We’d like to thank Pick up the Values for sponsoring this post! We love their site, and appreciate their willingness to help families stick to their budgets by offering high value coupons. Also, thank YOU for supporting our sponsors! Hey everybody! I am SO excited about today’s post, because easy freezer meals are something that I believe in, because they’ve made my life so much easier! As a busy working mom, getting dinner on the table is sometimes too much for me at the end of the day, and on those days we typically end up getting take out, which kills the budget. The only real way I’ve found to combat this problem is by keeping my freezer stocked with easy and delicious meals that allow me to feel proud of what I put on the table with barely any effort.
All of the meals I’m sharing today are tried and tested family favorites. Seven of the ten meals require no pre cooking, you are basically just dumping all the ingredients into freezer bags, and those bags will eventually end up in the crock pot. The other three meals (taco soup, breakfast muffins, and meatballs) are pre cooked, and all they need is thawing and warming when ready to use. Obviously having to cook them takes a bit more effort up front, but I love having a healthy on the go breakfast and lunch options with the muffins and the soup, and the meatballs are my husbands all time favorite food I make, and it ends up being easier for me to make a huge batch and keep in the freezer for six months than having to make them ten times in 6 months.. ya know? Also, you will notice that I have a variety of types of meals as well as meats in this grouping of recipes. With how often we use freezer meals I need that diversity in order to not get sick of them.
Before I get down to the recipes, I’m gonna give you a run-down of how my freezer sessions typically go, and let you in on all my best secrets!
1) Any time I do a freezer cooking day I make at least 2 of each recipe (so on the day I did the meals below I made two of each recipe for a total of 20+ meals). It is counterproductive and ineffective cost wise to only make one meal of each. You could pick five of your favorite recipes and make 3 of each for a total of 15, or whatever combination you want, but if you are already making one meal it is easy to duplicate it in another bag at the same time, so never make just one of any freezer meal.
2) Buy the good freezer zip lock bags. I am not snobby and I buy generic on most things, but I have found that freezer bags are not where you want to skip. Don’t ruin all your hard work on bags that won’t hold up.
3) Label all the bags before you start. You can see in my pictures below I labeled bags with the recipe name and the date it was made, but if I am making a meal that I am unfamiliar with, I also write the directions on the bag so I don’t have to look anything up when I’m ready to use the meal.
4) If possible, do this when you are childless. I have done it both ways (with my kids present, and without them) and like anything with children it takes me 2-3 times longer if they’re around. Now, if I am doing a smaller session I’ll do it right after they go to bed, and for large sessions like these I’ll take a whole Saturday morning and shop, prep, clean up all at once while my husband takes the kids.
5) Leave the mess until you’re done. I am typically a clean as I go type of person, but in this case the most productive path is to leave the mess and move onto the next meal, then clean all at once at the end.
6) If I am making two batches of a meal here is how it would go: I would open two freezer bags and fill them at the same time. Zip the bags closed with as little air left as possible. Smoosh the contents of the bag around and lay the bags as flat as possible to ensure they freeze evenly (this makes for easy storage and space conservation).
Okay now that we’re ready to begin, who’s ready for the recipes?
Find original post here. -6 chicken breasts
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/2 cup water
-1 cup sugar
-1 tsp garlic
-small carton mushrooms
-8 oz. can bamboo shoots
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and dump in freezer zip lock bag to freeze. Once ready to use, dump contents of bag into slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender. Serve over rice and enjoy!
World’s Best Meatballs
Find original recipe here. -4 eggs, slightly beaten
-2/3 cup soft bread crumbs
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup snipped parsley
-1/2 cup chopped onion
-2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-2 cloves garlic
-3 lbs. ground beef
-2 tbs. olive oil
Directions: Add all ingredients except olive oil into a large bowl and mix well. Roll mixture between your hands to shape into balls. Each ball should be about two tablespoons worth. With meatballs this size, the recipe will yield about 40 meatballs. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a big skillet. Cook meatballs until brown and cooked through, (about 6-8 minutes on each side). The skillet below is the biggest one I have, so I can only cook half the meatballs at a time, so I only add half the olive oil at a time as well. Drain the oil off. Flash freeze meatballs in a single layer on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Once frozen, place in freezer bags or tupperware to store in freezer.
Easy Beef and Gravy Over Noodles -1 package stew meat
-1 can cream of mushroom
-1/2 cup beef consomme
-1/3 cup sour cream
-1 carton mushrooms
-1/2 small onion finely chopped
-salt and pepper
Directions: Add all ingredients (except sour cream) into a freezer zip lock bag and freeze. When ready to use, dump into crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is fall apart soft. Add sour cream and stir gently. Turn crock pot to warm until ready to serve, enjoy over noodles (egg noodles are the best)!
Find original recipe here. -1 can black beans
-2 cups frozen corn
-2 cloves garlic
-1/2 tsp. cumin
-1 jar salsa
-4 large chicken breasts
-1 8 oz. cream cheese
Directions: Dump all ingredients except cream cheese into a freezer bag and freeze. When ready to use, dump contents of bag into crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken shreds easily. Add in cream cheese and allow to melt (about 30 minutes). Serve over rice and enjoy!
Crock-pot French Dip
Find original recipe here. -1 beef chuck roast (2-4 lbs)
-2 cans beef consomme
-1 package Italian dressing
Directions: Add all ingredients into a freezer zip lock bag and freeze. When ready to use, dump into crock pot and heat on low for 8 hours or until meat shreds easily. Serve on sandwich rolls with a slice of Parmesan cheese and a fresh salad! (*Note: After your meat is cooked and shredded, butter your buns and broil them in the oven for a couple of minutes. I learned this trick from the food network, the butter acts as a barrier so that the extra juice from the meat doesn’t make your buns soggy in like 2 seconds. Seriously, I hate soggy things, and this works like a charm! If desired, place provolone cheese on the bottom of your buns.)
Find original recipe here. -1 lb. ground hamburger
-1/2 onion chopped
-1 packet taco seasoning
-1 can kidney beans
-1 can pinto beans
-1 can corn
-2 cans stewed tomatoes
Directions: Cook hamburger and onions in a large pot until cooked through. Add in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 20 minutes or so. When soup is cooked, pour into zip locks or mason jars and store in freezer (I like to use mason jars because that makes about two perfect portions and I can pull one out for lunches or whatever super quick! If you are gonna store in jars, make sure you leave extra space at the top for expansion.) When ready to eat, thaw in lukewarm water, and heat on the stove or microwave until warm through and enjoy!
-1 can cream of mushroom
-1 package dry onion soup mix
-16 oz. bottle Pepsi
Directions: Dump all ingredients into labeled freezer zip lock bag. Freeze. When ready to use, dump into crock pot and cook on high about 6 hours or until roast is tender and shreds easily! Enjoy! (We love to eat this with mashed potatoes and corn!
-1 cup orange juice
-1/3 cup chili sauce
-2 Tbs. soy sauce
-1 Tbs. brown sugar
-1 tsp. dry mustard
-1tsp. garlic salt
-2 Tbs. chopped green peppers
-13 oz. can mandarin oranges (drained)
-1 tsp. curry powder
-1 can pineapple + juice
Directions: Add all ingredients into a freezer bag and freeze. When ready to use, thaw just enough to dump into crock pot and then cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice and enjoy!
Cafe Rio Pork
Find original recipe here. -2 lb. pork (boneless rib meat, or whatever cut is cheap)
-3 cans coke
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup water
-1 can green chilis
-3/4 can red enchilada sauce
-1 cup brown sugar
Directions: Put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, garlic salt, and 1/4 cup brown sugar in one zip lock back. When ready to use, put contents of bag in crockpot on high for 4-6 hours or until it shreds easily. Drain all excess liquid left in pot and shred pork. Sauce: In a blender add 1/2 can coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and 1 cup of brown sugar. And blend together. Store in a separate zip lock bag, next to your pork. When you stick your pork in your crockpot, set out the sauce bag to thaw. After you drain and shred pork, add your sauce and allow to sit in crockpot on warm until ready to serve!
Healthy Breakfast Muffins
Find original recipe here. -3 mashed bananas
-1 cup skim milk
-2 tsp honey
-1 Tbs. baking powder
-3 cups rolled oats
-1 tsp. chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips together, and let it sit while you prepare the muffin pans. Spray a muffin pan (or liners) with non-stick spray. Mix chocolate chips into the oatmeal batter. Divide batter into muffin cups. They should be just about filled. Bake 20-30 minutes, til the edges are just starting to brown, they will be firm. The muffins stuck to my liners, which didn’t bother me too much, but if you would rather them not just skip the liners and use the pan alone. Give them a chance to cool before removing and they should come out clean. Once cool, but in your zip lock bag and store in the freezer!
For your FREE PRINTABLE GROCERY LIST click here! *This list will allow you to make 2 batches of all ten of these recipes for a total of 20 “meals”.
It’s definitely a lot of work, but it is soooooo worth it! Plus, you will enjoy the fruit of your labors for months to come! Give it a try, I promise you won’t regret it!
One last thing, I just have to put a plug in for the Pick Up the Values site, you honestly can’t beat their coupons on such quality brands! If you haven’t signed up with them yet, I promise you guys you won’t regret it!