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Who hasn’t been tempted to order in food after a long day at work? Whether you’re feeling pressed for time or simply don’t have the energy, it’s sometimes difficult to cook a homemade meal. Yet, take-out food not only affects your pocketbook, but is often contains loads of sugar and salt, making it an unwise health choice. That’s why it’s always good to have readily available meal options stocked in your freezer.
In addition to being nutritious and flavourful, most soups are easily frozen and are also an excellent way of using in-season vegetables and fruits. For extra nutrients, eat with a slice of fresh bread and your favourite cheese or spread.
Try making this butternut squash and ginger soup.
Freezing pre-cooked individual burritos is an easy way to have snacks or meals ready to go. Just make sure you don’t add raw vegetables that don’t freeze well, like lettuce, as their post-freezer texture is less than appetizing. Wrap burritos individually or place them in a freezer container, making sure they’re not sticking to each other. You can reheat them in the microwave, making sure to turn them occasionally, or heat them in the toaster oven for a crispier tortilla.
Try this breakfast burrito recipe.
Dumplings are very versatile. Ready to be used in soups, as appetizers or as sides to salads, they actually keep better frozen than in the fridge. While assembling dumplings make take a bit of time, you’ll find that once you get the hang of it, it’s well worth the effort. When you serve them, make sure that they are thoroughly cooked, especially if you’ve stuffed them with meat.
Try this porc and shiitake mushroom dumplings recipe.
Individual savoury pies and omelettes
Preparing individual savoury pies – like meat or millet tourtieres, chicken or salmon pies, etc. – or even omelettes, will provide you with easy and handy meal choices. Make sure they’re well cooked before freezing them.
Try making mini portions of this vegan millet pie.
The secret to delicious curry is making sure you begin with a flavourful base, richly scented with a mix of fresh spices, garlic and onion. Next, prepare your sauce with a creamy liquid, like coconut milk or even pureed vegetables, then add your preferred proteins and vegetables. You can also prepare individual servings of rice to cook and freeze, making a complete meal ready at hand.
Try this chana massala (spicy chick pea curry) recipe.
What’s more comforting than a hot bowl of chili? When it comes time to serve it, simply top it up with some of your favourite flavourings whether fresh coriander, bits of avocado or fresh lime. And if your chili is too liquidy when you defrost it, simmer it on the stove for a while to let the excess water steam away. Don’t forget to add a little spice to liven it up after it’s been defrosted.
Stews and sauces
In addition to curries and chilis, there are a lot of sauce-based foods that are ideal for freezing. Here are some:
- Sauces for vol-au-vent (for a vegan option, skip the chicken and replace the milk and butter with soy milk and vegan butter)
- Many sorts of stews made from freezer-friendly ingredients (avoid potatoes)
- Bolognese pasta sauce (for a vegan option replace ground meat with ground tofu or cooked lentils)
- Bœuf bourguignon (for a vegan option, replace the beef with cubed tempeh)
Try this beef and barley stew recipe.
Having a few patties frozen and ready to go in the freezer lets you have delicious meals in just a few minutes. Freeze them fully before putting them in a container. They’ll be easier to separate. For vegetarian or vegan burgers, we recommend you pre-cook them to help ensure they retain their shape when defrosted. And, since sliced breads freeze well, stock up on hamburger buns in your freezer that you can defrost individually in the oven or the toaster as you prepare your meal.
Try these turkey burger patties.
Healthy pastries, desserts and snacks are easily frozen and retain their flavour, form and texture after defrosting. Freezing batches of them means that you can vary your snacks easily and avoid boring repetition.
- Energy balls
- Sweet or savoury muffins
- Healthy cookies
- Slices of banana bread (you also use pumpkin, zucchini, lemon or carrot)
To defrost them, just pop them in the fridge before you go to bed.
Try this nut-free chocolaty hemp protein balls recipe.
Cut fruits and vegetables
Did you know that the new Canadian food guide recommends that half of your plate consist of fruits and vegetables? For breakfasts, cut up fruits you like to use in smoothies, like mango, berries, peaches or pineapple. For meals, cut and parboil vegetables that you’ll use on the grill or in the oven, as a side dish or sauté in a pan to add to stir-fry. Freezing all of these foods is also a great way to cut down on food waste.
To learn more, check out our tips to safely store and defrost frozen foods.