Looking for easy dinner ideas? Prepare and assemble these delicious and easy freezer meals in no time to feed your family on the cheap. Filling your freezer up with homemade meals makes those busy nights easier on you—and we're all for that!
Freezer meals. They're the perfect way to prepare for a new baby, an upcoming surgery, or even those busy weeks. As you well know, I've had lots of babies, so I know just how important they can be for those weeks and months after when you're trying to bounce back and adjust to your new normal. I pretty much always have “make as many freezer meals as possible” at the top of my baby-prep list!
One of the best ways to make a lot of freezer meals quickly is to invite a friend to come join you. Make a plan and knock out your freezer meal prep in just a couple hours. We were able to make (at least) 31 meals, on the cheap, in just 4 hours!
(Yes, you read that right.)
*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
I have 8 kids, 10 and under, so it might be more like 15-25 meals for a family with older kids or teenagers. But still, that's a heckuvalotta goodness going on! We made five different types of freezer meals that will last our family for a very long time. You've gone nuts over my freezer meals when I share them on Instagram, so I thought I'd share just how easy they are to throw together.
FREEZER MEAL RECIPES WE LOVE
The misconception about freezer meals is that you have to make 31 different meals in order to feed your family for 31 meals. Not true! Just pick 5-7 of your favorite go-to meals, double (or quadruple!) the recipe, and freeze them in individual or meal-sized portions so you can pull out what you need, when you need it.
Simply rotate through the meals so you're not eating the same thing every time, and voila! Easy, peasy, beautiful…feed you for months.
FREEZER DINNERS WE MADE
- Taco Meat (for tacos, enchiladas, taco salads, etc.)
- Chipotle Chicken Sandwiches
- Southwestern Burritos
- Asian Sesame Chicken
HOW TO STRETCH YOUR FREEZER MEALS
I always make sure to have bags of frozen veggies in the freezer that I simply steam in the microwave. They make a quick and easy side that adds some extra nutrients while also helping the freezer meal to stretch further. Salads are also a great way to get some veggies in your family!
Bread also helps to stretch your freezer meals further. Whether it's a basic white bread or some cornbread, you can never go wrong making your own and serving it with dinner! Even those growing kids don't need three helpings of the meal. Help to fill them up with some delicious homemade bread and they'll be good until breakfast.
We also always pair some sort of fruit or our favorite fruit salad with each meal. Extra nutrients plus something sweet and healthy to end the meal with? Yes, please!
Between the veggies, fruit, some homemade bread, and the freezer meal, BAM. Dinner is served, all with minimal effort. Now that's what I'm talking about!
HOW TO PREP FOR YOUR FREEZER MEALS
The first step to prepping for your freezer meals is to see which ingredients you'll need for each meal. Once you know what you'll need, look over your fridge, freezer, and pantry inventory list to see if you already have any of the ingredients. Once you have that covered, your next step is to look at your local grocery store ads to see where the best place to stock up on these ingredients is.
If you've been reading my blog for longer than 2.3 seconds, you know I've been obsessed with Deals to Meals for years (that's how Shandra and I became friends, actually…because I stalked her blog for so long!). Their website scours the ads for the grocery stores in your area, then puts their best deals for the week on a spreadsheet, highlighting any FABULOUS deals in red. You can see more on how I grocery shop, but basically just find the store with the best deals that week and shop there.
PRODUCTS NEEDED TO MAKE FREEZER MEALS
Before you make any freezer meals, you'll need to make sure that you have a few necessary items. Nobody wants to do all of this hard work and then have to throw it in the trash because it went bad. Use these products and you'll be able to effectively prevent freezer burn!
- Disposable Aluminum Pans – They're one of the tried and true items that I buy from the Dollar Store. You can also find them on Amazon or at your favorite grocery store.
- Aluminum Foil – Triple wrap your pans, then write the contents, date, and baking instructions on top with a Sharpie.
- Freezer Bags – It's always good to have both quart and gallon freezer bags. The key to using a freezer bag and getting your food to stay fresher for longer is to get as much air out as possible! Write down the contents and date with a Sharpie.
- Freezer Inventory List – One of the hardest things about making a bunch of freezer meals and filling your freezer up is keeping track of everything that's in there. Add each meal that you put in your freezer to your freezer inventory list. That way you won't have to worry about it getting lost in the great abyss that is your freezer (or freezers, since I have multiple!).
Start with these products, organize your freezer, and you're ready to start meal prepping those freezer meals! (Psssttt get even more tips on how to freeze food, keep it fresh, and cut waste from ShelfCooking.com!)
DO SOME MEAL PREP BEFOREHAND
In order to assemble your freezer meals quicker, you'll want to do a little meal prepping before you get started. Cook, dice, shred, and prepare anything you can before actually putting your freezer meals together. Here's what you can do before making these meals:
- Blend up the lasagna cheese mixture and make homemade pasta sauce. (We ended up adding several cans of store-bought sauce to stretch it further since my lasagna pans were so big.)
- Grill the chicken for the burritos.
- Cook up the chipotle chicken and Asian chicken, and marinades according to the recipes, which you can get in the eBook.
Doing that prep ahead of time will really make assembling your freezer meals go quickly and efficiently!
HOW TO MAKE OUR FAVORITE FREEZER MEALS
Alright, now that you know all about the meal prep, let's get to work! These are just about the simplest freezer meals that you can make, and your family will love them. Just remember to keep the size of your family in mind. If you're making these for 2, 3, or 4 people, you may want to break your meals down into smaller portions so that you don't waste anything. Make an assembly line for each freezer meal that you're preparing and get to work!
We made 4 HUGE pans. Each pan will probably feed us for at least 2-3 meals. If you have a smaller family and don't want to have a bunch of leftovers, you could get smaller dishes and end up with more freezer meals. These large containers will be handy for when we have company over and I don't want to be in the kitchen all day.
Add a little bit of sauce to the bottom of the dish, then layer with lasagna noodles (cooked or oven-ready), ricotta cheese, and sauce. Repeat and top with mozzarella cheese. Triple wrap with aluminum foil and boom! You've got some delicious, home-cooked lasagna freezer meals that you won't feel bad about when you're in a pinch and need to pull one out to serve your family.
Pro Tip: If you don't have any ricotta cheese and you have plenty of cottage cheese, then use what you've got! Blend the cottage cheese and it will have the same consistency as the ricotta cheese.
You can never go wrong having frozen taco meat in your freezer! I cooked about 4 pounds of ground beef, drained the grease, added in some taco seasoning with water, and voila! I tend to use 1/2 – 1 pound at a time when cooking, so that's at least 4 meals for us, if not more. It's a great way to make tacos, taco soup, enchiladas, burritos, and taco salads. Put it in a freezer bag, get all the air out, label, and date.
Pro Tip: If you eat a lot of ground beef that's not Mexican-inspired, then leave it plain and don't add the taco seasoning in until you're actually making a taco meal. That way, you have some pre-cooked plain ground beef ready to go. You can easily add it to sloppy joes or spaghetti when you need it.
CHIPOTLE CHICKEN SANDWICHES
Take the chipotle chicken that you made ahead of time and freeze it into the appropriate-sized portions for your family. We froze 2 huge freezer bags of meat and 3 bags of large hoagie rolls (about 15 sandwiches total), which would feed us for at least 4-5 meals.
Pro Tip: Thaw your rolls on the counter when you're ready to have this meal!
Prepare your southwestern burritos mixture according to the recipe in the ebook. Put the filling in the middle of a tortilla, then wrap into a burrito. Wrap each burrito with foil, then add to a freezer zipper bag. Pull out how many you need to thaw, then reheat in the oven.
We made 40 (stuffed to the max!) burritos. My family would probably only eat 5-6 burritos in one sitting, so that equates to about 8 meals for us. Pair with Mexican rice to help stretch this meal further!
My husband has deemed these great grab-and-go meals, much better than store-bought, frozen burritos. We will often microwave a few (if they're thawed and not wrapped in foil) and eat them in the car on the way to an outing, or he'll toss one in his work bag for lunch. Super versatile, SUPER yummy!
Pro-Tip: To make your tortillas crispy, add your thawed and warmed burrito to an oiled skillet and cook for a few minutes until the burrito is golden on each side.
ASIAN SESAME CHICKEN
You can never go wrong with a good pasta meal! We ended up freezing 2 large bags of chicken, 2 bags of extra marinade to dress the chicken, and put 2 boxes of pasta for the chicken to go over in the pantry. Each bag/box would feed us for about 3-4 meals, so that's at least 6 meals.
We tried to be conservative on our final number, so we are aiming low and saying these meals could feed us for at LEAST 31 meals. Again, our kids are younger and don't each much, so we could stretch these farther than a family of 5 with teenagers. But still…even if you only got 20 meals out of our 31, that's still amazing!
With a few hours of prep time and an hour of two of actually putting them together, you can have a freezer full of meals for pretty cheap! I'm still a bit giddy about it.
Pro Tip: Work on stocking your pantry with staples and you won't have to worry about remembering if you have pasta for this meal or not!
WHY SHOULD YOU MAKE FREEZER MEALS?
This isn't as hard or as complicated as it looks! You can do it, I promise. Freezing meals are a GREAT way to save you money in the long run because it will bail you out on those days when you're tempted to order takeout.
Grab some girlfriends, get an assembly line started, and make a fun day out of making freezer meals together!
Wheew! Talk about a freezer meals megapost. But I hope this showed you that by taking a few hours (and enlisting the help of a friend or your family) you can feed your family for MONTHS, for pennies on the dollar.
What are you favorite meals to double and freeze? Let us know in the comments! It's always fun to get new ideas.
Looking for more great cooking ideas?
- Needing some great ideas to stretch your meals? We've got 10 of 'em!
- Repurpose your leftovers these 70 different ways!
Have you checked out ShelfCooking.com yet? Our brand new site is dedicated to helping you cook delicious, homemade, down-home-cooked meals for your family without spending too much time in the kitchen!
Basically every parent's dream, right? Join our Shelf Cooking Community today!
Oh, and one other thing! If you're new here, welcome! You can get all my budgeting and finance tips, and my secret sauce in my fun-to-watch video program Budget Boot Camp!
If you don't save or earn at LEAST what you paid for it, I'll give your money back. You have nothing to lose! Use the code FCFBLOG at checkout to get an extra 10% off and give it a try!
I’m not a commenter, but this is awesome and very timely! Thank you to both of you!
I do not see a shopping list. Is there one?
Was I missing the shopping list?
I bought and downloaded the 30^favorite Freezer Meals, but there isn’t one SHOPPING LIST for all items needed to complete the recipes in one trip.
Did you cook the lasagnas? Or do you freeze them, thaw them, and then cook them to melt the cheese later?
Great question. I cook the marinara sauce (or just use bottled spaghetti) but then keep all of the other ingredients uncooked. I use the no-bake lasagna noodles so that preparation of the lasagnas are easier. Just thaw and then bake for 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown on top. Hope that helps.
I’ve been wondering about using the no boil noodles for freezer lasagna! They taste just as good as fresh? If so, sign me up! Boiling, drying, etc is for the birds! I was worried they’d get mushy or something odd ….
Jordan, that was such a riot! Thanks for having me over. Glad I could be of help. You did a great job in this post explaining how easy it is to prepare healthy, homemade meals without a lot of money or effort. I still am in shock though at how little your cute little family eats 😉 I miss those days when a lasagna would be enough to feed our family for ONE meal! Good ol’ teenager appetites don’t allow that anymore. Either way, we totally rocked the freezer meals, didn’t we? Thanks for chatting with me. It was great to see you again! Good luck with that sweet little baby and I hope you enjoy all of the meals 😉
If we already subscribe how do we get the freezer meal recipes? I tried entering my email and it says invalid email.
Thanks! Can’t wait to see more!
I subscribed to your newsletter and am looking forward to it. I did not get a pop-up for the e- book on my iPad. Please include a link in the newsletter. Thanks!
I also signed up to follow you and the link didn’t pop up. I am excited to have found your site and look forward to seeing all your great ideas!
Yes, please put in a link–I can’t get it to pop up either
This looks so awesome. I couldn’t get the recipe e-book either. Can’t wait to get to it.
I can’t get the link to work….not sure if I’m already a subscriber or not but when I click the link it takes me to some ad page.
Thanks! And congratulations on the new baby!!
Oh shoot, sorry about that! I have fixed the problem and it should work just fine now. Thanks for letting me know!
It’s telling me my email is invalid. It won’t take any of them 🙁
Oh no! Email [email protected] and she will help you.
I clicked on that link but it took me to an advertisement for free landing pages………nothing ever popped up about a free ebook :/
Oh shoot, sorry about that! I have fixed the problem and it should work just fine now. Thanks for letting me know!
I would love the free e-book but the link took me to something completely unrelated to your website. It wasn’t even a lint to subscribe which I would actually love to do!! Please let me know how I can subscribe and get the e-book. Having freezer meals would simplify my life!! 🙂
Oh shoot, sorry about that! I have fixed the problem and it should work just fine now. Thanks for letting me know!
Where in the world on this site, do you order this free Freezer meals? And do you have to pay shipping?
You get the recipe book for free, unfortunately there’s no offer for actual physical meals (though that would be amazing!). Just read the post and at the bottom it will tell you how to get the free e-book of recipes! Thanks for reading!
I purchased this ebook a few years ago and love it! I just made the baked ziti for the first time, but I think the last portion of the recipe is missing! Can I get the rest of it? Thanks!
This is awesome! I am so glad I came across this on Pinterest. I like doing freezer meals, and these are ALL things my family would eat . Thank you!! I also subscribed to Deals to Meals. I can’t wait to get started!
Your link to the dollar store article says Page Not Found. 🙁
I’d be very interested to see your take on this! Could you reply with the working link?
Oops! Sorry about that! Try this one: https://funcheaporfree.com/2013/07/what-to-buy-and-avoid-at-the-dollar-store/
I am gearing up to stock the freezer while we are on break from homeschooling and these look great to add to the menu. I had to laugh at the number of meals you get out of them though. I remember those days fondly but now I have 4 teens (all boys) plus 21, 11 & 9 yo girls and 6 & 4 yr old boys. It looks like we could get about 10 meals out of this and maybe 1-2 more by combining left- overs. I try to stay at 10.00 or less per meal so this works for my budget and the recipes look like ones that most of my family would like (not easy to do with so many taste buds to please).
I am already a subscriber to the newsletter (which I really enjoy), but do not see where I can download the cookbook.
If you put in your email address to that form (even though you already subscribe) then the link to download should still pop up. If it doesn’t work, email [email protected]
I couldn’t download the book from here, but I copied the link and opened it with another browser. I downloaded the book and opened it with Google Drive.
Thanks for sharing,
I’m glad you got it figured out, thanks for sharing!
Hi there! Love your site. I’m new here and am just sitting down with my plans to do some freezer cooking today. I had a question about your Southwestern Burritos.
The original recipe says I cook them, but the freezer option states I can freeze just the meat portion for later OR roll them up and freeze them… but nothing about cooking them. Can I cook them according to the original recipe, allow to cool, then wrap them up to freeze? This way they can quickly be a grab-and-go lunch option? Or will cooking them first make them more difficult to wrap for freezing? And if I can cook first, will they be too mushy when thawed first and then microwaved?
I know it’s a lot of questions, but I’m just not sure. Perhaps I’m over-thinking this. I’d just hate to prepare this for lunch/snack options when they really should be a larger meal option.
Thank you for your help!
Great questions! The beauty with the burritos is that the meat is already cooked! We did grilled chicken in ours, and nothing else NEEDS to be cooked. So to microwave them is essentially just heating them through, not actually cooking anything. Baking them is just a taste preference for when your’e ready to eat them! So you’re good to go either way!!
Thank you so much! I told my husband about these and he’s really excited to try them. I think I’ll experiment with some baked and some not, just to see which way works best for us.
Again, thank you for your help and Happy New Year!
I stumbled upon your blog from Pinterest, and have spent the last hour or so reading and planning to *try* my own freezer meal day. I’m hoping that cutting the recipes in half or thirds will work for me since I’m only cooking for 1. THANKS so much for all of the posts-love the debt/finance ones too!
So glad you like it, thanks for reading! XOXO
Hi cute Jordan! I already get your emails so how do I download that book??
Just put in your email address (even if you’re already on the list) and the link will pop up. Let me know if you have any problems, thanks!!
I Have Access To The Link, But It Won’t Load Properly. Any Suggestions?
Weird! I will email it to you directly using the email you provided with your comment. Thanks!
Hi I have a question about the Lasagna. Do you cook them first before you freeze them, or do you just prepare them/put them together then freeze them? Thank you in advance 🙂 I’m excited to try these freezer meals
The lasagnas are super simple. Don’t worry about baking them until after you freeze and thaw. Just assemble them, top with tinfoil and freeze until you are ready to bake them 🙂
Question regarding the lasagna recipe, do you cook before you freeze or do you just put them together and freeze, then cook when ready to eat? Thanks in advance 🙂
You just put it together and freeze! You cook the ground beef first, but otherwise it’s just layering 🙂
I’ve tried freezer meals before and I LOVE THEM !! You have an awesome collection of great recipes I can’t wait to try. Just a suggestion but on the last page of your E-Book you should add a shopping list if you want to cook all of them at once like you did here. That would be great to have!
Looking forward to grocery shopping this week and doing some meal prep. Your blog is amazing and full of great ideas and delish looking recipes. Can’t wait to see more!
Love that suggestion, thanks Julie!
I have a question, did you double or triple each reciepe?I am just wanting to know how much of each meal to buy to get the same amount of food you had? I would love to know, thank! Hope this makes sense
Most of the recipes we doubled. The lasagna recipe actually made a couple more than we first thought, because the pans were smaller. Doubled amounts should give you several meals for each 😉 Each recipe serves 4-6 people.
Can’t find shopping list ??? Takes me to page not found ???
I was wondering do you have a shopping list? Also how many servings/people do each meal feed? If I missed that part my apologies! Such a great blog thanks for all your post love reading them!!
I was hoping for the same thing.
Each recipe serves 4-6 people 😉
Is there a link for the shopping list? TIA
There is no shopping list yet, but let me see what I can do about getting one together!
Is their a shopping list yet?
Hi! So did you double up the recipes that are in the book? and how many times for each recipe?
this is so helpful! ( : Would absolutely LOVE a shopping list!
Love this! I’m pregnant and want to stock our freezer for easy meals to fix
after the baby comes. Curious how breast feeding went after eating these freezer meals. Did baby handle all the food ok, or would you recommend avoiding certain dishes/recipes while breast feeding a newborn? TIA!
So far so good! Nothing was very spicy or onion-y so no problems over here 🙂
How did you reheat the meat you cooked prior to freezing? Sometimes reheated meat has a funny taste- not fresh at all. Do you have suggestions on how to properly reheat it?
All of these recipes I have not had a problem with the re-heated meat tasting funny. I usually just warm up the meat in the microwave or on the stove. If it’s an item like the Southwestern Burritos I would put those in the oven to bake. You can always microwave on half power so that it doesn’t over cook the meat and just warms it up. The recipes like bbq shredded chicken could also warm great in a crock pot. Good luck to you!
I’m so excited to try some of these recipes this week! But I also was wondering how you reheat the meals out the freezer to eat. I’m new to making freezer meals, but when I tried it once with leftovers I had the worst time trying to thaw it out of the ziploc bag and then get it warm. Help!
I am also curious about the re-heating prior to cooking to eat process. I didn’t see any instructions for such in the recipe book so I wondered if you reheated some through a crock-pot/stove-top or used the microwave or oven to thaw then cook, or if it was straight from freezer to oven type of cooking for some of the meals. Any info on this would be great! Looking forward to giving this a shot.
I’m so excited to try the recipes in your e-book, but I had a quick question. It looks like a paragraph is missing in your baked ziti recipe. How long are we supposed to bake it? And how did you assemble it in the pan? Thanks so much!
Uh oh! sorry about that! Get the recipe here: http://www.dealstomealsblog.com/2013/06/baked-ziti.html
Looks like some great ideas. Need to start using them more.
Is there a shopping list for all this. Also do you have any recommendations regarding making there for one or two people.
I see lots of people asked but I didn’t see an answer… Is there a shopping list? I downloaded the ebook and didn’t find one there either…
Hey Kaela! There’s no shopping list, sorry about that!
Hey these are great recipes! I was just wondering if you cooked the noodles first in the Baked Ziti recipe, I’m new to freezing meals and not sure what step to stop and freeze at. Thanks so much.
I would like a copy of your freezer meals but I tried both [email protected] and [email protected] and it said that the email address were invalid. What can I do?
Sorry you are having issues, Email [email protected] and she can help you 🙂
Sorry about that! Email [email protected] and she can help you!
I’ve been looking for meal planning ideas and have yet to find one I like until now! The fact that you include recipes as well, omg you’re a life saver! Thank you so much.
You are welcome!!! XOXO
Yay! I’m so glad you like it! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I love this concept but I am always a little bummed that I can’t just copy what you did. I have to eat gluten free and a lot of freezer meals are sadly not possible for our diet. I would love a gluten free post sometime or even a ” how to save money at a health food store” post.
Many of the recipes can be adapted with gluten free bread, corn tortillas, etc. I’m not gluten free but many of my friends are and from what they’ve said there are some pretty good options out there. Ill definitely do a health food store post, thanks for the feedback!
Great post! I noticed in one of your pictures that you have a lot of Lysol wipes. Im going to be the crazy Norwex lady and ask if you’ve researched how toxic those are for your families health? Norwex is a great solution for cutting those chemicals. Check out my website if you want to know more. Sorry for being that person!
Thanks for the great post of meal ideas!!
Jordan, Love your blog and have been subscribed for sometime. I would like to receive the e-book but I am already subscribed. How do I get the e-book without resubscribing?
Put in your email address anyway and the link should pop up. If it doesn’t email [email protected]
I cannot get the E book says my email is invalid it has been the same thing for 15 years
15 years? Gmail email addresses are free, maybe you could sign up for a new one! Email [email protected] directly if the problem persists.
Hi! I downloaded your e-book and noticed on the Baked Ziti recipe that it doesn’t say how long to cook. I assume it’s 30 minutes?
Oh no! How did I miss that?! Sorry about that! Yes, 30 minutes or until bubbly and warmed through.
I am just starting to do this for my family. Thanks for the great ideas!