We’ve all been there. All of the sudden you have a rough week at school and the only thing left in the fridge is a jar of mayo. Exams are stressful, and sometimes when you get home from a long day of studying the last thing you want to do is make food and do the dishes afterwards. Here are six easy (and surprising) things you can prepare in advance and freeze so you’re ready to go for exam season.
Soup and exams go together hand in hand. The comfort of a nice hot bowl takes away the pain of studying. I like to make a big batch of soup and freeze it for when I have no motivation to cook. My favourites are carrot ginger, curry butternut squash, and tomato, but anything that doesn’t have rice, noodles, or a heavy cream base will freeze well. You can also keep cans of soup handy.
2. Egg Muffins
Egg Muffins are perfect for when you need something healthy and filling but have no time. These are best if you take them out the night before and let them defrost, but you can still definitely make it work in the microwave. I like to cut them in half and put them on toast to make a speedy breakfast sandwich. I use this recipe for inspiration.
Yes, you can freeze pancakes! They’re great because they work for breakfast or lunch (or, let’s face it, dinner). You can either throw them in the toaster or microwave to heat them up right away or throw them (frozen) in a container to take to school. They’re great topped with defrosted frozen berries. You can make them from scratch or use a boxed or bulk mix. I use this recipe and substitute ingredients to fit my needs. I like to replace some of the flour with protein powder and add chocolate chips to make them more satisfying and keep me full longer.
Did you know you can freeze prepared oatmeal? You just need to cook rolled or steel cut oats, portion them (I like to use small mason jars), add your toppings, let them cool, and stick them in the freezer. To reheat just pop the container in the microwave. Topping suggestions: chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, maple syrup, brown sugar, frozen berries, or nut butter.
Pre-prepared rice, frozen into single serve portions reheats surprisingly well, and it can save the day when you have zero motivation. Just top with a quick stir-fry or freezer curry (or eat it straight with soy sauce #nojudgement).
To anyone who knows how to make real curry I apologize. This is my cheater curry for when I need something quick and filling. Here are a couple recipes to use for inspiration: Lentil Chickpea Yellow Curry and Easy Lentil Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry, but I usually skip the individual spices and use a pre-made paste from the grocery store. My must-have ingredients: red lentils, curry paste, chickpeas, veggie broth, red onion, garlic, coconut (or Greek) yoghurt to put on top, and basmati rice to serve with it. To freeze, just portion into containers, let cool, then stick it in the freezer.
A note about reheating: if you can, try to leave these in the fridge to defrost overnight before reheating. You can reheat these meals either on the stovetop or in the microwave, but the microwave is probably easier and faster. You may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water or veggie broth to avoid your meal drying out.
Happy cooking and may your freezer always be stocked!
Dani spent her Reading Week stocking her freezer!