10 freezable meals that would make the greatest gifts

Little labours of love they’ll be so happy to receive.

Little labours of love they’ll be so happy to receive

(Left, photography by David Bagosy; middle, source: Jackie Kai Ellis; right: CBC Life)

One of the sweetest things you can give someone (besides a whole box of festive cookies) is the gift of not having to make dinner. It's even sweeter when you make it for them, from scratch. So this holiday season, since the dinner party is on hiatus, we wholeheartedly recommend cooking up a little something special for someone on your list that can be frozen and enjoyed over the holidays, or pulled out of the deep freeze in 2021! 

Maybe your friends will be missing your famous lasagna, making it the perfect parcel to drop off porch-side. But if you don't have a go-to recipe in your back pocket, we've found 10 ideas from our archives that make marvellous freezable presents. So scroll down to select a little labour of love that they'll be so grateful to warm up on a future winter's night.

Don't forget to brush up on the shelf life of frozen foods and best practices for safe defrosting

Pork and Chive Dumplings

(Credit: Jackie Kai Ellis)

This big batch Chinese dumplings recipe from Canadian chef Jackie Kai Ellis' family vault is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the kitchen — and you could even get your family involved in the process, too. This recipe makes 250-300 delicious dumplings, so you can package them and drop them to lots of people on your list (and freeze some for yourself).

In her article about how to freeze and reheat foods, Jessica Brooks recommends you "freeze them first in a single layer on a baking sheet so they don't stick together, then pop them into a container once frozen."

Grandma Gretzky's Great Perogies

(Klorofil Publishing)

Grandma Gretzky's Great Perogies (yes, Gretzky as in Wayne) are a pretty perfect present to make and give this season. Loaded with cheese and potatoes, and super-freezer-friendly, what's not to love? These are also best frozen in a single layer before transferring to a container for gifting.

Rapini and Sausage Baked Pasta

They'll be so glad to have something decadent and cheesy to heat up and savour on a cold, snowy night. This bake makes two 2-quart trays of pasta, which will serve 6-8, so you can gift them both... or it could be a 'one for you, one for me' situation.

A big batch of meatballs

(Photography by: David Bagosy, Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

These very versatile meatballs can be added into many warming meals this winter. Bake them before freezing and your giftee can unfreeze as many as they need at a time to add to recipes like soups, spaghetti or even meatball subs. For an added treat, you could also make them some spaghetti sauce to tuck away into the deep freeze, too. 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Simple but impressive, Sweet Potato Gnocchi is another ideal meal for a doorstep dropoff this season. As with some of the other recipes on this roundup, freeze them in a single layer before popping them into a cute, freezer-friendly container for gifting. 

Cabbage Rolls

They'll be so happy to have a big batch of hearty cabbage rolls to throw into the oven this winter. This recipe from Steven Sabados' mother makes six servings, but you can absolutely scale up if you're making multiple gifts! Bake and package in freezer-safe casserole containers, sauce and all. 

Quiche Lorraine with Gruyère Cheese and Onions

(Photo: David Bagosy; Styling: Melissa Direnzo)

How wonderful would it be to receive a ready-made brunch? That's why we highly recommend giving a quiche they can pop in the oven over the holidays, or warm to at some point this winter. To prep this one for gifting, just bake as instructed, cool, and then freeze on a baking sheet before wrapping in an air-tight container or a large freezer bag, and it's ready for a socially distant drop-off!

Winter Pappa al Pomodoro

(Image: Dennis The Prescott)

A warming soup for a cold night — and the perfect choice for vegan friends and family! Mix up a big batch of this rustic, from-scratch tomato soup from Dennis the Prescott that we're certain anyone on your list will be so excited to receive. Freeze multiple portions in old takeout containers, or in smaller microwave-safe containers for easy single servings, too. 

Stuffed Shells

Featuring a vegetable-loaded bolognese, this is another delicious pasta bake to make and gift. Freeze in a cute tray, or one of the aluminum ones, for a very special dinner they can save for a special night.

Lasagne Verde Alla Bolognese

(Photography by Eric Wolfinger)

A labour of love, this lasagne is a showstopper — and a close-kept secret of Italian pasta maestra, Alessandra Spisni. Featured in Evan Funke and Katie Parla's cookbook American Sfoglino, this homemade dish with a vibrant green spinach pasta dough would be an absolute dream to receive. According to Jessica Brooks' freezing food how-to tips, "remember to undercook the pasta if you're freezing it right in its sauce so that it doesn't overcook and turn out mushy when it reheats."


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