Freezer meals are a busy mom's best friend. With freezer meals, you can know that you always have a meal ready to go (no more last minute trips to the store or through the drive-thru)!
Maybe you already know that freezer meals are an amazing time-saver, or perhaps you've only heard about them and always wanted to make them yourself.
Either way, I want to teach you how to make freezer meals faster and easier!
I want to share with you these 14 awesome tips so you can make freezer meals like a pro!
Plus I want to share with you about Freezer Meals 101—a brand new course from my friend (and freezer-meal-master!) Sharla Kostelyk.
Her online video course Freezer Meals 101 is the perfect primer for freezer meal newbies and veterans. I've been making freezer meals for about 9 years now and I definitely learned from this course!
Here's Sharla with more about the course:
Ready to become a freezer meal making expert too? You'll love these freezer meal making tips that will help you take control of the dinnertime chaos!
These freezer meal hacks can be categorized into two areas:
essential freezer meal tools; and
choosing the best freezer meal making style for you.
Freezer Meal Tools for Fast and Easy Meal Assembly
The proper tools make all the difference! These 8 time-saving (and stress-relieving) freezer meal hacks help you prepare several meals as efficiently as possible.
NOTE: It's true that you don't have to have all of these to make freezer meals (and that some of these tools are an investment), but WOW… they sure streamline the process. Remember, you can slowly build up your collection over time if need be.
Hack 1: Hands Free Bag Holders
These Hands Free Bag Holders are ingenious! There's nothing worse than prepping a full freezer meal bag and then having it spill all over the counter. Ugh! I also love how they fold flat when they're not in use. Stack these up in a row for fast and easy meal assembly!
Hack 2: Address/shipping labels
Over the years, I've used address labels only intermittently in my freezer meal prep to label and date the bags. But lately I've been convinced more and more of their necessity (the ink from the sharpie-on-the-bag trick sometimes wears off). I also love the idea of having the freezer meal instructions (plus any extra fresh items needed) all pre-printed in one place.
Bonus: The recipes in the Freezer Meals 101 course not only come with shopping lists but with files to the pre-printed bag labels.
Hack 3: Automatic Can Opener
In Freezer Meals 101, Sharla recommends an Automatic Can Opener and I totally agree that it's a time saver. Especially for those recipes that use tons of canned goods (soups, sauces, etc). Trust me, you'll want one of these when you've got a ton of meals to assemble at once!
Ever tried to make several batches of freezer lasagna… only to find out that you don't have the space to hold the sauces? If you're making lots of meals in bulk, you need oversized bowls like these to mix stuff. I also use my bowls to make big salads ‘Nuff said.
Hack 5: High Quality Freezer Bags in various sizes.
My first experiments in freezer meal cooking didn't turn out so well. The food was bland and had an “off taste.” The culprit? I didn't have high-quality freezer bags. Over the years I've learned that this is one area where it doesn't pay to get the cheap-o version.
Hack 6: Food Processor and/or Mandoline Slicer
Need to chop 15 onions? You will when you're making freezer meals! This is the time when you'll want to have gadgets like a food processor or a mandolin slicer close at hand (Note: the Freezer Meals 101 Course teaches you how to dice onions on a mandoline!).
Freezer to slow cooker recipes are a godsend on the busiest of days. But my biggest beef (pardon the pun) with freezer cooking was that the meat never got that lovely browned taste. Then the slow cooker creator geniuses created a slow cooker insert that can be used directly on the stove (cue the angels choir singing)! Yes! This is the new model that I have and love. I just keep the meat in a separate smaller bag so I can brown it on the day of cooking.
Hack 8: Stapler (yes a stapler) and staple remover
This was one of those why-didn't-I-think-of-that? tips from the Freezer Meals 101 course. Such a simple idea (and so much better than my attempts with shipping tape to hold bags together). Simply staple bags with “extra” meal items (such as cheese) on the side so that they don't mix.
Hack 9: Your smartphone and a Bluetooth Speaker
Grab your smartphone and crank up your favorite tunes on a portable bluetooth speaker as you power through your freezer meal assembly. A great playlist can totally invigorate any freezer meal making session!
And if you're a competitive person like I am, set your timer on your phone to challenge yourself (Can you make these 10 meals in the next 20 minutes? Yes, you can!).
Hack 10: Lots of little helpers!
Start putting together meals and your kids will come flocking (at least, mine do).
And that's a good thing because there are plenty of things kids can do–adding ingredients, mixing sauces, sticking on labels, running the food processor and even chopping (if they're old enough).
I like to make freezer meals a whole family affair because, first, it helps me get through the process faster; second, I'm teaching them a valuable life skill; and third, it's an easy family-hang-out time.
Pick Your Freezer Meal Making Style
Bottom line: You need a plan to make all those meals as efficiently and easily as possible.
Sharla talks about each of these freezer meal making methods in the Freezer Meals 101 course and gives tips on how to make each of these work.
Check out these 4 “freezer meal making method hacks” and see which style best suits you!
Hack 11: The “Make Them as You Go” Method
This is great if you're wanting to experiment with the whole freezer meal cooking thing. Just make a few extra batches of a recipe and place them in freezer bags for later (the Freezer Meals 101 course let you know which ingredients freeze well and the best ways to freeze them).
Hack 12: The “Once a Month” Method
This is my preferred method. I make up about 25 meals every six weeks so that we have plenty of dinners to choose from. Yes, it takes me 3-4 hours to prep and assemble everything, but once everything is made, all I have to do is pull out a few meals every few days and cook them up. Score!
And the Freezer Meals 101 course has meal plans, shopping lists and labels to make it that much easier!
Hack 13: The “Make Them With Friends” Method
Got a friend who wants to try making freezer meals with you? Plan a day where you can work together to assemble meals! It's a fun way to hang out and you both leave with loads of pre-made freezer meals!
In the course, Sharla introduces us to her freezer making buddy and they share priceless tips on how to make combined meal-making sessions a win-win for everyone.
Hack 14: The “Freezer Meal Swap” Method
Here's a fun idea: What if you made 7 versions of a recipe, and then got 7 friends to also make 7 versions of their own recipe? You could meet up and share bags and voila–you have 7 different freezer meals for your family!
Sharla shares the pros and cons and gives her thoughts on how busy moms can use this option to easily make freezer meals.
Get More Freezer Meal Hacks!
We've just scratched the surface here! The Freezer Meals 101 course shares many other helpful and practical tips such as:
- How to create a grocery shopping list for all those freezer meals,
- How to maximize prep time,
- Tips for quickly chopping ingredients
- How to stretch your food purchases by making meals that use up ingredients,
- How to quickly thaw a freezer meal
- Tips on which foods can be frozen (and which cannot),
- Awesome (and easy!) recipes that can be assembled in a matter of minutes,
- Gluten free freezer meal recipe adaptations
- and so much more!
With 10 video lessons, three sets of printables, and two meal plans, Freezer Meals 101 walks you though every part of the freezer meal process. Prep lists, grocery lists, recipes, printable labels–it's all included in the course!
Every member gets access to the private Facebook course where you can ask Sharla questions and get great ideas from other freezer-meal-making moms.
You can even get new freezer meal plans sent to you every month!
Spend less time in the kitchen (and more time with your family) by making freezer meals work for you!
If you've loved the hacks in this post, you've got to join the Freezer Meals 101 course!