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