Family, Health, Recipes, Uncategorized

Save Time this Week with these 6 Free Freezer Meal Recipes

The other week I posted some snack and breakfast food prepping ideas. Since I started, I’ve added in prepping for dinner. I am absolutely LOVING prepping.

Yes, it is difficult at times but the end result means I have more time for my daughter and husband and I am much less stressed in the evenings after work. Prepping allows me to focus on what truely matters to me: my family!

Hopefully you’ve given prepping snacks and/or breakfasts a try. Not only do I hope you gave it a try, but I hope it’s started to make a difference in how your week goes! I noticed a difference the first time I started to prep. Each week I see more and more of a difference being made in the lives of myself and my family.

I know it is tough to change how you do things. There are so many people out there talking about freezer meals and how they spend an entire day one weekend to prepare. Frankly, I don’t have an entire day to devote to prepping meals for a month, or even for a week, and I only have one toddler!

Starting Small

Here are some things that have helped me over this last month. These don’t take a lot of extra time because I’ve been doing them AS I prepare other meals.

Keep in mind, these are meal components, not full meals. At least if you decide that starting small is the way to gof or you. These made a huge difference for me.

Last week I painted a picture of what my evenings after work are like. Read this post if you’re interested. You’ll see that I don’t have a ton of extra time in my evenings so doing this small form of prepping is a big thing.

Tips to Start Small

1. Cut up extra vegetables WHILE you’re chopping for that evenings meal.

That means instead of only cutting up half the onion as the recipe (or your own desire) dictates, cut up the whole onion. Put half in your meal and save the other half for the next days meal. You can do this with lots of different vegetables like peppers, carrots, tomatoes (I know, it’s a fruit), asparagus. You get the idea.

2. Cook extra meat WHILE you make that evenings dinner.

I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want to get out another pan to cook a different type of meat. You know what, you don’t have to!

Instead of cooking 1 pound of ground beef, cook 2. Instead of 2 chicken breasts, cook 4. Just double the meat for whatever you’re cooking and you’ll have meat ready to go for another meal later that week.

I usually chop up the extra chicken so I can just throw it right into the next nights’ dinner or use it for salads throughout the week. The meat can last in the fridge for a few days so you don’t necessarily have to have whatever meat you prepared two nights in a row.

3. Make enough of the meal that you have 2 full meals.

The only hard part to making 2 full meals at once is the size of your pan. Last week I made a recipe and doubled it. The recipe was a pasta dish. Normally, I would only cook half the noodles, half an onion, and 2 chicken breasts. That’s enough for my toddler, husband and I to have dinner that night and lunch the next day.

This time, I made the whole box of noodles, 4 chicken breasts and a whole onion. I put half into an 8×8 baking dish, let it cool, covered it and stuck it in the freezer. Now I have a meal ready to go for later this month. All I’ll have to do is set it in the fridge during the day so I can heat it up in the oven when I get home at night.

Chicken In Foil-Meal Prep

Our Favorite Freezer Recipes…So Far

Most of these recipes don’t require any pre-cooking. So after going grocery shopping, I’ll put away most everything but leave out what I know I need to freeze.

We always freeze all our meat. We just never get to it by the expiration date and the smell of the chicken packaging is absolutely horrible if we use it after trash day. Doing meal prep has helped reduce the smell AND give us quick meals to grab and go.

Since we already seperate out the meat, why not add in the spices for whatever meal we bought the meat for? It just made sense the first time I did it. I hadn’t really thought of it before. Not sure why other than we keep the meat frozen until we’re ready to use it. We didn’t really have a specific meal in mind.

Here are some meals we’ve tried and have liked.

Download your free Recipe Cards here.

Beef Stroganoff – Crock Pot

I usually make this fresh with round steak but this week, I made it as a freezer crock pot meal with stew meat as suggested by the writer at Super Healthy Kids. And OH MY GOODNESS was it yummy. I definitely plan to do this one again. The noodles cook seperately. You can serve it as a stand alone meal or add something as a side. Bread, salad or veggies.

Servings: For us, this made enough for dinner one night and lunch the next day. A total of 4 servings.

Tuscan Chicken Pasta – Bake

This is a recipe I found by Diary Of A Fit Mommy. She put together 15 meals that she made in one day about a mont before her second baby was due.

Anyway, this recipe makes 2 FULL meals without having to double the recipe.  It’s one that I made one evening and froze the second half so we can eat it as it’s own meal later. It’s a stand alone meal unless you want to add bread or a salad.

Servings: For us, this made enough for dinner one night and lunch the next day. A total of 4 servings.

Pork Chops in Ranch Sauce – Crock Pot

Another go-to favorite of ours. I didn’t seem to write down where I found this one to give recipe credit where due. It’s absolutely delicious, though. I usually serve it with mashed potatoes and some kind of vegetable. This one is just the meat so you’ll want something to go with it.

Servings: For us, this made enough for dinner one night and lunch the next day. A total of 4 servings. Sometimes it makes closer to 6 servings. It just depends on how the pork chops cook down.

Slow Cooker Carnitas – Crock Pot

I was plesantly surprised by this one. In my city we have a Meetup group that is just for mommies. Once a month they host a Freezer Meal Party at Hy-Vee. Hy-Vee provides all the recipes, does all the grocery shopping, provides everything you’ll need for each recipe. All you have to do is show up, put your recipe together for however many “orders” you have, and pay. It was fantastic!

This recipe is one of those orders. I thawed it overnight, put it in the crock pot before leaving for work and had yummy carnitas ready for dinner. I ate mine with a tortilla and cheese, since that’s all I had avaialble. You could serve it in a taco shell or as a taco salad. You’ll need extras with this one since it’s just the meat.

Servings: For us, this made enough for dinner for 2 nights and lunch for 2 days. A total of 8 servings.

Chicken in Foil – Bake

When I was doing Focus T25 with my sister two years ago, this was one of the recipes in the program. It’s healthy, a lot of food, and easy to make. This is another go-to for us. Just the other week I posted about how I was putting freezer packs together and this was the recipe I was making.

It’s a full meal all on it’s own so you don’t need anything to go with it.

Servings: Depends on how many pouches you make. I freeze 4 pouches at a time and bake 2 when I’m ready to make it. I’ll take salad for lunch or eat out for lunch the next day.

Salmon Pouches – Bake

This is one of those recipes that you can pre-make and freeze or just make in a skillet that night. I’ve done both with this recipe and it’s turned out great both ways. I usually serve asparagus and a baked potatoe with my salmon but it would be good with rice too.

Servings: Depends on how many pouches you make. I freeze 4 pouches at a time and bake 2 when I’m ready to make it. I’ll take salad for lunch or eat out for lunch the next day.

Beef Stroganoff Freezer Crock Pot

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try some other recipes than I have listed, here is a great list of 10 Healthy Slow Cooker Freezer Meals by http://www.superhealthykids.com. I plan on trying some of these in the near future. She has other great recipes on her site.

Don’t forget to download your free recipe cards!

Come back and tell me which recipes were your favorite? One, two or all six?

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