas, crackers, sliced breads, pasta or even cooked potatoes to have with just about any combination of raw or lightly blanched veggies.

You can also bring olives or pickles to add variety.
posted by annaramma at 10:28 AM on August 14, 2014

I used to make salads with lots of non-lettuce veggies and frozen protein (ie, big salad with some shrimp or chicken added from the freezer that morning) and the protein would have thawed by lunchtime, keeping the salad cool in the meantime (with a cooler bag). Also yogurt with frozen fruit to keep it cool/thaw during the day.
posted by ldthomps at 10:30 AM on August 14, 2014

It depends on what you think of as needing to be hot. I often bring leftovers from home, and never bother to walk down the hall to the microwave, because I'm actually fine with eating cold chinese food, cold tomato+pasta, etc. If you don't require things that are "supposed" to be cold, that broadens your options quite a bit.

If you're willing to go semi-premade: grill a bunch of chicken (with marinade/seasoning as you wish) then slice it up and freeze the slices. Buy a large bag of salad greens, and a box of cherry tomatoes. Each morning, put a handful of greens into a tupperware, with a couple of tomatoes, and a few frozen slices of chicken. Frozen meat keeps the greens fresh, ideally it'll be neither icy nor wilty at lunchtime.
posted by aimedwander at 11:03 AM on August 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

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