Just a little extra prep and planning in the kitchen can get you plenty of quick and easy freezer meals to have at the ready. Whether you just need to be able to just plan quickly during the week, or are expecting a little one on the way, having freezer meals at the ready is a game changer. And today, I’ve got 5 to make with only an hour of prep!
With only 2 more weeks to go until my due date with baby boy #2, I’d suppose one could say that I’ve reached a bit of the “nesting” phase that everyone talks about. All I want to do is clean, prep, cook, prepare, organize…all of it! Unfortunately, my stamina at this point is making all of the above just a little bit difficult, but over the weekend, I did manage a (solo!) trip to the grocery store and stocked up on…well, a LOT.
Side note #1: I was super annoyed that I forgot my reusable bags. Side note #2: the beer is for Jay, but I’m counting down the days until I get to have one too!
Not only did I stock up on just some of the regular necessities we’ll need, but I also did a fair amount of planning ahead of time in an attempt to put together some freezer meals for when the babe arrives. Freezer meals were a life saver for us when Lucas was born, and I can only imagine they’ll be even more helpful this time around with another little one being added to the mix.
So on Sunday, I got busy busy busy in the kitchen.
It was a disaster pretty much everywhere you turned (and still is, if we’re being honest).
But in the end, I wound up with 5 full size freezer meals (aka, we’ll probably get at least two meals for each of us out of each one, so at least 10 meals total). I still have a few more on my list that I’m hoping to squeeze in before the baby arrives (but then again, if he decides to come early before I get to them, then that’s a-okay by me too).
In the end, all of the meals really only took about an hour to prep, which was all done while Lucas took his afternoon nap. It was fabulous.
5 Make-Ahead Freezer Meals
- Double Duty Quesadilla Casserole – I made the entire recipe as a freezer meal, rather than dividing into two. I would have put it in two 8×8 pans if I had them.
- Chicken Parmesan Casserole – I ran out of casserole dishes, so for this one, I prepped everything and put them into individual bags within a freezer bag. When ready to eat, I’ll thaw, simply arrange the layers, and bake as directed
- Baked Italian Meatballs – I followed the freezer meal method for these by flash freezing the meatballs on a baking sheet and then placing into a gallon freezer bag so I can thaw and cook as directed
- Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef – I cooked this according to the directions (so technically this cooking time lasted longer than an hour, but the prep was about 5 minutes!) and mine took probably closer to 10 hours on low to get to the point where it was easy to shred. I let it cool completely, divided into two containers, and placed them in the freezer.
- Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas – I arranged these as if I were going to cook them, but just left everything in the gallon freezer bag without cooking. I let it marinate for a few hours in the fridge before popping into the freezer.
Even though I was totally wiped after the hour of prepping these, I am SO glad I took the time to have them. If/when I get to the rest of the ones on my list, I’ll be sure to share!