Easy, Delicious + Healthy Freezer Meal Planning + Cooking

I have been getting a lot of emails from women and moms asking for help in organizing their homes.  We all desire our homes to run efficiently so that we have more time for family and fun, don’t we?  To be honest, I don’t really enjoy cooking.  However, I do love eating!  lol and someone has to feed the family.  So today, I am going to share with you my BIGGEST time AND money saver in the kitchen!

 Freezer Meal Planning + Cooking

Not just that, BUT easy, delicious and healthy freezer meals!

freezer meals

I love it when I plan ahead for my dinner meals.  Planning one day of the week versus every single night really helps me feel less stressed over the dreaded question from the family…”what’s for dinner?” 

I like to keep it really easy.  One night a week we usually grill burgers.  Another night we have take out pizza.  That leaves just 5 meals a week left to plan.  Any leftovers we have we usually eat for lunch OR save them all for the end of the week for a leftover dinner night.

This saves me soooo much time!  I can pull out in the morning a bag and have it thaw for dinner or dump in the crock pot.  Super easy!  There are a lot of freezer meals that you can buy at the grocery store, but doing it this way it cheaper AND healthier.  No preservatives or other yucky stuff you don’t want to feed your family.

Shopping week to week also saves me a lot of money and leaves a lot less waste.  I buy what I know we need for the meals. I also shop mainly around the perimeter of the store.  This is where the ‘real’ food is located and it really does save me money too!  I try to avoid the junk isles that are money traps and health sabotagers.

Here is how I do it:

1.  Plan dinner meals for the week ****don’t worry.  i will share mine ;)

We have pizza one night a week so I plan for 6 meals.

2.  Make the grocery list.  

I always check to see what I have on hand too so I don’t purchase something I don’t need to.

I write down everything!  I am waaaay too forgetful otherwise. Take the list with you to the store.

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3. Pick a day/time to shop and prepare.

It works best for me if I do this on the same day.  Plus it’s more time efficient. 

Plan around nap time, bed time, school, etc.

I need about 2 – 3 hours total.

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4.  Chop and assemble ingredients.

I first set any meat that needs to be pre-cooked on.

(this batch I made taco meat and shredded chicken)

Then I start chopping and dicing the veggies.

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I bagged them in portion sizes for our family of 5.

These are to add to each recipes depending on what it calls for and for extra veggies to munch on.

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Then I assembled the rest of the meals in gallon size Ziploc bags. 

I have a small freezer and this is the best solution for us in terms of space. 

[scroll down to find the recipes]

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5.  Label the meals including cooking instructions. 

Did I mention am very forgetful? In fact, I forgot to take a picture of this step!  lol

6. Freeze (or refrigerate the extra veggies) and Enjoy!

Here they are!  All 6 meals ready to go.

freezer meals 2

Here are the recipes for my Easy, Delicious + Healthy Freezer Meals

1. Beef Stew

(serve with rolls)

3 lb chuck roast cut into chunks

6 small red potatoes quartered

1 onion sliced

4 carrots sliced

Freeze.  When ready to cook in crockpot…add

1 pkg dry onion soup mix

2 cups water

1/4 cup flour

2. Honey Lime Chicken

(serve with baked sweet potatoes + veggies)

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

6 chicken breast

bake at 350 for 30 min or until done

*super yummy grilled!

3.  Teriyaki Chicken

(serve with rice or noodles)

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

6 chicken breast

cook in crockpot, grill or bake

4.  Taco Meat for Nachos

(I like to make mine a salad)

1 lb ground beef

I use this seasoning on allrecipes

minus the salt + red pepper flakes.

5.  Shredded BBQ Chicken for Quesadillas

(yummy grilled with a little cheese)

6 chicken breast

slow cook in crock pot then shred with fork

add bbq sauce and cook 20 more min.

6.  Hamburger patties

(serve with homemade fries + veggies)

2 lb ground beef shaped into patties

place between wax paper before freezing

Here are a few of my tips…..

* I like to cut the chicken breast in half or buy tenderloins

*I usually double the batch for my family of 5 to make leftovers for lunch

*I find you don’t need to thaw if you are cooking in a crock pot.

*Asking hubby to grill totally cuts down your cooking time in the kitchen.  Shhhh….

Have you ever tried freezer cooking?  Do you do it weekly or monthly?  Do you hate not knowing what to fix for dinner too?  Try this out and let me know how it goes.  You will love that it saves you so much time and money!

claire

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Comments

  1. Hi Claire,
    I love this post! I may be making some of these recipes before our next boy arrives in February!
    I just wanted to stop by to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award:
    http://www.thecreativebubble.com/2012/12/liebster-blog-award.html
    Katie @ thecreativebubble.com

  2. Hi Claire,
    I’m a mom of 4 kids (in the netherlands) and I don’t have a crockpot. Can you cook this in the oven to?

    I really want to begin freezer cooking (It’s not done much here so I’m relying on the foreign websites) and I was wondering how do you get enough veggie’s in every meal? I found a lot of recipies with little or no veggies at all. And can you do vegitarian menu’s too?

    Can you freeze almost finished dishes and finish them when you come home? (so dinner only takes you 10-15 minutes?

    Thanks alot!

    Marielle

    • Hi Marielle. Thanks so much for visiting! The oven would work find to cook these in. The dinners could be cooked before and reheated to make it faster for you. Hope that helps! xoxo Claire

  3. Vicky @ Mess For Less says:

    Wow, I am so impressed by you. I bet this does save you a ton of time. I may have to try this. Just pinned so I can come back to it later.

  4. Mostly I would prefer to make everything fresh that day, but I’m getting into freezer cooking for busy days. Thanks for sharing at I Made It! Monday. Can’t wait to see what you link up this week.

  5. I have the ingredients to make #1-3 in my fridge right now! How long should I cook in the crockpot, from frozen?

  6. Thanks for the tips and recipes! For the Honey lime chicken, does it just marinate as it thaws? Love this idea! And it sounds super yummy!!!

  7. Michelle Herrera says:

    Do the raw potatoes freeze well? I have heard that they turn black when frozen raw and if frozen after they are cooked they go mushy…. help!?

    • Hi Michelle! They turn out fine for me! However, if freezing potatoes for fries, I cook them most of the way before freezing otherwise they do turn black. Hope that helps. xoxo claire

  8. Sorry for a stupid question but are all of these frozen before cooking?

  9. Hi! I am preparing the beef stew to freeze. Does the meat need to be cooked first? How long in the crockpot? On high or low??

    Thanks!!

    • Hi Laura! I did not cook the meat first. Just dump in the crockpot straight from the freezer. I cooked it on low for 6-8 hours…until the meat was tender to our liking. Enjoy!

  10. Hi!
    I just had a quick question. I just wanted to make sure that I have to thaw the honey lime chicken before I put it in the oven right?

    • Hi Leeza! You actually don’t need to thaw it, but you can. Just cook it a little longer. We put ours in the crockpot or this past weekend we grilled it. SO yummy!

  11. Hi! I am looking at starting to do freezer cooking and have a question. How do you get the (frozen) food into the crockpot without thawing?

  12. Hi,
    I’m glad I found your site! My husband and I are always busy so freezing and cooking should help a lot. What size crockpot do you use for your meals?

    Thanks,
    Karen

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