Let’s be honest- we’re all busy, and dinnertime can be really hectic, especially if you have kids. Having a meal plan certainly helps, but sometimes you just don’t want to have to worry about dinner, or even breakfast on busy mornings.
You need a fast and easy way to feed your family! This is where quick freezer meals come in.
Now sometimes with freezer meals you probably think of the 3-hour power sessions where you assemble a whole month’s worth of meals. That’s efficient, but definitely not quick!
You don’t have to make 30 meals at one time; you can just stick with one, or even two, and make a huge difference in your stress levels. Not only that, but having at least something in the freezer will save you money when you realize you have nothing for dinner and want to just order pizza.
Here are 5 simple categories to keep in mind when coming up with quick freezer meals. You can have a separate cooking session for these, or even double a recipe you plan on making that night. It requires almost no extra effort, and you already have the ingredients out!
The recipes you see below are ones I’ve personally made and know freeze well.
Breakfast items may be one of the easier categories to make and freeze. Most of my freezer breakfasts involve muffins, pancakes, or oatmeal bakes- things I can just bake real quick in the morning and stick in a freezer bag once they’ve cooled. Here are my favorites:
- Banana oat Greek yogurt muffins
- Freezer pancakes
- Blueberry baked oatmeal
- Freezer-friendly pumpkin zucchini bread
- Freezer-friendly pumpkin french toast
Chicken dump meals
Dump meals are a simple concept- you put all the ingredients in a bag and just stick in the freezer until you need it. This includes chicken- raw or frozen, chopped/sliced vegetables, and condiments/spices. And for the most part, these recipes don’t need to be thawed first! Just dump the contents of the bag in your slow cooker, turn it on LOW, and come back at dinnertime to a fully cooked meal.
If you’re worried about putting frozen chicken in a slow cooker, don’t be. Six to eight hours is plenty of time to fully cook the chicken and I’ve never had any problems, but always check for done-ness anyway before you serve it.
Pasta bakes and enchiladas are two kinds of freezer meals that, to me, are best made in a double batch while you cook dinner. These take a little extra time, but can be made much quicker while you’re preparing dinner as well!
Buying the extra ingredients doesn’t cost much more money, especially if you get some of these items on sale. I’ve found that it’s much easier to thaw these casseroles first overnight before baking because if not, it could take over an hour for these to fully cook.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a batch of sauce in the freezer, ready to pull out for dinner? I make spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce quite a bit, as they’re pretty much mandatory staples in my house. You can put frozen sauce in a pot and reheat it that way, but I prefer to let it thaw first, at least a little. My freezer bags tend to be wider than my pot so the fully-frozen sauces won’t fit!
I love making a huge batch of soup and then freezing half for later! I tend to make way too much for my family of 3, so soup regularly finds itself being frozen.
Chili works very well for this, as well as vegetable soups. Creamy soups, like blended potato soup, may look a little weird at first as it thaws because it tends to separate. Once you reheat it and stir thoroughly, though, it’s good as new!
Having those quick freezer meals available can be such a life-saver! As you can see, you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen or spend a ton of money at once. Just do a little at a time and soon your freezer will be full!
What are some of your favorite quick freezer meals? Leave a comment and give us ideas!
Be sure to check my other posts in the ABCs of Frugal Living series!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.