I love making freezer meals because it makes life a little bit easier. Between being a mom, wife, and busy business owner, I’ve been known to let dinner slide and grab takeout too often.
In order to take away my excuses for just needing something quick and easy, I started making freezer meals. Let me tell you – they are a LIFE changer. So easy, so yummy, and it saves so much time!
What are freezer meals?
Freezer meals are meals you put together ahead of time so that you can take them out and cook them at a later time. You can combine the raw ingredients so that all you have to do is throw it in the slow cooker on your way to work and voila – it’s ready when you’re home! Or, you can even have it fully cooked so all you have to do is thaw it and warm it up.
3 Benefits of make ahead freezer meals
There are so many benefits to homemade freezer meals, but I’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 that I’ve benefited from.
- Ultimately cuts back on time – you can create make ahead freezer meals to keep your weeknight dinners quick and simple!
- Keeps you from impulsively going out to eat – When I don’t have dinner made or don’t feel like cooking, it’s an easy excuse to go out to eat or to grab dinner on the way home. Homemade freezer meals take the excuse out and keep it simple for you to eat at home!
- Saves your budget – You can use similar ingredients for different make ahead freezer meals, ultimately cutting your costs down! Plus, you’re saving money by not going out to eat when you don’t have dinner made.
How to store freezer meals properly
- Use gallon ziplock baggies – they’re space savers and can be frozen flat, making it easy to store in the freezer.
- If you’re making something like lasagna or chicken pot pie, it’s better to make it with the raw ingredients before you bake it. It saves space in the freezer because you can store it in the pan you would bake it in instead of each ingredient in separate containers. It’s already made, and all you have to do is pull it out, thaw it (if necessary!), and bake it.
- Make sure you leave room in the container you store it in so that when it expands, it doesn’t leak or burst all over your freezer (I know this from experience ).
How to thaw a homemade freezer meal the right way
There are a few ways you can thaw your freezer meals. You can thaw them in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish. Or simply leave them to thaw in the refrigerator for a day or two before eating them. You can also thaw them in cold water that morning before you cook it for dinner.
37 Easy Freezer Meals To make your life easier!
Easy Taco Casserole
To cook: Follow the recipe and then cover it with foil or saran wrap and label it. To reheat it, let it thaw overnight in your refrigerator. Bake it covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil and let it continue baking until the top is browned. Find the full recipe here. (Eating on a Dime)
Crock-Pot Cheesy Chicken Potato & Broccoli
To cook: Add all the ingredients except the cheese into a gallon freezer bag. Freeze it. When you’re ready to use, thaw in the fridge overnight. Cook in the Crock-Pot for 6 hours on low. Add the cheese, then cook on high for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir the cheese in. Enjoy! You can find the full recipe here. (Mommy’s Fabulous Finds)
Country Breakfast Bowls
To cook: Follow the recipe. If you plan to eat them between 4-5 days, you can leave in the fridge. Otherwise, put in the refrigerator for a bit before transferring to the freezer. This one is extra yummy!! (Budget Bytes)
Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
To cook: You can prepare this one a couple of ways. First, combine all the ingredients together and place in the Crock-Pot bowl, cover it, and store it in the fridge for 3 days. Then when you’re ready to cook it, just transfer to the Crock-Pot burner and cook following the instructions. Or, you can place all ingredients into a gallon bag, lay flat and freeze. (Momables)
To cook: Place all ingredients in a gallon bag, lay flat and freeze. Thaw when you’re ready to eat and follow the recipe’s directions. You can cook on high for 1 hour, or low for 4-6 hours. (Grace and Good Eats)
To cook: Assemble in an aluminum baking pan, cover with cling wrap and then seal with aluminum foil. You can place them in large Ziploc bags after you’ve sealed them just for an extra layer of protection if you’d like. Click here for the recipe! (Family Savvy)
Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole
To cook: Assemble the recipe, then double wrap with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Freeze it. Thaw overnight and top with cheese for the last 15 minutes. Find the recipe here! (Joyful Momma’s Kitchen)
Crock-Pot Beef Ragu
To cook: Add the seasoned beef, tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, celery, garlic cloves, onion, and Italian seasoning into a gallon-size freezer bag. Make sure to defrost the meal in the refrigerator 24 hours before putting it into the slow cooker. Mix ingredients together so they are evenly distributed before turning on the slow cooker. Pour in the beef stock (or red wine) and follow the instructions from there. (Eat This, Not That!)
Chicken Noodle Soup
To cook: Add the chicken, celery, carrots, onion, garlic cloves, and salt into a gallon-size freezer bag. Defrost the meal in the refrigerator 24 hours before putting it into the slow cooker. Pour in the chicken stock and follow the recipe! (Eat This, Not That!)
Beef & Broccoli
To cook: Add the whisked sauce mixture to one smaller sandwich bag, then add it to a larger gallon-size freezer bag with the beef and broccoli. Defrost the meal in the refrigerator 24 hours before putting it into your Crock-Pot. Add the beef stock and follow the instructions. (Eat This, Not That!)
To cook: put enchiladas in a freezer-safe dish. Cover with aluminum foil after topping with extra cheese and place it in the freezer! When you’re ready to bake, remove from freezer and let thaw in the fridge all day. Bake as normal according to the instructions here! (Live Craft Eat)
Chicken & Steak Fajitas
To cook: Thaw the Ziploc bag and add a small amount of oil to a large skillet over medium heat, stir in bag contents and cook, stirring often until cooked throughout and veggies are tender. Add the fixings and enjoy! Find the recipe here from Smart Money Mom.
To cook: You can use the Instant Pot or Crock-Pot for this one. Click here for the recipe from Pinch of Yum!
Chicken & Spinach Stuffed Manicotti
To cook: Cover with foil and place the pan on a cookie sheet so it freezes flat. When you’re ready to use, cook from frozen for 60 -75 minutes at 350 degrees. Find the recipe here. (One Hundred Dollars A Month)
Chicken, Broccoli, Bacon & Potato Bake
To cook: Thaw overnight. Bake covered for one hour or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes until the cheese is bubbly. (Kylee Cooks)
Shrimp & Veggie Stir Fry
To cook: Add to skillet and cook through! Find the recipe here. (Smart Money Mom)
Hawaiian Sweet Roll Sliders
To cook: Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, covered straight from the freezer. Click here for the recipe. (Make Ahead Meal Mom)
Beef Tortilla Taco Casserole
To cook: Thaw overnight or until completely thawed in the refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until center is hot (165°F) and cheese is melted. (Pillsbury)
To cook: Thaw for one hour before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble. (Six Sisters’ Stuff)
Chicken and Avocado Burritos
To cook: Assemble the burritos and enjoy! (Closet Cooking)
To cook: This recipe calls for you to cook the recipe beforehand, then freeze. To reheat, put them in the microwave for about 1 – 1 ½ minutes. (A Cultivated Nest)
Lemon Garlic Dump Chicken
To cook: Thaw chicken. Pour chicken and marinade into a baking dish, turn chicken to coat. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes. (One Good Thing)
Baked Chicken Nuggets
To cook: Once they’re breaded, freeze them flat for 1 hour, then transfer to Ziploc bags and store up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake them, bake frozen nuggets as directed in step 4 of the recipe. (Natasha’s Kitchen)
Red Beans and Rice
To cook: This recipe is super easy and tasty. Who doesn’t love a good red beans and rice recipe?! (A Pinch of Healthy)
Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole
To cook: Let it thaw completely and bake covered 20 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes. Check out the recipe here. (Eating on a Dime)
20 Minute Tuscan Pasta
To cook: Frozen, bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until heated through. (Six Sister’s Stuff)
To cook: Let thaw and cook according to the recipe. Serve with tortillas or taco shells and the fixings. (Cheap Good Eats)
Chicken Chili with White Beans
To cook: Thaw and heat up on the stove or in the microwave. Before freezing, make sure to let it cool completely first. (Good Cheap Eats)
To cook: Cook from frozen on low for 6 hours or until chicken is thoroughly cooked, or thaw overnight in the refrigerator overnight and cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Enjoy! (One Hundred Dollars a Month)
Baked Chicken Taquitos
To cook: place the taquitos on a lined baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. (Our Best Bites)
Chicken Philly Cheesesteak
To cook: Add all ingredients to a freezer bag, except cheese. When you’re ready to cook it, follow the recipe’s directions. Yummy!! (The Family Freezer)
Skinny Cheddar Stuffed Meatballs
To cook: Thaw completely before following the directions on the recipe. (Maebells)
Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
To cook: Cover with tin foil after making the recipe to freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight to bake the next day. Follow the directions on the recipe to bake! (Thirty Handmade Days)
To cook: After cooling to room temperature, cover with foil and freeze. When ready to eat, reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. If you thaw the pie in the fridge the night before, only heat for 30 minutes! (The Pioneer Woman)
To cook: Bake thawed uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. (Beauty Through Imperfection)
Baked Mac and Cheese
To cook: Let casserole thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake it according to the recipe. If it’s still a bit frozen in the middle, bake longer until heated through. If it starts to brown too much, cover it with foil! (Thriving Home Blog)
Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
To cook: you can either let it thaw first and then bake, or bake from frozen. If you bake it from frozen, you may need to tent the top with foil to prevent the cheese from burning before the center is hot. Follow the recipe’s instructions here! (Wholesome Yum)
Freezer meals are perfect for saving money and making your life easier. They’ve saved me so much time and headaches from cooking dinner when I would rather go out to eat or I just flat out don’t want to cook.
Let me know in the comments which recipes you make and how it saves you time and money. Enjoy!!
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