When life is as hectic as it has been recently, the thought of preparing an elaborate or time-consuming meal for dinner can be daunting. Imagine how relieved you would feel if you had a delicious, fully assembled meal stored away for just such occasions, and that all you had to do was cook it through!
That sense of relief is exactly why I love easy freezer meals. Having a few freezer meals on hand makes a great safety net for those days when you just don’t have the energy or mental capacity to make something from scratch. (They can also save you money, and I’ll explain how very shortly!)
In today’s post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to make 5 different yummy, healthy easy freezer meals… in around one hour, no less! I’ve also provided cooking instructions for each meal and even a shopping list with all the ingredients you’ll need to make them, so you can get these meals assembled and stored away as painlessly as possible! :-)
4 Ways That Freezer Meals Can Save You Money
1. Score Sale Prices
When you’re preparing freezer meals to eat down the road, you can take sale prices into consideration. And since meat is always one of the more expensive ingredients in a meal, buying it on sale can save you a lot of money!
If pork happens to be on sale this week, take advantage of that fact by getting enough to make a few batches of Teriyaki Pork Chops (recipe provided below!)
2. Eat Out Less
When you have a few freezer meals on hand, you’ll be much less tempted to swing through the drive-thru or pickup take out when life gets hectic. And when you’re eating out less often, that means more money stays in your pocket.
3. Waste Less Food
Preparing freezer meals requires a lot less guess work than standard grocery shopping. You can get exactly what you need to make each meal, so you won’t end up with a lot of extra ingredients going to waste.
4. No Emergency Shopping
It can be so frustrating to realize you’re all out of a crucial ingredient for a recipe you were planning to make. You’re left either figuring out something else to make, or you have to spend time, money, and gas going to the store for that one ingredient!
But when it comes to cooking freezer meals, you never have to worry about making an emergency shopping trip. Everything you need is already in the bag, ready to go!
How To Assemble 5 Freezer Meals At Once
Step 1 – Prep
Grab a Sharpie and label one bag for each of the five recipe names:
- Hawaiian Chicken
- Garlic Honey Chicken
- Teriyaki Pork Chops
- Chicken Fajitas
- Beef Burritos
You can also write the cooking times and instructions on the bag, so you don’t have to look them up later on. (See below for cooking times.)
Step 2 – Divide The Meat
Start by sprinkling salt and pepper liberally onto all of the meat.
Then divide your chicken breasts into the three bags for chicken-based recipes. Next, place the beef in the beef burrito bag, and place the pork chops in their bag.
(If you plan on cooking these meals in your crockpot and not an Instant Pot, you can assemble these meals in slow cooker liners, then place the liners inside of the freezer bags for storage.)
Step 3 – Add Other Ingredients
Then grab your measuring cups and spoons, and start adding the other ingredients to the bags according to the recipes provided below.
When the bags have been fully assembled, seal them up and store them in the freezer (or fridge, depending on how soon you’ll eat them).
Step 4 – Cook!
Defrost the meals in your fridge for up to a day before cooking. When done thawing just dump the contents of the bag into your crockpot or Instant Pot and follow the cooking instructions below.
(Note: If you’d prefer shredded chicken in the chicken dishes instead of whole breasts, just shred it and then return it to the sauce for a few minutes before serving.)
5 Freezer Meal Recipes
1. Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken
2-4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 large can pineapple chunks (with liquid)
2. Beef Burritos
2 lb. lean beef (London broil, flank steak, or top round)
1 diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
Optional: cheddar cheese, sour cream
3. Garlic Honey Chicken
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
4. Teriyaki Pork Chops
4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup chicken broth
5. Chicken Fajitas
2 bell peppers
1 onion, sliced
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 taco seasoning packet
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
Optional: sour cream, cilantro, lime juice
Cooking Instructions (Instant Pot & Slow Cooker)
Instructions for cooking the chicken and pork recipes…
- …in your Instant Pot – Manual or Pressure Cook, high pressure for 8 minutes, quick release
- …in your slow cooker – Low heat for 5-6 hours; or high heat for 3 hours.
Instructions for cooking the Beef Burritos…
- …in your Instant Pot – Manual or Pressure Cook, high pressure for 30 minutes, 10 minutes natural release
- …in your slow cooker – Low heat for 6-7 hours; or high heat for 4 hours.
Freezer Meals Grocery Shopping List
To make your freezer meal assembly even easier for you, I’ve put together a shopping list! The tortillas for the fajitas and burritos are included in the shopping list, along with cheese, sour cream, lettuce, cilantro and tomatoes for topping them.
For the other meals, I usually keep it simple and serve them over rice, or with a side of veggies. Feel free to adjust this list according to your own preferences! :-)
- 2 lb. lean beef (London broil, flank steak, or top round)
- 5-6 lbs. chicken (or enough for 3 meals)
- 4 pork chops (enough for 1 meal)
Optional: substitute for ground beef or turkey if you prefer.
- Head of garlic
- 2 onions
- 2 bell peppers
- Head of lettuce
- 3-4 tomatoes
- Cilantro (optional)
Grocery & Misc.
- Large can of pineapple chunks
- 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
- 16 oz plain tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup soy sauce
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- Chili powder
- 5 one-gallon freezer bags, or other freezer-safe containers
- Slow cooker liners (optional)
- Sour Cream (optional)
- Cheese (optional)
Share your favorite freezer meals with us in a comment below!