So our twins will be here in 5 weeks or less! I can’t believe how quickly this pregnancy has flown by. In an effort to be as fully prepared as possible I am filling our freezer with freezer meals before they arrive so my hubby and I have plenty of homemade meals/snacks available! I’ve put together this post to share all the recipes I’ve gathered from websites/created on my own, pictures of the process, a complete grocery list (Costco & King Soopers) and some tips I learned from freezer meal pros along the way. Hope you enjoy!!
Here’s the list of meals that I completed for my freezer meal extravaganza with links to the recipes:
-Lemon & oregano chicken (when serving top with feta and parsley & serve with veggies)
-Cilantro lime chicken with black beans and corn (serve with tortillas or over brown rice) x2
-Chicken Adobo (serve with garlic sautéed rice and a green vegetable) x2
-White chicken chili (top with avocado/cheese) x2
-Meatballs (made approx. 40 golfball sized)
-Thai beef stir fry (serve with stir fry veggies) x2
-Beef stew x4
-Hamburger meat frozen to make quick burgers
-Chicken, spinach, and goat cheese quesadillas (all wrapped individually)
-Kale lasagna (I added Italian sausage to this recipe)
-Red sauce (2 batches)
-Ready to bake homemade veggie & sausage pizzas x2 (I bought pizza dough from Wholefoods and then topped them with veggies and sausage. Wrapped them WELL in plastic wrap and foil and put them in the freezer)
-Sausage & egg breakfast burritos (wrapped individually)
Here is a complete grocery list for the meals prepared: Freezer meals grocery list. I had some of the ingredients already and they are listed at the bottom of the list but you can edit as needed.
Freezer Meal Tips:
1. Stock up on supplies before you do anything! wax paper, saran wrap, aluminum foil, ziplock freezer bags and aluminum pans, and sharpies. There are some REALLY great deals on bulk ziplock bags and aluminum pans (and lids) on Amazon!
2. Make sure you have all your recipes and ingredients sorted through for the meals you want to prepare. When thinking about what you want to make think about what you want to stock up on and how you normally eat. We eat a lot of chicken/meat and veggie dishes, and soups. If you aren’t a casserole family then it won’t do any good to stock your freezer with things you wouldn’t normally eat! You can start with what’s in your pantry and build from there. It’s a great way to make the most of what you have.
3. Before you start cooking make sure your kitchen is clean to start. You don’t want to have to clean then cook, because you’re going to be washing dishes in the process.…at least I was. I only have a few kitchen items so I was rewashing as I went….
4. Before you start cooking clean your freezer! Make sure you have enough space for everything you are going to prepare. This is important!
5. Half-way through it will feel like too much work (at least it did for me!) but IT’S WORTH IT when it’s all done and your freezer is full!
6. Prep everything in batches. This was a huge time saver for me! If you need diced onion for 5 recipes then chop it all at once to make your life easier. Brown all of your hamburger or chicken breasts together then divide it out for the different meals. If you’ve got to do a lot of it, do it all together. This will help with time and clean up!
7. Mark everything you put into a bag or pan! Label everything with a sharpie with:
-what the item is….when sauces/soups are frozen they can all look the same and you may not remember what it is! You wwant to make sure that you grabbed the right thing to thaw!
-directions on thawing (most will thaw overnight or for an entire day)
-ingredients (if any) to be added on the cooking day
-cooking/reheating instructions (temperature, time, etc)
-date to be used
8. Prepare meals until the point that you would put them in your oven or slow cooker to cook. If the food is hot cool them to room temperature and then put them into the freezer. Always cool your food before storing it!
9. For slow cooker recipes, store meals in gallon-sized plastic freezer bags or smaller bags if you are only feeding 2 people. I think using the freezer bags that have a zipper on top are the best ones.
10. When storing meals in gallon-sized freezer bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing the bag. This will help your meal keep better. Using bags with a zipper will help you remove air without making a mess.
11. Freeze bags FLAT in your freezer. This will help with space saving!
12. For oven recipes, store meals in aluminum or glass pans. Place layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil on the top. If you don’t have a lot of pans on-hand, you may want to use disposable aluminum pans so you don’t end up with all your pans in the freezer!
(halfway through freezer meals the freezer was filling up but we fit it all!)