If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m an avid fan of freezer cooking. I started about five years ago experimenting with it, and ever since having two children, it has made life so much easier.
Freezer cooking is the one answer I have to getting a full dinner on the table just about every weeknight; I usually pull at least two meals from the freezer each week. Meeting at school, doctor’s appointment, and writing deadline? No problem, my casserole is all ready to be thrown in the oven.
Every time I post on social media about my freezer cooking, I get tons of questions and requests for recipes – so today I’m doing a round-up of all of our family favorite freezer meals!
I typically will put together some meals on a lazy Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, and I try to prepare three or four different batches of meals – any more than that, and I get burnt out and want to stop. There are all kinds of ways to do freezer cooking, from doubling a meal one at a time to marathon cooking sessions that last all day and leave you with 20 different meals. I tend to do my freezer cooking in small stages – like if I know I’m going to be whipping up several meals this weekend, I’ll maybe cook and shred a bunch of chicken or chop the needed vegetables a few days beforehand to cut down on my steps that day.
One a-ha moment for me was using 8×8 foil pans and dividing a recipe meant for a 9×13 pan into two. So instead of one humongous casserole that we have to try to finish over the next week, we have two smaller meals that will each give us a dinner and maybe one lunch for Evan to take to work. If I double a recipe for a 9×13 casserole, which is really easy, I can get 4 dinners out of it by using 8×8 pans instead. Since there are only four of us, this works really well for our family. (I need to invest in some glass pans since I do this so much, but the foil pans are also nice to use when I am taking the meal to another family…)
Here are our family’s favorite freezer-friendly recipes for dinners… we keep things simple around here, so these recipes are pretty easy and inexpensive:
Mexican Stuffed Shells (My absolute favorite! Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything… I cook these and then freeze them, then just thaw and heat up in oven when you want to eat)
Beef Burrito Casserole (from Recipe Girl)
Tex Mex Mac and Cheese (from Once a Month Meals)
Meatballs (I do this recipe without the BBQ sauce. I form these, flash-freeze them uncooked on a baking sheet and then throw them in a freezer bag. On cooking day, I usually grab 10 or so to cook in the crockpot with spaghetti sauce to make spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs.)
Meatloaf (I freeze this uncooked.)
Bolognese Sauce (just cook noodles and add the thawed, warmed sauce!)
Pecan Crusted Chicken (from Once a Month Meals)
Chicken Salsa Verde (from Newleaf Wellness. This is my favorite crockpot freezer recipe!)
Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti (I have my own recipe, but it’s similar to this.)
Honey Dijon Chicken (from Plain Chicken)
Cheese Potatoes and Ham (from Once a Month Meals)
Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (from 6 Cents. I cook these only for 4 hours in my crockpot.)
Another thing I like to do is soup or stew. I prefer to do all the work before a busy night, so on a weekend, I’ll make a big batch of chili or soup, and then I’ll separate that into quart-size freezer bags and freeze the portions. Then, I just have to thaw the soup, heat it up on the stove, and pair it with salad/veggies, bread and butter, apple slices, grilled cheese sandwiches, or any other easy side. I’ve done this with:
Chili (from Julie’s Eats and Treats)
Chicken tortilla soup (from Happiness is Homemade)
Taco chili (from Grace and Good Eats)
Sausage spinach tomato soup (from Newleaf Wellness)
Potato soup (from The Pioneer Woman
My favorite sources for good freezer recipes are Once a Month Meals, Six Sisters’ Stuff, and New Leaf Wellness. Even if you don’t want to whip up a bunch of casseroles, you can still easily do prep work for your freezer, such as with meats. I love to cook a bunch of chicken at one time, shred it and then freeze it in 2-cup increments for when I need it for a recipe like Chicken Pot Pie. Same with browning ground beef and taco seasonings to freeze to throw on nachos, etc. later.
Hope you enjoy some of our family’s favorites – and I’d love to see your favorite freezer meals if you have any tried-and-true recipes!