I should have had freezer meals in my freezer this week! Perhaps then I wouldn’t be so beyond “fashionably late” late with this post about freezer meals *cough*. Our freezers are too full right now as we just bought half a cow, but as soon as we eat our way through part of it I am going to do another round of stocking up.
I started doing freezer meals a year and a half ago and quickly learned that they made cooking from scratch in busy seasons so much more doable. Time after time they got dinner to the table when we were homeschooling, traveling, and now with starting to blog again, they would be really helpful. While we don’t eat them regularly they have saved many a dinner.
In my time of freezer cooking, I have found three main ways to do it. Below I will share a few tips and tricks for each way, how and which recipes to adapt to that version, and of course, some recipes (hence the “Worth Pinning” part) to get you started. I hope you enjoy this new monthly series of round-ups with recipes that are Worth Pinning.
1. Flash Freezing Individual Servings
If you have a few hours on a Saturday morning this is a great method to set aside some food for breakfasts and lunches. I like it because you can get quite a few individual servings done quickly and they are so easy for lunches, especially packed ones. As the hubs or I pack four meals each weekday, I appreciate that.
Here are a few recipes to get you started:
1. Spicy Chickpea Burgers @ Peas and Crayons (pictured)
2. Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal by Yours Truly @ For The Family*
3. Whole Grain Savory Muffins @ Intentional By Grace
4. Veggie Egg Squares by Yours Truly @ Paleo Magazine*
5. Breakfast Sausage Patties @ Worth Cooking
6. Broccoli Cheddar and Egg bites by Yours Truly @ Worth Cooking Instagram*
7. Grain Free Sausage Balls by Yours Truly @ Worth Cooking Instagram*
8. Make Ahead Breakfast Bowls @ Iowa Girl Eats
9. Stock Your Freezer with these 3 Awesome Veggie Burgers @ Wholefully
10. Turkey Spinach Meatballs @ Melanie Cooks
11. Greek Turkey Burgers @ Health Home and Happiness
12. Chelo Kebab @ And Here We Are
*These do not have specific freezer instructions. Freeze individual servings on a tray then once frozen pop into the container you will keep them in the freezer. Thaw and reheat (where applicable) as needed.
2. Batch Cooking
This is done by doubling a recipe (one for now or one for later) or generally making large batches to freeze. It often doesn’t double (or more) the time to make it, but you get at least a few meals out of one cooking time. When we visited my Nana for Christmas she showed me her freezer full of 5 gallons of Brunswick stew. She sent home a frozen block which became our lunch the next day! It made the tip back so much easier.
This is actually the least common way I do freezer cooking, but as it is probably the easiest to implement I want to do it more!
Here are some recipes to get you going:
13. Large Batch Chili here @ Worth Cooking (pictured)
14. Homemade Minestrone Soup @ A Cedar Spoon/a>*
15. Moroccan Carrot Red Lentil Soup @ A Cedar Spoon
16. Italian Meatballs @ Jeanettes Healthy Living
17. Freezer Beef Enchiladas @ Hola Jalapeno
18. Cauliflower Sausage Gravy* by yours truly @ Worth Cooking Instagram
19. Creamy Vegetable and Pork soup by yours truly @ Worth Cooking Instagra
20. Turkey Pumpkin Chili @ The Modern Proper*
21. Sage & Sausage Cauliflower Soup @ Raias Recipes
*These recipes do not have freezer instructions but are recipes that freeze easily. Simply cook a batch (can double or triple) and freeze in meal size portions. I like to freeze in these deli containers (affiliate link) then I can pop them out frozen into a pan to heat.
3. Freeze and Dump
This is the most recognized version of freezer cooking. Basically, you assemble foods in a freezer zipper bag. Freeze, and later dump into a pot/crockpot etc. as the recipe instructs. Basically, any crockpot meal can be adapted for this by doing all the steps up to the actual cooking, putting the ingredients into a ziplock, then cooking later (usually thawing overnight first…. and by usually I mean “I never remember to” and it seems to work out).
This can be done with the “one for now and one for later” method or by assembling a list of recipes to be done, making a shopping list, and setting aside a chunk of time to get ‘er done. Bonus points if you do it with a friend but warning that it does take longer! I have assembled a few freezer cooking sessions for my church, and while we took 3-4 hours to do it, another friend who couldn’t make it, did it all in less than two hours without the benefit/distraction of so many people to talk to.
Here are some recipes to get you started:
22. Freezer to Crock Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken @ The Lean Green Bean (pictured)
23. Slow Cooker Braised Short Ribs @ Big Bears Wife
24. Chicken Fajitas @ Melanie Cooks (see post for freezer instructions)
25. Crock Pot Coconut Shredded Pork here @ Worth Cooking (pictured at the top)
26. Lemon Herb Shrimp by yours truly @ Worth Cooking Instagram
27. Slow Cooker Chipotle Pulled Pork @ Fashionable Foods*
28. Chicken Tikka Masala @ Stuff I Make My Husband*
29. Cool Ranch Chicken Tacos @ New Leaf Wellness (use the homemade seasonings to be real food friendly)
30. No-Cook Turkey Black Bean Chili @ New Leaf Wellness