This is the best way to plan your freezer meals when you are too busy during the week! Simply print off your shopping list and start assembling freezer dinners!
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This week we are celebrating back to school days! And if there is one thing I’ve learned, the next few weeks are going to be chaotic. We are figuring out a new evening routine and balancing homework.
The absolute last thing that I am going to be wanting to do is making dinner. While I’d love to skip the dinner mess and for us to be able to eat out each night, I know that is unrealistic!
So that means we need some sort of plan for those nights where we simply don’t have the bandwidth to cook.
…and our plans include freezer meals!
If you aren’t already incorporating freezer meals in your weekly meals, I wanted to help you get started.
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What are Freezer Meals
Freezer meals are specifically dinners that are completely prepared ahead of time, stored in the freezer and cooked the evening you need it! Traditionally the meals are assembled in freezer bags and laid flat in your freezer. They are usually very inexpensive to make and help you get dinner on the table faster.
You may have seen freezer meal parties online. They are popular because you can prep more than 12 dinners in just one hour! But you don’t need any parties here. I want to show exactly the process that I follow to make my freezer meals in just thirty minutes.
Types of Freezer Meals
While thinking of the most popular one-gallon freezer bags, you may be surprised to know that freezer meals are also stored in half bake pans. These are awesome ways to prep because you simply pop your bake pan into the oven when you need dinner!
In addition to baking your dinner, you can also use your slow cooker or instant pot. I’ve found that a lot of freezer meals are really good slow cooker dinners. But be careful– not every slow cooker dinner is a good freezer meal (keep reading!).
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What Types of Meal That You Shouldn’t Freeze
This is important, too! While every meal seems like a perfect freezer meal, you may find a little bit disappointed in some cream-based freezer meals. Think of creamy sauces or anything mayo-based.
Another type of freezer meals that may not turn out well? Dishes that include fully cooked pasta & rice. The texture becomes a little too soggy. Ideally, if you have a dinner that would pair well with pasta or rice, boil it while you’re baking your freezer meal!
And this is true in the restaurant industry. After college Jordan worked at a certain nationwide chain that offers unlimited pasta at certain times of the year. There, they mixed in their noodles in the soup as they were serving the dish to avoid any sogginess. #theMoreYouKnow
Here is My Favorite Planning Site, My FreezEasy
I want to be very clear about my freezer meal process, I don’t do it all by myself!
Rather than struggle and feel overwhelmed with making so many dinners at once, I rely on MyFreezEasy.
Freezer meals are more than just My FreezEasy. My FreezEasy is one of the biggest names in the freezer meal space. The mission is providing you with almost zero effort meal planning & cooking. It’s a system that I happily support (and use!) for when you simply don’t have enough time in the day.
If you need gluten-free options, Keto-friendly, Whole 30 meals, or Instant Pot recipes, you can find them all on My FreezEasy. I like the ability to pick and choose based on what the four of us want, not what someone else thinks we should prep.
Erin is super generous and gives away so many free meal plans to help every mom get started with meal planning! She has tons of recipes for those who love tacos (me!) and ideas for the Instant Pot fans!
Please join this FREE workshop and you’ll receive your meal plan, lists, and so much advice for making your first dinner successful!
How I Make Freezer Meals
Using the My FreezEasy process, I pick out the recipes that sound good for dinner.
Then I will head to the grocery store with my shopping list. Once I arrive back home, I’ll start chop and prepping the assembly bags. Then I prep for any marinades or sauces.
Once everything is cut & mixed, I start assembling my freezer meals! To avoid making a mess, I use the freezer meal bag holders. They are like an extra set of hands! So cool. I have four sets now to make sure that I have more than enough for a power hour of prepping.
What may seem like a lot of steps is pretty straightforward, even if you’re doing multiple dinners at once!
Quick Sides for Freezer Meals
When I meal plan for the week, I usually add a side to my freezer meals. They are usually pretty simple. Here are a few sides we enjoy most weeknights:
- Instant Rice (use chicken broth in place of water for extra flavor!)
- Frozen Bags of Steamed Veggies from the Grocery Store
- Bag Mix Salads
- Oven-Baked Rolls or Biscuits
- Instant Rice Mixes
- Oven Roasted Red Potatoes
How to Use Freezer Meals
While you might think, don’t you just eat them? But there is way more to it than just that! When you are meal planning for the week, think of the nights where you’re likely going to be pressed for time. Choose a freezer meal for that night.
Unless you’ll be strapped for time, I wouldn’t use up a freezer meal on a Saturday or Sunday night.
Or, do you have a friend or neighbor who just had a baby? Pack her freezer with some meals! Do the same for a friend who recently had a procedure or got out of the hospital. When you do this, be sure to add a post-it note with cooking instructions.
Your simple dinner could brighten someone’s day with almost no effort on your part.
How Much to Make
Your freezer meals will usually be in a one-gallon bag in size or one small half pan for baking. Your freezer meal recipe will include meat amounts.
However, you already know my favorite trick to avoid food waste. I use that method to make sure we have just a little bit extra for lunches at work. And just like any other dinner, there is virtually no leftovers to throw away!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with cooking dinner every night, please consider adding freezer meals to your meal plans. You can spend one afternoon prepping your dinners and be good to go for weeks at a time. It’s a complete-time saver for those nights when you need the easy button.
Don’t forget to download your recipe book!
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