the freezer section

So…real life.

Real life means being, err, five months late renewing your car registration. It means skipping yoga class when you stayed up reading till midnight. It means jean lunges and elastic waist pants. It means eating chocolate chip cookie-witches until you feel like you’re about to puke. It means late nights, early mornings, deadlines and three layers of concealer underneath your eyes. It means a lot of coffee.

Real life also means not being able to cook meals every single night out of the week! I mean, does anyone really do that? I definitely don’t. I’m not sure how my life really appears to you all on this thing, but the truth of the matter is that some days I eat an omelet by myself for dinner. Or a can of soup. Adam and I don’t live together but I really like to have him over for a nice meal a few nights out of the week. Basically this is just a ploy so I can get him to buy me a nice meal on the weekend. Shoot. Did I just say type that out loud?

But the other nights? The nights when I get home late or have been busy perfecting brownie recipes all day and just.can’

On those nights I’m thankful for my freezer…and the plethora of filled tupperware containers in it. This also solves the question “what do I do with all the food I make???” Put it on ice, baby.

Here’s a list of my top five reheated favorites.

Turkey Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce

Kale and White Bean Soup with Golden Beets and Spicy Sausage

Red Thai Curry with Kabocha Squash

Channa Masala

Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers

Tonight, I have a frozen container of this just waiting for me to defrost. Oh yes.



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  • Coco
    November 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I rely on the freezer pretty often — it’s actually a nice surprise sometimes to find that I’ve got a homecooked meal waiting in suspended animation =). Made a huge batch of stuffed cabbage a couple days ago, and I’ll be freezing the rest of it in individual portions today!

  • Jen
    November 7, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Somehow I find it hard to believe you scarf cookie-witches 🙂

    Do you have an actual freezer or just the fridge freezer? I only have the small one on my fridge – so there still isn’t much room when you factor in frozen veggies, meats, bread…ice cream 😉

    I want a house. With a freezer.

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    November 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Real life indeed. Me and TJ’s frozen section are bff.

  • Cait's Plate
    November 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I hear ya – some nights “breakfast for dinner” (aka toast and eggs) are all that I can manage. But agreed on how great it is to have some pre-made meals frozen in the freezer for yourself. Makes life so much easier!

  • Rachel @ Mommygetsmoving
    November 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Freezing leftovers is my version of calling out for pizza. It’s a healthy alternative and ready in a snap.

  • Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray
    November 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Ohhh, thank you for this post. There are some nights I literally can’t face anything more complicated than hitting “defrost.” Glad to know that “real” bloggers do it, too!

  • Kelly
    November 7, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Wow. Five months. I’m amazed you were able to go that long and not get a ticket of some sort. When I was living on the East Coast I was traveling a lot during the month when my inspection sticker came due. I put it off into the next month and got walloped with a nice ticket.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    November 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for posting this Jenna! I love reading your blog, pouring over recipe books and dreaming of what I “might” make someday. But the fact of the matter is that I’m a single, busy gal and I just can’t get myself to actually make many meals for just me. Frozen meals and eggs are a must and it’s a relief to know that I’m not the only one who falls back on these types of dinners! xo

  • Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf
    November 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I’m going to have to start doing this. I’m busy most the week baking SOMETHING or perfecting some recipe that often I end up eating a piece of bread from the coffeehouse where I work in lieu of an actual meal (she said, as she picked pieces of a crusty boule out of her teeth…). I’ll come home at 3 not having eaten a real lunch and decide to heck with it. I can’t make myself dirty up one more dish while my fingers are still wrinkled from washing dishes at work.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    November 7, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Loved this post. Real life = super busy. I always make double what I actually need and stash the second half in the fridge or freezer for leftovers. Keeps me happy, keeps the Husband full. Perfection.

  • Meg
    November 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Amen to jean lunges! Those turkey burgers look fab!

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    November 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Great idea and recipes! I am glad they freeze so well! 🙂

  • Leanne
    November 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks for this! I’m just starting to stuff our fridge with dinners … as opposed to the chocolate and green chile currently filling most of it. That and the start of baby-boom among my friends (time to bring over frozen dinners!) has made me much more conscious about what’s freezer friendly. I’ll definitely be trying these out soon!

  • Daisy
    November 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    thank goodness. i know on my blog it probably appears I eat out all the time, the case is more of a reality you describe in this post + takeout. 🙂

  • Esther Sam
    November 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for keeping it real Jenna 🙂 Seriously who makes dinner every night of the week. I appreciate a good re-heat meal or something that cooks in one pot by its self and is done in 30 minutes.

  • Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter)
    November 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I totally do the same thing. 🙂 I sort of love saving some of my delicious meals for a future date by sticking them in the freezer.

  • TeenyLittleSuperChef
    November 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Hot damn, that curry looks so delicious. And I just so happen to have a kabocha squash sitting on my counter just waiting to be used in something. Looks like I found it. I really need to start doing the whole, freezing meals for a later time, kind of thing. I hate that most nights I’m having to scrounge some sort of dinner together. Does kabocha squash freeze well on it’s own, or would it need to be cooked or pureed first? Just wondering since it’s season is so short and I’m already beginning to run low on my supply.

    • Laura
      November 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      I stored some kabocha a couple of years ago well over the winter and into the springtime- say November to March/April in my fairly coolish conservatory with no spoiling (bear in mind I live in the UK so we have non existent summers nowadays!). They should give you a little warning before beginning to rot on you by turning evermore orange. I’m sure you know, but you can also do this with most of the other varieties of winter squash. Alternatively I have roasted, then hacked (!!) kabocha into thick wedges, skin and all, and frozen these for nigh on a year- they defrost pretty amazingly, at least in my experience. Hope that helps!

  • liz
    November 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    we are having the exact same thing for dinner! reheated chicken tikka masala made from your recipe. SO good!!!

  • jenna k
    November 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    love this post! i’m not quite in real life yet, but i never ever cook every night. i’m always too busy studying, fake studying, watching tv, reading blogs, etc, to do so. 🙂 since i’m just cooking for one, it’s so easy to make a meal that has a few servings and then have a couple meals of leftovers. even my mom would always double the recipe for us when we were kids, and i’m sure i’ll be the same way when i enter “real” adulthood.

  • Mel @ Post Grad Mel
    November 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I guess it’s those ‘real life’ moments that make the special or exciting ones mean so much more! I was so intimidated by your Channa Masala recipe for the longest time! But I made it earlier this summer and felt so accomplished! Also, just saw your tweet about your book! Very exciting…I know you must be anxious!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    November 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Frozen leftovers are the best–especially for busy weeks!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    November 7, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I am a HUGE fan of planned leftovers that I can put in the freezer and reheat as necessary. They save sanity, big time.

    I always say, cook once, eat twice. Meaning, make things with leftovers. It’s a working mom’s sanity saver 🙂

    And good for you for staying up and reading and getting your car registration submitted. Better late than never 🙂

  • Jen
    November 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I do this all the time! It is a huge life saver when school gets out of control and I can still eat my own homemade food!

  • Allison (Allison's Delicious Life)
    November 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I liiiiiive for making leftovers. Is that weird? I think yes. But, if I go to all the trouble to make something, I want to have lots and lots of leftovers so that I can be lazy every other day. The freezer is my bff.

  • Leslie Means @ Her View From Home
    November 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I love this. I grew up on a farm – and mom always had our freezer stocked!! Growing up in the country – you can’t simply run to the grocery store if you’re out of something. Breads, casseroles, pies, meats, you could find pretty much anything in the freezer. Today – I do the same thing…even though I have plenty of grocery stores nearby. 🙂

  • Ashley Lewis
    November 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    i wish i was better at this. The nights when I do not want to cook we usually just go out because I never freeze anything. If I have leftovers I usually eat it until I’m sick of it and then throw the rest away. 🙁 do you freeze it in your regular plastic tupperware and then defrost it in the microwave? I want to learn!!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    November 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    chipwiches for life!

  • Amanda
    November 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    It’s nice to know you also rely on your freezer for week-night meals. 🙂 I also eat a lot of hummus and chips/tortilla/whatever carb I have on hand when I need a quick lunch or dinner.

  • Julia @ La Petite Maison Verte
    November 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I love this post! After completely giving up store-bought prepared foods I’ve started using my freezer to keep 1-2 portions of leftovers for busy weeknights. I made your Chana Masala a few weeks ago and my hubs and I both devoured it, then I ate the leftovers the next day for lunch. Next time I’ll double it so I have enough left to freeze 🙂

  • Alexa @ SimpleEats
    November 7, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Definitely need to make meals and freeze them more often…although I’d be perfectly content eating chipwiches every night.

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb
    November 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    my freezer is stashed right now. i’m a terrible leftover-eater and so my big batches of stews, chilis, etc. end up right in the freezer. i know i’ll be glad to have them though on cold winter nights.

  • Erin
    November 7, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    What a coincidence — I made the Kale and White Bean soup yesterday (I subbed butternut squash for the beets b/c I had those on hand and it was my first time cooking with leeks, go me!). Guess where all but one bowl ended up? That’s right, in my freezer. Can’t wait to pull some out when the snow starts falling! Thanks for the great recipe =)

  • Hilliary@HappilyEverHealthy
    November 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I love having healthy meals in the freezer! It makes weeknight dinners so much easier!

  • Emily
    November 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I LOVE this post. The most important thing is to enjoy life. There’s no sense in slaving away in the kitchen every. single. night. It would make cooking turn into a chore rather than a joy and none of us want that! Sometimes leftovers are the way to go. Thank God for the freezer. 🙂

  • Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count
    November 8, 2011 at 5:18 am

    I love to have things in the freezer ready to re-heat. I don’t do it often enough, but I’m trying to get back to it.

  • Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning
    November 8, 2011 at 5:21 am

    I think that this is one of my favorite blog posts I’ve ever read! Making extras to have leftovers and freezing them is such a basic idea- yet so brilliant! I could simplify my life a lot by doing this.
    The turkey burgers sound so good- I’m actually thinking of making them tonight! I don’t have any feta in the house, so I might sub it out and use goat cheese instead… and maybe throw a little sage in there too. 🙂

  • Laura@mypurposefullife
    November 8, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Love this post! I love how relatable, honest, and funny all of your posts are. You make reading your blog one of the things I most look forward to every day. Thank you! Amen to freezer food. That’s unfortunately how I eat most weeknights with my late work schedule. I’m gonna have to make some of your favorites for next week!

  • Lindsey
    November 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I bought a deep freeze recently so I could store my overflowing collection of entrees that I have been freezing. I also have a small ice cream addiction known as any flavor of Blue Bell. Try some next time your in Texas.

  • Liz
    November 8, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Amen sister.

  • Ellen
    November 8, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Speaking of concealer, do you recommend a good under eye concealer? I’m looking for one, but I wouldn’t know where to begin to choose among so many. Thanks!

    • jenna
      November 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      I love “erase paste” by Benefit!

      • Ellen
        November 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

        Thanks for the advice!