Freezer Meals

Recently, someone asked about making Freezer Meals and how to prep for doing them in a large batch.
Honestly, I have never done them before, so I was up for the fun challenge! My plan was to make meals that were completely different and yet you can incorporate foods together instead of buying a ton of various foods. Within this post are 8 different Freezer Meals that I chose to prep. If you are attempting to make Freezer Meals, check with your family about what meals they want included.

Monica in front of a corn maze Freezer Meals

Disclosure
Published on December 22, 2015
Updated on February 24, 2022
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Let me introduce myself

Before I get into the Freezer Meals, I want to introduce myself. Hi. I am Monica, a mother of four kids who are 12, 9, 5 and 3. Consequently, I am also a stay-at-home-mom who blogs as a hobby. My husband, Tyler, works in the construction field as a Journeyman Carpenter. There have been times that his job has taken him all over the country, however, the past few years he has been working near home.

Growing up, I was raised by two working parents who did the best they could for me and my brother and sister. Being the middle child with a studious sister and active younger brother, there were many times that dinners fell to me to start. This may have seemed like a burden at the time. Now however, it is thought about as a learning experience that has set me up for today. Imagine that! Thanks mom and dad!

I love to cook meals for our family. Meals that are from scratch, where I can have control over the ingredients and methods is really important to me. One reason is for finances. With only one income, our family of six has a strict grocery budget. But really, our family of six (two girls and four boys) can eat on a budget of $170 a week for groceries. To do this, I make most of our food from scratch. Hence, Monicas Scratch Kitchen.

Secondly, I cook from scratch because of having an awful lot of food allergies that became known in 2019. Because of this newfound realization, and an almond allergy to boot, it has suddenly become important for me to manage what I eat. With a terrible rise in processed foods and an additionally increased rise in food cost, it was time to do what was best for us. We ditched the prepackaged foods and jumped off the cliff towards having a Scratch Kitchen.

Why make Freezer Meals?

Why make Freezer Meals you may be asking? Well, as part of our new Scratch Kitchen mentality, Tyler and I wanted to be able to have meals available if we are unable to plan a meal for a day. For example, if some new activity is suddenly on the calendar and you do not have a meal made or decided, you can throw a Freezer Meal into the oven to back. Thus, saving dinner!

As this was my first-time making Freezer Meals, the first step was to plan. I love plans. Additionally, I love to be organized and not fly by the seat of my pants. Have you ever grocery shopped hungry? Not good! If you plan ahead, or eat a snack beforehand, you can then avoid hunger impulsive buys. I way over buy and buy based on what I can rip open on the car on the way home.

Typically, those are not the best foods to eat. I know… sad right? At least now I know that most of those easy to snack on foods are completely out of bounds for me, resulting from my almond allergy.

What Freezer Meals did I Pick?

Initially my plan was to make 6 meals and I ended up making 8. With only 2 more ingredients it was super easy to make an extra meal, and consequently ended up with a full pan and a half of another meal.

I like to keep Freezer Meals on hand for so many various reasons. When I get sick, when we get home and there is literally no food, when I do not want to cook, and then can just pop one in the oven… Coming home from a weekend away is also a great reason! How many times have you stopped somewhere to eat just to feed the family and spent $50 or more?! Having a Freezer Meal to throw into the oven is a no-fuss way to save your family money.

8 Freezer Meals:
Chicken Tetrazzini
Lasagna
2 Beef Enchiladas
2 Chicken Bacon Broccoli Quiche
Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Chicken Pot Pie

What to buy

Below you will see the image with all of the meals with each itemized ingredient list needed. I like to cross items off of a list. As a result, you will see all of these foods crossed off on the sheet. Some of the foods are links that will bring you to blogs I published about that recipe. Check them out to get full recipes.

Freezer Meals grocery list on paper

Lasagna:
Lasagna pasta, 2 pounds beef, large cottage cheese, 1 egg, parsley, oregano, spaghetti sauce, shredded cheddar, shredded parmesan, shredded mozzarella, 1 onion, mushrooms

Enchiladas:
10 pack tortillas, shredded cheddar, shredded mozzarella, homemade taco seasoning, 2 can tomato sauce, 2 pounds beef, refried beans

Chicken Tetrazzini:
Chicken, spaghetti pasta, block cream cheese, chicken stock, peas, bacon, minced garlic, butter, white wine, mushrooms

Bruschetta Chicken Bake:
Stuffing, garlic, shredded parmesan, chicken, can tomato
Chicken Pot Pie:
2 pie crust, chicken, 2 cream of chicken soup, 2 cans mixed vegetables, 1 egg, mushrooms

Quiche:
2 pie crust, 10 eggs, milk, chicken, broccoli, shredded cheddar cheese, bacon

What was the total cost?

For the chicken, I found it best to buy a whole chicken and cook it and then shred the meat. If you buy frozen chicken breasts or tenderloins, it would be twice as expensive. As an example, I used one whole chicken for four meals for a cost of $6.50! For four meals I would have needed $14.00 in bagged frozen chicken breasts.

In the future, buying a whole chicken and deboning it for this purpose will be a completely economical way to get a lot of meat for a small cost. The total cost for groceries for 8 Freezer Meals, with pans bought additionally, was $85.00. This brings the cost per meal down to $10.62.

How to freeze the meal?

Each Freezer Meal was additionally fully cooked, cooled. and subsequently left to rest to room temperature. When cooled, I then cover with aluminum foil and wrote what the meal is with a permanent marker. That way you do not compromise the meal by checking what each is. Total time was 6 1/2 hours until they all popped into the freezer. Cook and prep time was 5 hours. Not a bad way to spend a day!

Typically, Freezer Meals you buy at the grocery store are flash frozen. This means that they are frozen very fast not allowing bacteria or moisture to penetrate the food. Having a flash freezer allows you to quickly freeze food. If you do all of them at once, they will not freeze as fast. Another tip is to let them cool to room temperature, then cool them in a fridge before finally placing them, one at a time, into the freezer. Just be sure to allow an hour or two between each for proper freezing.

**UPDATE September 16, 2021**

I have done so many freezer meals in the few years since this post was originally published. One thing I know for certain, those containers you buy, the aluminum freezer safe ones, do not make it past one meal. Between being frozen, pre-cooked, then cooked again, left in the fridge and more; they take a beating! Buying them each time you want to make a batch of meals is not the economic way to go if you are like me and scrutinize your food budget. Buying them in bulk really saves time and money. Additionally, making freezer meals helps to cut initial food cost down if you buy in bulk.

Published by Monica's Scratch Kitchen

I have not always had the skills to cook and bake from scratch. As a young wife, I bought every meal frozen or boxed and presented it to my husband with a flourish, believing myself a decadent cook. As our budget shrunk, and our family grew, I looked for ways to stretch our money to nourish our kids with the best for their hungry appetites. Hoping to find recipes and meals that they would love to eat. Through the last 5 years, I have learned so many cooking and baking lessons, and experienced many wins and failures. Come along with me on this journey as I share my recipes that work, how to make them on the cheap, and my tips and tricks to get my kids to eat homemade deliciousness! I will also share updates to our house that we have done in the last year since our move. With one income, we do most of the work ourselves and with amazing family and friends to help out, cutting costs but keeping style and money in the bank! I am a wife and mother of 3 boys and 1 princess. When I was a kid, I remember being asked what I wanted to be or do when I grew up. My response was, "a mom", and I am proud to grow up and be a mom to 4 amazing kids! Samuel is 11, Matthew is 8, Levi is 4, and Elliana is almost 2. We have been blessed to have kids who love to explore foods, to try new recipes, and enjoy helping us around the house. With 4 kids, you better believe they help clean! My husband Tyler and I have been married almost 13 years. We love our kids, we love outdoors, camping, canoeing, grilling, watching movies, and just hanging out making memories. A few years ago I gifted Tyler with his own "menu" book, where we write meals and foods we have loved to eat. Weekly our family decides what our meals will be and I make up a grocery list with what we need. It literally is my favorite chore! I love to shop, so shopping for food on a budget is my biggest win! Thank you for taking the time and visiting my site, Subscribe so you do not miss a post! Keep coming back to hear about new recipes, updates on our home, fun times with our kids, and how to make homemade deliciousness! ~Monica

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