Welcome to Freezer Meals 101. Since you’re here, I can assume that you are interested in making you’re very own freezer meals. Well, I am here to give you my personal tips! I have been making freezer meals for a couple of years now. I actually started making them when my son started school. At the time, I had been working 12 hour shifts( three days a week). On the days that I had worked, my husband was in charge of dinner- Which meant that he and my son would go to a fast food restaurant. I HATED that! Not only is eating an excess amount of fast food NOT healthy, it’s overpriced! I had to think of something. My original thought was to stock up on frozen meals from my local grocery store. However, once that I read the nutritional facts, that idea was gone. Most of the store bought frozen meals are just as bad ( if not worse) than buying fast food!
One day while prepping a Crock-Pot meal, and simple thought had hit me. ..Why not make my OWN Frozen Meals?! I would be in total control of what my family ate. I would know how much salt, and fat is in the meal because I made it! After brainstorming up a bunch of recipes, and playing with a lot of ideas- I had the freezer meal game on lock! Years later here I am… A certified Freezer Meal Queen, and I am here to coach you! I will warn you… It may be a little intimidating at first, but after prepping your freezer meals few times, you will be a pro… Let’s get started
Who could use a few freezer meals?
I would say that freezer meals are suitable for busy individuals! If you don’t have time to make dinner every single day, then hunny- you need to make some freezer meals!! I highly suggest freezer meals for:
- Busy parents: Just think about it : You wake up, get the kids dressed, take them to school, go to work, come home, help them with homework, and etc. Do you really have the time and energy to make a full course dinner EVERY night( if you answer yes, you’re a liar!)? I know I don’t…
- New parents: Just had a baby huh? Well you’re probably trying to adjust to your new lifestyle, and you are now officially on #TeamNoSleep. You won’t have the energy to cook all the time. Have some freezer meals on hand. OR if you no someone who is having a baby, or just had one- Make them a few freezer meals! They will LOVE you for it!
- Elderly loved ones: If you have a elderly relative, you may notice that cooking just isn’t as easy as it used to be for them. You can make a few freezer meals for them! When I worked as a home care provider, I used to make all of my clients freezer meals. They all loved it, and it made life a bit easier for them!
- Students: Living on a tight budget, and you’re too busy studying to do anything else? Well don’t starve! Prep yourself a few budget friendly freezer meals on your free day!
So you get it by now right? Everyone can benefit from freezer meals!
What to know before getting started!
Know your budget!
You will probably see plenty of people on Pinterest bragging about how they made 20 freezer meals with $300. I personally think $300 for 20 freezer meals is insane. MY freezer meal budget is about $100. I can easily make at least 15 meals with $100 . I’m talking pasta, beans & rice, chicken…. Yes- REAL meals! You do not have to spend and arm and a leg to do this! The secret is knowing how and where to shop!
Before stocking up on your goods, browse the circulars. See what is on sale! Use the store rewards cards, and above all else, CLIP AND USE COUPONS!!
How much space you do have?
I have TWO freezers ( I’m a freaking couponer, what did you expect!). One of the freezers is the standard freezer that is on top of the refrigerator, and the other is a deep freezer. I have plenty of room to store freezer meals! I can easily store 10 freezer meals, and still have plenty of space. If you don’t have a whole lot of room in your freezer, don’t go overboard! Start small. As a matter of fact- clean out your freezer beforehand to see how much room you actually have.
How many people are you cooking for?
This is super important! Make sure you keep in mind how many people you are cooking for. When I first started making freezer meals, I made entirely too much ( which was fine, because we ate the leftovers), but now I always make enough for everyone to have 1 1/2 servings.. I know you’re probably wondering about the 1/2 serving right? It’s just in case someone wants seconds .
Make it fun!
I wish I could tell you that it’s going to be super easy, but I will be lying. The FIRST time that you make your freezer meals, you’re going to be a little overwhelmed. There will be a lot going on. If you’re like me, you will probably spend a few hours on a designated day to make your freezer meals. It sounds boring right? Well it doesn’t have to be! Here are some tips to help make your freezer meal prep time fun & relaxing!
- Turn on some music! Is it me, or is cooking more fun when there is music playing? 90% of the time, I listen to music while I cook. I usually listen to 90s r&b ( because it relaxes me) on Pandora.
- Wear something comfortable! You’re cooking, you’re not trying to impress anyone with anything other than your cooking skills right? So with that being said, I like to wear my pjs, and big fluffy house shoes. LOL
- Invite a friend over to help you. Nothing makes time fly like good gossip! So invite that special friend that is always down to gossip.
- Let the kids join in on the fun! When I make freezer meals, I let my son help. He usually is in charge of putting the stuff in freezer bags, and etc.
Just like anything else, you’re going to need to buy supplies to get started. Don’t be worried- ALL of the supplies are inexpensive!
Here’s what you’ll need
- A black Sharpie marker: To label everything. You will need to write what the food is, the date that you made the dish, and the instructions as well ( just in case you make it for someone else, and etc)
- Plastic freezer bags: I store all of my Crock-Pot freezer meals, and chopped veggies, and etc in freezer bags. I buy my freezer bags at the Dollar Tree.
- Aluminum Pans with Lids: These are good for casseroles, pasta dinners, enchiladas, and other freezer meals that you will bake. The aluminum pans WITH lids ( don’t forget- you need those lids!) can be bought at the Dollar Tree as well. They come in all sizes. I usually buy the round pans, and they come in a pack of 3 for $1. You really can’t beat that!
- You will definitely need a Crock- Pot! Most of my freezer meals are Crock-Pot meals. I love using my Crock-Pot, because I can throw everything into it, and come back hours later!
Know what is Freezable
I always get asked if people can freeze certain foods. Here are a list of foods that you can freeze without any issues
- Pastas: This is a no brainer right? There are so many frozen meals such as lasagnas and etc that are sold at grocery stores. You can freeze pasta too! I love making pasta freezer meals.
- Rice: Yup, rice too.
- Meat Sauce: You can make large batches of meat sauce for your pasta and freeze it.
- Onions: Chop them, dice them, and freeze them. One thawed they are best cooked in dishes such as casseroles.
- Bell Peppers: Slice them up and freeze them. I like to freeze my peppers, and use them in dishes like fajitas, and etc.
- Other vegetables: If you’ve seen them in the frozen section they are freezable.
- Bread: I sometimes make breakfast sandwiches, and freeze them for later days.
- Tortillas: Same as bread. You can make burritos, and freeze them.
- And lots of other foods…..
Well, believe it or not,- We’ve covered the basics! My suggestion would be to gather up the supplies needed . Please be sure to check my blog periodically for new freezer meal recipes & tutorials!