Last week, I took on a bold task to create extra meals to store in the freezer. Meal time has become very hectic at our house as my kids have gotten older and I quickly realized that I need to change my meal prep strategy.
When our kids were young and I was home with them, I wouldn’t think twice about roasting a chicken on a Wednesday night. But now I’m working outside the home and my oldest is on a competitive swim team that practices on Wednesday night, along with Monday and Friday nights too, and I no longer have two hours to make a big dinner on week nights.
Freezer cooking is wildly popular–just search the topic on Pinterest and you’ll find loads of recipe ideas. But instead of using other people’s recipes, I just searched my own repertoire and realized that I have a variety of recipes that my family loves that can easily be prepped ahead of time and stored in the freezer. I also discovered that many of our favorites will cook just fine in the slow cooker instead of the stove top.
I have never prepped 8 recipes at one time, so when I decided that I would double or triple all of the recipes to save more time, I realized that I would need to be prepared. To organize my shopping trip, I created an excel spreadsheet that you can download for yourself
8 Freezer Meal Recipes
I have updated each recipe link below to include freezer instructions and a printable recipe.
- Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas
- Chicken Black Bean & Corn Tacos in Slow Cooker
- Sausage & Lentil Stew in Slow Cooker
- Turkey & Black Bean Chili in Slow Cooker
- Red & White Chicken Chili for the Slow Cooker
- Red Pepper & Feta Turkey Burgers
- Asian Orange Chicken Thighs & Drumsticks in the Slow Cooker
- Egg & Sausage Burritos
My Freezer Cooking Steps & Tips
1. Label the bags before filling the bags. This simple step makes life so much easier–trust me.
2. Brown the ground turkey & sausage. After the meat is cooked, allow to cool so it can be put in a plastic bag.
3. As meat is browning, I chopped all of the vegetables and minced the garlic.
4. After the meat is browned, remove from heat and allow to cool before it can go in the bags. Open all of the cans. Drain and rinse the beans. I did NOT drain the tomatoes.
5. Start filling the bags. I used a really large glass bowl to stabilize the bags as I was filling them. This was SUPER helpful. I filled one recipe at a time and started with the chicken recipes since the browned meat was still cooling.
6. After the meals bags were filled, I made the turkey burgers. Put parchment paper between the burgers to prevent sticking together when frozen. Place in freezer bag and store in the freezer.
7. I doubled all of these recipes, except meal #7. I found a really good markdown on chicken drumsticks while I was in the store, so I tripled that recipe.
8. I was too tired at the end of the day to make the burritos and enchiladas, so I made those two recipes the next day. I cooked the chicken for the enchiladas in the slow cooker with a little taco seasoning. I explain how I froze the Chicken Enchiladas in the recipe post.
In the future, I might not take on such a large project at one time, BUT I will definitely start doubling or even tripling when making these recipes, especially if I see great sales on their ingredients, like I did with the drumsticks.
After two sessions of freezer cooking, my kitchen was an absolute mess and I didn’t help matters when I decided to head to the apple orchard that same weekend so I could make 12 quarts of homemade sugar-free applesauce for the freezer.
The good news is that our freezer is completely packed with 13 freezer bags, 18 turkey burgers, 10 enchiladas, 10 breakfast burritos and 12 quarts of applesauce. My kitchen is back to normal and ready for some slow cookin’.
The bad news is that I will be finding splattered applesauce for the next two months.
LOL, I guess I can deal with that.
For these recipes and more, follow my Freezer Meal Ideas on Pinterest.