Lately I have been big on premade meals and easy cooking ideas. When I shop for food for planned meal ideas, I plan to make everything in atleast triplicate so that I have a meal for that night plus two more meals frozen for something quick and easy. I know it sounds like its excessively costly, but after a few meals are put away for future meals and a few meals are pulled out, it all evens out in the end. Maybe even more towards your favor as buying in bulk tends to save you a little here and there.
Hopefully, You will find something here that will help make your meal planning a little easier.
When I premake some meals I will package them in Ziplock style bags to keep things separated (like my cooked meats separate from my veggies or rice because for some kids, the visual separation is important). I will take all items for a particular meal and either stuff them all together in a larger ziplock bag or in a foil baking pan. I wont use the foil pan to heat the meal, just more or a way to keep all the meal things together neatly and in a way I can easily identify a whole meal. I label everything. There is nothing more frustrating than thinking you have pulled out cooked ground beef to thaw and discover after its thawed that it is cooked brown/black rice with Quinoa. I label with Sharpie or by writing on Freezer tape with a Sharpie. I label before food is packed.
As a means to save money and eat healthier options, I have been doing alot of modern convenience things myself (like making my own Bisquick vs buying Bisquick) and making things from scratch.
I’ve included links to recipes for foods I’ve made or have enjoyed freezing. Others I still dilly dally around trying new things and some I don’t have recipes for because I just throw it together without one. If you have a fantastic recipe, please do share! We love trying delicious new recipes.
Some foods really should be Parboiled / Blanched before freezing. Its a good idea to get familiar with what should be parboiled before freezing. A quick list of foods that Need to be Blanched or Parboiled and the ‘how to’. Regardless of what any website has claimed in regards to potatoes, I’ve never had good results with blanched/parboiled potatoes.
Tamales (Freeze Uncooked-Meat is Fully cooked-Masa Uncooked) Steam when ready to cook. Some people thaw then steam. I go straight from freezer to tamale pot. To me, it makes zero sense to make tamales in a small quanity. When I make tamales, its a 2 day job and usually yeilds a few hundred tamales that last the whole year. I freeze them in packs of 12-15 per bag and freeze them according to their thickness so they all cook uniformly when they are steamed. I usually do a Pork or Pork/Beef Combo for my meat.
• Green Chile, Corn and Cheese
Lasagna (Freeze before baking-Pasta Cooked-Meat Cooked) Thaw first before cooking. I cook with it covered in foil but fluff the foil up so any cheese on top doesn’t stick to my foil. I then remove foil at the end of cooking cycle to brown/toast the tops of Lasagna. I prepare them in foil baking pans that I pick up at the dollar store and bake on a cookie sheet (because dollar store tins are cheap)
• Lasagna Rolls
Enchiladas (Just like Lasagna)
• Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas
Two Under Two Blog
• Margarita Chicken
• Citrus Chicken
• Greek Chicken
• Sesame Chicken
• Pork Chops
• Marinated Pork
• London Broil
• Taco Soup
Easy Calzones by the Pioneer Woman
Easy Homemade Hot Pockets (from the same blogger as the Pizza Pockets)
Spaghetti and Meatballs
I cook my meat and my sauces and freeze them. Thaw my sauce the night before and add my cooked, frozen meat to the sauce as its warming up and noodles are cooking. If I have meatballs I will freeze them in the sauce.
I freeze patties on a cookie sheet then stack them with freezer paper separating each patty once they are frozen solid.
Same as beef patties. I run chicken thru a meat grinder instead up buying pre ground chicken.
Cooked Ground Beef:
I cook and separate cooled off ground beef into packs that are about 1 pound each. If I package frozen, uncooked ground beef, I pack it in packages of 1 pound and half of a pound and flatten the pack out so that its easily stored in the freezer and easy to thaw.
Hamburger Mac N Cheese
Homemade Hamburger Helper
Incredible Cheeseburger Pie – I’m usually not big on sharing Betty Crocker or other branded recipes, but this one has been a favorite for years. You can make it with ground beef, turkey, rabbit or any other ground meat you like. I make, bake, cut and freeze then package for quick easy meals that I can package and send with my husband to work for his lunches.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Freezes well. I use White Rice instead of noodles. I freeze in Gallon Size Ziploc bags, freeze flat on a cookie sheet and thaw in a bowl incase the bag leaks.
Crock Pot Cowboy Chili
I use dried beans cook them and proceed as I normally would once the beans are cooked. I freeze in Ziplock bags and thaw in a bowl.
Green Bean Casserole
8 Easy Casserole Recipes
Mini (Kid) Pizzas from English Muffins
Pineapple Chicken over White Rice
Super easy. Boil chicken. Shredd. Pour a can of crushed pineapple into a skillet with the shredded chicken and add 3 or 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. Cook until hot and bubbly. Serve over cooked rice. Certainly not a low sugar meal but it is tasty and easy. This also freezes well.
Pineapple Mandarin Orange Chicken over Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing – Same concept as the Pineapple Chicken over White rice, just add mandarin orange slices (uncooked) to your Pineapple Chicken Mixture and serve over Salad with a little Poppy Seed Dressing.
Teryaki Chicken with Rice and Steamed Veggies
Sweet and Sour Grilled Chicken with White Rice and Steamed Veggies
Homemade Chicken Nuggets (Fried)
-These are a great alternative to fast food joint chicken…and you know its actually CHICKEN!
Homemade Chicken Strips (Fried)
-Another Real Chicken alternative to fast food that is a big hit with kids.
These are easy to make, freese, thaw and reheat. I do wrap all tortilla foods that will be frozen in a parchment paper sheet and put a little piece of freezer tape on it to make sure it stays wrapped and doesn’t freezer burn before I bag them up for freezing. I store all frozen burritos or chimichangas in a hard plastic container with a lid. Otherwise, you will end up with a bunch of broken burritos.
I store these like burritos too.
Taquitos (rolled, fried tacos).
I store these like burritos.
Chicken Wraps (Fresh Tortilla/Meat was cooked then frozen and packaged for quick and easy wraps)
Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches
I freeze the cooked meat/onions/bell peppers and the cheese (unmelted) and I thaw and heat meat to melt cheese and fill my bread. These are also a great option for a quick and easy lunch box meal for my husband because he can heat the meat and fill his bread at work without ending up with a soggy sandwich.
Lime Grilled Salmon and Wild Rice with Steamed Veggies
Apricot Glazed Chicken with Black Rice and Mixed Veggies
Grilled Salmon and Baked Sweet Potatoes and Rice – I fully cook everything and freeze. Makes for a great quick, healthy easy meal.
Meatloaf – I prepare my meatloaf in a dollar store bread pan and wrap in foil and freeze it uncooked. I fully thaw before cooking.
Cornish Hens, Stuffing and Veggies with with corn bread. Fully Cooked and frozen in a dollar store tin.
Cooked Frozen Meats for Quick Meals
Make, Cool, Package in Individual Bags and Freeze Flat for Quick and Easy meals. Just add sides and you have a instant homemade meal.
• Cube Steak
• Chicken Fried Steak
• Grilled Chicken
• Baked Chicken
• Grilled Salmon
• Baked Salmon