After a marathon day of meal prep this past weekend, our freezer is now full. Well – my friend’s freezer that is. In about a week she will be having her first baby (!!) and so a few of us spent the day putting together small meals that they can pull out of the freezer with ease. In doing research for the day I found SO many amazing resources, and even lots related to preparing food for families with new little ones.
The Pioneer Woman smartly suggested using freezer bags and tin pans for easy storage and also noted the importance of labeling what is inside along with the reheating instructions. No one wants to have to look that up later – especially if sleep deprived. She also had an impressive list of suggestions that I plan to return to for myself such as grilling chicken breasts and keeping them frozen for quick dinners like salads, quesadillas, etc. The blog Happy Money Saver also has an impressive collection of freezable meals and I can’t wait to try the granola bars, chicken pot pie, and so much more.
We had an initially large list that included muffins, meatloaf, lasagna, calzones and enchiladas. In the end, however, we chose quality over quantity and she went home with a box filled with mini lasagnas, jalapeno chicken meatballs, and this veggie soup recipe. It is a family favorite shared by another friend whose family makes it at the end of every harvest and stores it in the freezer throughout the winter when in need of some warm soup. The pictures don’t come close to doing it justice, and I would take some more pics, but it is all gone.
Three cheers for meal prep! I’m sold.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 28oz cans of plum tomatoes, drained
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 leeks
Any combination of your favorite veggies. We chose:
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 potatoes, chopped
- 2 zucchini, chopped
- 1 head of cauliflower, diced
- 1 bag of frozen peas
- 1 bag of frozen green beans
Steps and Notes:
- Heat oil, add the onions and garlic to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. After about 2 minutes add the leeks. Saute For about 5 minutes until onions are tender. Add the thyme, basil, and parsley and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock and sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes on low (uncovered)
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup base until it reaches your desired thickness.
- Note: add more stock if it is too thick. If too thin, puree beans (lima or garbanzo for example) and add that to the base
- This is the base that can be frozen
- Add your favorite selection of chopped vegetables to the soup base starting with potatoes, carrots, and others that require longer time to cook through.
- Serve hot with fresh parmesan cheese and warm crunch bread
Thoughts for Next Time:
- Include meat in the soup such as ham or mini meatballs
- Vary the veggies from mushrooms, to artichokes, to asparagus, to corn, to various beans