Hearty Sauces & Meatballs: 11 Dishes That Freeze Well

When I interviewed Ina Garten a week ago, I asked her if she had any recipes that were good for making ahead and freezing. She sighed. "I'm actually not big on freezing. It really changes the texture and flavor of a dish." And you know what? I agree. But our readers frequently (at least once week!) write and ask us for good healthy recipes that freeze well. What to do? Well, there are a few dishes that do just fine in the freezer, Ina pointed out, and here's a look at them.

Ina said that overall she would much rather start with a very simple recipe and make it fresh — rather than freezing it ahead. She says that stuff goes into her freezer and never comes out. I agreed wholeheartedly on this point; my freezer is for ice cream and chicken stock only.

But there are a few exceptions to this, and they are great for the times when you really do need to stock up, or when you would like to take a meal to a friend. Soups are one thing that sometimes freeze well (although mushy vegetables are a hazard). The best thing to freeze, said Ina, was a meaty bolognese sauce.

A meaty, hearty sauce often even improves in flavor the longer it sits in the fridge or freezer. Another similar dish is the meatball. Both of these dishes can be made ahead and frozen — and given that tomatoes are in season right now, why not make a big vat of sauce and freeze for the busy autumn nights to come?

Here's a look back at our favorite bolognese and ragu recipes, as well as a few yummy meatballs.

11 Recipes That Freeze Well

Hearty Sauces
Simple Duck Ragu
Rich and Meaty Lamb Ragù
Oxtail Ragù
Hearty Tomato Sauce
Old-Fashioned Sloppy Joes
Chana Masala

Meatballs and Dumplings
Totally Tender Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Turkey Meatballs over Greens
Pork Meatballs with Lemon and Thyme

Two More!
Lasagna
Marvelous Meatloaf

Meal Helpers to Freeze

Here, too, are a few things that can be helpful for quick meals. They aren't complete meals themselves, but they can help you put a meal on the table a little more quickly on a weeknight.

Shredded Cooked Chicken
Caramelized Onions
Summer Fruit
Bread Remainders
Cooked Beans
Leftover Herbs
Pre-Baked Scones and Muffins
Zucchini and Summer Squash

Talking About Freezing Meals...
What Are Some Egg Dishes that Freeze Well?
Make-Ahead Frozen Meals Sans Canned Soups
Help Me Find Healthy, Balanced Meals That Freeze Well?

What are your favorite meals to make ahead and freeze?

(Images: See linked posts for full image credits.)