Freezer Meals



There's a running joke amongst my friends and family that I'd freeze anything that crossed my path, and it's TRUE. There is no better feeling than knowing you have a meal ready to roll, and that has become even more true now that our hands have become more full with a baby! Here are a few of my favorite meals to freeze, some random ideas and my favorite tips and supplies!


Meals:

Cajun Dirty Rice Casserole: This might be one of our favorite recipes of all time!

Baked Spaghetti

Greek Meatballs (we serve these over orzo with feta and store-bought tzaziki!)

Tuscan Chicken Cakes : These are on repeat at our house too, pretty healthy and super easy to heat up in a pan from frozen.

Moco Loco This is the MOST fun recipe we loved from our time in Hawaii. You'll still need to make rice, gravy and fry an egg, but it's the best speedy comfort food.

The BEST Burgers : We fell in love with this recipe during the Pandemic and now we have at least 2 in our freezer at all times, ready to grill.

Chicken Skewers : You can freeze these IN the marinade, thaw and put them on the skewers!

Hawaiian Pork Burgers : A really fun spin on normal burgers!

Beef and Bean Enchiladas (I use this recipe and add ground beef to the bean mixture)

Enchilada Meatballs

Chicken Ceasar Pasta: This is so unique and a family favorite. Just add the croutons once you are ready to bake!

Lil' Cheddar Meatloaves: We could eat these every week! We barely ever have enough to freeze because they make the best leftover sandwiches.

No Churn Ice Cream : Bonus recipe, but one of our favorite freezer experiments! This is SO easy and fun to customize with different ingredients.


Random Things I've Frozen:

- Tomato paste: I measured into tablespoon sized balls and used the Press N' Seal method below. I cut or pull one apart each time I need it!

- Costco sheet cake: I have a MAJOR weakness for this stuff, especially when I was pregnant. Slice into pieces before freezing so you can pull out one at a time.

- Raw cookie dough: Just roll it up into balls before baking and place in the freezer! Bake a few extra minutes from frozen, or thaw and eat raw (SHHH!).

- Bacon: Since I discovered this, I do it with every pack of bacon I bring home! Take each piece and roll it up like a Fruit Roll Up, and place on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen, place the rolls in a bag. It's easiest to chop from frozen, or you can pop it in the microwave for 5 seconds to help it unroll before frying.

- Chopped onion: I love doing this and pulling it out for small recipes!

- Pizza dough or pizza "kits": We always have a ball of store bought pizza dough on hand for our favorite grilled pizzas. Sometimes if I make a pizza and have half of the ingredients leftover, I will freeze a "kit" of cooked sausage, pizza sauce, dough and even cheese!

- Butter: I never have an issue using up alll the butter, but if you want to keep some on hand, you can easily freeze it and it lasts forever.


Materials:

- Glad Press N' Seal: YOU MUST have this on hand for your daily life, but especially when freezing. I do a layer of this touching the top of any frozen casserole to prevent freezer burn, and then wrap foil around it. For anything in "patty" form that needs separating, I place one piece sticky side up, put the patties or balls on there spaced out, then place another piece sticky side down over top. You can then "seal" around each patty by pressing the sticky sides together in the gaps.

- Disposable aluminum pans: I get multiples of these in different sizes based on if I'm doubling or halving a recipe. They're of course at any grocery or major store, but also snag the at the Dollar Tree!

- Food scale: For ground beef, we prefer to buy it in bulk at Costco and divide it up into one pound sections. To do this, we wrap the scale in Press N Seal so it doesn't get messy, then place another piece sticky side up on top. From there, my husband puts a hunk of meat on the scale, we get it to a pound and I flatten them out and wrap it up!


Tips:

- If you're freezing anything in "ball" form (cookie dough, meatballs, or my rolled bacon), put them on a sheet pan lined with foil and place them in the freezer first. Once they're frozen, you can roll them into a Ziplock bag.

- Make sure to mark if the meal is cooked or not. I have had some questionable moments where I struggled to remember, especially with sleep deprivation!

- Label the recipe with the instructions on the outside, including anything you need to prep along with it. If you decide to add the layer of plastic under the foil like I mention below, add a note about that too. I often forget and put the whole thing in the oven- whoops!

- If you're freezing bread, it helps to put a paper towel in the bag along with the bread to soak up moisture. I prefer to slice it ahead of time so I can pull out one piece at a time.

- Depending on the recipe and my space, I will either double a recipe and freeze one, or halve a larger recipe (makes two portions for two people, basically). Most websites have a tool that will allow you to adjust the serving size, but if not I love to use a site like this. If it's a simple, short recipe sometimes I can trust my brain, but there have been times that I double some ingredients but not all- yikes!

- If you're freezing meat (see my ground beef tip below!), make sure to flatten it into discs before freezing to make it easier to store and thaw.

- We get most of our meat in bulk at Costco and divide it up. In addition to ground beef, ribs and chicken, we love to get their pre-shredded cooked rotisserie chicken and freeze that in 1 or 2 cup portions to use in recipes.

- If you prefer not to use store bought-chicken, cook several chicken breasts and shred it in your KitchenAid or crockpot then freeze that in portions!

- I mention portions often here, because I love having individual servings of things like cookies, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, bread, etc. that I can pull out one at a time.

- You can freeze entire Crockpot meals with liquid or marinade and place the block in your Crockpot (adjusting the time). If you freeze anything liquid-y (chili, sauce, soup), place it in a Ziplock and lay it flat to freeze so that you can stack them on top of each other and save space.

- I have several shelves in our freezer that I divide out by "theme": carbs, dessert, protein, veggies, and breakfast. One of the best purchases we have made for our home was a $100 fridge from Craigslist that we basically use exclusively for frozen meals/meat, beer and drinks!

- We also refill and freeze water bottles to use as ice packs when packing for trips and coolers.


I hope this helps spur some creativity when it comes to your freezer. It can be an easy process if you think about it as you go, and it makes the hugest difference when nights get busy!