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.
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.
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. 🙂
Do you like to have an organized freezer? Martha Stewart has some great freezer labels available for free!
Click here to print your labels!
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:
These ingredients make enough for one meal that feeds about 4 people.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 jars of Alfredo sauce
- 1 bag of Frozen broccoli florets
- 1 Green Pepper diced (optional)
- 1/2 cup real bacon
Place all ingredients in a large freezer bag.
Freezing and Serving Directions:
Freeze in a freezer bag for 3 months in a refrigerator freezer or 6 months in a deep freezer.
To serve, defrost in fridge then place contents into slow cooker.
Cook on Low for 6-8 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
Serve over pasta (with parmesan cheese if you like), with a salad and/or veggies.
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:
These ingredients make enough for two 8x8 baking pans that will feed about 4 people each.
- 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
Peel and cut potatoes.
Cook in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes, drain.
Add butter, milk and mash then set aside.
In a large pan, add ground beef, onion, and garlic and cook until browned.
Add bag of frozen mixed vegetables, heat through.
In the meantime prepare gravy mix as per instructions.
Stir gravy into meat and vegetable mix.
Transfer to freezer safe baking dish.
Top with mashed potato mix and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, if desired.
Freezing and Serving Directions
Once assembled, cover freezer safe baking dish really well. Place in freezer.
To serve, defrost, then preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for 30 minutes covered. Then bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
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 freeze 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:
- 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
Boil potatoes until cooked through.
Drain water and smash potatoes until smooth.
Add in cream cheese, sour cream, salt, black pepper and butter.
Mash and combine until fluffy.
Divide among two 8x8 aluminum freezer pans.
Sprinkled cheddar cheese over top, if desired.
Cover, label and freeze.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.