If you’ve ever been on Pinterest for longer than 22 seconds, you’ve probably come across pins that talk about Freezer Cooking, Freezer Meal Prep, or Freezer Meal Recipes. What’s the difference? Well nothing, really. Simply put, it’s creating a meal ahead of time and using your freezer to store it until cooking day.
That’s it. Seriously.
Adding freezer meal prep to your meal plan will not only save you time, but save you some serious money too.
It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking dinner for two, you want to eat healthy, or you’re a new mom – freezer meals can seriously save the day!
If you’re looking to create a killer dinner backup plan, you’re in the right place!
You need a backup plan so you don’t stop at the drive-thru on your way home.
Let me ask you something. What’s keeping you from making freezer meals?
Do you think it’s too hard or too time consuming to plan (#1 myth of freezer meals, right there)?
Do you think you have to buy lots of containers, and supplies, and super fancy stuff? You definitely don’t.
If you just don’t know where to start, or know how to incorporate it into your routine, you’re in the right place.
Creating a freezer crockpot meal
1 GRAB YOUR FREEZER MEALS CHECKLIST
It will give you an easy way to reference everything I’m going over in this post.
My directions are going to focus on one type of freezer cooking: NOT COOKING. #haha
Bagging a slow cooker meal ahead of time = me not having to think (or do much!) about dinner!
Oh how I love crockpot dump meals (but not the name, someone needs to come up with a new name already). If you can throw it in a crockpot, you can probably throw it in a bag and the freezer. I always go for the no-cook recipes, they’re such a #megatimesaver!
2 FIND RECIPES
Where to find recipes for your Freezer Meal Plan??? Here are a few ideas if you have no idea where to start:
- Crockpot meals you’ve made before that don’t require cooking ahead of time
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Ask your friends on social media. I’ll bet my DD coffee you have friends that have made freezer meals before – and everyone loves to share their favorite recipes!
- Pinterest, of course! But be very specific about your search or you’ll come up with an overwhelming amount of pins like “672 Best Freezer Meals Ever!” and that won’t help anyone.
Bonus: I have a Pinterest board dedicated just to Freezer Meals for you to get ideas and I update it often, so be sure to follow me!
Once you decide on a few recipes (bonus points for making some that have overlapping ingredients – that will really come in handy in the next lesson!) – print the recipes out and put them with your Freezer Meal Planner (found in the Freebies Library) so you have everything together on Freezer Meal Day.
3 CREATE A SHOPPING LIST
Make a grocery list based on the recipes and plan a day to go shopping when you’ll have the time to put together the awesome freezer meals you’ve planned.
4 FREEZER MEAL DAY!
1 Gather all your non-food supplies – recipes, planner, bags, sharpies, labels, and bag holders.
2 Write out labels for each recipe and apply to bags – or write directly on the bag. Include name, date, anything to add on cooking day, cooking instructions, and serving instructions. I got these labels here.
3 Setting up assembly-line style is the most efficient.
4 Now grab all the dry goods, chop all your veggies, and then your refrigerated items.
5 Add veggies and other items to the bags first. Then get the meat out last and add that.
6 Take all the air out of the bags and freeze (laying down flat will make the most out of your freezer space!).
What do you do when a recipe requires multiple bags?
The last thing you want is a bag to go MIA in the freezer if it belongs to other parts of a recipe. So I try to have one large bag to hold all the smaller bags, and all bags are labeled. For example, this was how I put together a bag of Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta for my son when he was heading back to college (P.S. Freezer meals are perfect for college students – if they’re allowed to have a slow cooker!).
How long do these no-cook crockpot meals last in the freezer?
3 months is a safe bet and that’s the date I put on my labels as a “use by date”.
What items do you use to prepare your freezer meals?
I use the hands-free bag holder (the green thing you see in the pictures above) all the time and I think it is quite possibly the best invention ever, it’s like having an extra set of hands!
That’s pretty much it for prep besides good quality freezer bags and markers, but I have a complete list of all the cooking tools and what I use to organize my freezer here.
Psst…don’t forget your freezer meal checklist… and to check out the other posts in this series.