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Freezer to Stovetop in 30 Minutes: 12 Easy Recipes Slideshow

Freezer to Stovetop in 30 Minutes: 12 Easy Recipes Slideshow

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Thinkstock / Katsiaryna Belaya

Freezing meals is easy as long as you remember a few simple tricks. First, cool food completely before freezing. To speed up the process, set up an ice bath to quickly cool pots of meatballs or stews. Once the food is completely cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, freezer bags, or an airtight container. Then, freeze. When you are ready to reheat your meal, gently heat on the stovetop at a slightly lower temperature than the recipe called for to keep the food from drying out.

Try these easy-to-freeze recipes, and dinner will no longer be another thing on your to-do list that you have to dread.

Freezer to Stovetop in 30 Minutes: 12 Easy Recipes

Thinkstock / Katsiaryna Belaya

Freezing meals is easy as long as you remember a few simple tricks. When you are ready to reheat your meal, gently heat on the stovetop at a slightly lower temperature than the recipe called for to keep the food from drying out.

Try these easy-to-freeze recipes, and dinner will no longer be another thing on your to-do list that you have to dread.

All-American Cheeseburger Soup

Shutterstock / Catherine Murray

Chicken and Dumplings

Thinkstock / Leslie Banks


Healthy Mac and Cheese with Butternut Squash

Thinkstock / hit003

Lemon Basil Turkey Tenderloins

Shutterstock / Shebeko

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Shutterstock / Yulia Davidovich

Shrimp and Chicken Etouffee

Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker

This New Orleans classic with shrimp and chicken makes a perfect dinnertime treat. Add more spice if you like it extra hot — the way it was intended. Just gently heat on the stovetop after freezing and stir to incorporate all the flavors of the Big Easy.

Click here for the Shrimp and Chicken Étouffée recipe.

Shrimp Pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Shutterstock / Chubykin Arkady

Turkey Meatloaf

Shutterstock / Oxana Denezhkina

Try using lean ground turkey for this meatloaf. Pre-slice before you freeze if you want more portion control, and heat up with extra tomato sauce or ketchup on the stove to keep the meatloaf from drying out.

Click here for the Turkey Meatloaf recipe.

Vegetarian Chili

Thinkstock / Katsiaryna Belaya

Very Easy Vegetarian Thai Curry

Shutterstock / Dontree

Lamb, Rosemary, and Garlic Meatballs

Eggplant Curry


Brunswick Stew


30 Freezer-Friendly Make-Ahead Meals

Save your future self time (and money!) by stocking your freezer with delicious make-ahead meals.

Your freezer is not just the land where old food goes to die. Stocking it with make-ahead meals helps save yourself time (and money!) on those busy nights when it's hard to get a good meal on the table.

If you're always in a rush to get a good meal on the table during the week, then you might want to consider whipping up any of these delicious, freezer-friendly dishes during your weekly meal prep. This way, you always have a speedy midweek meal at the ready. (Did we mention it makes clean up a breeze, too?)

Stocking your freezer with make-ahead meals can also help cut dollars from your monthly grocery bills. You can shop the sales, then turn those ingredients into future dinners. Ground beef is on sale? Buy a few extra packs and turn it into freezer-friendly meatballs. Chicken thighs are cheaper when you buy them in bulk? Spring for the bigger package and slow cook a big batch of white chicken chili or chicken noodle soup to freeze. Have leftover pasta? Don't throw it out&mdashsimply turn it into a delicious casserole that's destined for the freezer.

So go ahead and embrace your freezer and these delicious, crowd-pleasing make-ahead meals. Your future self will thank you!

1. Easy Breakfast Skillet

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If that&rsquos true, this breakfast feast will fuel you through dinner!

You&rsquoll need to cook the potatoes first so they have time to brown.

When you add the bacon and sausage, all that flavorsome fat will seep out and into the potatoes, creating a golden crust.

Bake for eight to ten minutes, depending on how you like your eggs.

Looking for a hash brown alternative? Try using some of those tater tots you have in the freezer!

How to make Skillet Pork Chops

  • Prepare the meat: Before cooking, season the meat with salt. Then, heat some oil on the skillet. Once hot enough, pan-sear the slices, waiting for each side to caramelize for about 2 to 3 minutes. Sear all sides, especially the fatty portion if there is any.
  • Cook further: Lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook further. Check for doneness starting at the 5th-minute mark.
  • Cook the tomatoes: Once done, remove the cooked meat and set aside. Then, quickly toast the tomatoes in the same pan.
  • Make the sauce: Using the same pan, add in the sauce ingredients except for the butter. Add in a few rosemary leaves. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan. Then, stir in the butter.
  • Combine: Put the meat back into the pan, with or without slicing, then baste with the sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs, then serve.

How can you tell if Pork Chops are done?

The thermometer must read about 145 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety. Stick the thermometer to the thickest part to measure properly. Or, slice and check if the juices are already clear, not pink.

Why are my Pork Chops tough?

It is a sign that you have overcooked them. Hence, make it a point to check for doneness now and then. Investing in a thermometer is a big help with this since you do not want to undercook them, too.

How do you tenderize pork chops?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Using a mallet: Break up the tissues through physical force.
  2. Marinating: Using a marinade that has mildly acidic components like yogurt can help breakdown the tissues.
  3. Brining: This can also help but be cautious not to brine for too long or it will be too salty.

How to make Pork Chops in the Instant Pot?

Using the Instant Pot is great for thick cuts. Check out our Instant Pot recipe in this link.

How to grill them?

Grilling is another way to enjoy them. Here is the link for the recipe for grilled pork chops.

How to make this recipe

Ingredients and substitutions

  • Olive oil – use any neutral oil such as avocado oil, sunflower oil or vegetable oil for this recipe.
  • Garlic – fresh or jarred minced garlic can be used for this recipe.
  • Button mushrooms – use cremini mushrooms, portobello mushrooms if you don’t have button mushrooms available.
  • Chicken breasts – boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be used in place of chicken breasts.
  • Red pepper – use another variety of bell pepper if you don’t have red bell peppers on hand.
  • Red onion – white onion, sweet onion or yellow onion are other great options for this dish.
  • Asparagus – broccoli, green beans, and snow peas are all great alternatives to asparagus.
  • Zucchini – eggplant or another summer squash can be used in place of zucchini.
  • Italian seasoning – basil, marjoram, oregano rosemary and thyme mixed together can be used in place of Italian seasoning.
  • Balsamic vinegar – mix a cider vinegar or red wine vinegar with sugar to create a similar blend.
  • Basil – fresh mint, parsley, thyme or oregano are great alternatives or you can leave it out altogether if you’re in a pinch.
  • Parmesan cheese – freshly grated Parmesan cheese is preferred for this recipe. If you don't have any, shredded Parmesan cheese will also work.
  • Quinoa – use couscous or your choice of rice (ex: basmati, long grain, etc.)

Storing and reheating

If you have leftover chicken and quinoa, prepare them into individual servings in air tight glass containers and then refrigerate them. Once the dish is in the refrigerator, this dish will last 4-5 days, aka your whole work week! That's what makes this dish one of the best meal prep recipes!

When you're ready to enjoy the dish, take the serving out of the fridge and warm it up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and enjoy!

Freezing the leftovers

Like many of my other skillet meals, this Italian chicken dish freezes very well. You can even freeze the cooked quinoa with the chicken! This makes the meal a great choice for a make-ahead meal.

To freeze, transfer the dish out of the skillet and into a freezer-safe container once the dish has cooled entirely. Freeze in individual servings for easy last-minute dinners. Once it is frozen, it will keep well for 2 to 3 months.

When you're ready to enjoy the dish, move it to the fridge the night before to defrost then microwave for 1-2 minutes until warmed.

All 30 Recipes from Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals

Each of these family-friendly dinners can be on your table in a half hour or less.

Related To:

Indian-Spiced Pepper Steak

Skip the usual takeout order and make a hearty supper right at home. You can customize this beef stir-fry to your family&rsquos tastes by making it as spicy (or not!) as you like just opt to keep or scoop out the seeds in the peppers.

Oklahoma-Style S'mack Burgers with Ranch-Flavored Tater Tots

Trust us. You&rsquove never seen burgers like these! Instead of the usual raw onions piled on top of the cooked burger patty before serving, Rachael griddles the burger directly ON the onions as they&rsquore cooking, which means you end up with sweet, tender onions that become one with the burgers.

Deviled Chicken Francese

Rachael likes to use Calabrian chile paste to add a devilish spice, but if you don&rsquot have it, feel free to substitute harissa or Sriracha.

Trendy Fried Chicken with Kimchi Slaw

Here it&rsquos all about Korean-inspired flavors, like a bold sauce made with gochujang (Korean chile paste) and a fresh slaw laced with kimchi (fermented cabbage).

Korean-Inspired Sloppy Joes and Quick Pickles

In Korean cooking, the balance of heat and sweetness is key, which is why Rachael adds not only an Asian pear but also a bit of light brown sugar to her sloppy joe sauce.

Hot Sausage Cast-Iron Skillet Pan Pizza

The key to a pan pizza is pre-heating the pan so the dough starts to cook right after it&rsquos placed inside. That&rsquoll help you get a super-crispy crust on the bottom.


Breakfast for dinner is totally a thing with Rachael&rsquos easy take on Chilaquiles. It&rsquos all about the red chile sauce here as this smoky mixture coats the tortilla chips. You can keep the sauce in the fridge for two weeks, or stash it in the freezer for a quick meal later on.

Lamb or Beef Shakshuka

The meat you use is up to you here. Either way, you&rsquoll end up with a hearty breakfast-for-dinner meal that&rsquos made better with a side of garlicky naan bread ideal for sopping up the golden egg yolks.

Quick Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pies

Store-bought puff pastry dough and ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken ensure that this warming dinner can be ready in just 30 minutes.

Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Shrimp

A splash of heavy cream adds a rich taste and smooth texture to this all-in-one dinner.

Chicken Curry in a Hurry with Basmati

Don&rsquot slack on toasting the curry spices! It&rsquos worth the few minutes it takes to boost their flavors.

Roasted Meatballs with Garlic Bread

No one ever said that tomato sauce has to take hours to cook. Rachael&rsquos go-to recipe is made with only a handful of ingredients and serves as the base for her moist meatballs.

Carbonara with Crab

While this isn&rsquot exactly a traditional carbonara recipe, Rachael&rsquos husband, John, doesn&rsquot mind because he is a carbonara fanatic. The addition of lemon brightens up the rich egg-based sauce and pairs well with the seafood.

Pork Tonkatsu with Shiso and Savoy

Don&rsquot be intimidated by the word "tonkatsu." The word literally means "pork cutlet" in Japanese. Rachael takes the classic recipe one step further by topping the cutlet with a savory sauce mixed with garlic, soy sauce and ketchup.

Mezcal Shrimp Tacos with Guac Crema

Don&rsquot worry the alcohol in the mezcal burns off while cooking, and what you&rsquore left with is a smoky flavor in the fire-roasted tomato sauce. Rachael balances that taste with the addition of a bright lime-spiked crema.

Curry Chicken Chili with Sriracha

Set up a toppings bar with tangy sour cream, scallions and pickled jalapenos, and let everyone finish their bowls of chili as they wish.

Mexi-Mac Burgers and Waffle Fries with Taco Sauce

Rachael uses equal parts ground beef and chorizo to form these Mexican-inspired burgers. They&rsquore infused with Worcestershire sauce and blanketed with not one but two kinds of cheese: gooey cheddar or American and spicy Pepper Jack cheese.

Sichuan Steak au Poivre with Scallion Mashed Potatoes

Bring the steakhouse experience home with this simple yet impressive dinner. For both taste and texture, Rachael coats the raw steaks with coarsely ground peppercorns before cooking them.

The Cusimano Special ('Da Cuz, for short)

Made for her husband, John, Rachael&rsquos Italian beef sandwiches are the ultimate in indulgence. Hearty beef, a creamy provolone sauce, pickled vegetables and roasted peppers &mdash it&rsquos all happening here.

Bacon, Bean, Eggs, Taco Tots Burritos

Rachael&rsquos breakfast-meets-dinner burrito brings together spiced tots, crispy bacon, scrambled eggs and a refreshing pico de gallo-style salsa in a single tortilla to create a filling meal you&rsquoll crave.

3-Salad Chef's Salad Plate

Serve these diner-style salads with deli fixings like bread, cheese and hard-boiled eggs, and let everyone build their favorite sandwiches.

Mexican Lasagna Suiza

In place of the usual pasta and tomato sauce in Italian-style lasagna, this one features layers of tortillas and a tomatillo-based sauce, plus plenty of gooey cheese.

Salt and Pepper Shrimp and 3-Cup Chicken with Rice

Yes, you really can pull off an appetizer and a main dish in 30 minutes! Shrimp cook quickly, and these are simply seasoned with salt, pepper and 5-spice powder for a bold bite. The chicken gets its flavor from a sweet-savory sauce featuring two kinds of soy sauce, brown sugar and a splash of rice wine.

Chicken Patty Parm with Salami Salad

Ground chicken patties get the "Parm" treatment when they&rsquore topped with a tangy tomato sauce and covered with creamy mozzarella cheese.

Shawarma Burgers with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

These flavor-packed burgers can be dressed up with your choice of toppings. Think cool lettuce, pickled peppers and crunchy cucumbers for added texture.

Tomato Soup with Cheddar Dill Popcorn and Reuben Salad

Popcorn in soup?! Yep, it&rsquos just the crunchy bite you need to balance Rachael&rsquos super-smooth tomato soup. Plus, the addition of the cheddar cheese powder is a fun nod to the classic pairing of grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Spaghetti with Bacon and Chard

Fresh greens and a splash of white wine balance the richness of this cheesy cream sauce.

Portobello Cheesesteak Fries

Fries for dinner are absolutely acceptable when you pile them high with Portobello mushrooms &mdash not steak &mdash to mimic the classic cheesesteak experience. The vegetable takes on a meaty taste and texture when cooked with garlic, thyme and soy sauce.

Buffalo Chicken and Blue Ranch Statement Salad

With layers of lettuce, chips, Buffalo-style chicken and plenty of blue cheese-spiked dressing, this is an entree salad that will surely fill you up.

Barbecue Chicken Pan Pizza

A store-bought rotisserie chicken ensures that this hearty pizza will be both quick and simple to prep.

Crock pot freezer meals: the ultimate make-ahead meal prep combo.

Again, I love how easy it is to prep this crockpot freezer meal.

Simply combine most of the raw ingredients in a glass dish or freezer storage gallon bag. Again, for freezer storage purposes, I personally use freezer storage gallon bags. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy this stew, thaw the prepped stew in the fridge overnight. Add the thawed ingredients to a slow cooker with beef broth and you can feed a large family or crowd.

This recipe is my personal spin on traditional beef stew. I just add more veggies and flavor!


  • 2 lbs Beef Chuck Boneless Shoulder Roast (cut into 1-inch pieces) OR 2 lbs Stew Meat
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 6 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • 6 carrots, sliced diagonally
  • 2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 pound new potatoes, baby red potatoes, squash or sweet potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 can (14-15 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

THAWING INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw for 6-8 hours in fridge before adding to slow cooker or crockpot.


  • Thawed freezer bag of Beef Stew ingredients
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Last 30 minutes of cooking: 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or 2 tablespoons cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water (to thicken stew)

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Cook on ‘high’ for 5-6 hours. Note, add flour or cornstarch mixture for last 30 minutes.

Quick Comfort Food Recipes That Make Delicious Dinners

Dig into your favorite foods&mdashfast!&mdashthanks to our quick comfort food recipes. These recipes result in rich, hearty flavors but require you to spend surprisingly little time waiting for them to cook on the stovetop or in the oven. How is that possible, you ask? We used some of our favorite culinary tricks to streamline classic recipes and speed things up in the kitchen without sacrificing any flavor. In the process we created some new classic dishes, like the Pork-Meatball Skillet Bake, shown here. Weekday or weekend, these quick meals are sure to satisfy even the heartiest cravings.

Individual portions of mouthwatering chicken pot pie and enchiladas speed up the baking time and let everyone have their own fair share. Chicken cutlets and the broiler turn Chicken Parmesan into an easy weeknight dinner. Plus, we included a freeze-ahead component for chicken Parm on the fly. Cutlets in general lend themselves to quick dinners because they cook so fast we make a tasty version of chicken and waffles in 30 minutes flat with their help. We also put cutlets to good use in a crowd-pleasing spinach and artichoke dip-inspired dish that makes for another satisfying and speedy chicken dinner.

Classic goulash takes two hours or more to tenderize the meat and build flavor, but our beef goulash is done in just 30 minutes thanks to quick-cooking, juicy skirt steak. And you can go ahead and forget about instant mac and cheese&mdashyou won't crave anything else after trying our Test Kitchen's Favorite Mac and Cheese recipe. Other winners? Our orange pork, which features flavor-packed ingredients and a quick cooking time, and our lentil soup with shiitake mushrooms. You'll also want to keep an eye out for a burger that mimics fast food and burger hand pies, another innovative spin on classic comfort good.

When it comes to getting dinner on the table fast, we always have you covered, but these recipes are extra special because they are sure to warm you from the inside out, even on the coldest winter nights.


  • PASTA: Beef Stroganoff with ground beef is traditionally served over wide egg noodles but is also delicious over other short, spiral pastas such as radiatori, roccheti, rotini, fusilli, and cavatappi.
  • POTATOES: It is also delicious with anything that holds sauce such as mashed potatoes, baked potatoes or polenta.
  • RICE: I love the texture of rice with stroganoff! Use any rice your heart desires from white, brown, wild rice blend or quinoa.
  • LOW CARB: Serve Ground Beef Stroganoff over zoodles, spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice or cauliflower mash.
  • BREAD: It is also fabulous over biscuits to create a version of “Biscuits and Gravy.”

Tart Cherry Ginger Muesli

Courtesy of Running to the Kitchen

There's nothing sweeter than waking up to a comforting bowl of this cherry ginger muesli. If you love cherries, you're in luck because this recipe calls for half a cup of frozen Montmorency cherries for the warm sauce and an additional half cup of dried cherries in the muesli. Fiber-rich oats and digestion-aiding ginger also make this superfood bowl a deliciously balanced meal. Enjoy this muesli with some Greek yogurt or on its own over cold milk.

Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.

30-Minute (or Less) Chicken Dinner Recipes Perfect for Busy Weeknights

Serve an inspired weeknight dinner that comes together fast using our quick chicken recipes. We're sharing favorites&mdashsalad, soup, pasta, and more, that come together rapidly but taste top notch. Who needs takeout when you've got these fast, flavorful recipes to add to your repertoire? They're sure to become your new go-tos when you want to make chicken for dinner, and in no time at all.

Whether you prefer chicken breasts, cutlets, or chicken thighs, we have the fast recipes you need. Try making a delicious Chicken-Teriyaki Noodle Bowl with chicken cutlets. A simple mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil does double duty as a marinade for the chicken and a sauce for udon noodles and vegetables. An any night chicken sandwich gets Thai flavor in this grilled-chicken baguette recipe using a hearty, crusty baguette for the base instead of sandwich bread provides a sturdy base for colorful, flavorful ingredients including Masaman-curry paste and sweet creamy mango. We also suggest trying our Green-Chile Chicken Burgers&mdashthey just so happen to be one of our all-time favorite ways to use ground chicken. On a night when time is extra, extra tight, we recommend an easy and elegant dinner with quick-cooking chicken cutlets served with arugula, lemon wedges, and long curls of Parmigiano-Reggiano&mdashit's a restaurant-level dinner that comes together so fast.

There's comfort aplenty here, too, which is just what you need after a long workday in one easy bowl of Greek-Chicken One-Pan Pasta, Lemony-Pesto Chicken Soup, or Chicken Puttanesca with Orzo.

Go ahead and set your timer for 30 minutes, then let the family know that a delicious, quick chicken dinner will be on the table soon.