From Freezer to Table: Tips for Great Freezer Dinners

When it comes to tricks to help you save time, money and stress, freezer cooking is at the top of my list. Freezer cooking can fully change the way your family does things day to day. By planning ahead you can have have delicious, healthy meals for your family from the freezer instead of taking a spin through the drive through… again.

Tips for freezer cooking, freezer meals, freezer dinners

This time of year kids activities start back up and you may find yourself a little overwhelmed. But you can help tame the dinner time madness with these tips.

Make a menu.

You hear it all the time. But that’s because it works. A menu means you can shop once and do prep work as you put the food away. You’ll probably find that you don’t have to look inside the fridge multiple times a day only to decide that thinking about what will be for dinner is just too much again. While I like to plan a week’s worth of meals, you may want to just plan enough meals to get you until your next shopping day. I recommend planning to double 1 – 2 meals so that you can put the extra into the freezer. Perfect for days when you don’t have time to shop or prepare a meal from scratch because of activities.

Prep before putting food away.

The fastest way to create many meals for the freezer at once is to go shopping in the morning and spend the afternoon completing the prep work. This is great for working mothers or moms with a lot of activities during the week. Chop all of the ingredients for one meal and load right into freezer bags for a complete recipe. I’ve got a big list of freezer meals here that may interest you.  Now you can pull out a bag and toss right into the slow cooker, Instant Pot, or oven.

Cook double.

When you are cooking and baking, double your recipes to cook once but eat twice! This is a great way to reduce your workload because you can cook once and clean once. That means that on busy days you do not have to worry about cooking a meal or cleaning up from cooking. This works really well for casseroles, cookies and muffins, and soups. This is the least stressful way to build a large stash for your freezer with very little stress on you. No all day cooking or menu planning but you will be building a stash of meals for busy nights.

Protect from freezer burn.

While this freezer cooking is amazing for saving you time and money you will find that things can get freezer burnt causing unnecessary waste. To prevent freezer burn, remove air from packaging and use multiple layers around your food to keep it fresh longer. Never let air get into your packaging. Label your meals well so you do not need to open anything to find the meal you want.

I’d love to know your tips for making great freezer dinners! Let me know in the comments. 🙂

Want more great meal time tips? Check out The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle! This fantastic resource includes over 450 recipes in various ebooks and so much more! Only available through May 1, 2017.

Free Freezer Labels

Do you like to have an organized freezer?  Martha Stewart has some great freezer labels available for free!

Click here to print your labels!

Slow Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

For this Chicken Broccoli Alfredo meal, you take some chicken, broccoli, Alfredo sauce, and bacon bits, toss it all into a freezer bag. That’s it. Then to cook it, throw it in the slow cooker for a super simple, family pleasing dinner!

For this Chicken Broccoli Alfredo meal, you take some chicken, broccoli, Alfredo sauce, and bacon bits, toss it all into a freezer bag. That's it. Then to cook it, throw it in the slow cooker for a super simple, family pleasing dinner!

This Chicken Broccoli Alfredo is easy, easy, easy! Easy to put together, and easy to cook! My favourite kind of meal. 🙂 It’s a family-friendly meal that goes from the freezer to the slow cooker, making dinnertime a breeze. The recipe calls for a bag of frozen broccoli, but I find a bag of broccoli and cauliflower is just as good! It’s delicious served over pasta or rice.

Here’s how to make Slow Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo:

Slow Cooker Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
 
These ingredients make enough for one meal that feeds about 4 people.
Ingredients
  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 jars of Alfredo sauce
  • 1 bag of Frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 Green Pepper, diced (optional)
  • ½ cup real bacon
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag.
Freezing and Serving Directions:
  1. Freeze in a freezer bag for 3 months in a refrigerator freezer or 6 months in a deep freezer.
  2. To serve, defrost in fridge then place contents into slow cooker.
  3. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
  4. Serve over pasta (with parmesan cheese if you like), with a salad and/or veggies.

 

Easy Freezer-Friendly Shepherd’s Pie

This recipe for the ultimate comfort food, Easy Freezer-Friendly Shepherd’s Pie is one of our family’s favourite. Ground beef and veggies smothered in a tasty gravy, topped with delicious mashed potatoes. Yum yum!

This freezer-friendly Shepherd’s Pie is one of those easy to prepare comfort foods. It’s a simple meal that uses ingredients that you usually have on hand. It’s perfect for the freezer to cook another day, or you can make it ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook it for dinner. This recipe includes the use of beef gravy or Shepherd’s Pie gravy, which adds a delicious touch of flavour to the Shepherd’s Pie and keeps it moist and tender.

Here’s how to make Easy Freezer-Friendly Shepherd’s Pie:

Easy Freezer-Friendly Shepherd's Pie
 
These ingredients make enough for two 8x8 baking pans that will feed about 4 people each.
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 bag mixed frozen vegetables
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • About 10 medium potatoes
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 package Shepherd's Pie gravy mix, prepared as per instructions
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut potatoes.
  2. Cook in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes, drain.
  3. Add butter, milk and mash then set aside.
  4. In a large pan, add ground beef, onion, and garlic and cook until browned.
  5. Add bag of frozen mixed vegetables, heat through.
  6. In the meantime prepare gravy mix as per instructions.
  7. Stir gravy into meat and vegetable mix.
  8. Transfer to freezer safe baking dish.
  9. Top with mashed potato mix and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, if desired.
Freezing and Serving Directions
  1. Once assembled, cover freezer safe baking dish really well. Place in freezer.
  2. To serve, defrost, then preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Then bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

Freezer Mashed Potatoes

These Freezer Mashed Potatoes are one of my husband’s specialties. After I made them one time, he decided we needed to eat them more often, so he takes it upon himself to make up a fresh batch every once in a while. Makes me happy, because I happen to think they’re delicious too!

Normally, potatoes don’t freezer well, but because there’s all sorts of yummy additions, these freeze very well! They also pair very nicely with the Maple Pineapple Slow Cooker Ham I have here.

The added sour cream, cream cheese, butter and salt & pepper make for a really delicious combination of flavours. Sometimes, they don’t even make it to the freezer before we eat them 😉

Here’s how to make Freezer Mashed Potatoes:

Freezer Mashed Potatoes
Serves: two 8x8 pans
 
Ingredients
  • 10 medium russet potatoes, diced
  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese
  • 4 ounces Sour Cream
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • Shredded cheddar cheese to cover top, optional
Instructions
  1. Boil potatoes until cooked through.
  2. Drain water and smash potatoes until smooth.
  3. Add in cream cheese, sour cream, salt, black pepper and butter.
  4. Mash and combine until fluffy.
  5. Divide among two 8x8 aluminum freezer pans.
  6. Sprinkled cheddar cheese over top, if desired.
  7. Cover, label and freeze.
To Serve:
  1. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

 

Maple Pineapple Slow Cooker Ham

I’ve got another Fill the Freezer February recipe post for you! This time it’s for a delicious maple pineapple ham that can be made in the slow cooker. I actually changed this recipe up a bit from the one available in the Fill the Freezer February pack. I wanted to use what I had on hand and so I omitted the brown sugar (mine was rock hard) and used some canned pineapple instead. This actually makes me happier, because I feel like there’s less sugar that way!

I’ve made a very similar version to this several times in the past and it’s always a hit with everyone. I whipped up two batches of freezer mashed potatoes to serve with this.

Here’s how to make Maple Pineapple Slow Cooker Ham:

Maple Pineapple Slow Cooker Ham
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ Cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 Small can of Pineapple with Juice
  • 1 Pre-Cooked ham
Instructions
  1. Place Dijon mustard, maple syrup and pineapple and juice into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Place ham into a large freezer bag.
  3. Pour sauce over top of the ham.
  4. Seal Bag. Freeze.
To Serve:
  1. Place ham and sauce in a slow cooker. (Can still be frozen)
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours.

 

Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells (Fill the Freezer February)

First up in my Fill The Freezer February task, is these delicious Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells! (I sincerely hope my photography skills only improve with each meal I make…my apologies.) These are so delicious and are actually quite simple to put together! They were a hit with everyone in my family and I need to make another batch because I planned to make two for the freezer, but only one made it there! I served these with a caesar salad and some carrot sticks.

I also love my KitchenAid mixer so I try to do as much as I can with it in the kitchen and these proved that I can create the whole “stuffing” part with the mixer. Including shredding the chicken! That is a win in my books, especially when I’m working with a stiffer food thing. (Saves my wrists.)

These Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells could be quite versatile. I think they’d be great with spinach added, as much pesto as you’d like and I’m sure most variety of cheeses would be wonderful. You could even try adding a bit of tomato sauce.

Here’s how to make freezer friendly Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells:

Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells
 
This recipe makes enough for two pans of stuffed shells that will feed about four people each.
Ingredients
  • 1 box of jumbo pasta shells
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups fresh grated Parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese + extra for topping
  • 6 Tbsp prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta shells only until al dente. (The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked.)
  2. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the extra cheese for the topping.
  4. Fill the pasta shells with the filling.
  5. Freezing and Serving Directions
  6. Place stuffed shells in an aluminum baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle the extra cheese over shells.
  8. Cover well.
  9. To serve, defrost, then preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

 

The Ultimate Before Baby Freezer Cooking List (Fill the Freezer February)

Have your meals taken care of with this Ultimate Before Baby Freezer Cooking List! The post includes a great printable recipe and shopping list pack.

The time is quickly approaching for our new baby’s arrival! Baby is due to arrive around the middle of March so I’ve dubbed the month of February as “Fill the Freezer February”. Clever, right? 😛  Last month during the January Declutterathon, I made a bit of room in our freezers so I can fill it up with plenty of freezer meals to keep us well nourished for a while.

Preparing meals isn’t one of my favourite things to do at the best of times, so I know I have to make it as easy as possible for myself once the baby is born. I want to avoid as much eating out as possible but I also want well rounded meals.

So today, I present to you, Fill the Freezer February with my Ultimate Before Baby Freezer Cooking List! My plan of attack is to make the meals I have picked throughout the entire month of February. I want to avoid a big one day cooking session because my body is just not handling extra standing as well these days. Once I create the meal, I will do a post for you with a photo and the recipe.  How does that sound?

Whether or not you have a new addition arriving in your family, I’d love for you to join me. After all, in the long run, freezer cooking can be a great money and time saver.

If you’d like to join me, today I will provide my list of meals and snacks I plan on making plus, a free downloadable Ultimate Freezer Cooking pack. The pack includes a grocery list, recipes and labels!

Here’s what I have planned to fill my freezer. All recipes will be included in the Freezer cooking Pack unless otherwise noted:

Breakfasts

  • Waffles (1 batch)
  • French Toast (1 loaf)
  • Maple Oatmeal packets

Lunches:

  • Chicken Noodle Soup (2 containers)
  • Cream of chicken soup (1 container)
  • Hamburger soup (1 container)

Dinners:

Snacks:

That list should give us over 30 meals, taking care of breakfast, lunch and dinner for a while. Plus, there are quite a few snacks. Since I am not making everything in one day, I didn’t have a budget in mind, because I will pick things up while they are on sale with my regular grocery shopping.

Get the downloadable Ultimate Freezer Cooking pack here.

Also, I’m really considering purchasing a set of these Hands-Free baggy racks. I think they would be so handy!

baggy rack

I’d love to know what your favourite freezer meals are. Let me know in the comments!

Slow Cooker Freezer Cooking: 9 Meals in About 3 Hours

With summer wrapping up and the back to school rush beginning, there’s no better time to get the dinner time chaos under control. Give this Slow Cooker Freezer cooking plan a try and have 9 meals ready and waiting!
Slow Cooker Freezer Cooking: 9 Meals in About an Hour!

I really wanted to try to get dinner time more under control and I know for me, having prepared meals (homemade and store bought) in the freezer really help me out.  While store bought foods, (think frozen pizza, perogies…etc.) are okay with me once in a while, I love to have homemade meals on the table most nights.

I’ve been seeing freezer cooking posts all over Pinterest lately and knew I had to jump on that band wagon.  Freezer cooking is a great solution to my problem and I haven’t intentionally stocked my freezer with meals since before my daughter was born.

Another one of my favourite things is using the slow cooker.  I love the ease of just throwing things into the slow cooker, turning it on, then coming back at dinner time to dish up!  Sure makes that 5pm toddler crazy time more bearable. 🙂

So, with those two things in mind, I created a plan for 9 slow cooker freezer meals that I’d love to share with you all!

The plan consists of some of our tried and true favourite family meals.  Here are the meals you will be making if you so wish to join in:

  • Peanut Chicken
  • Beef Roast and Carrots
  • Chicken Tortilla soup
  • Honey Garlic Chicken
  • Meatballs
  • Chicken Vegetable Curry
  • Beef Stew
  • Baked Beans
  • Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

I hope you’ll enjoy them just as much as we do!  (It’s actually 10 meals because the size I roll meatballs makes that recipe enough for two meals)

Click here to download the grocery list, recipes and labels.

All told, everything cost me under $100.  The cost could be much less since I didn’t purchase any of the meat on sale.  I also purchased everything from the Real Canadian Superstore for the sake of time. I think you’ll have many of the ingredients on hand already which also makes the costs go down.

Since nothing in this freezer cooking plan has to be cooked beforehand, I think the best use of your time would be to chop the veggies and meat first. Then for any recipe that requires a sauce, mix those up.  Finally, throw all the veggies and meat into a freezer bag and pour the sauces over top!  Simple as that!

As for the labels included in the plan, simply cut them out, then place them on the freezer bags and use clear packing tape to cover.

Click here to download the grocery list, recipes and labels.

So what do you think?  Will you be trying this out?  What are your favourite freezer meals?

Slow Cooker Freezer Cooking: 9 Meals in about an Hour!

Prep 16 Freezer Meals in an Hour

freezer-slow cooker meals

Freezer cooking is a great way to save if you’re on a budget and short on time! Head on over to Midget Momma to see how she prepped 16 freezer slow cooker meals with fresh ingredients in about an hour!