I never thought much about freezer meals until a couple years ago, right before I had Allison. I made a couple lunches here and there to freeze for when we needed it, but that was it. Before Allison was born, I did research and fell in love with the concept of having a meal right there in the freezer, ready for me to take out and cook! Since then, I’ve done one or two monthly meal sessions and quite a few single meals to help us out. I’ve learned 3 ways to make freezer meals, and I’d like to share them with you to hopefully encourage you busy people to save money by keeping prepared meals in the freezer!
1. Spending 2-4 hours in the kitchen preparing dinners for the week/month. This method does take a lot of time, money, and effort up front. But taking one Sunday afternoon a week, or a month, to prep a bunch of meals, will save you even more time, money, and effort later on. There are so many websites that teach you how and include recipes! I have a board on Pinterest specifically for freezer meal sessions that you can check out, and I hope to include my own post on freezer meal sessions in the future!
Here are some great freezer meal pages I’ve found over the years! I’ve made quite a few of them and haven’t been disappointed.
2. Make one batch of breakfast/lunches for the week. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; don’t skip it! Take maybe an hour of prep on Sunday and have breakfast for your family for the entire week.
We love to make large batches of pancakes/waffles on the weekend and use them for the next week! We let them cool on a cooling rack on top of a baking pan (or you could probably use just parchment paper on the baking pan), and then place them in the freezer to “flash freeze” them. Once they’re frozen, we put them in a Ziploc bag. Freezing them first ensures that they don’t all stick together in one big pancake clump when it’s time to get them out!
You can also make things like baked oatmeal or breakfast burritos. For lunch, you can do so many things! My favorite recipe is this Santa Fe rice and beans. You can let the chicken cook in the slow cooker for a few hours, then prep the rest of the ingredients when the chicken’s done. Freeze them in individual containers and there’s your lunch for the week! It’s so much cheaper to make these than it is to buy the pre-made stuff at the store.
3. Double a recipe once a week. This is probably the least time consuming way to make freezer meals! It may not even cost any extra; how many times have we bought things like carrots or bell peppers for a recipe but didn’t need all of it, and it went to waste? Instead, use them to double the recipe and freeze half! We do this often at our house, and it’s so nice knowing that we now have an extra dinner in the freezer for emergencies.
I just did this earlier this week with the Slow Cooker Parmesan Chicken Sandwiches (You can see the recipe here!). There are only 3 people in our family and Allison barely eats anyway, so we had a LOT left over. I didn’t technically double the recipe, but since it makes so much it can double as spaghetti sauce too, so we froze half in a gallon-sized freezer bag and will probably use it in a couple weeks.
No matter how big your family is or how busy you are, you can benefit from freezer meals! Take either a few hours once a month, or maybe a half hour a week, and have meals ready whenever you need it!
Have you ever made freezer meals? What are your favorite recipes? Share with us below!
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.