Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Freezer Meals: How To

Hi friends! So, many of you saw my instagram post yesterday about how I prepped 25 freezer meals in about 3 hours and for less than $90! I got a lot of feedback saying you'd like to know how I did it, so I listened. First of all, this has been something I've wanted to do for a loooong time but never fully got around to doing it, now after yesterday, I want to do this as often as possible.. I'm thinking every 3-4 months is a good goal. I have read tons of blogs and pinned all kinds of how to's for freezer meals, so what I did was just really a mix of everything I've learned, and picking up on what my family will actually eat, etc.

The 2 main reasons for doing this was 1) I'm going to have a new baby any day now, and really who has the time to cook for a family of 5 (!!) with a newborn? I'm sure I won't. For me, thats a hard pill to swallow because I love meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking, so I knew I needed a way to still provide yummy, healthy, homemade meals without completely losing my mind. 2) Recently Logan and I decided to pay for all our groceries with cash, and it's something I highly recommend! However, the last few weeks have been rough and for whatever reason I kept coming up short on a budget that I KNOW was plenty enough to feed us, and after yesterday, 25 meals for less than a $100?? That really made me proud.

Keep in mind, these meals are mostly "starters", as in, the day of cooking you'll need to make some noodles, rice, or potatoes, etc. It's just the meat of the meal is already done. Also, its no secret I love my crock pot, so aside from the chicken enchilada filling, spaghetti sauce, and cooked ground beef, all these recipes are prepared to go straight to your crock pot after defrosting for about 6 hours. So what were the meals? This is what I made:
(1) pork chops w/ caramelized apples and onion
(3)Hawaiian Chicken serve in tacos, or over rice
(2)Sweet and Sour Meatballs serve over rice or steamed veggies
(3)Marinara Meatballs serve over noodles, or in hoagie as meatball sub
(2)Spaghetti Sauce w/ ground beef, onion, peppers serve over pasta/use in lasagna
(1)Chili Starter add packet of chili seasoning and 1 can of hormel chili 
(1)Burrito Bowl serve over mexican rice
(2)Chicken Enchilada (filling only)
(1)White Chicken Chili
(1)Barbecue Chicken use for sandwiches or over mashed potatoes 
(1)Italian chicken with veggies
(1)Chicken Phillies serve in hoagies 
(5)3/4 lbs cooked ground beef with peppers and onions pull out as needed for tacos, spaghetti, sloppy  joes, etc. 

I didn't really follow any particular recipes, just ones that I'm used to making for my family. I have my shopping list for you though, and if you have any questions about any recipe just let me know and I'll be happy to share :)

6 lb package fresh ground beef (around $20 at 3.49/lb)
1 bag boneless skinless chicken tenders ($16) normally I have my beloved zaycon foods chicken breast, but I don't get my order for about 6 more weeks so frozen costco chicken is the next best deal.
Turkey Meatballs ($12)
1 bag yellow onions
2 lb package chicken breast
1 lb pkg pork chops
4-5 green bell peppers
2 bottles teriyaki sauce
large bag of carrots (italian chicken, and one bag of hawaiian chicken)
grape jelly (split between 2 bags of sweet and sour meatballs)
chili sauce (split between 2 bags of sweet and sour meatballs)
3 jars of spaghetti sauce (split between spaghetti sauce and marinara meatballs)
2 cans diced tomatoes (split between chili starter, white chicken chili, and burrito bowls)
1 packet italian dressing mix (italian chicken)
2 cans chunk pineapple (split equally between 3 bags hawaiian chicken)
3 cans of beans (pinto, black, and northern white) (white for white chicken chili, black for burrito bowls, pinto for chili starter)
1 large can green enchilada sauce (split between 2 bags enchilada filling)
1 container sour cream (split between 2 bags enchilada filling)
1 can sweet corn (1/2 white chicken chili, 1/2 burrito bowls)
1 carton chicken stock (for italian chicken, white chicken chili)
2 granny smith apples (for pork chops)

I can't say that I found excellent deals, and I don't really shop anywhere else than these 2 stores, so you could quite possibly find better deals and make the trip even cheaper.

I used gallon freezer bags for each meal, and labeled each one with the date, meal, and how to prep it before I filled each one. The easiest way I found was putting the bag in a medium sized bowl and filling it that way. I also had 2 large bowls, one filled with sliced onions, and one with sliced bell peppers since I put both of those in most of these meals. I also put the 2 lbs of chicken breast from frys in the crock pot in the morning with some all purpose seasoning and chicken broth to shred later for the chicken enchiladas and burrito bowls.

I also made 4 batches of pizza dough (2 pizzas per batch) and froze that for pizza nights, but I already had those ingredients on hand so I can't technically include that in the cost ;) I totally recommend doing this, it makes pizza night really low key and way faster, just pull out the dough the morning of and keep it in the fridge. Pull it out and let it rest for about 30 minutes before using :) 
  • 1 teaspoon (scant) Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 cups Warm Water
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour 
  • 3/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Sprinkle yeast over 3/4 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge/freezer until you need it.

I hope this helps you! It feels so good knowing I have all these meals tucked away. Enjoy!! 


  1. This is probably a dumb question but I have never made my own dough and I want to try yours. At what temp and for how long do you cook your pizza? I am also thinking about making an extra pizza to freeze. Have you ever done that with all the toppings?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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