Monday, February 17, 2014

Meal Plan Monday: Freezer Meals

To wrap up the Meal Plan Monday series, I thought I would share one of my favorite Meal Planning Methods: Freezer Meals.

While it takes some time {ok, a lot of time} to plan everything out and devote the time, knowing I have 10+ dinners in the freezer is totally worth it.

One of my best friends is bringing their baby girl home this week!  So I invaded her house over the weekend to stock their freezer with a few freezer meals.  On nights when someone isn't bringing them dinner, or family is unavailable, I thought she might like to have something to just pull out of the freezer!

How I plan for a day full of freezer meal cooking is similar to how I meal plan in general: what do I want to eat?  I think of everything I feel like eating, and think of all the prep work involved.  And then, I knock out all the prep!  Chopping vegetables, cooking beef, dicing chicken.  That's what takes all the time in the evenings.  If I can get that done in advance, getting dinner on the table is a cinch.

It seems a little daunting to get back from the store, lay everything out, and think "OMG.  What was I thinking?!"  I just pick a meal and get started.  Dive right in.

I'm a big fan of Crock-pot meals, and I love to take all of the ingredients, dump them into a bag and freeze.   Then, all I have to do is take the frozen block that will be dinner, and pop it right into the Crock-pot.  By the time I get home from work, its ready to eat.  

What you'll need:
-a list of what you want to make, and all the ingredients {then, go to the store and buy all of it...}
-ziplock freezer bags, gallon & sandwich size.
-plastic wrap & foil
-a sharpie

What I made:
-Chicken Enchilada Filling
2 chopped, cooked chicken breasts
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1/2 cup black beans {optional}
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Mix everything together, and freeze.  On cooking day, thaw in fridge, fill tortillas and cover in enchilada sauce and shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

-Red Chili: Dump everything into a freezer bag, mix gently until combined.  Freeze.  On cooking day, add frozen contents of bag to crock-pot and cook on low all day.  Stir occasionally.

-Creamy Italian Chicken
1 chicken breast per person, uncooked.
1/2 cup of water
1 packet of Dry Italian Dressing {with the powdered ranch}
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 block of cream cheese
Wide egg noodles

Mix water with dry Italian Dressing, add in uncooked chicken.  Freeze.  On cooking day, add frozen contents of bag to slow cooker.  Cook on low all day.  An hour before serving, mix cream of chicken soup with cream cheese on stove top until combined.  Pour over chicken in crock pot, stir.  Cook egg noodles until done, serve Creamy Chicken over noodles.

Other recipes that make great freezer meals:

My favorite Meatloaf!  Mix everything up, and form into a loaf {or two!}  Wrap uncooked meatloaf in plastic wrap, and then foil.  Store in a gallon freezer bag.  Place frozen meatloaf in refrigerator a day in advance so it has time to thaw and come to fridge temperature.  Cook as directed in recipe.

The Crock-pot version of my mom's Beef Stroganoff: Add everything, minus the last three ingredients on the list, into a gallon freezer bag.  Freeze it!  The day you want Beef Stroganoff for dinner, place frozen contents of the bag into the slow cooker on low* and pick up where the recipe reads "turn the slow cooker back to high..." and add in the flour {sans reserved broth}

*my Crock Pot cooks "hot."  Even on LOW, things tend to cook quickly, even from frozen.  Use your best judgment on temperature and time!

Pepperoni Stromboli!  Make/bake as directed.  Once they've cooled to room temperature, I usually cut each one in thirds {since they're SO long!} and wrap in plastic and then foil.  Store in freezer bags.  Will keep for at least two months in the freezer.  Thaw in the fridge, slice and heat in microwave or oven until warmed through.

Pre-cook and freeze ground beef for taco's, nachos, pizza topping, Sloppy Joe's and more!  I have a great cookbook, Don't Panic-Dinner's in the Freezer.  I've tried several recipes and have had great success!

What are your favorite make-ahead meals?!


  1. I am saving this post for grocery shopping next week- I am so madly in love with my crock pot, it's my favorite kitchen tool!

  2. I need to plan freezer meals like this for busy days & nights!

  3. Such awesome recipes! Thanks for sharing. I never thought to do freezer meals! Totally going to try all of these

  4. Freezer meals are the best!! I usually have 2 or 3 in my freezer at a time!

  5. I really need to get on the Sunday night freezer-meal-prep bandwagon! Ill be pinning these recipes!

  6. I've made freezer meals a few times and it makes things SO easy...I am definitely going to have to try that stromboli!


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