Below is a list of all the freezer meals that I made before our little one arrived. I started prepping these about 3 weeks before my due date, though part of me wishes I started earlier so I didn’t feel so rushed to get them all done!
I split several of the recipes into two separate dishes vs. 1 large one, and doubled a few recipes as well. All of it lasts in the freezer for three months, so between these meals and the few dropped off by friends and family we haven’t had to worry about cooking for the first month of our daughter’s life, and likely won’t need to the next either! I also added a few sweet treats, because why not?
One big tip is to always remember to label each meal with what’s inside, as well as any cooking instructions. You can buy freezer tape, or simply write directly on the package with a sharpie.
Oven-Baked Freezer Dishes
These dishes were put in disposable baking tins you can find in nearly any grocery store. I ended up needing six 8×8 tins, and two pie tins. When you’re ready to bake them, just thaw overnight in the fridge and cook per the recipe’s directions. If you’d like to cook directly from frozen, just double the amount of time that the recipe requires the food to be in the oven.
Shepherd’s Pie – this was the very first dish I made and froze. You can use any Shepherd’s Pie recipe you’d like, but I decided to use a recipe from The Family Freezer. I did make a couple of changes to it though – instead of filling one 8×8 pan like the recipe suggests, I was able to fill two 8×8 pans since it makes quite a large amount – that means two meals instead of one! Because of this adjustment I ended up needing double the amount of American cheese slices, but all other measurements stayed the same.
Oven-Baked Mac & Cheese – almost any mac & cheese recipe that goes into the oven should be possible for this one, although I would be hesitant about freezing a bread crumb topping on the dish. If you really want the topping, to be safe I’d suggest thawing the Mac & Cheese overnight and then making and adding the topping right before you cook the pasta in the oven instead of freezing them together. This is another dish I grabbed from The Family Freezer, and instead of putting it in 9×13 pan I filled two 8×8 pans again for double the meals. Be sure to cook the macaroni al dente so it doesn’t get soft and soggy when you bake it later!
Casseroles – casseroles are a great dish to freeze! I made the Loaded Cauliflower and Chicken Casserole from Rachel Schultz on Homemaking, but any of your favorite casserole dishes will do. Again, you may want to divide up the casserole into two 8×8 pans instead of one 9×13 pan for double the meals if it’s just going to feed two people. As with the macaroni and cheese, if you decide to make a casserole that includes pasta I’d recommend cooking the pasta al dente so it doesn’t get soft and soggy later.
Chicken Pot Pie – I love chicken pot pie, and lucky for me it’s another great dish to freeze! Once again, any chicken pot pie recipe would work. I used another recipe from The Family Freezer. This is one you can also simply purchase ready-to-go in the frozen section of most grocery stores. Marie Calendar anyone?
For these dishes, there’s not even any cooking required in advance. I think most slow-cooker meals could be prepared like this, but below are the specific recipes I chose to prepare.
All ingredients are chopped and prepped in advance and then thrown into a gallon-sized ziploc bag (or two) before going in the freezer. I suggest you let them freeze lying flat to save space in your freezer. Once you’re ready to cook them, throw them in the slow cooker and cook per the specified amount of time. You might need an extra hour or two if cooking from frozen vs. thawing in advance.
As with most slow cooker dishes, these recipes tend to make a lot of food. Any leftovers can be kept in Tupperware in the fridge and re-heated for lunch or dinner for another few days afterward.
Asian Peanut Chicken – From Sweet Peas and Saffron
Chicken Tikka Masala – From The Family Freezer
Taco Soup – From The Family Freezer
Beef, Lime and Cilantro Chili – From The Family Freezer
Turkey Black Bean Chili – From The Family Freezer
Pizza Pockets – because who doesn’t love pizza? I found this recipe on The Girl on Bloor, but if you happen to have your own pizza pocket recipe already of course feel free to use that instead. You can also make a calzone and follow the same basic principle. This particular recipe is one that does not need thawing overnight and, really, doesn’t even need to be put in the oven if you’d rather cook it in the microwave (though the oven does add a nice crisp to the crust).
Beef and Broccoli – I used a recipe from This Perfect Mess, but I’m sure most beef and broccoli recipes would work. This particular one didn’t require any cooking in advance, but does need two separate bags for freezing – one for the marinated meat, and one for the sauce. It also calls for a third frozen item – a package of frozen broccoli. So if you don’t have a ton of space in your freezer, this one might not be for you. It requires thawing of the beef and sauce in advance (not the broccoli), is cooked over the stove, and served with rice.
I have a sweet tooth, and couldn’t imagine going without some of these tasty snacks and desserts stored in the fridge for a weak moment! Most of these can be wrapped up in plastic wrap and tin foil for freezing, except for the fruit crisp which will go into a disposable baking tin for freezing.
Cake – cakes (including the icing) freeze surprisingly well. My mother’s been freezing cakes for years, usually cutting cake slices in advance so she only needs to pull out one at a time. Just let it thaw on the counter for about 30-60 minutes before you eat, or keep in the fridge to thaw overnight. My friend had suggested we make these Mini Turtle Cheesecakes from The Pioneer Woman, so this is the cake I chose to go with (and omg so good you guys).
Muffins – literally any muffin recipe will do, and this could be saved for a breakfast, snack, or dessert depending on the type of muffin. I chose to make my mom’s Bran Chocolate Chip Muffins, and would have probably made a few more types if I had more freezer space!
Breads – once again, any bread recipe will do. Or just buy storebought bread and freeze it if you’d like, thawing it overnight before using it. You can stack up on bread this way without having to run back to the grocery store. I made some Banana Bread…and yes, you can bet I put chocolate chips in there too!
Fruit Crisp – I would guess that oat toppings will freeze better than flour toppings, but to be honest I haven’t actually tried freezing any flour-topping crisps. I chose to make a bunch of my mom’s Apple Crisp and freeze in several smaller individual-sized containers. I throw them directly into the oven from frozen, and cook for about 1.5 times the amount typically required if I were to cook a full fresh (unfrozen) batch.
Granola Bars – There are a ton of granola bar recipes online, but I used the recipe from Happy Money Saver. I did make a couple of changes, though – I reduced the amount of honey by 1/3 (as suggested by numerous commenters) and I swapped out 1 cup of the rice cereal for sliced almonds. These are individually wrapped before being stored in a freezer bag so you can take out as many as you need per day. It shouldn’t take more than 30-60 minutes for them to be ready to eat.