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freezing meals

The Best Tips for Freezing Meals

Freezing meals is a great way to save time and effort on busy nights and also save money on your monthly grocery budget!

In this article I am going to share some of my best tips for freezing simple and inexpensive meals to help you succeed with your freezer meal cooking! Preparing cheap and easy homemade freezer meals will help you stretch your monthly budget and feed your family well even on a tight budget!

Following the tips below for freezing meals will help you in your freezer meal prep and freezer cooking as you learn the basics of this popular and powerful meal prep method.

With freezer cooking as part of your meal plan, you give yourself an easy way to have wholesome, home-cooked meals on busy nights without all of the time and work that those meals traditionally take.

This can save you from making additional trips to the grocery store, going out to eat, or running to get takeout. And all of that money saved month after month, year after year, as you eat delicious meals at home and eating out less, is huge!

All that money saved is a huge win in my book!

 

Tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily find these ideas about freezing meals later!

 

Make Preparing Freezer Meals Even Cheaper!

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries so that you can prepare cheap and easy freezer meals is to use money-saving apps! My favorite FREE grocery money-saving app is Ibotta.

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What Meals Can Be Frozen and Reheated?

One of the common questions related to freezing meals is this one: What meals can I make to freeze? 

Fortunately, there are tons of different types of meals that all freeze well! For example, casseroles, chili, stews and soups, pasta dishes, rice dishes, and more all freeze well!

Here are some of my own favorite freezer meals:

1. Beef and pork ribs

2. Burritos

3. Casseroles

4. Chicken parmesan

5. Chicken pot pie

6. Chicken tenders and nuggets

7. Chili

8. Enchiladas

9. Fajita mix

10. Fried rice

11. Hamburger patties

12. Lasagna

13. Macaroni and cheese

14. Meatloaf

15. Orange chicken

16. Pizza

17. Pork chops

18. Pot roast

19. Quiche

20. Sesame chicken

21. Shepherd’s pie

22. Sloppy Joe mix

23. Soups and stews

24. Spaghetti sauce with meatballs

25. Stir fry

26. Stuffed manicotti

27. Sweet and sour meatballs

28. Tamales

29. Turkey burgers

30. Twice baked potatoes

That is a great list of ideas of simple dishes that work well as freezer meals! With that list, you could prepare a different freezer meal every day of the month! 🙂

 

What Foods Are Good to Freeze after Cooking?

Another common question related to freezer meal prep is this question: What foods are good to freeze after cooking? 

Fortunately, most foods freeze well after cooking! For example, you can freeze many different vegetables after cooking them, such as peas, corn, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and so on.

You can also freeze a wide variety of different meats after cooking, such as ground beef, chicken, turkey, bacon, sausage, ham, and more.

And you can also freeze foods such as cooked pasta (slightly undercook it so that it won’t get mushy when it is recooked or reheated), rice, potatoes, and more! 

You might not realize it, but you can even freeze mashed potatoes and reheat them to eat later!

Here is a list of foods that freeze well:

1. Applesauce

2. Asparagus

3. Avocados (mashed or pureed)

4. Bacon

5. Bananas

6. Berries

7. Broccoli

8. Butter and margarine

9. Carrots, corn, and peas

10. Cauliflower

11. Cheese (grated)

12. Cherries

13. Chicken and turkey

14. Cottage cheese

15. Cream cheese (for cooking and baking)

16. Eggs (whisked)

17. Fish

18. Grapes

19. Ground beef (hamburger)

20. Herbs

21. Hot dogs

22. Lunch meat

23. Mangoes

24. Milk

25. Peaches (peeled and sliced)

26. Pork

27. Salsa

28. Sausage

29. Strawberries

30. Tomato sauce

Freezing these food items is a great way to preserve them so that they last longer. This can save you many trips to the grocery store because instead of running to the store for an item that you do not have, you can pull it from your freezer, instead!

11 Best Tips for Freezing Meals

OK, now that we have discussed some of the meals and some of the foods that freeze well, let’s discuss the best tips for successful freezer meal prep and freezer cooking.

I know that if you have never tried making freezer meals before, you might be a little intimidated. But it really isn’t that hard—promise! In fact, it’s pretty easy! Here are my best tips to help you succeed!

1. Start with a plan.

As with most things you want to succeed at, if you want your freezer meal sessions to go well, you have to start with a solid plan.

First, decide on the freezer meal or meals that you want to make. Then once you have that list, gather the recipes that you need for those meals.

Also make a list of the supplies (such as containers like freezer zip-top storage bags, inexpensive and disposable foil baking pans, reusable silicone bags, plastic food storage containers, aluminum foil, canning jars [fill them no more than three-fourths full], small plastic bins, and a permanent marker) and ingredients that you will need.

And finally, make a shopping list of the items that you do not have that you will need to buy at the grocery store.

 

2. Make simple meals (don’t go overboard!).

Choose recipes that you will love, of course, but especially if you are new to freezer cooking, also that don’t require too much prep work and that are both fairly simple to make and that are good for making multiple batches of the same meal. (Soups, stews, chili, and casseroles are some great examples of this.)

 

3. Store individual foods.

Remember that you don’t have to store just ready-made meals. You can store individual ingredients, as well, to save tons of time for meal prep! For example, you can brown or cook hamburger, sausage, chicken, bacon, and much more. You can also cook and freeze rice, pasta (slightly undercook it so that it won’t be mushy on the day you prepare the finished meal), quinoa, beans, potatoes, and more! And of course you can freeze many of your favorite vegetables and fruits, as well.

 

4. Work in stages.

Do your freezer meal prep in stages. So, for example, first prepare your meal prep station. Then gather all of the supplies and ingredients you will need. Then cut all of the veggies. Then cut your meats. Then set up your supplies and ingredients all in a row, like an assembly line, so that you can put together one meal at a time. Then move on to the next meal, and then the next.

If part of the meal is precooked, be sure to let it cool down to room temperature before freezing it.

 

Simple hack: You can use these awesome bag holders or a large bowl or even office folder dividers to keep bags standing up while you are doing your meal prep! You can also use the dividers when you store your freezer bag meals in the freezer!

 

5. Freeze individual meal portions.

This probably goes without saying, but freeze each meal in its own individual container. So if you quadruple your favorite stew recipe, for example, then divide the stew into four large freezer bags. Don’t put it in one or two really large bags to try to save bags or space. 😊

 

One great way to freeze individual meal portions is to use foil pans that fit well in gallon-size freezer zip-top bags.

 

You can also use plastic wrap for some things (that aren’t liquidy, of course), and freeze your individual portions that way.

 

 

6. Remove all air before freezing.

It is important that you remove all of the air from your freezer bag or the plastic wrap before freezing to avoid freezer burn. You can use little straws to help you effectively remove as much air as possible.

 

7. Label your meals.

Once you are done putting your meals in the containers, label them with the name and date so that you know what you have and know when you need to use it.

You may want to add notes about how to prep the meal on cooking day, such as “serve over pasta” or “take out of the bag before reheating” or “thaw in refrigerator overnight.”

 

Pro tip: Freezer tape helps to keep your labels in place and legible!

 

8. Don’t forget about your freezer meals!

Most freezer meals last well for up to 3 months, so plan to use them by then. You can use a freezer meal inventory sheet to help you keep track of what you have and when you need to use it by!

 

It is helpful to rotate your freezer meals so that you use the oldest ones first before using newer ones.

 

9. Save space by freezing meals flat.

Freeze meals as flat as possible to save room in your freezer.

 

10. Keep a freezer meal inventory list.

Do your freezer meal prep in stages. So, for example, first prepare your meal prep station. Then gather all of the supplies and ingredients you

 

Bonus Tip: Freeze your leftovers!

Don’t overlook freezing your leftovers, too! You can follow many of the tips above to freeze your leftovers for easy meals on busy nights too, or they make great lunches to take to work if you freeze them in individual portions! #win

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Final Thoughts on Freezing Meals and Freezer Cooking

These ideas for freezing meals and freezer meal prep will help you to get delicious and inexpensive meals on the table even on busy nights!

Take the stress out of your evening and stop the dashes through the drive-through by making budget-friendly freezer meals!

 

What are your favorite tips for freezing meals and freezer cooking? Do you have easy freezer meal prep tips that you love? Share them in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts! 

 

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