I’d be lost without meals in my freezer. These meals are often a supper-saver and prevent us from eating one more meal out. I’d love to say they prevent us from eating any meals out, but that’s not possible when there are nights we’re not even home!
Putting the meals together is a chore I dread–until one day I get up and think, “Today I’m going to put twenty meals in the freezer!” Really, that’s how it works. If I know I have to do it, it is a monster chore that is dreaded. But, I know that the day will come when it seems like a challenge–MUCH better attitude!
Over the years, I’ve put together many lists of freezer meals. Open just about any drawer, cookbook or old planner in my kitchen and you’ll probably find a list. Each list basically has the same things on it, because I do the same meals. I’ve added a few ‘keepers’ over the years, but for the most part, I know what my family likes and I know how those meals freeze. Here’s two lists for you, one of tips and the other of some meal ideas.
- start with a list of meals, then create your shopping list. Make the meals you know so you’re not trying to figure out new recipes when you want to make a lot of meals
- mass produce–chop all the onions you’ll need at one time, fry all the burger you’ll need, etc
- make at least two meals of each one on your recipe. It takes about two minutes more to assemble TWO lasagnas and you’ll double the amount in your freezer.
- use disposable pans and ziplock baggies. The only drawback of the disposable tin pans is you can’t thaw them in the microwave so you have to remember to set out the frozen meal ahead of time. Use FREEZER baggies
- When covering your meal, put plastic wrap on top and then a sheet of tinfoil. This prevents freezer burn. Mark the date, name of meal and baking directions on the foil with a permanent marker. ALSO, write on foil in huge letters, REMOVE PLASTIC WRAP BEFORE BAKING. Trust me on this one, you’ll be glad you wrote it!!
- Use your crock pot. There are many meals you can assemble, completely raw, in a freezer bag. In the morning, you simply dump the frozen meal out of the bag and into the crock pot and cook on low for the day.
- Don’t freeze raw potatoes. They turn brown in the freezer. It’s easy to just add your raw potatoes before baking.
- Don’t underestimate the value of a few freezer bags of browned beef (tacos, spaghetti) and de-boned chicken (noodle soup, chicken salad)
My meal ideas:
- Mexican lasagna
- pork chops and rice
- beef stew
- chicken/noodle dishes
- shepherds pie
- ready-to-bake chicken
- breakfast burritos
This is just a few ideas to get you thinking. Make things your family likes! Maybe the meal isn’t as perfect as if you made it fresh, but it’s always better than fast food!
The best part of freezer meals is you always have a meal ready to share with someone else. It’s an easy way to help someone out and you don’t have to run to the store or feel that panic of wondering how you’ll get one more thing done.
Freezer meals–it’s a life saver at our house!