Super Fast Freezer Meals

One day, on an absolute whim, I decided it was time to try my hand at freezer meals. I figured if I could learn to declutter the rest of my day, it was time to simplify supper time. It happened innocently enough: I was making chicken & dressing for dinner and realized I’d made way too much for us for one meal. I thought “why not put half in the freezer?” I’d done it before with lasagna, so I knew it would mean the meal would hold a pan hostage for a few weeks, so I decided to pop over to the dollar store and buy some aluminum pans to put the second batch of dressing into so I would have a ready made meal without losing a pan.

This lady made a month of freezer meals for $200 in four hours. Definitely trying this one!

The trip to the dollar store led to me finding 15 different kinds of pans, which got my wheels to turning… I could buy a few (I think I bought $10 worth at 3/$1) and stock up on meals of all different kinds. I left with my pans, went straight to the grocery store, bought up a ton of stuff that I knew I could normally cook with (like chicken breast, hamburger, veggies, etc.) and then went home and started a four hour cooking marathon that ended up with 28 meals in my freezer.

When I was finished, I mentioned it on Facebook, and there were lots of questions about what I made, recipe requests, and even tips for what I did. So I thought I’d write a post to share with you how I made 28 freezer meals in about 4 hours.

Before I get started, I’m going to tell you this post will be long…. very long. I could have easily broken this into a dozen or so smaller posts, but this is a DIY blog, not a freezer meals blog, so I figured my regular (non-freezer-meal-loving) readers will hang with me for one post – if I started posting all of this separately you might think I was nutso and quit reading. Please don’t. Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about lighting or sewing or something, m’kay? And also, know I’m not a professional cook – I’m a southern mom who’s raised four children and they’ve grown up on eating this food. I stuck to the basic recipes that we have eaten for years – so I knew what my family would actually eat.

*this post contains affiliate links for your convenience*

Freezer Meals tips (in no particular order):

1) Make sure your kitchen is clean to start your freezer meals. You don’t want to have to clean then cook, because you’re going to be washing dishes while cooking at a rapid fire pace. At least I was. I only have a few pots and pans, a few mixing bowls, a couple of whisks, etc. I don’t have a fully outfitted kitchen big enough for an army. On a regular basis I feed four people – so my kitchen reflects our needs.

2) Think about what you want to stock up on. I know we eat a lot of chicken meals, some with hamburger, and a lot of casserole type meals. 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) Clean your freezer. I only have the freezer on my side by side refrigerator. I have had a couple of different deep freezers in the past, but they never got used properly, so I got rid of them. I thoroughly cleaned out my freezer and found that once it was all cleaned up, not only did I have enough room for all those meals, I even had a leftover shelf to fill with my favorite ice cream (which I totally did.)

freezer meals - how to do it all in one day4) Stock up on freezer bags and aluminum pans. Those 3/$1 pans come in all shapes and sizes. I bought ones that hold about 2 pounds of food, because 4 people divided by 2 pounds is 8 ounces each. That’s plenty for the main dish for us. Buy good plastic baggies (I recommend Ziploc) in both gallon and quart size.

5) Wear comfortable shoes. I did it barefoot and my feet were killing me at the end of four hours.

6) Have help, if you can. I wish I had done it on a Sunday when my girls were home to help wash dishes, open cans, etc. I did the bulk of the work when they were at school, but by the last hour I had help and it made my life much easier.

7) Remember this isn’t a fairy tale. Half way through you’re going to start thinking “Why in the crap did I think this was a good idea?!?” Well, at least I did. When you’re up to your elbows in marinara and casseroles, putting freezer meals into pans over and over again, you’re going to question the whole mess. It’s worth it. Well, it was for me anyways.

8) Sharpies are your friend. You can mark every meal with the name and date, so if you have  a straggler hanging around in your freezer 2 years later (which may or may not happen here), then you don’t have to wonder when it was made or what in the Sam Hill is in that dish. Plus, with the lids on, they’re all going to look the same. Sharpie it up, baby.

9) Prep in batches. Need onion for 4 recipes? Chop it all at once to make your life easier. Poach all your chicken in one pot (which will also give you some decent broth). Brown all of your hamburger together then divide it out for the different meals. If you’ve got to do a lot of it, do it all together.

10) Free pep talk. I think that’s all my tips, but wanted to throw in one more to just say if you really want to do this freezer meals thing you TOTALLY can. Once again, I have a basic set of pots and pans plus one large stock pot, a couple of mixing bowls (one large, one medium), a few wooden spoons and some whisks. Plus ten is a good stopping point, which my OCD brain appreciates.

Now for the cooking segment….

I started by putting 5 packs of chicken breasts (15 pieces total) in a stock pot with water, to boil them all for the meals I needed. I used the biggest pot I had and boiled them all.

While the chicken was cooking, I used another pot and began to brown 12 pounds of ground beef (in a smaller stock pot.) Once all the ground beef was cooked, I drained it all and added 1/4 of it back to the pot  to make my marinara.

Freezer Meals Recipes

  • Meat Marinara Recipe
    3 pounds ground beef, cooked and strained
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 large cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 huge (the double size) jar of good store bought marinara
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (1 1/2 Tablespoons or so)
  • Pepper to taste (3/4 of a tablespoon)

To the ground beef, add in the garlic and onions and let cook until onions are soft. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook for 45 minutes or so on medium heat, until flavors are combined.

*****

Freezer Lasagna

I used the marinara to make 5 small lasagnas in 2.5 pound size aluminum pans.

Easy Lasagna Recipe

(makes 5 freezer meals)

  • Meat Marinara
  • Ricotta Cheese (largest tub)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • No bake lasagna noodles (2 boxes made all of mine)

Shredded mozzarella cheese (the bag kind totally works for me) – it’s hard to say how much, but I used about 10 cups total

In a small bowl mix together the ricotta, egg, pepper and Parmesan until thoroughly combined.

On the bottom of your pan, ladle in enough sauce to lightly coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer. Using a small spoon or tablespoon scoop, add in dollops of the ricotta mixture (I did 5 drops on each layer, one on each corner and one in the middle). Add more marinara onto and around the ricotta, sprinkle a thin layer of mozzarella, then add another layer of noodles. Do three layers, topping it off the final layer of noodles with sauce and good layer mozzarella cheese and cover with cardboard top. Set aside to cool before putting in freezer.

When you’re ready to cook, take off the top, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees, take off aluminum and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Add a salad and some garlic bread and you’ve got a meal in just a few minutes.

**********

After I made my lasagna, I put the rest of the marinara into gallon Ziploc bags, two cups in each, then squished all the air off and froze them flat in the freezer. When I want to make spaghetti, I cook the noodles, warm the sauce, add a salad and some bread and I’m done.

*************

Easy Chili Recipe

(makes 2-3 freezer meals)

  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cans of chili beans
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14 oz can)
  • 2 packs of chili seasoning
  • 1/2 table spoon salt
  • 2 cups water

Put browned ground beef into a pan with onions and cook until onions are soft. Add in all the other ingredients (including the juice of the tomatoes) and cook for 30 minutes or so until flavors have combined.

It’s hard to measure, but I used two gallon bags to put in 1/3 of the mixture into each, and then split the rest up into a couple smaller quart bags for chili dogs or chili chips and cheese (things where chili is not the main meal.)

*****

Easy Cheeseburger Casserole

(makes 3 freezer meals)

For the topping:

  • 2 pounds of ground beef (again, mine was pre-cooked)
  • 1 onion, diced very finely
  • Six cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • For the crust:
  • 5 cups of self rising flour
  • 3/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (more or less) of water

In a saute pan, cook together the ground beef over medium high heat until onion is soft. Set aside to cool.

Make the crust first by combining the flour, egg, sour cream and enough water to bring it together into a thick, but spreadable consistency.

Spray the pans (I used three round pans) and spread a layer of the dough into each one. Sprinkle the cooled meat mixture over the dough, then top each one with about 2 cups of cheddar. Top with lid. To cook, bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

For a variation, you could put some of the marinara on the dough, and have a cheeseburger pizza casserole. We sometimes use marinara for dipping – it’s the perfect finger food!

***

For the rest of the ground beef, I divided it up into a couple of quart Ziploc bags for sloppy joes or tacos.

*****

Now let’s work on the chicken recipes. I shredded all of the chicken and used it in several of the recipes below. After they were all made, I put the rest of the shredded chicken into quart size Ziploc bags and froze them flat for Chicken Tacos, BBQ Chicken sandwiches, etc.

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe

(makes 3 freezer meals)

  • 3 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
  • 2 boxes of pasta (I used penne), cooked and draine
  • 2 cans of Campbell’s cheddar soup
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (I used the broth from cooking the chicken)
  • 2 bags of frozen broccoli
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar

Combine all ingredients except shredded cheddar into a bowl, divide out into three pans, the top with cheddar cheese. When ready to cook, bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until warm and bubbly. Because I’m getting carbs, veggies and protein all in one dish, I usually add another veggie and some garlic bread and that’s it. So yummy!

*****

Tex Mex Chicken Casserole

(makes 4 freezer meals)

  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 8 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 can of Rotel tomatoes
  • 2 packs of taco seasoning
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans of black beans (undrained)
  • 1 small can of black olives, drained
  • 6 cups of cheddar cheese, grated

Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl, except the cheese. Divide out into four pans, then top each with the cheddar cheese and top with cardboard topper. To cook, remove cardboard piece and bake at 350 until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted (all ingredients are already cooked, so it’s just a matter of heating it well.) I serve with sour cream and salsa on top and tortilla chips on the side.

Basic Chicken Casserole Recipe

(makes 3 freezer meals)

  • 4 shredded, cooked chicken breasts
  • 5 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken condensed soup
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 bags of frozen peas and carrots (I used mixed, but you could use one bag of each)
  • 1 Tablespoon of salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of black pepper
  • 3 cup of French’s onions
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, combine the cheese and onions together – set aside (for the topping)

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients together, then separate into pans. Top each one with 1/3 of the topping mixture and freeze. When ready to cook, bake at 350 until thoroughly warm and cheese is melted (everything is already cooked in the casserole.)

***********

Edited to add:

Chicken & Dressing

(makes 3 freezer meals)

  • A big pan of cornbread (use your own fave recipe) cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced & sauteed in butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of ground sage
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt
  • 3/4 of a Tablespoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken

*you can also add a couple of stalks of celery, however we don’t like it – so my dressing doesn’t have it.*

Mix all of the ingredients together, put into pans and freeze. When you’re ready to cook, bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Make sure to have chilled cranberry sauce and basic chicken gravy for the side, because that’s what a good southerner would do 🙂

***********

My total freezer meals recipe stash:

5 lasagnas

2 bags of pre-made marinara (for spaghetti)

2 bags of chili (plus 2 additional small bags for chili dogs/nachos)

3 cheeseburger casseroles

3 broccoli cheddar chicken pasta bakes

4 Tex Mex chicken casseroles

3 basic chicken casseroles

2 bags of ground beef (ready for sloppy joes, etc.)

3 bags of shredded chicken breast (ready for tacos, etc.)

Plus the original Chicken & Dressing that started it all

Grand total – 28 meals (plus two small bags of chili)

a month of freezer meals in one afternoonFinal Notes:

If you get going, you can really crank out a lot of this very easily. I spent an hour at the grocery store (and spent $300 to produce all those meals, plus all of my other essentials for two weeks – so maybe $200 of it went into this), and spent four hours cooking to get all those freezer meals.

Will we eat these every night? Probably not. There are things my family likes that takes very little time to make and should really be made fresh (like potato soup.) These meals will probably last us two month total, if you take out a couple of nights a month to eat out, making fresh meals in between, etc. But those four hours basically gives me an easy meal every other night for two months. Totally worth it to me! I don’t know that I could force my family to eat lasagna five times in one month. But five times in two months is pretty realistic.

Now that I know what’s for dinner, I think I’m gonna go sew something… or paint a chair… or rearrange furniture. Whatever it is, something that’s way more in my comfort zone than making freezer meals.

And… because my awesome reader Paula put it together, I have added in the freezer meals shopping list for the meal! I never thought to do it, so a big thanks to her for sharing it with us all 🙂 Just click on the image below to open into a new browser, save to your computer and print. Easy peasy!

Freezer-Meals-Shopping-List

Over the years I’ve had tons of requests to put this into ebook format to make it easier for printing, so now the book is available for purchase. It is EXACTLY the same info in this post, but in an easy PDF you can print out at home for only $1.99. (I truly appreciate every single copy sold.)

Buy Now

About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.

Comments

  1. Amazing post, and finally freezer meals that sound like foods my family would actually eat! And of course I have to ask for the chicken and dressing recipe!!! We get fresh 1/2 cow and chickens from the amish near us (all grass/grain fed) so that will definitely cut my shopping bill down for this. I am looking forward to dedicating a few hours to this one!!!

    • Kathryn Bates says:

      I have a wonderful dressing recipe I will be happy to share with you – email me.

      • I would love to have the recipe you mentioned. The more the better. My daughter has some huge stomach issues so she can’t eat red – like spaghetti, chili, etc so I am always looking for other recipes.

        • Hi Geri, what kind of stomach issues does your daughter have? My daughter is having some issues too and I am trying to figure out what foods are affecting her. Does your daughter have a condition or just sensativity to things? GERD? Thanks!

          • Hi Geri, you mentioned about your daughter’s stomach issues. I started having stomach issues in the last year or so, and it was getting so bad I decided to do some investigating on my own, reading labels, etc. I don’t have health insurance, so I decided to start researching. I had acid reflux so bad I couldn’t lay down at night. Acid reflux is very bad for your health. The only thing that helps me is Famatodine, the generic brand I found at Walmart.

            What I have discovered is causing my acid reflux is High Fructose Corn Syrup. If I do not eat any processed foods, I can eat anything and not get sick. Check labels on bottles in your refrigerator and you’ll be amazed, it’s the first ingredient in salad dressings, barbecue sauce, catsup, baked goods, cookies, candy, syrup, just about everything. I can make homemade cookies or banana bread or anything with sugar and I’m fine, but if I eat one slice of coffee cake from grocery store I’m sick all day or night. Sorry, didn’t mean to go on, but it’s amazing how great I feel without the HFCs. Try it and see if it helps, it can’t hurt. Here is a link that’s very informative.
            http://stophfcs.com/list.html

          • Good afternoon. If stomach issues are the problem, depending on what they are, you might consider processed foods containing gluten (a preservative additive, especially in anything with wheat) as a culprit. If this is the case, anything processed on the shelf, unless it says “gluten free” could need to be removed from the diet. It took me several years (many years ago) to come to this conclusion. If an item is prepackaged and processed, the manufacturer only needs to list ‘gluten’ if it is above certain percentages within the item processed. There is gluten in wheat naturally, but differing amounts depending on the wheat itself. I hope this helps.

          • If you have not do so already. Take your daughter in to do a food allergy test. It turned out my daughter had several sensitivities. Corn is the main one for her which is in just about everything processed. It is also a cumulative thing for her. She does not have to totally abstain from eating things with corn as long as she does not over do it. It has been about a year and she can actually eat more than she use to be able to do.

        • You could use ground chicken, turkey, meatless crumbles and springboard to other freezer meal ideas!

          • I also make freezer meal, taco casserole came about by combining left overs .. Mac & cheese, corn, stewed tomatoes, taco meat mixture, everyone liked it so much I now make it ahead of time an freeze it.. refining it as I go. I use ground turkey and pork now instead of beef.

        • Vicky Brown says:

          Hi Geri,

          There is a cookbook that has recipes that might help your daughter. The name of it is, “Eating Your Way to Good Health”, by Doug Kaufmann. His website is: http://www.knowthecause.com.

      • Vicki Gaines says:

        Would love to see your recipe for dressing. Thanks!

      • Elise Smith says:

        I would love your dressing recipe. Thanks, Elise

      • Dressing recipe please. Thank you.
        There must be a better alternative to freezing rather than using plastic bags. Also, I wonder if there is there any merit to the post about not freezing tomato sauce for lasagna etc in foil containers because the foil leaches into the sauce. The idea of pre making all these meals is a good one but too bad there is not some less worrisome way to freeze the meals. I would rather freeze all in glass containers but that obviously is not possible.

        • I’m glad you thought of that Peggy, because I have seen spaghetti sauce eat through aluminum foil in little spots if I cover a dish with foil overnight and it touches the sauce. I will have to keep that in mind!

          • Sheila McIntyre says:

            How about lining foil pans with parchment paper to protect from contact with aluminum? I wonder if the cardboard baking dishes some commercial frozen meals come in are available to purchase somewhere????

        • I use the ziplock plastic baking pans. Reusable too. Sometimes hard to find though. Usually stock up after holidays on them.

        • Line your glass dishes with plastic wrap before putting the meals in them, then put them in the freezer. Then once they’re frozen you can pop them out, wrap them in a good layer of plastic wrap and then foil, label, and put them back in the freezer. Then you get your glassware back. When you’re ready to make them, just thaw them for about 15 minutes on the counter and peel off the foil and plastic wrap. Then put them back in the glass dish to bake. I make all of my freezer meals this way. We don’t use anything aluminum to cook our food because it does leach into the food. For things like meatloaves, I just put a gallon ziploc in the pan, fill it with the meatloaf allowing it to shape to the pan, then stick it in the freezer. Once it’s frozen you can just pop the ziploc out of the pan and store in the freezer. When you need to eat it, just remove the bag and stick the meatloaf back in the bread pan. It will fit perfectly.

        • Glenda Esslinger says:

          I freeze in glass all the time! I have purchased Pyrex dishes with lids that go from freezer to fridge to oven just fine. I think that Ziploc also has a line of glass cooking containers with lids for the freezer. They do take up more space in the freezer but I find they feed my family just fine!

        • I know a woman that will line a glass pan with plastic wrap, then fill the pan with whatever casserole she wants to freeze. Once it is frozen she pops it out of the pan and puts it back in the freezer. When it is time to bake the casserole, she takes off the plastic wrap, puts it back in the pan she assembled and froze it in, and sticks it in the oven, often putting it in the oven very early in the day so that by dinner time when she turns the oven on it cooks super quick because it has defrosted! Just a thought.. =)

        • Teresa Murray says:

          There is a way! It’s called a food saver! You can use it with bags OR plastic containers. It removes all the air. There is also a jar attachment for canning. I use this for making “salads in a jar”.

        • I have seen posts like this before that recommend taking your actual backing pans, spreading them or lining them with foil and placing the dish in them.

          Then you freeze the dish.

          When it is completely frozen you take it out, take the frozen dish out of the pan and individually wrap as you choose. Then place back in the freezer.

          When you ate ready to cook it, you take it out of the freezer, unwrap it and place it back in the proper pan. You place it in the fridge to thaw, then cook as usual. 🙂

        • My friends with cancer could eat food frozen in plastic so she froze her things in reusable Pyrex containers with lids.

        • Have you ever thought of putting a layer of wax paper on top of the tomato dishes to keep the acid from eating the lids ?

        • I freeze my lasagna in a glass Pyrex pan

        • Mason jars or any kind of recycled jars are great for a lot of this stuff…for the. Lasagnas– aluminium pan lined w. Parchment or wax will be fine? Pyrx baing dish good too but be careful baking in that….cracks can happen

      • Betty campbell says:

        I would love to have your dressing recipe Kathryn. Thanks, Betty

      • I would love to get your dressing recipe also. Thanks, Joan

    • hello! I have just happened upon your post thru pinterest. I have a question about the jiffy pan things, I have never used them and was wondering if they keep the food sealed so it doesnt get freezer burn? Also, is there a printable for the recipes? I want to print them out but dont want the whole webpage w all the comments (it would be alot of pages!!). I did get the shopping list to print (thanks!)

      • I just copies and pasted the recipes I wanted and printed them 🙂

      • I also am curious about the freezer burn in the pans?

        • To protect against freezer burn, you will want to put the containers into freezer bags. I use these containers for large amounts of left overs after the holidays and they are great and simple, but so not seal.

        • I fill pans, cover them, then slide them into a cheap plastic bag and seal that. Never had freezer burn issues that way…

        • I have made meals and frozen them in these pans for years. I have never had an issue with freezer burn, even if the meals have been in my freezer for months! 🙂

        • Mercedes Shaw says:

          The foil pans could freezer burn the dishes if left in the freezer for too long. I don;t think you would have to worry too much about it but you can wrap them in plastic wrap or try to fin them in a Ziploc bag to extend the life of the dishes.

        • I would put each filled pan in a food saver bag, then write on that—two birds with one stone.

          • I’ve seen instructions where you line the pans with something like wax paper, and after they are frozen, remove the food and put them in the ziplocks only.

    • The chicken and dressing recipe is the last one listed.Our family also likes cream of mushroom soup and boiled eggs in our dressing. Also, I cook down the onions and celery in some chicken stock before adding it to the mixture.

      • I must be blind. I see how to reply to others’ comments, but not how to post an original one. Hopefully, Gina Luker will see this, as I have two questions. First, is there some reason the onion isn’t cooked along with the ground beef, instead of adding it afterward and cooking it later? Also, I want to make sure a step isn’t missing from the lasagna recipe. It says the ricotta mixture is dropped on top of the first thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan. Should a layer of lasagna noodles go in between the two? Thanks!

        • Shari D. says:

          Teal ~
          This is being written some time after your comment, posted above. But, I noticed exactly the samethyst thing about the lasagna recipe when I was reading through it. In fact, I read through it several times to make sure it wasn’t me that was missing out on something. The first mention of placing a layer of lasagna noodles is where it says to add another layer, but there isn’t anything telling where to put the first layer.
          If it were just me, I usually put some sauce down in the bottom of the pan, then the dry noodles followed by the ricotta cheese and some more sauce, and continue like it says in the directions, which is how I normally assemble it.
          I wonder why they call it “No Bake” lasagna noodles when you don’t boil them before assembling the lasagna ~ it always must be baked! I just use regular lasagna noodles to make it this way. No need to pay extra price for special noodles. Just make sure the noodles are surrounded on both sides by sauce when you do the layering, and they cook up fine. Especially if the sauce happens to be a little too “wet” when you put it together. No need to worry ~ the noodles will soak up the extra liquid as it all cooks.

    • Wendy thompson says:

      Love the freezer meals wanted to go the website but it keeps tellin me its the wrong web site

  2. I love this post! I always mean to do this, just never do. Now I am motivated!!

  3. I have a large stand up freezer that is full of nothing but jars! A lot of it is the result of a large garden, but I also have many jars of spaghetti sauce with hamburger all ready to go, and dozens of jars of soup. When I make soup, probably 3 times a month at least, I make a huge pot and after having a meal, and taking out one meal for the frig, I freeze the rest in quart jars. Leave about 1 1/2 inches of headroom and cool completely before putting in the freezer. We always have a hearty lunch or a quick meal ready for healthy eating.

    • Marge (or anyone)- what kind of jars do you use for freezing? I am getting away from plastic so I tried freezing some chicken stock in one of my quart Ball jars and it cracked! I thought all canning type jars were freezer safe but I guess not. I have many Ball/Mason/etc jars and don’t know if they are freezer safe or not. How do you tell? AND- what types of soup freeze best? I have wanted to try freezing up a bunch of meals and also soup for a long time and now that I’ve seen Gina’s awesome post I am inspired to really give it a try.

      • Dawn, You can freeze in jars but you have to be careful how much you put in them. The food will expand when it freezes and will crack the jar. No real guide to go by, you just have to learn as you go.

        • You have to give anything you put into any non flexible container(i.e. glass container) some room to expand. But, remember it will generally expand equally in all directions. If I remember right give it at least 20% room to expand, bare minimum. Also just because you have space on one side doesn’t automatically mean that you not break the container. Generally, I like to use things like empty/washed plastic tubs from things like butter/margarine containers. Save the lids and you can stack them. If you use the right marker you can write contents and date it too. They usually work well if you don’t overfill them. I use them for freezing fresh caught fish fillets. I put the clean fillets in water and put it in my deep freezer. It freezes into a solid block with little/no freezer burn. They will keep a very long time that way. I think I have only had one or two ever break. Even if they do break, it is plastic, not glass. If you are going to put hot liquids in them though, just make sure the liquids are cool enough not to damage the plastic itself though.

      • Hey Dawn have you tried Tupperware Freezer Mates? They come in different sizes and we have tried keeping food in it and it lasts longer than in the fridge . I know its a bit expensive but it comes with life long warranty and pretty worth it to me.

      • Try putting less stock in the jars.

      • I freeze in Mason jars all the time…leave about 1/2 inch at top…..I also reuse jars (like spaghetti jars) for broth ect. You can also used jars garage sales, yard sales…I clean soak in bleach water and run the dishwasher & there clean. Just have to buy lids.

      • Teresa Tucker says:

        The other thing is to not fill up to the shoulder- that is where the jar narrows. When the jar is filled to the shoulder and the stuff inside starts to expand the narrowness makes it more likely to crack. I have used wide mouth jars pretty successfully as their shoulders are wider. Also, it is crucial that the food is totally cooled before putting in the freezer as warm food creates bigger ice crystals and therefore takes up more space.

      • Winifred Bohall says:

        Freezing in Mason jars OK only if you leave +1″ of space in the top for expansion. 2″ would be better. We get a gallon of maple syrup from our home town, then freeze in quart Mason jars. OK for over a year so far.

      • You should really only use straight jars (as opposed to jars that are tapered at the neck) for freezing. They are generally the wide-mouthed jars. Hope that helps!

      • they do make glass jars for freezing specifically- Ball makes them and you can find themin the canning Isle.
        http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Mason-Jars-Wide-Mouth-Freeze/dp/B001DIZ1NO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389370146&sr=8-1&keywords=ball+glass+freezer+jars

      • Jenn Gillis says:

        There are special freezer jars made by the same canning jar company. If your store doesn’t carry them check the company website.

    • thanks did not know that you could freeze mason jars

    • Sarah Jones says:

      Marge,

      I have been looking into preserving veggies as we will be doing a large garden this year. Everything i see involves pickeling, something I am not a real fan of. I have thought about dehydrating. What methods of preserving do you reccomend in order to preserve the taste of the veggie. Thank you.

      Sarah

      • Sarah,
        I preserve the veggies from our large garden. I can the green beans – because we like them better that way. The rest I blanche and freeze in freezer bags or meal-saver bags. When you can your own veggies, you can control the amount of salt you add. I recommend buying a Ball Blue Book. This has the blanching times and many recipes for using your foods.
        Good Luck!!!
        Lori

      • Sarah,
        If you are going to have a large garden then I recommend getting a pressure canning pot. You can then put up almost any veggie, preserve, fruit, meat, etc…
        Ball or Mason jar manufacturer website will have recommendations for the proper way to prep your jars, food, processing time, and storage. From personal experience I don’t recommend generic lids as they don’t seal properly now I stock up on Ball lids when I get the chance. I also freeze various veggies such as corn, peas, green beans, and peppers.

  4. Good stuff! I love having meals in my freezer so cooking isn’t such a time consuming headache! 🙂 I homeschool, so freezer meals make life easier all around! Thanks for the recipes, and dont worry we eat the cream of whatever soup too. 😉

  5. Tricia Hicks says:

    Good deal Lucille! Now, pony up that chicken & dressing recipe 🙂

    • Gina Luker says:

      Done 🙂 It’s up with the rest of the recipes now!

      • carrie blitz says:

        I know it is probably a big pain, but is there a way to get a calorie count or maybe a weight watchers point value on these meals? I can see ways to modify things a little with fat free and low fat products. Thank you so much!!

  6. I love the idea of the freezer meals but not sure about the day of cooking. I like to at least have frozen cooked hamburger or Italian sausage on hand!

    • czarinakat says:

      If you don’t want to (or can’t) devote a large block of time to make all of these, make them one meal at a time over the course of a week or so. Make the marinara sauce shown one day using the amounts given and freeze the “leftovers” for future meals. Another day make a chicken recipe from this site, serve some for dinner and freeze the rest. You will still end up with the same amount of frozen meals, just not all cooked on the same day.

  7. Gina, these are fantastic! Even though I’m retired and have plenty of time to cook each day…who the heck wants to do that when you can be crafting or some other more interesting activity? lol Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook – when I WANT to cook. You have inspired me to load up the freezer.

  8. I’m impressed! Go you! I think it’s about time that I start loading up my freezer too. Then more time for crafting and blogging! 😀 Pinning this!

  9. You make it sound so do-able! Now the wheels in my head are turning. I should totally do this! Thanks for the great recipes and encouragement. 🙂

  10. Great!!! I have done the same thing but….. on a much smaller scale! Kudos to you!!
    And cream soup…..ya gotta have that kinda stuff once in awhile…it’s good for the soul!!!

  11. Great post, Gina! I, too, can do this. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Have a blessed week!

  12. I have been wanting to try my hand at a few freezer meals but just reading about it makes it sounds so over-whelming. You make it sound easy. I am going to make my plan and get on this next weekend. I want 28 meals in my freezer especially for the next two months. Thanks for motivating me!!

    • Gina Luker says:

      You know, I tried researching it a couple of years ago, and it all seemed SO complicated that I never tried it. When I decided to do it on my own, I didn’t do any research at all – I just jumped right in. It was much easier than I thought. I was shocked when finished there were so many meals – I really only expected to get a dozen or so of them.

      And… after the last couple of nights of not really cooking at all (other than throwing a meal in the oven), it was very nice to have the afternoon with my husband when he got home from work instead of tending to dinner. I will definitely be doing this again 🙂

  13. Thank you for this post… I already keep my freezer full of non-sandwich lunches for school and with as busy as I can get this is a great way to keep from eating out. Again, thank you!

    • Veronica S says:

      I would love to hear some of the things you do for lunch, this sounds like a great idea and boy don’t sandwiches get old?!

      • Gina Luker says:

        Since I’m typically home alone for lunch I eat salads and sandwiches a lot. However we also do leftovers often.

  14. I used to do this once a month on a Sunday afternoon with my hubby…I am wondering now why we got out of that habit. Thanks for the reminder. I had learned the trick from my Grandmother, she also did batches of frozen pies which was handy. She was famous for her fruit pies and if asked to bring something to a gathering it was usually one of her pies. Being able to just grab one out of the freezer to bake up made it easy.

  15. please just make sure the “sharpie” you’re using is Food Safe, otherwise i would be scared of all those chemicals leaching their way into my food.

  16. Awesome idea and posts! Thank you so much for the tutorial. I plan on sharing this and also doing it soon!

  17. Dear Gina,
    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and always marvel at how you can do anything and make it seem easy. This post touched me in particular since I’ve been a Personal Chef for the last decade. This is what I do for busy, hungry clients and you couldn’t be more right about the comfortable shoe tip! Bon appetit! <3

  18. I love it! I wish we were neighbors! We could do this together!!

  19. Can I ask what you do for heating them up? Do you take items right from the freezer to the oven or do you thaw them? Temps/times? Do the cardboard(ish) tops also go in the oven?

    Thanks for the post. I enjoyed how detailed it is.

    • Gina Luker says:

      Hi Melissa,
      I take them out of the freezer, remove the lid, cover with foil and pop them into a 375 degree oven until done. That might mean 45 minutes or an hour, depending on the density of the dish. They all basically cook the same, just with different times needed until done.

      Happy freezing!

      • Hi Gina,
        Great posting and ideas! Just thought I’d let you know that bcuz I am LDS and live in Utah (which is no big deal, just happens to be why I know this), we believe in food storage, frugality, etc. There happens to be a book out that can help you out with this idea written by a neighbor of mine in northern Utah. I can’t remember the name of it, but it is an excellent source for recipes and tips on how to get the most of freezing your meals for a month. It gives info on what doesn’t hold up in the freezer (with or without being cooked, etc), as well as what does. I’m not trying to bag on your site, just trying to offer more help for your ideas. Hope you can find it with a google search. It was only printed locally, I think. It was called something like, The I Hate to Cook Book, or No Time to Cook Book, I can’t remember..
        Best of luck, your site & info are awesome. Keep up the great work and bless you for sharing!!

    • Gina Luker says:

      I pull them from the freezer,pull off the foil top, bake at 350 until its done. The lasagna takes longer than the cheeseburger casserole the rice doesn’t take as long to cook. Just cook until the top is brown and bubbly.

  20. I loved this post! You said it would be long, but your great sense of humor made it so easy and fast to read. I totally have to do this, but have been putting it off. Maybe this was the little nudge I needed to get it done! BTW, I so hear you about the the comfortable shoes – when I was having marathon cookie-baking sessions for my daughter’s wedding, I learned that one in a hurry!

  21. I have been wanting to try this for a long time, but, like you, I got overwhelmed and shied away after researching it on other blogs. Your meals are so relatable and family-friendly. The chicken and dressing sounds amazing. My husband is a pickier eater than any of my kids and I’m 100% sure he would eat that. I will definitely be giving this a try soon!

  22. Fantastic post, found it on Pinterest!! I have been wanting to get some meals in the freezer – thank you for helpful tips and recipes!

  23. Sandra Price says:

    I also learned from my mom that she buys those electric warming trays in the thrift stores and puts one of these foil pans on it when we leave for church and it is hot & ready when we return. I found small warming trays and large so I put dinner on one and dessert on another.

    • Alexandra says:

      Sandra, I was wondering what kind of warming tray you are talking about? I like this idea but are they like crock pots or the catering ones that have the candle burner under it? Do you put it on water? I will have to look for these.

  24. No questions – just thanks for a fabulous post! I only feed two of us so I think I could load up enough for several months using these recipes and techniques. This is a wonderful idea. I truly need to clean out my freezer anyway, and I have a lot of things in there I need to use so I will adapt meals accordingly.
    GREAT post!!!

  25. You actually make this sound so much more doable than any other post I’ve read! I’ve wanted to do things like this for a while now, but all the recipes I would find were not really things we ate and just seemed too complicated. I love the idea of being able to come home, grab a meal out of our deep freezer, throw it in the oven and then spend some time with my husband instead of one or both of us cooking after an exhausting day of work! Thank you for the ideas!

  26. Hi there! What an easy read! I have a question. Can you freeze just about anything?
    We eat White Chicken chili a lot..I usually just throw it all in the crockpot and cook all day. Easy.
    What would make it easier is preparing it all and then dumping it in the crockpot to cook all day.
    Same with chili. Is that OK to do? Now for the sloppy meat how do you heat that up?

    • Gina Luker says:

      Chili is fine, anything with a cream base I wouldn’t freeze like potato soup because cream will break down in the freezer. The sloppy meat I cook in a sauce pan medium heat you don’t want to cook it to fast but cook until its heated thoroughly.

  27. Definitely will try some of your ideas. My comment otherwise? Use square or rectangular pans. Round pans leave too much wasted space, and freezer space is valuable space. Thanks.

  28. I did this recently for a friend of mine who suddenly found herself taking care of her terminally ill mother and elderly father. This is an overwhelming situation for anyone and being two states apart I was grasping at straws on how I could lend a true helping hand when I finally came up with this idea. Mine took a little more than 4 hours (24, I think) but I spent a good bit of time researching how to balance (hide) healthy (immune support) ingredients for a picky eater and quick serve comfort foods for the whole family and the added pressure of keeping everything sterile. It was definitely a labor of love and very much appreciated. I think I ended up with about 9 full meals for her family–and mine, plus ready made smoothies (muffin tin cubes), broths and main dish fillers like pre-cooked chicken, ground beef & shredded pork for each of us. I freely admit there were a few times I looked up and my kitchen looked like Martha Stewart had exploded (and she certainly would have had she seen it) and I would have to stop, get things back in order & re-sanitize. A few things I found to work well you might add to your freezer meal menu next time are twice baked potatoes, shredded pork (crock pot Boston Butt), zucchini bread and pizza dough (or pre-baked shells – I did both).

    • I did the same for my parents, 4 states away from me. Just remember to put directions for cooking on the package. In my case, my Mom has ALZ and Dad has NEVER cooked! I had to include the fact that the cover had to be removed…..bless his heart 🙂

    • Amy – I would LOVE to see your list of recipes! I am trying to “hide” some veggies for my son that does NOT want to eat his veggies! Do you have a list of those?

      • There are some sauces that use veggies as the base. Your son won’t be able to see them if you use them that way.
        Ive seen the recipes but not sure where. Google or pintrest maybe

        • Alexandra says:

          Jessica Seinfeld had made 2 (I think cookbooks0 called Deceptively Delicious and she hides veggies in everything including desserts. I 2nd zucchini bread because I never really liked zucchini growing up but my mom said I loved when my grandmother made it and she even made a chocolate one and I loved it (don’t remember). Currently my child eats many veggies (not all) but I am also always looking for more ways to get more veggies into our diet.

      • If possible grate them…lol. Many people are not aware of this, but grated carrots added to any type of tomato based sauce really sweetens it up. A friend gave me a recipe for Sloppy Joes that came from her mother, and I made it for a card game I hosted and she couldn’t believe how much better it was, not as acidic. I followed her recipe and doubled the carrots because I really like how they tone down acidic sauces. I have a Salad Shooter, don’t know if they still sell them, but it does a great job grating veggies.

        I make spaghetti with ground turkey, onions, shredded carrots, shredded zucchini, and thinly chopped green peppers. I cook veggies with the ground turkey and then add sauce, kids love it and don’t know there are so many veggies in it.

      • Glenda Esslinger says:

        We had taco’s at a friends house once and they were delish! Her secret? She adds a small jar of babyfood squash to the taco meat! Now I add some canned pumpkin when I make tacos and there are never any leftovers. So easy and it makes the meat creamy.

    • Amy, I would like more information about how you did the smoothies in the muffin pans. Sounds like a great idea!

  29. Thank you for that!!!!

  30. Ha Ha ! I was just starting to write a grocery list, when I finally scrolled down and found that you made a grocery list to print! How much easier can that be! I hate to be redundant but being a working mom with three teenagers, I can’t seem to keep up with who is coming and going. Thanks so much for the great post.

  31. I tried the chicken and dressing recipe and it was a HUGE it. I didn’t have creamed soup on hand, so I just doubled the chicken broth. My 6-yea-old son ate FIVE (small) helpings before I cut him off. He says it’s his new favorite food. Thanks for helping me find a new family favorite!

  32. Amen! to the cleaning your kitchen before hand tip. I don’t cook in bulk very often (it stresses me out for some weird reason), but when I do, I always start with an clean counters, an empty dishwasher and a sink of hot soapy water.

    The recipes look delicious! I’m always searching for great freezer meals. I can’t wait to try the chicken and dressing casserole!

  33. Way to many canned goods and processed ingredients for me. The salt in most are not the best for anyone !

    • If salt is your concern, can or freeze your summer tomatoes, cook your own beans an use them, etc. You can always work the salt issue so don’t let that be an excuse to stop you.

  34. I love all your recipes! I have been researching freezer cooking and different recipes for months but most of the recipes I found did not sound like something my family would eat. I have two small kids (2 and 4) so they have to be pretty basic and comfort food type recipes. I will be trying my hand at your recipes this weekend. I just went back to work after being a SAHM for a year, so I am looking forward to having a freezer full of meals to pull out and throw in for dinner. I also LOVE the dollar tree for their aluminum pans. I use them all the time. thanks for sharing your awesome recipes and making it so do-able.

  35. Great post! This really motivates me. Thank you!

  36. I love this blog post!!!! I’m 7 mos pregnant and am planning for a lot of freezer meals to get us through the first month. 🙂 I do have one question…..I had always been taught (Grandmother, college home-ec classes) to NEVER freeze raw eggs. Have you had any problems with this? I first noticed it in your lasagna recipe. 🙂 Thanks in advance, and I’ll be subscribing to your blog!! 🙂

    • Im not sure about freezing eggs, but you can treat them with mineral oil and refrigerate and they will last a long long time! You can google it for exact instructions, but its easy and quick and guarantees fresh eggs up to a year later..

      • Jody Quimby says:

        Yes, youYes, you can absolutely freeze eggs! Crack them into an ice cube tray, freeze till hard then put in baggies. Use in custards, puddings, or anything you want a raw egg for. You can also scramble them and use for scrambles, or breakfast casseroles.

    • But as far as in a recipe, already panned and covered.. that is a good question.

      • Gina Luker says:

        As long as they’re an ingredient and well mixed in, I’ve never had an issue with it. I’ve also frozen egg whites by themselves, and they are perfectly fine after thawing.

    • We have chickens and because of that fresh eggs. In the summer they lay and lay and lay but slack off a bit in the winter. A friend who also had chickens told me when you get too many in the summer, just crack them into a ziploc. Mix them like you are going to scramble eggs and freeze. Then when I had to make a breakfast casserole for work or anything that needed scrambled egg mixture – tada! I did a dozen at a time but you could even mix two or three and label and then use for recipes.

    • Gina Luker says:

      No I have always frozen eggs but I never took Home Ec Ha Ha.

  37. Thank you for such a thoughtful post and for going the extra mile to make the shopping list. I’m gonna get out the apron and give it a go!

  38. Oops – thanks to you AND Paula for the list!

  39. I love this post! Thanks for sharing all of your delicious recipes.

  40. For those who have smaller families to feed (just the two of us at home).. this concept could easily be condensed. No one is saying you have to cook 30 meals for 4 and all that variety right? I mean.. maybe just having 2-3 meals a week “ready to go” might be enough to help!

    I really like your lasagna idea and we always end up freezing some chilli for a later date to avoid having to eat it three times a day until it’s gone. Your chicken casserole looks yummy.. really similar to my pot pie recipe where I use puff pastry instead of cheese for the topping.

    I think a lot of people get put off by cooking because they think it’s too time consuming. A LOT of recipes require very little active time and just maybe waiting. Last night we did pork country ribs in the oven with roasted brussel sprouts on the side (yeah.. probably not a big seller with kids those sprouts!).. it took less than 2 hours in the oven.. but only minutes to season the ribs and put them in the oven where they roasted/baked with little to no interference on our part… you can put something in the oven at 5 and help the kids do homework, craft.. whatever until it’s ready at 7:).

  41. Thank you!!! This is awesome and thanks to the reader who put the grocery list together! 🙂

  42. Anita Crawley says:

    Thanks for sharing. I do have a question – how many people are you feeding with each meal? I have 6 to feed, 3 teens, one elderly nana, and 2 adults. I’m willing to adjust for my fam, just needed to know how to alter the recipes and amounts. Thanks again.

  43. Teri Nicastro says:

    I often feed families in need as a part of my church’s hospitality ministry. It will be great to have some of these premade meals on hand. Great job!!

  44. So if it says it makes 4 meals…is that in a 9×13 pan or an 8×8?

  45. I love at the end you say “please don’t hate me for feeding my kids cream of _ soup” because as I was reading through I was thinking so much cream of soup. But then I read you last comment and thought the take home message here should be that you’re feeding your kids a home cooked meal most nights full of protein and veggies and that’s awesome!

    • Actually, it’s not ok. to feed kids out of cans lined with BPA. It’s a subject everyone is talking about right now. And many of the canned/boxed chicken broths contain MSG often under other names such as autolyzed or hydrolyzed yeast extracts, etc. MSG causes obesity and many other health problems. Its a “when you know better, you do better” kinda thing. With much respect, thanks.

      • She didn’t use can broth only can cream soup

      • You do not get fat from the can that held crem of whatever. Too little exercise and too much food does that. This also is not the only thing eaten for the 2 months. Get off the high horse already. This post was meant to be helpful for those trying to feed the family in a timely, economic matter.,

      • we all ate from cans as kids and we lived enough said

  46. When we go to the beach for vacation, I take a couple of casseroles in 11×14″ pans. One has chicken pot pie and another that has chicken enchiladas. These are fixed at home using a recipe our family loves and then frozen. Throw them in an ice chest and cover with a towel, they are still frozen when we arrive. Of a morning we take one out and sit it on the counter and make a pot of tea, allowing us to spend the day on the beach and/or outlet mall. If we’re at the Foley outlet mall, we just call my dad when we’re leaving, tell him to set the oven to 350 and throw it casserole in. When we get back to the condo all we have to do is throw a salad together and dinner is ready. There are always homemade cakes or cookies around for dessert.

    My chicken pot pie is easy peasy. I boil my chicken: when done, cool, debone (if not boneless), and shred. I boil potatoes in some of the broth until tender; then mash some or all of the potatoes in the broth (this acta as a thickening agent.) Mix potatoes, 2 bags of frozen mixed veggies, 1 or 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, potatoes (anything else you might want to add) and season to taste. I make just a pie crust for the top (but have made top and bottom). Then cover with foil and freeze. Bake at 350 for about 45 min or until crust is golden and mixture is bubbly.

    Some short cuts: If you don’t want to take the time to boil the potatoes, mix up some instant potatoes and use them. You can also use refrigerated pastry or puff pastry for the cust if you wish. This makes a huge batch so could easily be into freezer meals for the home. But feeding 8 – 10 people and having leftovers for another night, we need a big batch! 🙂 Enjoy.

  47. I usually do a cookathon on Sunday’s and cook a bunch of stuff and freeze it too. Do it often enough, and you almost never have to cook dinner during the week when everyone is busy working and other stuff too. One thing I did see missing from the shopping list was Mozzarella cheese for the Lasagna’s. Cant have lasagna without mozzarella cheese…………:D

  48. Thank you!!! My fiance is a trucker and I was looking for my things to make and freeze for him to take on the road. Wonderful ideas 😀

    • I used to make lots of freezer meals for my husband while he was on the road. I would put some in the glad/ziplock plastic containers that he could microwave , others in aluminum pans that he could heat in lunchbox heater that plugs into cigarette lighter in the truck. He always loved having the home cooked meals and not having to go into a truckstop to eat.

    • Alexandra says:

      How do your drivers take the frozen meals? My husband just has a little rolling cooler right now and can’t always get to more ice. He does not want to take anything big as he does not have his own truck right now and is only gone 5 days a week. I am trying to figure out how to send him better stuff then all that prepackaged foods.

  49. OMGoodness! This is the simplest, most cut-and-dried post I’ve seen on freezer cooking that has food our family will totally eat. My husband and I both work outside the home full time, have 3 small children (5 and under), and are currently also full time graduate students. I am excited to put this amazing post to good use. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  50. Anita, To adjust the meals to feed 6 people, you would just multiply everything by 1 and 1/2. I’m guessing that Nana eats light and that the teens eat a little heavier.. but also probably have activities and miss meals too.. so that should probably work. Just have extra rolls on hand for filler:)

  51. Terri Millwood says:

    I use to do this with 3 other families. We each cooked a chicken and a beef dish for our family plus theirs and exchanged them on Mondays. It gave us a week worth of meals and was easy to do since you were basically preparing only 2 different meals. The key is to do this with families of similar size (we have 5 children)

  52. Finally a site that makes normal meals in batches that my whole family(10 living with me at this moment) will eat. Thanks so much for your blog.

  53. this is awesome! can you post one each month?? LOL

    • Gina Luker says:

      I’m working on a version that will be up in a couple weeks

      • LOTS of options with a giant chuck roast or two cooked in the Crock-Pot or oven:
        ~ Beef stroganoff,
        ~Shredded beef with sauteed onions, (celery), mushrooms, peppers served over rice with freshly grated carrots on top,
        ~ Barbecue beef with a sweet tomato & vinegar sauce,
        ~ Shredded beef in any number of Mexican dishes: tacos, enchiladas, topping tortillas along with fresh veggies of choice,
        ~ Brunswick stew, or other vegetable-beef soup/stew,
        ~ Traditional pot roast with chunky potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.,
        ~ Shredded beef with salsa and sharp cheddar over rice -black beans optional for additional protein,
        ~ Stir fry with beef. I’m pretty sure folks freeze packets cooked rice with good results.

        Same versatility with pork, cooking a large roast in a Crock-Pot or other slow cooker, etc. (But the best pork barbecue would be vinegar-&-hotpepper-based –Eastern NC style – wink)

        Plus there are so many stuffed sausage options using pork, chicken, &/or turkey that are NOT mechanically separated & processed, and now with NO nitrates, no nitrites, no sugar added, no high-fructose corn syrups, no MSG nor it’s derivatives, no preservatives, etc. And they do extremely well sliced, prepared in recipes, and frozen.

        And many of these leftovers make great soups when you add broth.

        Thank you for the ideas and detail, and for the shopping list. -Total inspiration to clear out my freezer and start over! Much of its content has gone beyond frozen: it’s fossilized.

  54. Wish I would have seen this a few years ago:). Thanks for sharing

  55. Thanks, this is a great idea. I really appreciate you sharing. I would like to come up with another 30 dishes, this way every other month, you could have a rotation and a great variety. Thanks again.

  56. I used to do this years ago for my family of four, but quit when the kids were grown. Now it’s just my mother and I, but we both prefer doing something else besides cooking. You have inspired me! Thank you (and Paula!) for a great post! BTW, I’m southern too. Cream of anything soup works for me as long as protein and vegetables included! 😉

  57. Are all of these cooked and frozen, and then reheated when ready to eat? Or do you freeze some of them uncooked?

    • Gina Luker says:

      Most of them are precooked, but the lasagna noodles are uncooked. They all reheat the same way, 350 oven for 45 minutes or so until thoroughly warm.

      • Are the lasagna noodles regular or the “no boil”? You state “no bake” is that the same as “no boil”?
        Thanks!

  58. I’m an OAMC’er from WAY back – I used to do 6-8 months worth in a 2 day marathon. One thing I learned was something you touched upon with the lasagna. My bunch wouldn’t want it 5 times in a month either so I made lasagna roll-ups. It was a little more work but much less whine 🙂 I cook the noodles and lay them out to cool. While still warm I spread the ricotta mixture down one side with a layer of mozzarella on top. Roll it up from one short end and sit on a cookie sheet. I freeze them for an hour or so until they won’t unroll, then pop into quart bags (2 to a bag) and remove as much air as possible. I put sauce in another bag (equal to the amount of roll-up bags) and put them all into a gallon bag. (I only label the gallon bag! Saves me some time) When we want lasagna I take out one sauce and one bag of 2 roll-ups. Now that it’s just the two of us it works for us. Thaws pretty quick too!

  59. HI! Love this idea! Question though – how would you go about thawing and reheating the chili?

    Do you take the frozen lump out of the ziploc and into a pot?

    • Gina Luker says:

      I cut off the bag with kitchen scissors, then put it in a pot with a cup (or so) of water, then heat it up on medium heat. It takes 15 minutes or so – but if I can remember to put it in the fridge the day before, I can pour it out of the bag and have it ready in about 5 minutes. Super simple 🙂

  60. This is probably a silly question but can someone tell me how you know how long to cook it? Also do you have to let these thaw before you cook them? This is an amazing idea and id love to try it but im not sure about the cooking part?

    • Gina Luker says:

      I do set them out to thaw some cook them at 350 you can tell when they are done or when the top is brown and bubbly.

  61. Thank you so much for this! You’ve made it so simple and easy. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but couldn’t seem to get everything together. Again, thank you, thank you!! Many blessings to you and your family

  62. Brilliant! Use that sharpie to write heating/cooking instructions on top of each meal. Perfect to have on hand for those times when you need to bring a friend a meal.

  63. WOW! I really LOVE this post! Thank you so much!

  64. I got all the stuff to do this and am in my kitchen now to do it… I am excited!!! Also bummed… I took your shopping list with me and it didn’t say mozzarella anywhere! I know I should have known I needed mozzarella for lasagna but my brain was apparently on auto pilot. My fault! Alas to the store one more time!

  65. I have never done a month of meals in one day, occasionally I just make a really big batch of something and divide it. But I often use what I call the “outdoor refrigerator.” In the *winter*, when it’s cold out, I will put hot foods inside the grill for a few hours or overnight. The grill keeps my food protected from critters and I can chill foods quickly without my freezer having to work overtime.

    • Alexandra says:

      I never thought to do that, we live in Texas and have some cold nights, cooking on a cold day is great and I could use the grill or smoker over night on a cold night, not a 60 degree night, lol.

  66. Wow ! What an awesome post. Just found you today. Great Post! Tks for answering my prayers!

  67. Im 38 weeks pregnant, and while my husband can make chicken and rice, I hope to not have to put his culinary skills to the test. This will be so easy for us to adjust to life with a new baby, and not have to stress about dinners. Thanks.

  68. Margaret Sams says:

    Some more ideas…….Homemade Mac/Cheese is easy to freeze…..did you know you can freeze pop corn. I use to
    run concessions at ball fields. Leftover popcorn always came home with me. Spread in pan -pop in over-250 and heat for about 10 min….taste like fresh. Potato Chips can freeze. I would make hot dogs and freeze for the kids to
    pop in microwave…..just dog in bun, wrap and freeze., I make 3 meatloaf at a time and freeze….potato casseroles.

  69. Hi. On the shopping list there is no mozzarella cheese. We used 10 rotisserie chickens from Wegmans ($4.99) for the chicken instead of cooking it. We doubled everything since two of us were doing this. It took about 6 hours and she’s right “it isn’t a fairy tale” but after we were so happy we did it. We feel like geniuses! There is no prep or clean up for these meals which is awesome!!! Thank you for the idea and we will be doing it again!

  70. This is a great post! My husband tends to do all of the cooking, however, I do know he gets tired of it. I am going to suggest that, as a family, we do this once per month. Make/prep all of our meals so it is ready to go. Again, thanks for taking the time to explain your experience. I was very informative.

  71. Gina, thank you! I may not use every recipe,but I can definitely do this! Yes, I can see how I will be not too happy around 2 hours in, but this IS totally doable.
    And you are a great mom. I was a single working mom for a long time; my girls would go to their father’s house and his wife was miss perfectly balanced meals. They came home once and said “Mom! Suzie made pork chops and potatoes and vegetables ALL AT THE SAME TIME! ” I said “hush up and eat your Hot Pockets.”. Seriously, now that I have time and grandkids, I cook a lot better, but time is still precious when I run an online store also. I will surely do this. Thank you so much!

    Christine

  72. Thank you for this wonderful post. I’m doing this after Thanksgiving, which is this weekend. I need to confirm two things, if I may. First, I put the dishes together and then cook them before freezing, correct!? The second thing is do I thaw them before cooking? Thank you again. I hope you know what a blessing you have been with this!

  73. Teri L. Stout-Ives says:

    Thanks so much for this. Someday hopefully soon I have to try this. 🙂

  74. I have a question about the chicken breasts – are you using fresh or frozen? How long do you boil them before they’re done? Looking forward to making these recipes! We use ground turkey as hubby doesn’t like red meat. Thanks so much!!

  75. Gram of 2 says:

    Loved this idea but need to make a few adjustments: waaayyy too much salt in the chicken & dressing recipe. cut the quantity in half! the broccoli, chicken, pasta bake needs more seasonings; it was rather bland.

  76. I just have to say…as a working mom of 6 kids..all 10 y/o and younger…this is the best thing I’ve read in a while. This article has so motivated me into making this a family-event for a saturday afternoon once a month. I can’t wait. Thank you so much.

  77. Love this post! I did the marinara sauce without meat and it was great! I used to make your lasagna recipe and added ground turkey and turkey sausage and it was awesome! Thanks! I am making it again and this time for 12 people that will be visiting for the holidays 😉

  78. Georgina Houchen says:

    I started making a few freezer meals after I watched the Pioneer Woman episode on freezer meals, I ran out and bought those disposable containers, they are so easy to use, stack nicely in the freezer and are just the right portion for a family of four. I’m a hands on Grandma of 5 and found these make nice emergency meals for my working adult children who at the end of a long day really don’t want to start cooking a meal at 6:00pm, at which time you have screaming kids who just want dinner. I think the thought of spending one day or even 1/2 a day cooking meals is over whelming for some but I to me that time out weighs that “Witching Hour” when you are trying to get dinner on the table after you have worked all day. My crockpot is another tool that I love. Although I a small number of recipes that I make in it, It so wonderful to have dinner done. When I was working full time and my kids were still at home I worked 2nd shift, so I would either make dinner in the crockpot or make a casserole in the morning, so they would have a nice meal when they got home, my husband was a teacher and really doesn’t cook.

  79. Amazing. thanks for sharing.
    as others have done I’m sure.. I invited 2 friends to my house , they each brought enough of THREE different crk pot/ casseroles to put together. at the end of the day . the three of us had NINE meals to freeze..:-)
    I used mine for SUndays after church.. for 9 WEEKS I didn’t have think about supper / dinner ..
    putting it all together with friends makes for a happy / fun after noon..

  80. Thanks for this! I took (most) of these recipes with some tweaks on today and four hours later… I’m done! I’m exhausted but feel so accomplished. I have a very demanding job and after getting home at around 7pm, I find it hard to get to the gym and cook for me and my husband. It’s usually one or the other or none and we end up ordering out. What a great way to plan ahead. And as for all of the cream of soups…you can always choose the healthy request versions which is what I did and the 2% milk cheese. It’s still not GREAT but it’s much better than the original recipes and it’s also better than take-out. For us, I made:
    – baked ziti instead of lasagna
    – turkey chilli
    – the basic chicken casserole above but substituted chopped broccoli for the other veggies and panko bread crumbs for french onions, and used one can of cream of chicken healthy request with one can cream of mushroom healthy request. I also used 2% milk shredded cheese
    – the cheesy broccoli pasta chicken bake above (once again, healthy request cheddar soup and 2% milk cheese)
    – I made chicken enchiladas but made shredded chicken in the crock pot with taco seasoning and picante sauce
    – Tex Mex bake recipe above using the chicken I made in the crock pot

    THANKS!!!!!!

  81. Kari Kalista says:

    I love this post! I have been doing this for years and it is awesome to see it in writing!

    My tip: cover the tops with foil and write complete baking instructions on it for both frozen and thawed. I did that for my husband and son and it worked great! Then when I was working late they could throw dinner in.

    Here is one of my “Fast Food Freezer Meals” that my family loves. Takes about 20 mins to make. Keep a bag of cooked peeled shrimp in the freezer. (You can used pre cooked chicken too.). I stock up on the shrimp when it is on sale. Keep a bag of stir fry veggies in there as well, and finally some minute rice or you can use pasta too. I put some butter or olive oil in the skillet and heat it with some garlic. Add the shrimp and sauté on medium until done. While it is cooking prepare your rice or noodles. Add the veggies to the shrimp pan and toss together. Then, when the veggies are no longer frozen, add the rice or pasta and toss together. Dinner is done and it tastes wonderful! You can use already cooked chicken too. You can change it up by using oriental sauce. We eat better and I am not spending $20 to $25 on fast food junk. Happy cooking!

  82. Just wondering when you use the dollar store tins do you put plastic wrap down first or just the paper top it comes with? and if just the paper top silver side down?

    • I just put the cardboard top on it, foil side down. No plastic wrap or anything else. that way I can write on the top and know what’s in there.

  83. Love this post. here are a couple of suggestions I would add. I would suggest using stoneware as opposed to aluminum, much healthier. if you freeze in the stoneware you can then transfer to a fresh-saver zip-lock bag, remove the air and store in the freezer, taking up much less room. Just set the stoneware in a hot water briefly to allow you to dump the frozen contents out and slide into the appropriate sized fresh-saver zip-lock bag. the fresh saver bags also protect the food better from possible freezer burn.
    Liquid items like soup and chili can be frozen in plastic containers and similarly transferred to fresh-saver bags. The bags are reusable. meat items should also be frozen first before storage in fresh-saver bags to keep from crushing them together. The fresh-saver can be purchased at walmart or many other retailers for about $20. Here is the Amazon listing, http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=freshsaver&tag=mh0b-
    20&index=aps&hvadid=3482079569&ref=pd_sl_3j1luuhvqo_p
    You can just take the food out of the bag then and transfer it to the container to be cooked. this provides more room in you freezer and allows you to use much healthier cooking containers. Stoneware is good both in the oven or the microwave and can come directly from the freezer or refrigerator to the cooking medium. Plastic an aluminium are not good to cook in. Items should be cool before storing in plastic.
    Being a single man who loves to cook, I have been doing this for myself and others for a long time and find this in addition to your suggestions to be good techniques for storing cooking and serving good healthy food. Keep up the good work!!!

  84. I cook in waves with prepared meals—I have found the crockpot is my best friend to do this with. I will put in 10 pounds of chicken breast in one; 8 pounds of ground beef in another; 8 pounds of flank steak in one. I cook this all over night so when I get up in AM I am only putting together veggies and other ingredients needed to make several meals. Simple, time saving and in general cost saving for our family. We eat more earls in tan out and one of our kids can pull the meal out of the freezer to throw in the oven for dinner.

    • Alexandra says:

      Are you poaching the chicken in the slow cooker? i am guessing you don’t brown the meat before putting in the slow cooker (i.e. the slow cooker is doing the cooking for you)? I like this idea, I only have 2 slow cookers but for me I think that would work!

  85. Thank you! Thank you! *Note* my hubby is highly allergic to MSG which is in all the cream of XX soups so I had stopped making casseroles. However, I have recently found that the Campbell’s healthy choice versions do not have MSG. They have changed my life back to making casseroles.

  86. I loved your recipes. I am going try some of these. I thought that I would add, when I cook a meal for my family that I know freezes well, I double my recipe and freeze half. That way I always have meals in the freezer for the nights that are crazy. I bought about ten 9×13 pans with lids that I use just for freezing meals and my freezer is always stocked. I have more kids than you, so I need more food. Most of you can get away with much smaller pans. But this way I don’t have to dedicate a whole day to cooking. Its just as easy to make twice as much when I am already cooking.

  87. I am going shopping tomorrow and cooking Wednesday. Minus the chili, we just don’t eat it often enough. I am really excited and am hoping this goes well

  88. Can this be printed out? This is a great idea.

  89. There are 4 of us in my family I have 2 big eaters (men) and they could probably share one of those pans between the two of them and leave my daughter and myself out. What do you have in mind for this.
    I would love to make dinner like this. I get home from work and the first thing out of their mouths is what’s for dinner so I was happy to see this post. Thank you.

  90. Thank you so much for sharing this!!! You have inspired me and I can’t wait to do this myself. I have a feeling it will take me a bit longer than 4 hours 🙂 I’m setting aside a weekend to plan, grocery shop, clean the kitchen, clean the freezer, make the food, clean the kitchen again and relax. Thank you so much =) Add some great music while working and a good cushioned floor mat and I do believe after all the holiday hullabaloo it will end up being quite relaxing.

  91. If you want your chicken shredded and have a stand mixer, just toss in several pieces while still warm and VOILA! Less prep time! Also great for shredding for BBQ sandwiches…I even did it with leftover pork roast so we had BBQ pork sandwiches!

  92. Think I can use store bought pie crusts instead of making a crust?

  93. Manisha Yeager says:

    What dollar store do you get the container as and do they freezer burn with just the cardboard top?

    • Gina Luker says:

      I buy them at dollar tree I’ve never had mine freezer burn but if that’s a concern you can always put it in a Ziploc bag before you freeze it.

  94. Love this! And the grocery list is such a bonus! I started doing freezer meals a few years ago and agree completely that it is so worth the afternoon of cooking. Wanted to pass on a couple tips I read / learned along the way that might go well right along with this post….
    We normally keep the garbage can out of site in the laundry room, but when it comes time to cook freezer meals, we set up a folding table in the middle of the kitchen (for added counter space) and put the garbage can right under the edge so we are not running back and forth to it for every piece of trash.
    Also, I glued some magnets to the back of clothes pins and hang them on the back part of the oven hood (or on the fridge would work) to display all the printed out recipes at one time, so I dont have to flip through recipes with messy fingers while trying to make so many at the same time.
    Hope those are helpful… and thanks for taking the time to share your details!

  95. For the cheeseburger casserole, do you cook the dough before freezing it? Or do you freeze it before cooking the dough??

  96. Line baking dishes with plastic wrap, add ingredients, cover and freeze until solid. Turn the frozen food out of the dish and seal in a zip bag. When ready to use, remove the food from the bag, peel off the plastic and put it back into the original dish. To eliminate freezer burn in frozen casseroles, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the food before freezing…..just be sure to remove it before heating.

  97. Sarah Chastain says:

    Another idea for freezer meals that my daughter and several of her friends all young mother do. There’s several that participate. Each makes several casseroles of the same kind and freeze them, then one a week, they swap casseroles. It works for them well for them.

  98. I bought everything I need today…going to make a month’s worth of meals tomorrow afternoon. I am normally pretty organized so I am hopeful this will go well.

  99. My daughter jokes that she was in college before she realized that cream of something soup could be eaten on its own! Now that I’m an empty nester, I’m trying to figure out how these wonderful recipes could work for me. Cooking for one is challenging. I think I could divide each meal into four individual servings and freeze them that way. Or maybe freeze two servings and have the leftovers for lunch.

    Thank you so much for posting all this information.

    • Michelle Parker says:

      Hi, I use the rectangle ones that she uses for my brother. He is a single man in his 50s that can’t cook so I do some freezer ones for him and they work great for him .

  100. I definitely know what I’m going to use our next half beef order for! This will save so much time & bickering (hubby & I usually only bicker about deciding what’s for dinner…if it’s already made and in the freezer we’ll be all set!) Thanks for sharing your experience!

  101. Kristin D says:

    Just wondering, how long would these be good in the freezer before becoming freezer burnt? Love all of the recipes & am hopeful that my family will love them, too. Thanks for doing this!!

  102. I admit that I didn’t read all the posts so this may have been suggested before….Write cooking/reheating instructions on the lid along with what it is and date made. So many of these meals are ones we would eat. i have a picky husband. A lot of freezer meal blogs contain a lot of what he wouldn’t eat. I really hope to try this.

  103. I didnt read thru all the comments to see if it was mentioned, but a great tip is to write the directions for reheating/cooking right on the container. That way you don’t have to search for them weeks later.

  104. Just a suggestion: If you have the time, print out and laminate a recipe card for each. Cover each meal with foil. Place recipe card with directions on each. Slide into a ziplock freezer bag. This way they are ready for whoever is doing the cooking OR for when you need to take a meal to a sick friend, new mother, or just because. These can then be re-used for the next cooking marathon.

  105. I live alone and had to have surgery to repair a collarbone that dislocated at my sternum a couple of years ago due to a bicycling accident. I was going to be without the use of my right arm (and I’m right-handed!) for over a month, so before I went to the hospital, I made about a months worth of meals for myself.

    About the only thing I did differently from you was I completely cooked each casserole on the prep date and I used disposable plastic containers so that I could freeze individual servings. I think all my recipes made six servings, so I made ten casseroles one after another (lunch and dinner meals for 30 days). You are right, cooking (or merely preparing like you did) all that in one day (or two days in my case) will make you wonder what the heck you are doing when you are about halfway finished! I also have a modest collection of cookware so I had no choice but to constantly wash things.

    I had a lot of community and church friends who brought me meals. Others took me out to eat, invited me to eat at their house, helped me wash my hair, changed my bed sheets and did my laundry for me. But on those days when I was on my own, it was really nice to have my own home cooking!

  106. Erwin Brady says:

    My doctor told me I have to go easy on beef products. So here’s what I do: substitute turkey one-on-one (while reading labels first to make sure this is pure meat without unhealthy things like skin thrown in with it, and that it has a safe sodium content!). Then go home and cook it exactly like beef, such as with beef spice mixes.

  107. I would love to have some other recipe ideas that might be out there. My daughter can’t eat red – so no spaghetti, chili, etc. I have gotten tired of the same old recipes and would love to put some freezer foods together. Sounds so simple when you explained it, but I need to come up with other recipes. Any help would be appreciated.

  108. Great post. I try to do something like this when I have friends having babies, especially if they have other kids. I can’t always find the disposable pans, so I line a regular glass pan with foil and spray non stick spray and freeze there, then transfer to a ziploc with written instructions. Sometimes several will fit in one baggie. I always use a basic size/shape pan like 8×8, 9×13 or loaf pan, that everyone has. I also try to do breakfast stuff and desserts that freeze like pancakes or muffins in baggies or breakfast casseroles, cobblers freeze well too. And finger food meals are great, like quesadillas made with 6″ tortillas. Super easy and convenient for lunch or dinner. I try to include anything needed, like sauce or gravy or rice, so they don’t have almost a complete meal and then realize they are missing something.this of course has all been used for friends, but no reason not to make it for myself! One tip, find out about food allergies BEFORE doing this for others!

  109. Thank you for this post! I so need to do this! I have done a couple “big cooks” in the past using the Big Cook 1 and 2 cookbooks (written by 2 Alberta moms, but have done them with a group of friends. This gave me the inspiration I needed to take on the challenge on my own! 🙂

  110. Goodness, I’m So Looking Forward to Following This Blog To A ‘T’!

  111. Cindy Petersen says:

    If you hate to cut up onions, buy diced onions in the frozen section of your grocery store. Thaw and drain, and they are ready to use in any recipe calling for diced onions.

  112. This is amazing! So badass! I especially love your tip, “Remember this isn’t a fairy tale.”

  113. What size would you say your pans are for the lasagna? I’m thinking I bought the wrong size and bought the regular sized lasagna pans.

  114. Martha Lofton says:

    well I for one want to say thank you for what you are doing. I know there are more recipes everyone can make. I never thought of using those pans at the Dollar Tree ,General Dollar,ect….. I use empty butter dishes and plastic containers to freeze food in. I make soup and red beans a lot and make too much. sometimes my spaghetti and meat sauce is left over also. but it would be better frozen in a casserole dish for leftover warm up. so I say bring the recipes on. I would love to see more. thanks again
    Martha

  115. You are a genious! I’m a busy preacher’s wife and usually cook 3 meals a day. Cooking and cleaning take up a great amount of time that I’d rather be using to do other more important things! I’ve got to plan to do this soon!

  116. I’m LOL, this isn’t a new concept! Been doing it for almost 20 years. Before that i made my own soups/mixes, etc. Order the book “Cooking for a Month” to get recipes, grocery lists, etc. so many recipes can be frozen. An easy way to start – always fix an extra of whatever meal you are cooking and freeze one.

    I find it much easier to can sauces, etc., than to freeze. If you are going to store it in canning jars anyway….

  117. Denise Deatherage says:

    Having trouble being able to print off the shopping list say the website is unavailable,can someone please help me with this

  118. THANKS so much for this! So easy. I don’t really like chicken dressing, so I multiplied my (your) Tex Mex recipe by 1 1/2. I’ll also will probably 1 1/2 times the chicken cheddar bake recipe to use up all the chicken I cooked. I just wish I had started earlier in the day. I saw it about 3 pm, went right out and bought the foil, then the food while my daughter started cooking the frozen hamburger. I feel like dinnertime will go SO MUCH BETTER with all these back up freezer meals. AND, I didn’t have to pay a ton for them. No fast food for a while, either – which means we are eating healthier and cheaper, which my hubby loves! Thank you for sharing. Glad for your reader that put the grocery list together also!

  119. Tricia A. says:

    Um, yeah. You pretty much ROCK!!!

  120. Just ran across this post and now I am feeling totally inspired. Guess who will be going to the grocery early this morning. This girl right here. Thank you for such a relatable, thoughtful, and accomplishable post. Will let you know how it turns out. 🙂

  121. Thanks for sharing recipes that have real food in them–not processed junk. Healthy freezer meals. What a concept almost unheard of in our day and age. Thanks again.

  122. Go one step further and put those meals in Tupperware Freezer Mates products! Reusable and in the end, save you tons of money. Contact your local Tupperware consultant to order.

  123. I just ran across this and I love it! I am def. doing this as I have been trying to figure out how to incorporate the gym to my after work schedule being a single mom with 2 kids….seems impossible before this! I also ran across another site that had mason jar salads! You place the dressing in at the bottom of the mason jar (very important) and then you layer in tomatoes, carrots, onions (whatever goodies you like on your salad and then the lettuce and spinach at the top (also very important) Store in the fridge and pull them out and shake it up and they are ready to go. How easy is that?? States on the article that they will stay good for a weeks time if you make sure to keep the dressing and lettuce at the ends specified.

  124. where do you get the covers for the pans?Are they available at the Dollar store? Do they come with the Pans? If covered do you have to still put them in a freezer bag?

    • Gina Luker says:

      They can be bought at dollar tree they come with lids if it makes you more comfortable you can put them in a freezer bag also but I dont

  125. Brenda Pankake says:

    I make a week’s worth of breakfasts on Sundays: I scramble up and cook a dozen eggs (set aside), cook up a bag of frozen diced potatoes – I like the one with peppers and onions (set aside), pan fry a bag of diced ham and then drain the excess water (set aside). Then I put a helping of each in to 7 plastic containers, add a small handful of shredded cheddar cheese on top of each, put the lids on and freeze! Microwave your frozen breakfast for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. I love my easy breakfasts!

  126. This is great! Now I just need to adjust the recipes for a family of 11! 🙂

  127. I think this is just great. I really got a lot of ideas from reading your recipes. However, there are a couple things that I will change for myself. I don’t eat from cans because they have high levels of BPA which is toxic. I also stopped using Ziploc about 6 months ago. I took some out of the box and was overwhelmed by a strong chemical odor. I threw them out as they smelled up my entire kitchen, and made me dizzy/sick. These chemicals (prob. Petrolem based) can leech into food. Any cream of anything (soup) has MSG in it which is unhealthy. It can cause aggression, anxiety, anger, fast heartbeat, rise in blood pressure and is neurotoxic. I love your recipes above and am not criticizing. For me, I will just make some alterations. I’m just telling you what I’ve learned from many years of research. Thanks.

  128. When my daughters and I do this marathon cooking, I start a pot of vegetable soup, tossing in any compatible leftovers from what we are making. That way when everything is done and packaged for the freezer, we still have a tasty supper when we are way TOO tired to cook anymore – without immediately dipping into our month of meals. A quick pan of cornbread and all the hubbies are happy.!

  129. I have always cooked big being from a large family and help.. I’m not able to subscribege

  130. Where can you buy the tins with kids. I have never seen them before, should I go to a supplier company?

  131. For those who hate on Cream-of-Soups, here’s an EASY make it yourself recipe that you can keep in your cupboard:
    HOMEMADE CREAM SOUP SUBSTITUTE
    2 Cups instant nonfat dry milk
    3/4 Cup cornstarch
    1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon
    2 tsp dry onion flakes
    1 tsp each basil and thyme
    2 tsp pepper
    Combine ingredients in blender. Store in jar in cupboard. Makes the equivalent of 9 cans of soup.
    Add mushrooms, celery or onion when cooking to make whatever cream-of-soup you are replacing. I usually make without bouillon and add while cooking.
    To make the equivalent of one can of soup, use 1/3 cup of the mix and 1.5 cups water and cook until thickened.

  132. Amazing detail. What a great reference you have given us. I am expecting our second kiddo and have been looking for ways to make our post parted time easier. Thanks so much

  133. Great idea! Also for those of you wanting to freeze in jars look at freshpreserving.com which is Ball’s website. They have plastic freezer jars in 8oz (3/$4.99) and 16oz (2/$4.99) sizes. While a bit pricey for the initial investment they are re-useable.

  134. Do you have freezer meals that don’t use dairy?

  135. This is great! I have done the freezer meals from different websites and they work great! These recipes are things that I know that my family will eat without guessing! I am going to go through coupons, pantry, freezer, and fridge right now and head to the store! I will let everyone know how it goes!

  136. I stumbled upon this on pinterest. Awesome!!!! I can’t wait to start this. My husband is low carbing his meals soooo I cook 2 meals now. I’ll just freeze the family’s food and attack his as he needs it! Thanks for the info!

  137. I am EXCITED to tackle this. I teach school for 7:45 until 3:15, then have another job working the after school program from 3:15 until almost 6:00. so this is AWESOME!!! I have some of my own recipes that I can alternate, but I am thankful for yours too. I saw some new ideas!

  138. Ms. Hoover says:

    Just wondering was tht no boil lasagna noodles because tht is what I purchased.

  139. Georgia Beckman says:

    ummmmm………………….you rock. That is all.

  140. Theresa W. says:

    Great ideas! I have started making freezer meals myself. Great for busy families.

  141. Wow! Just thought I would share for the folks like me who do not want to spend the day cooking and then freezing, yet love the idea of freezer meals. Six sisters blog has at least 20 delicious frozen meals that you put into the freezer (I use gallon zip-locks), then take out as needed, place into your crock pot, and let it cook them for you all day long. I love the chicken and bean Chile, as well as the lime cilantro chicken. Just passing along another option for your readers. You do a shop (they list all ingredients as well, and are on pinterest too), spend about a half an hour packaging them up and labeling, and you are set to go! I take one bag out the night before, thaw in fridge, place in crock pot in the morning, and go!
    Thanks for sharing, hope this is useful for someone else as well!
    Sue

  142. While a good idea, these meals are all so unhealthy. Everything on the shopping list is canned or frozen. Try substituting some fresh vegetables.

  143. LouAnn mcGee says:

    I would really love to get more recipes from you . Your ideas here are great , I have a large upright freezer . This 28 meals will work great for me , I live on hill alone & no car . I go to store maybe 2 times a month . In winter no transportation off of here to go to store . Thank you very much for this , Lou-Ann mcGee in : ( Milton,WV ) east coast .

  144. Hi Gina! Thanks very much for your post. Really fabulous ideas and inspiring, too. I just wanted to mention that we do something like this – and always include a meal in the slow-cooker, made to freeze. Usually ham… Here are two recipes:

    On a bed of onion chunks, place the biggest ham you can fit, pour a bottle of strong tasting beer over it, then poor a can of maple syrup. Run your cooker 5-6 hours. Freeze in family-sized portions with sauce.

    Make two layers in your cooker: almost cooked macaroni mixed with ham chunks and frozen veggies, favorite cream-of soup and spices, shredded cheese. Slow cook. Run cooker on low 4-5 hours. Freeze.

    Thanks again, Im off to the store!

  145. I tried this and it was surprisingly simple, I love the idea and the fact that it saves us money. It won’t be for every night, but for nights I don’t feel like cooking or we are short on time etc…recipes taste great and are easy to throw together.

  146. Get two or three friends In on the fun… more variety and many hands

  147. Barb Markland says:

    I made these meals today. It took me longer than 4 hours, but I didn’t have any help and was sidetracked a few times. Recipes were easy and food tasted amazing. I will, however, wear comfortable shoes next time, as my feet are hurting. I hope all of the meals freeze and reheat well. Thanks for sharing this post! I have freed up a lot of time, as a mother working outside of the home, for the next month! Yippee!!!

  148. I just did this today. Great deal of work, but so worth it!! I am excite to have all this ready so my oldest can get dinner started and it will be ready when my husband and I get in from work!! Thanks for the tips and great recipes. I have already started searching for some to add to it next time!!

  149. Another way to save time in the kitchen is to get out the Crock Pot, take several chicken breasts (frozen or not), cover them with a jar of salsa (add water if they didn’t get covered) and cook all day. When you get home, take them out and shred. Freeze what you want in smaller amounts in ziplocs or food saver bags. You will have chicken ready for tacos, quesadillas, burritos, casseroles, etc. But I got to thinking last night, couldn’t you do the same thing with marinara, thus giving it an Italian flavor, instead of Mexican flavor? I’m trying it today.

  150. LOVE your blog! Thanks so much! I just did a freezer meal session a few days ago and reading your stuff makes me want to do it again! If only I had room in my freezer! 😉
    Here is a link to my latest blog post. http://jenrichmond.blogspot.com/2014/01/freezer-meals-4.html I have tried this 4 times now and have loved every meal I’ve made. Excited to try yours, too!
    Also, I bought some Glad Ovenware, they are plastic freezer containers that come in 8×8 and 9×13 and are perfect to freeze casseroles and then cook them in the oven!

  151. This is a great idea the only thing I have with it is having 5 lasagnas 3 of the same chicken meals so forth there are a few variations in there but I would rather fix different meals so my family will not get sick of the same. you can still use the same ingredients but fix different meals. just my opinion.
    I will still take this idea an just tweak it a bit for different meals.

  152. Thanks so much for the freezer recipes! Quick ? …on the marinara sauce what size cans of crushed tomatoes did you use. I bought 28 ounce size and it seemed like slot but wanted to make sure:). Also on the sauce I bought 2 24 ounce jars. Is that right?! Thanks so much

  153. I would also love the recipe for the chicken and dressing

  154. Just a little tip to anyone that is interested. You can put the chicken breast in a crock pot overnight and be ready to make the chicken meals the next day. Yummy, shredded chicken ready to go, no waiting for the chicken to poach.

  155. We eat almost all fresh, no rice, beans, bread and very little starches or carbs… so don’t think this would ever work for us, but I do freeze meal size portions so meats like hamburger and chicken breasts so they can thaw quickly.

  156. Hello – what would be the cooking temp and time if you were cooking one of these meals from not frozen? As if I just made one to try it, and didn’t freeze it first?

  157. Carol French says:

    made the lasagna, now the chili . Taking longer than 4 hr’s but a great idea ! I just have one question … what is/are
    – French’s onions ? Just a type of small onion, or a soup base ?

  158. How were you able to keep them from freezer burn, i tried this once and after the 5th day all those meals in aluminum were freezer burnt.

  159. I make dressing in my crockpot!!! It’s moist and amazing!!!!

  160. Question. Not meaning any disrespect, I’m curious and confused. Why is there store bought marinara in a homemade marinara recipe? Is there something in there that homemade can’t recreate? Is just easier?

  161. Genius! I’ve seen so many other people do this and the recipes are just not things my family would eat…I don’t mind cooking (love it, in fact), but preparing 18 – 20 meals a week for my family of 5 gets a bit tiresome…

    The thing I like about this post is that you shared what works for YOU, and are open with the fact that we can take it or leave it. 🙂

    I think all of these recipes can easily be tweaked to fit each individual reader’s lifestyle – I know I can’t do wheat, but I’m for darn sure trying these recipes with the noodles and other products I CAN eat.

    Thanks and I’ll be back to see what other awesomeness you’re sharing. 🙂

  162. The best part of this whole article is I think I’d actually eat all of those meals! Most quick and easy homemade meals I’ve seen like this are not things I would typically choose to eat…unless starving….

    I will be helping my wife put these together.

    Thanks!

  163. I just wanted you to know that this website gave me my start in freezer meals. Because of this website, and the instructions and recipes, my induction into freezer meals went smoothly. I spent a few hours in my kitchen on a Sunday with all of my ingredients making my meals, and I must say I had the BEST time!! I know it’s odd to say that I had the best time standing in my kitchen for 3 hours prepping food. But, it’s true. I truly enjoyed every minute of it. While I was preparing, the clock repair man came in (to repair our antique grandfather clock), and commented on how delicious my house smelled. It made me feel good. The kids have loved every meal. The husband is thrilled to have a delicious home-cooked meal on the table when he gets home from his 13 hour work day, and the stress is off of me of worrying about what to feed my family during my very busy day!

    Thank you for posting this! It has literally changed my life!

  164. I love this post! I just wanted to add what I do since I dont have the stamina to do a 4 hour stint. I also like to bulk buy when on sale so when I get say a big buy on hamburger then I do a day of all hamburger meals then maybe the next weekend its all chicken etc etc. This breaks up the chores and I can usually get it done in a hour or two. If I keep at it we have a good selection moving through.. unfortunately sometimes it becomes heavy on say hamburger meals and the pork or chicken go by the wayside.. lol But I try!

  165. Ab how many pounds of chicken would guess the 15 chicken breasts is? I buy organic chicken and it comes in small breast cutlets. Thanks!

  166. I LOVED that the menu was in order and the shopping list was provided for me. It was a HUGE timesaver! I spent less than an hour in the grocery store and 3 1/2 hours in the kitchen. I put 25 meals, in the freezer, plus we had the chili for supper that night and lunch the next day and had rice leftover for yummy rice pudding. I would definiltely do this again! It was very well laid out and I followed your order. I would love to have another set of freezer meals to do and rotate the two plans!

  167. This totally works! My best friend and I have gotten together every few months for the past couple of years to assemble freezer meals together. When we’re not cooking, we keep an eye out for sales on things like frozen chicken breasts and ground beef, then stock up. When it’s time to cook, we compare recipes to what we have in stock. The last time we cooked, we made 15 meals each for our families (she cooks for 3, I cook for 4). Not including what we already had in stock, I spent $80 at the grocery store for the remaining items that we both used. So for 15 meals each, we each spent $40. I know we spent more, but spreading it out over a few weeks helped a lot. Couponing helps as well…I bought a TON of Ziploc bags for next to nothing. Also definitely helps to have a buddy to cook with! It has become one of our favorite ways to spend time together!

  168. Great idea on saving meal time. I have in the past made meals and froze them for a later date (Chili, Cabbage Rolls, BBQ Baked Beans and others) but your recipes have put a whole new spin on frozen t.v. dinners. Thank you. Can’t wait to get started on making your menu.

  169. This is a great idea! But.. Food saftey is something to think about when making all these meals. Make sure you cool your food down before storing or freezing. You have 2 hours to get food from 165 to 70 degrees before you can refrigerate and try to get it to 40 degrees before freezing. If you don’t, you take a risk of bacteria growing. So for those of you who take advantage of this awesome idea, take the time to cool your food properly before freezing so you all don’t get sick from food born illnesses. I posted this comment because I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere in the feeds

  170. This is awesome. I live overseas (I’m in the military) and I will be transferring soon. One of the bad things about transferring is that you can’t take your food with you. Sooo…that being said, almost all of the grocery items you have listed, I have in my pantry!! I can do all these meals, and shop for very little until I leave. THANK YOU SOOO VERY MUCH!! You my friend, are awesome sauce.

  171. I have a family of 6. Two adults, three boys (19, 17, 17) and a 10 year old girl. What do you recommend for increasing the recipes? I have never made freezer meals before.

  172. So excitied about this! Just got home from grocery store! Will do the chicken today and ground beef (I use ground deer) tomorrow! I really appreciate the grocery list it made it so easy! Thanks so much!

  173. I have a question about the Tinfoil pan things, I have never used them and was wondering if they keep the food sealed so it doesnt get freezer burn?

    • Gina Luker says:

      I have never had a problem with freezer burn but if it makes you more comfortable you can put it in a Ziploc bag also

  174. Cynthia C says:

    I’m a newly single mom, three kids, at the starting end of a start-over !!! Between work, after school activities, and everything else going on in my life… I really think this is brilliant. It’s so great that you even have the shopping list included in this !!! My girls are all in their early teens so the nights that I’m not home early enough to put on dinner, these premade dishes will be perfect for them to just heat in the oven !!! Thanks for this !!! 🙂 I’m totally excited for grocery shopping day !!!

  175. Does the cheeseburger casserole crust get baked before you freeze it? I am kind of confused there. Thanks 🙂

  176. I stumbled upon this through a Facebook posting this week. I love the idea and it would be such a tremendous weeknight help. I have been reading all the comments that have been posted here and just want to say that the beauty of this idea is that you are in control of what goes in your frozen meals…not Banquet or Stouffer’s or whomever. And for all those opposed to the use of cream soups…make your own! I saw that you use 6 cans of soup to make a total of 9 meals, or 36 servings. That’s only 1\6 of a can per serving and it’s not like you’re eating those particular meals every night! Remember, you’re in control. Use fresh veggies instead of canned, if that’s what you want to do. I think this is a great idea and look forward to trying some of your recipes and freezing some of my own. I do have a question about your chicken and dressing recipe. Your recipe calls for a big pan of cornbread. Do you mean 9 x 13? Who makes cornbread mix? I am only familiar with Jiffy Mix and that little box sure doesn’t make that much. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  177. Hi Gina,
    Are your baking from frozen for your bake times & temps?

  178. Christina says:

    Wow! What a great post. And ppttthhhh to all of the comments written by people who are commenting from the back of a horse. A very, very tall horse.

    I read through all of the comments and found a few who asked the same question I have, but didn’t see a response. What about freezer burn? Do you have any problems with that? If so, how did you resolve the problem?

    Thanks again! Like many others who commented, I always thought about doing this but it seemed like an impossible task. I never would’ve thought to cook all of the meat at once. Duh!! Right?

  179. You should never put tomato sauce anywhere near aluminum – after a few days in foil, the acids in lasagna, for example, interact with the aluminum and erode the foil. Small amounts of aluminum can then migrate into the food, creating both pinprick holes in the wrap and a metallic taste in the lasagna. Also, white spots (actually aluminum salts) can form on these foods when their acidity reacts with the aluminum. Theoretically you can cut these spots away; they’re not harmful. But they are certainly not appetizing either, so stick to plastic storage for the acidic foods.

    • If this was true, how would Stouffers and other Marie Callandres et al be in business all these years?

      • The Stouffers and Marie Callenders I have purchased are not in aluminum pans. They are in a plastic or paper product container. I have, however, seen numerous postings relating to aluminum & tomato based foods not working together.

  180. I really want to do this and I was wondering if anyone who has done this has dietary restrictions due to sto ach problems. Things like no gluten, no processed food…..etc. would love to know if anyone has done this that had these issues

    • At least with the pasta ones, you can swap out gluten free pasta. There must be GF lasagna noodles somewhere, but you could easily use penne or macaroni instead too.

  181. I love this post – i do have a question though – i’m learning to cook and prepare foods, how exactly do i shred the chicken? Thanks! 😀

    • Chesney, you can use 2 forks to pull it apart from opposite directions, you can run it through a food processor if you have one, or while it’s still hot you can put it in a bowl and use a mixer to shred it. The beaters of the mixer will pull it apart as they spin while it is still hot and soft.

  182. Do you bake/cook all the freezer meals before putting them into the freezer? Also, same question gives for pasta…do you cook any pasta then freeze? Lastly, when you pull a freezer meal out of the oven, how do you know how long to bake everything?

  183. What a great resource. Thank you so much for compiling your ideas and recipes. And thanks to Paula for the grocery list!

  184. Bought all of my groceries and plan to do this on Saturday, I’m kinda excited! Someone mentioned cooking chicken in a crockpot to save time and I want to do that. Do you just put some water in with the breasts and if so how much? For how long from frozen? I’m still confused with the hamburger casserole and the crust the dough is raw, ie moist, right? Then you’re dumping stuff onto it before cooking? Then for the chicken and dressing…..if I use like Jiffy cornbread, how much to use? TIA

  185. Do you make the casseroles in the round pans? Or do you use the square ones? I have pans that are 2 1/4 lbs. But have the same round pans you have in your pic!

  186. Ok are you baking, freezing, and then reheating in the oven?? Or just putting the casseroles together and baking after freezing? Just trying to figure out if cooking directions are for freshly prepped, straight from the freezer or thawed out…

  187. trish wall says:

    Can you give the dimensions of the 2.5 lb pan that you use?
    I made the lasagna and it was delicious! My pans must have been larger than yours because I had 2 approx. 8 x 12 pans and 1 9 x 9 pan with marinara sauce leftover for the freezer.
    Thanks!

  188. Gina – thanks for sharing this! Going to give some of yours a try. I often tell my daughter and daughter in laws – cook once eat two or three times. I often double and triple whatever I am making, so that I can freeze – so I do have ready made meals in the freezer but this is absolutely awesome and so doable.

  189. I’ll be honest. I’ve not even peeked at the rest of your site. But I have fallen in love with this post. I’ve been looking up freezer meals for a few months now, and none of them had really kid friendly meals. THESE ARE PERFECT!! Real meals. I went out and bought all the ingredients yesterday, $160 ish. then i set my husband and 6yr old to grating while i browned. Today marinara and assembly. I mentioned it to my cooking class, they wanted the link, we may be doing it there. then i mentioned it at my strong start (like pre school) group. I was only telling one person and ended up telling about 5 who kept comming in and making me start over so I had to pull it up on my phone and write this address on the board, forward it to two others, and now they too are going to be doing this since i read them the list of recipes. Oh and i’m writing them all out for a girlfriend who does not have internet. 😀 You are wonderwoman for sharing this with us. I can’t thank you enough times. Cheers! the marinara is calling me!

  190. Barbara Horras says:

    When I look at the shopping list, most of it is covered by a weird gray box. Anyone else have this? Any suggestions as to how to get rid of it so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel and can just use the list that is provided?

  191. Help! We are now cooking our meals and so far have loved them all. The only problem is that by following the cooking directions, we are ending up with frozen food. Everything has to be cooked almost twice as long. We have a new gas oven, so I don’t think that’s the problem. Also, the cheeseburger casserole. We went crazy for the topping, but the dough was just squishy and almost greasy. It didn’t bake into a bread – more like a playdough. Nobody could stand it and we scraped the meat off the top. Any suggestions?

    • Gina Luker says:

      I don’t know about using a gas oven, but if you’re having issues you can thaw them ahead of time by putting them in the fridge overnight before cooking. You could also try lowering the temp to 325 and cooking them a bit longer – you basically want to cook them in a moderate oven until they’re heated all the way through.

      And, the crust on the dough should have cooked to be nice and fluffy – so try cooking it a bit longer, too!

  192. I have made freezer meals for years and use the same pans as Gina mentions. Beef stew, Swiss steak, shepherd’s pie all freeze really well. I also make breakfast by making a Canadian product called red river cereal mixed with steel cut oats and dried fruit. 2 cups red river, 1 cup oats and then dried fruit you can add whatever spices like cinnamon and flavoring like maple syrup and 6 cups of water in a crock pot on low for 6 hours. I then divide it up into single serving containers for heart warm nutritious breakfast. I have a freezer stocked with freezer meals and dinner is never an issue. For those of you who have a couple of hours between home activities and back home for dinner you can use a crock pot simple put the tin foil pan if the meal is precooked into the crock pot and warm it up that way. At our house we use the toaster over though. First one home puts the thawed meal (I lift from the freezer before going to work) into the toaster over to heat. These meals has really helped me control my diabetes using a carb counter I found on line to use when I cook it helps to tally up the carbs http://www.realfoodnutrients.com/Diabetes/Carbs/carbcounter.htm Thanks for all the new recipes I can now add to the ones I currently use.

  193. Do you need to thaw them before baking? Or do you just put them in the oven?

  194. Do the recipes you use only feed a family of four or does it make enough for leftovers? I have 5 children still at home, 3 of which are teenage boys, so I make enough for a small army. Would you recommend doubling any of the recipes for this size family?

  195. This is a great post. I’ve seen a lot of similar blogs by people that do this all the time. It’s nice to see someone else’s tips who is just trying it out. I’ve done it a couple of times and I have a few pointers thru trial and error. Grab a cheap dry erase board. I got a magnetic one at dollar tree with the pen included. I put my freezer meals in a spare 2 sided fridge in the garage so I just stuck the dry erase board on the freezer. Every time I put a meal in I write it on the board with the date. As I use them I erase it off the board. That way I know what’s in those packages without digging thru them all and reading the labels and I know how long they have been in the freezer with one glance at the board. If you’re not up to doing this all at once, start by just doubling up meals for a week or 2. If I make chicken fried steak I make a double batch and throw the second in the freezer. The gravy freezes well. Another meal idea is hamburgers. I season and make the patties, put wax paper between each one and wrap about 6 in foil then in a ziplock bag. Throw a pack of buns in the freezer too. You can break the patties off with a butter knife, peel off the wax paper and throw on the skillet or grill. buns thaw in about the time it takes to cook the burgers. I also make pancakes and freeze them with the wax paper between them. About 30 sec to a min in the microwave and I’ve got a quick breakfast for my kids. Way cheaper than the store bought frozen ones. One of the hardest things I found with making a bunch of meals at once is separating the ingredients. If I cook 10 lbs of hamburger I have to try to separate it into portions for the different recipes. You can eyeball it, but I have used a digital scale to weigh the raw hamburger before I cooked it. If you google freezer cooking there’s tons of recipes and pointers. The all day cooking is not for the faint of heart! I too don’t have a restaurant equipped kitchen. But in the long run it saves a lot of time. I use a freezer meal a few times a week. When the family is hungry and I’m getting home from work and don’t have a meal planned it’s a lifesaver. Easy for hubby too. I can throw a bag of chili in the fridge the night before then text him to warm it up and he has dinner ready for me! 🙂

  196. Kerri Miller-Mercer says:

    Thank you so much for this fabulous idea:) I often work in the evening, and it is nice to think about meals with minimal effort. My mom and I followed your guide and. Made these meals this past weekend and I am enjoying how it has simplified my day…however we had 5lbs ground meat leftover at the end. I am wondering if I missed something:(

  197. Just came upon this and with a new baby that is now on the move at 8months and my husband gone every 14 days I decided to try this and I have to say it was a god send. I have started making my own list for next month, but this really inspired me, we were able to eat at home and my husband took them with him to work. He didn’t have to spend money to eat out. Thank you for getting me motivated and started with this. I am now in love with your blog so many fun thing!

  198. I am a chicken farmer and happened to notice the bag of chicken in your freezer. Thank you for using Foster Farms chicken! I raise broiler breeders for Foster Farms so my eggs when hatched become the chicken in your freezer! I also have a family of 4 and some days have a lot of time but most days I have no time to cook and this looks like the perfect set up for us! Thanks for the info!

  199. great post I can’t wait to try this.

  200. I like most of the casserole but the cheeseburger casserole is so bland. Now to wonder what to do with since my husband is not a fan at all! Love the chili, and the marinara sauce and so easy just to pull it out of the freezer. Thanks so much for the posting.

  201. I think this is GREAT because you can add a salad or veggies and you are free from cooking for a whole month! LOVE this one!

  202. Cathy Edwards says:

    That was amazing! Thanks so much for making life easier.

  203. Jennifer Milfs says:

    Are the temps and cooking times for cooking from frozen or do you need to let them thaw first?

  204. This is awesome! I was part of a casserole club for a couple of years and these recipes are great for something like that. Matter of fact, I wish some of the ladies had put a little more thought into what they were fixing but it was still a meal I didn’t have to prepare. I think it’s time I revisited the casserole club thing with me as the sole member 🙂 I think these meals will feed my family for 2 months as well. Thanks for putting this together for our busy lives!!

  205. Ty for the post soo helpful. Can I please have the chicken and salad dressing please .
    Ty

  206. Where did u buy ur pans for 3/1.00? I gave 60 cents each for mine. 🙁

  207. My mother lives with me and we decided to tackle this today. We put things in smaller containers, as there are only two of us. I have ended the day with sore feet, but otherwise, it went great and we’ve got nearly enough meals for TWO months instead of one! Totally worth it!

  208. Kit Pepper says:

    Just finished eleven hours in the kitchen. I am cooking for kids at college and used this to do over 50 single-person and two-person meals. Very happy with the results. IN addition to the meals, I had ground beef, cooked chicken, rice and chicken broth to freeze. BUT THE BIG QUESTION IS: Do you cook these meals frozen, or do you thaw and cook?

  209. @Jamie with 6 kids. What kind of container did you use for freezing for your lg. Family? I have 7 kids. 7 adult meals can feed us all (2 adults3teens,4 little kids 3-7 yes old). I guess I would double the recipe and have left overs maybe. Any other tips anyone? Oh and I have a child with gut issues and he can’t have tomatoes products of any type. Any suggestions for recipes we could all eat or single serving meals just for him when everyone else has tomatoes and onion products? Thanks everyone!

  210. I’m 36 weeks pregnant with Baby #2 and split this task into two days’ worth-one for the shopping trip, and split the rest of the time into two parts (meat vs chicken). Made the marinara for lasagna, did the cheeseburger casserole and basic chicken casserole dishes as well. Aside from misjudging the sizes of pans and making 3 lasagnas in what’s probably 4-lb pans (whoops!-no leftover marinara this time) everything seems to have come out well, and splitting the time between a meat session and a chicken session also worked for me and my small pots (apparently I don’t own a stock pot big enough to handle all that marinara and ended up splitting the mix between two pots)! Thanks again for posting and when there’s a “Freezer Meals 2.0” version I’ll be sure to get on it! Your post was a real inspiration.

  211. Linda Sparks says:

    I bought all the ingredients today, have 12 lbs. of beef in the crockpot cooking tonight and plan to start assembling everything tomorrow.

  212. I make the recipe for world’s best potato soup and freeze it in small round ziploc containers with screw lids. It freezes great and is good for a quick meal with a sandwich. My son makes onion soup and puts in these containers and put the chunk of cheese (guerre) on top of each container and vacum seals it. That way all you have to do is add the bread and grate the cheese over it and you always have the cheese to do it. We make eggplant parm, chicken parm, corned beef to make ruebens, roast beef or steak sliced thin for sandwiches or fahitas and also pork tenderlion pieces pounded out thin and vacum sealed. Can make a lot of quick meals this way and everything is fresh. We also bought a larger tukey than we needed at Thanksgiving and put up containers of turkey and gravy for hot turkey sandwiches. We eat well, save money and don’t always have to have pizza when we don’t feel like cooking.

  213. Nuggethead says:

    Totally Awesome Idea! Thanks so much I think this will be used greatly in my house hold! x

  214. These are great! Are you cooking these from frozen or defrosting first?

  215. MissChievousRN says:

    I started on this and so far have the 5 lasagnas done- it DOESNT have to be done all in one afternoon 😉 I did just the meat sauce and lasagnas on day one, then the cheeseburger casseroles and now the chicken dishes. I tossed the breasts in a crockpot overnight so they were ready to rock the next day
    I just have a couple questions: the “double size” jar of store bought marinara would be how many ounces???? I plan to substitute more crushed tomatoes and spices since jar marinara seems a redundant expense
    and also the “largest tub” of ricotta? I just bought 2 of the only size they had to be on the safe side and it seemed to work well but once again, an actual measurement would be helpful
    I used to cook like this when I was in college cuz I didn’t have time during the week with classes and studying. I dunno why I ever quit! This is the ultimate dinner solution! I will always make multiple portions from now on!
    Thanks for an awsum blog!!

  216. Whitney L says:

    Thanks for the recipes. I love to do the once a month cooking thing and am always looking for new recipes. My only suggestion would be to write the reheating/cooking instructions on the lid/bag. That way you know each time and don’t have to look up the instructions or if you give them out to people when they have babies, illness or death in the family, etc the instructions will be right there.

  217. Helen Roberts says:

    Hi. When I make cornbread for dressing, I always put my chopped onions and celery in the cornbread and bake it all together. This saves the step of cooking them separately and I don’t have to wait for them to get tender in the dressing which sometimes makes the dressing dry.
    Another hint: If you are cooking for 1 or 2 people and need cooken chicken in a hurry, you can put a chicken breast in a glass bowl, cover with a saucer and cook it in the microwave, check it and turn it over and finish cooking. Then you can shread or dice it or use it whole.
    Thanks for your recipes. Unfortunately, I am “handicapable” and in a power wheelchair. I can’t cook for that long at a time but will use the recipes.Thanks!

  218. Jacqueline says:

    Thank you so much for posting your freezer meals. This has been AWESOME! 🙂

  219. Made it to the bottom of the post! Will definitely try this during the summer (we’re in crunch time, race to the end of the school year), and will then be able to tweak as necessary for a one-day cooking time with my kids each month. Thanks for making this so much easier…and huge thanks for the shopping list, too. 🙂

  220. My goodness, so many comments! I decided to give your recipes a try. One thing that might be helpful is to say how much chicken is needed by the pound. I just got back from the store and the chicken breasts were huge! I don’t know what they are feeding these chickens, but one piece could serve two people as a meat course. I could only get 6 of them in my largest pot. I’ll see how far it goes . . .

    Thanks for posting this.

  221. Jennifer says:

    I’ve tried the Lasagna and the Tex Mex Chicken Casserole. Family absolutely LOVED THEM!!!!! I will be using these over and over!

  222. This post was so helpful for me; thank you, thank you! I’m due with baby number two in a couple weeks, and this time we wanted to have at least a month of freezer meals prepped. So, this post was perfect.

    I did have an ingredient list question for you. I made a list before I realized you provided a list (also thank you and Paula!) but notice some of the numbers were different from what was included as a whole in the recipes and the amount on the ingredient list. For example, I count 7 lbs of beef but 12 is on the ingredient list or I only see 4 onions but there’s 6 on the list, etc. I’m wondering if there’s a reason, if I’m missing something, or if there’s just extra for good measure? Just wanted to double check before our shopping trip this weekend! Thanks again!

  223. How many servings per meal do you think? Your recipes are great. Thank you for the help.

  224. I always save all my vegetable and meat and bone scraps when prepping and after meals. Store it all in the freezer until you have a bag or two then simmer it all with some herbs and you have homemade stock for soups and cooking.

  225. Nikki Violette says:

    I came across this post and immediately went to the store and bought everything on the list… I’m in the middle of my cooking and must say that I LOVE this! My work schedule has not allowed me to do much cooking lately but I feel so much better now about my family getting some good meals!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  226. Hey Gina! What an informative post! I thought it was fantastic reading along, and then the shopping list you provide just made it almost too good to be true! Thanks so much!
    I have a question though: How many servings would you say the panned meals would provide?
    I’m trying to figure if this would be something I can follow with a family of 6.
    – Laura

    • Gina Luker says:

      Mine feed 4 with leftovers, so if you threw in a salad/side dish I bet most of them would feed six.

      Best of luck!

  227. I did this last month & it has been great! Thank you so much for sharing! One problem: my cheeseburger casserole crust must be off because the dish seemed very dry. Suggestions on what to add before baking to moisten it?

    • Gina Luker says:

      Was the mixture too dry? You might try putting foil on the top while baking to help hold the steam in and keep it more moist. Next time, try adding a little more water to the batter. (Baking is a weird science that never seems to be perfect to me.)

  228. I’m trying this today. On my way to Costco with shopping list in hand! lol

  229. It is an amazing post. Frozen cook is a good idea when you really don’t have enough time in order to cook everyday.
    Thanks a lot for the tips and tricks in this post. I will put my hands on it. It is a really good way to save not only time… Money too!

    Thanks again!

  230. Just FYI: I discovered you can brown your ground beef in the crockpot over night. One step done while you sleep. You could also cook your chicken overnight in a crockpot also. Then you will be two steps ahead

  231. Becky Dukes says:

    I made all of the meals and we ate one of the lasagna. Just delicious! How long should I cook the frozen casseroles? 30 min? 45 min? I made one large TexMex casserole and am serving it tomorrow night to my church women’s circle and I don’t want to cook it too long and ruin it!

  232. Becky Dukes says:

    It took me a lot longer than 4 hours – more like 7 total hours. I worked 4 hrs Sat. Night and 3 hrs Sunday morning by myself, but I got it done!! I used larger pans for the lasagna so I only made 3 pans, but they fed the three of us 2 meals + leftovers for lunch!! Thanks for making this doable! And everything looks and smells delicious. My 11 year old son tasted the Chicken Broccoli Pasta and said it is sooooo good!!

  233. Thanks, awesome reciepe ideas….begining this week….

  234. James Campbell says:

    How big are the cans of ROTEL? This is a great site and I’m glad you are doing this. Thanks!

  235. You are a Rock Star! All your details are marvelous. Thank you, thank you!

  236. How many do each of these meals serve? I have a family of 5.

  237. This is awesome i never thought about blogging the year i did this when I had my knee replaced but couldn’t leave the hubby with out meals while I was in the hospital for a week! Never thought of foil pans did all mine in zip lock bags! Those were great but with enough hints I had given our daughters (there grown so thats y the hints for Xmas) gave us the sealer!! So I cook and he (husband) seals that’s great team work an we both do the washing of the dishes since we never had a dishwasher put in our house when we moved un! Y would we, we had 4 daughters an they were the washers, dryers,and put a wayers! Love those days! But they are long gone now so its back to the original 2 an we clean as we cook our meals or I cook he washes! But something I noticed you missed in telling when you prepared everything “The MUSIC”!!! Whatever kind u need to get you going I aways listen to music while im cooking makes it go by fast (not really) you gotta go with cooking times but sure does sound great while you making the suppers!!

  238. Brenda Helvie says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, so if I repeat what someone else has commented I’m sorry. But here’s what works for me with freezer meals. I buy the $1.00 pan at the dollar tree that isn’t the flimsy aluminum. (It’s a dollar per pan) and I use those pans for my freezer meals. The square pans hold enough for us for a meal and they fit in a gallon ziplock freezer bag. I also make homemade pizzas on the cookie sheets and they fit in a 2 gallon freezer bag. When I take them out of the freezer and cook the meal I wash them and store them in a tote and those are my freezer pans. After about months or so they get so they don’t hold up so well and may start rusting, but if I use them 6 or 7 times, It’s cheaper than the aluminum throw away pans. And thy aren’t as flimsy to handle.

  239. This may sound like a really stupid question but I couldn’t wade through all the comments to see if somebody else had asked it already… Do you cook these meals fully before freezing? As in, bake the lasagna or casserole dishes? Just trying to make sure I understand the directions correctly.
    Thanks for this! Can’t wait to try these!

  240. Hello, I came upon this on Pinterest! It is just my husband and I in our household, so it will take us longer to go through these meals, but about how long would you recommend keeping these meals in the freezer?

    • I know they’re good for about 3 months – but you could probably cut the recipes in half and do well – or use the leftovers for lunches 🙂

  241. Thanks for inspiring me to make some freezer meals and post about it on Grub For Gratitude! Don’t worry I gave you credit and linked to your blog! 🙂
    http://www.grubforgratitude.com/2014/12/frozen-let-it-go-let-it-go-no-this-isnt.html

  242. Great ideas thank you also you can put your sauces in a mason jar my mother in law cans squash, tomatoe sauces. Green beans all of this gash been cooked and sealed

  243. Michelle Parker says:

    Got a question can u freeze raw potatoes?we love potatoes ham cheese n onion baked so I thought about doing some up n freezing it. Will it turn out?

  244. I did Once-a-Month Cooking for about 17 years while my kids were growing up. It helped TREMENDOUSLY when there were babies and later when everyone had their activities. Made for enormous amounts of family time as well. I’ve done it off and on since when I know life is gonna be super busy. I use the Macc and Cheese recipe, by ‘demand’, at the holidays. My kids, and now in laws, still devour it.
    I will say it is a long and tedious process. Mine usually took 2 days. My stock would last about 6 to 8 weeks. I made at least 20 meals. Then hardest was being 8 1/2 months pregnant with a 2 year old and an 8 and 10 year old. With no dishwasher. After that month, the rest was ‘cake’. lol

  245. I enjoyed reading your post on cooking for a month. It has inspired me to come up with a plan for a 1-2 person family. I don’t care much for leftovers, so I intend to look for smaller aluminum pans as I am a family of 1. I am overweight and this could help me to lose weight. I am fortunate to have a Food Saver and can make my own bags for whatever size I need. I am thinking about some kind of chicken with Chinese veggies, shredded chicken for enchiladas, bbq chicken sandwiches and chicken in pitas. I work the night shift, could thaw it out in the refridge during the day and heat it up at work at night. I am excited. But like you said I first must clean out the freezer. Soups, gumbo and stews will be good also. Thank-you for inspiring me. Happy New Year.

  246. = thank you kindly for the list, and make ahead meals. i have been trying to make things go better, with a nice array of meals. i am trying my hand at make ahead meals, and mason jar meals. so far ive got all the ingredients, but i havent got the make ahead part down yet.
    – dont worry about the haters, i eat those soups too. we eat within our means, and sometimes it means adding a can or two of something to our meals! i would like to pay triple the grocery bill for organic food, but thats not financially feasible, and hard to explain to hubby what i did with his 70hr work week paycheck.
    – for the ladies who have tummy issues and trying to self diagnose, get to a doctor. celiac disease and gall bladder issues are not something to fool with. they could rupture your esophagus, and intestines from acid and bile, if not looked after properly!

  247. Michael Crossley says:

    I love this. What a great idea! Love this blog! Thankyou for everything you do! -Michael

  248. How much would you say all these ingredients cost?

  249. Getting ready for radiation and know I will be tired and this sounds perfect. I was looking for meals that were not all crockpot. thanks

  250. Do u need to thaw all dishes before cooking

  251. Dawn Evanoff says:

    I have been wandering Pinterest looking a all the pins for freezer meal prep. This one is the most comprehensive one I have found. THANK YOU! The grocery list confirmed it for me. This blog can also be used as an outline for future freezer meal prep ….. to mix it up a bit. You are a talent! Thank you for sharing and helping those of us that are organizationally challenged. …..Me!!

  252. Gina…THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! My father in law is ill and my three kids are busy every day. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time but it always seemed so complicated. Your post made me laugh and got me motivated to do it tomorrow!! I was starting to write down ingredients and then you added the shopping list!! Your meals definitely sound like ones my family will love. I am so very grateful to you.

  253. Do you have any freezer recipies for pork chops? would love to make these hopefully this saturday….

  254. Gina you never cease to amaze me! What I love about your menu is that it is all things that normal people eat! My kids aren’t great fans of vegetables so alot of the posts on freezer meals simply won’t work for us. However, I can see everyone at least trying most of these meals! Now, to get a 4 hour break so I can get to work!

  255. The only thing I messed up was that I put too much burger into the marinara and had to brown some more burger. But I’m not sure how you only got three meals out of some of those. I ended up with about 37 total. 5 lasagnas, 6 bags of marinara, 6 broccoli chicken and tex mex casseroles each, Also, took me about 7 hours over two days. Even with my husband helping and doing dishes repeatedly. Looking forward to enjoying these on the days that I get home late and have my son put them in the oven for me.

  256. Just wanted to say that I LOVED your post. Obviously not an original comment since people have been loving on this post since 2013, lol 🙂 But I’d love to try this out, and experiment with my family’s own favorites too! Thanks for the ideas and inspiration.

  257. Whenever I make soups or stews, I freeze them in one of those large white foam cups. I cover the top with plastic wrap and then put the “to go” lid on and write what it is and the date on the side of the cup. This makes the perfect single serving.
    Then when I want to use it, I cut the white cup from the frozen soup using a knife, and put the frozen block of soup/stew/beans into a large baggie and place the baggie in a pan of water, then bring to a boil. (I use an alligator clip to hold the baggie top out of the water.) When the soup is all liquid, it’s probably ready.
    Pour the hot soup into a bowl. (Use a kitchen mitt to hold one corner.)
    Anything frozen and then heated this way tastes as if it was made that day.

  258. Michelle says:

    Hi! Just a comment on another comment: wheat and gluten are NOT preservatives! They are the reason we (humans) have any kind of civilization at all! Gluten is an extremely valuable, nutritious protein, and a component of most grains. Without grains, humans would be at the hunting/gathering stage of development. Planting and storing grains allowed us to become specialized in our professions. Without grains, there would be no doctors, artists, lawyers, engineers, IT administrators, and no internet. I can’t stand when ignorant people start in on something they know nothing about. It is true that a very small number of people have an allergic response to wheat, as can happen to almost any protein, but the number of folks with celiac disease is incredibly small. A cheap and easy blood test can detect it. Everyone else (98% of the American population) can eat freely of whole wheat, and any other whole grain, without experiencing any trouble at all.
    Sorry for the rant…Great post, BTW! I would have liked this when I had kids at home. Do you prepare any meatless dinners for storage? Speaking of allergies, I don’t eat meat any more because of the allergic reactions I had. Doc swears it isn’t the meat itself, but antibiotic residue. Scary thought…

    • Michelle, the problem for most people isn’t that there is gluten in a product. The problem is that because gluten is a preservative, many company’s have increased the gluten content by as much as 1000%! Thus, the shelf life of something such as a Twinkie. Too much of a good thing is not so good!

      • we have been wheat free for the last two years and we find it works for us regardless if we aren’t celiac. Wheat is full of preservatives ( chemicals). We have so much energy now and feel so much better. Each to their own, whatever works best for everyone. Wheat is also an inflammatory as well as dairy.

  259. Absolutely love this post, I pinned it almost a year ago and have been saying I am going to try freezer cooking for such a long time and just haven’t done it. Well I FINALLY did it today! Life is hectic and we are trying to cut back from eating out so much and I finally got to my breaking point that something had to change. I love your recipes because they all are so kid friendly. I could easily get my two picky kids and my picky boyfriend to eat any of these dishes. I loved all the tips you gave, it really helped me get organized and focused which is so awesome for me. I don’t have a terrible amount of room in my freezer so I only did three of yours and then a few others that I found that could go in bags and didn’t take up as much room as pan. At the end of the day I ended up with 13 meals total, 2 of your lasagnas, 3 of the cheeseburger casseroles, 3 of the chicken broccoli cheddar casseroles, a chicken parm casserole I found, a beef stew, a chicken noodle soup, and two things of Italian hamburgers. I am so excited to try everything and so excited for those nights that I just can’t make anything that I already have something together and don’t have to resort to eating out! Thanks so much for sharing! !

  260. I am widow live alone finally a freezer plan easy enough
    To portion into single serve sizes.

  261. Any exchanges for the ingredientes for tose of us who prefer natural, not process foods.

  262. I have tried making the lasagna twice and each time it remains frozen after the suggested cooking time. When I finally get it cooked, the noodles are complete mush. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

    • Gina Luker says:

      Thaw it before cooking – some people have had problems with it (maybe it’s a difference in the brand of noodles?)

  263. One of my friends posted this on FB. I’ve printed it out for great idea starters. I will have to change some of the recipes as we’re doing no pasta, potatoes, etc., but these are great ideas! Thanks!

  264. Tried making the cheeseburger casserole .i don’t know what I did wrong but the dough was awful was very hard to spread in pan even though I added extra water. Baked it for over an hour and the dough never was cooked through even though top was “brown and bubbly”. Any suggestions?

  265. Dawn & Nick says:

    THANKS for the reminder! Your post is still circulating … It’s May 3, 2015! I did this WAY back when Seal-A-Meal was on the market & I also made BREAKFAST BURRITOS … Easy Peazy & a really quick homemade breakfast for dashing in the morning. We’ve “degraded” into eating out (expensive) & both of us are getting digestive issues … Wonder why? (Slight sarcasm) … I’m going to do this again & this way, there will be enough for my Faher as well so he’s not eating TV dinners every night (since Momma passed). THANKS AGAIN!

  266. I love freezer meals. Haven’t done them in a long time. One word of caution on the aluminum pans. Don’t use them with any tomato products. The acid in the tomato leaches the aluminum into your food. Great post! Thanks.

  267. This was great! I’m pregnant with my 7th and needed something in our freezer for postpartum. This was just easy enough! I was leery of making meals that weren’t “tried and true” for our family, but these all looked friendly enough so I went for it! I had help (thankfully) and it made about half as much for a family twice the size (makes sense). Perfect amount though!!! Also we had enough chicken and beef leftover for another 4 (our family sized) meals. (Bonus!!!!!!!)

  268. Whitney says:

    I made these freezer meals last fall and I have tried other freezer meals posts since then and this was by far my family’s favorite!

  269. I just found this on Pinterest and am so excited to try this out! Due to there only being two of us, we will probably break some of these down into smaller portions but I love the idea of setting aside chili for smaller uses! Now I just have to convince my boyfriend to help me out on this one!

  270. I love this post, and all the ideas in the comments. I have taken a stab at this before but only on a weekly scale. I would love to do this for the whole month! Thanks for the wonderful ideas!

  271. Tried your lasagna freezer meal and my whole family loves it! My husband’s co worker wants the recipe to give to his wife. I went looking for it and panicked when I couldn’t find it. In all the craziness I hadn’t saved it! Big sigh of relief after hunting you down. Whew! Thanks so much!

  272. I JUST DID IT!!!! I followed your directions exactly, and only made like 5 mistakes. I am ready for the school year (we are teachers) now. I took your advice and got my boyfriend to help. He has 2 two daughters. We will feed a family of 4 for less than $200 this month. Thank you soo much!! P.S. love the dressing recipe.

  273. I just re-read every word on this site, and darn it I missed the point about the four hours of cook time needed; so when I saw the couple of hours to do the meals…..well, you can just guess what my day was like. I do this a lot, read a recipe and miss major points. But I did have a blast doing this. I have never done freezer meals for a month and I wanted to do this for a couple in our ward but next time I’d like to do this for my husband and I. Thank you for sharing this. Have a super day.

  274. Saphrin218 says:

    Freezing potato soup works pretty well, I’ve done it before! I just don’t freeze the finished product. Okay, mine is more like a veggie soup because I like to throw carrots and cauliflower and broccoli in there, but what I do is prep and boil the veggies and potatoes in chicken stock until they’re done, mash ’em up, and then freeze it from that point. I still need to thaw it out and add the cheese and heavy cream and spices and stuff, but having the veggies already prepped and cooked takes a TON of time off of making it!

  275. I love this blog page and found all of the info to be fabulous; I’m glad you didn’t shorten it or break it up into pieces, although to be honest with you that is exactly what I plan on doing. I think I will be more successful making the ground beef recipes one day and the chicken the next. I can’t wait to try this!

  276. For the busy women with a family to feed, nothing is better than plannning and prepping meals ahead! These days, I usually just freeze the basic sauce or filling and build the casserole the day I use it. I freeze in Zip lock bags or cssarole dishes. It takes a long time to thaw those large dishes. Warning….don’t try to lay the bags in warm water for a quake thaw! I forgot and did this last week. Soupy chicken pot pie filling. Some water did seep in! My bad! Thanks for sharing the great recipes and ideas.

  277. Just curious, the freezer meals, how many would one freezer meal feed.

  278. I totally understand why you started charging for your recipes . It’s well worth the $4.99! I did this back in January of 2013 with huge success! I had just given birth to our 5th child and cooking every night and day was soooo exhausting. I stumbled upon this and figured a couple of hours standing one day to make a whole months worth of meals was worth it. My husband was able to throw the meals in the oven and I was able to love on the baby. Anyways… I thought about doing it again so i searched for the site and found it! Now this is how hilariously unfortunate my luck is… I wrote down the list and went to the store to get it all. I came home and discovered that trying to cook for hours straight with a toddler running around was way more difficult! I decided to do it in batches. I started with the chicken recipes and then the next day or so I’d do the beef recipes. So here I am with 15lbs of deer burger cooked and ready to go. I get on the site and wouldnt you know….. BOOM its gone! All i could do was laugh! Fortunately, my family likes lasagna and chili enough for me to make tons of it to freeze… I really loved the cheeseburger casserole last time tho! Looks like Im going to be paying the $5 lol!

  279. Hi, love the ideas here!
    Been doing freezer meals for ever and love it!
    we also have a small upright freezer. One of the best investments we ever made!
    My wife always makes new recepies… on weekends.
    Also add some more frozen vegetables which don’t have any extra calories. Actually I started weight loss therapy .
    Your blog is really amazing
    Have fun and enjoy !!God Bless

  280. What are Rotel tomatoes? I am in Canada and have ever heard of them, not sure where you are though?

  281. Gina Luker says:

    They are canned tomatoes with green chiles in them but you could use just a can of tomatoes and add chilles to them if you cant find actual rotel

  282. My question is, do you precook everything and then freeze it? Then reheat it? Or are you just gathering all the ingredients and putting them together to pull out of the oven and cook for the first time? And how long do you cook and at what temps?

Trackbacks

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  15. […] worked well for us. Here is the site that we have used – it actually has recipes that we will eat. A month of freezer meals in one afternoon Now, we decide the night before what we are going to eat the next night and take it out of the […]

  16. […] get up and make a full meal. Before my 2nd pregnancy I made 40 freezer meals (I used these recipes here), and they were a LIFESAVER many nights!!! While, yes I admit, I would have preferred takeout, this […]

  17. […] started doing the month of freezer meals in a day from Shabby Creek Cottage earlier this year – basically cook lots and freeze. We did the hamburger meals one afternoon and […]

  18. […] SHTF & Prepping Central Make A Months Worth Of Freezer Meals In 4 hours For Under 200 Bucks See here >> http://www.shtfpreparedness.com/make…der-200-bucks/ http://www.theshabbycreekcottage.com…zer-meals.html […]

  19. Frozen says:

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