Freezer Meal Prep!

Hello! 

So my mom and I decided to get together and prepare a few meals that we could freeze and just throw into the oven when we needed them. They are also great to take to new mothers! It was our first time doing this so we stuck with a few casserole type recipes that we already were comfortable making and went from there. We plan to do this at least once a month and we know we will get better at it each time! 

Here are the steps that we took. we hope it can be helpful for anyone looking to do this, as we scoured the internet for a week prior looking for tips, tricks, and advice on freezer meal prepping! 

Pinterest! 

We started off by spending way too much time pinning all types of recipes, freezer meal ideas and tips for meal prepping. We didn’t filter our pins, if it sounded good and looked like we could freeze it, we pinned it. See our board here.

Narrow it down. 

We started to narrow our recipes down to a reasonable list. Like I said earlier, we ended up sticking to recipes we already have made over and over again (see below) so we could get the process of “freezer prepping” down first. 

Make an ingredient list.

This is the most important part. Make a detailed list. We broke it down by each meal, we wrote the title of the meal/recipe and underneath we wrote every ingredient we needed, even if you are going to need that ingredient for multiple recipes, write it down multiple times. We will condense later but having this detailed list helped as we actually prepared. Here is an example of our lists: 

Enchiladas:

tortillas  

chicken  

cheese  

red sauce  

sour cream  

green chilies  

Lasagna:

noodles    

tomato sauce  

mozzarella cheese  

ricotta  

ground turkey  

cottage cheese 

You will have a long list! Keep it detailed! 

Make a grocery list. 

This is your more narrowed down list. If you need the same type of cheese for multiple recipes, write down how much cheese you will need. Need chicken or ground turkey? write down how many total pounds you think you will need. I like to organize my list by section. for example: dairy, meat, produce, frozen, and everything else. It helps me to not forget or miss an item on my list. 

Shop your pantry!

This is so important to help keep cost down. Go through your pantry and cross off as many items as you can off of your list (that is now oh so neat and organized, right?!). If you have half of a container of sour cream or cheese, count that in! Use what you have. That frozen chicken, count it! A big part of freezer prepping is not over buying. We bought less of certain  things because we had an open one at home to include. 

Go shopping for the rest! 

We really wanted to keep our cost down so we went to our local Mexican market. They have great prices on all of their produce and many other products as well. Just be sure, as with any produce, to wash it thoroughly. We got as many items as we could there, and then went to Wal Mart for the rest (which also has a great grocery section!). Don’t forget to get your foil pans to actually store your meals in. We bought the smaller pans because we have no more than 3 people eating dinner at a time. We didn’t want to freeze huge 9×13 pans of things and end up throwing away old leftovers (trying to save money, not throw it away!). We also got a box of 1 gallon freezer bags and a box of 1 quart freezer bags.

Prepare ahead. 

If you can, cook your chicken (use a crockpot or pressure cooker for easy, hassle free cooking), ground turkey/beef, pasta, whatever you can ahead of time. This helps so much! Wash your produce as well, that way it can be dried and ready to go. 

Start meal prepping! 

We pulled out ingredients meal by meal and began to build the recipe and put it in the foil freezer pans. Let the meal cool before you place the lid on and put it in the freezer. This is important. If you put 5 freezer trays in your freezer that are piping hot still, you are going to lower that temperature and possibly ruin whats in your freezer! Let them cool! 

here are some tips for packaging the meals:

  • Place the lids foil side down. The lids that came with our containers were paper on  one side, foil on the other. The paper stuck to the food during the freezing, not a big deal but as hassle. Foil side down, people. 
  • Put the tray inside a freezer bag. This helps you prevent leaks and freezer burn. The containers are not air tight so the bag is an extra layer of protection. Reuse the bags and save money if you can.
  • Label each lid. Label with what it is, a reminder to remove the lid (in the case you aren’t the one cooking it), and the cooking instructions. 
  • Clean out your freezer ahead of time.This is the last thing you want to do after prepping for hours, try to make room before hand. 

I hope this helps! Our meals don’t have exact recipes but I will include the basics below.

Now go get prepping! 

XOXO

Brittany


 

Enchilada Casserole

Corn Tortillas

Shredded Chicken Breasts, about 2 cups/small tray

16oz Container Sour Cream

Cheddar Cheese

1 can Green Chilies 

1 can sliced olives, drained

1 can Red Enchilada Sauce

 Mix together sour cream, chilies, olives, cheese and chicken to make the filling.

Spoon just enough sauce to cover bottom of pan. Layer enough corn tortillas to cover bottom. Spoon on filling mixture and spread to cover tortillas. Spoon sauce over the filling, cover with tortillas and repeat the process.

You can make as many layers as you want depending on the depth of your pan. We just did two very full layers. End with tortillas on top, pour remaining sauce over the top and cover with cheese. Be sure not over fill. 

Cooking instructions from frozen:

Remove lid, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes. Uncover for last 10. Cooking time may vary, and is shortened when thawed. Cheese and sauce should be bubbling and will be hot throughout. 


Lasagna

Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles

Red Pasta Sauce (homemade or your favorite jar)

1 pound of cooked Ground Turkey

16oz container of Ricotta Cheese

Mozzarella Cheese

8oz Cottage Cheese

1 cup fresh, chopped Spinach

Mix ricotta, cottage cheese, spinach and some mozzarella together. You can also add some Italian spices into the mixture if desired. Mix sauce and ground turkey in saucepan and let simmer.

Layer noodles to cover bottom (we used as little noodles as possible to cut calories, we also had to break them to fit due to the smaller pan size). Spoon the ricotta mixture (as generous or sparing as you’d like) over the noodles and then spoon the turkey/sauce mixture over the ricotta. Begin layering again, noodles, ricotta then sauce. When you reach the last layer, spoon sauce mixture over the top (no ricotta mixture) and then cover with mozzarella cheese. 

Cooking instructions from frozen:

Remove lid, cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes. Uncover for last 10. Cooking time may vary, and is shortened when thawed. Cheese and sauce should be bubbling and will be hot throughout. 


Breakfast Burritos

Eggs

Cheese

Beans and Rice

Salsa

Enchilada Sauce

Frozen diced potatoes

Peppers and onions

Tortillas

Any other ingredients you’d like!

Cook the potatoes in large, shallow pan. Add eggs and scramble. Remove from heat. 

Build burritos adding whatever you like. Wrap each burrito in plastic wrap and label if necessary. Place all wrapped burritos into a freezer bag and freeze. 

Cooking instructions from frozen:

Remove burrito from plastic wrap and wrap in a paper towel. Microwave for 1-2 minutes. 

You could also heat on a skillet on low-med heat, flipping after a couple of minutes on each side. 

 

 

 

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