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  • Easy Freezer Meals & Tips

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    Making healthy freezer meals has never been easier, and it is a fantastic way to save time! Here are 30 of our favorite make-ahead dinner recipes.

    Freezer Meals

    To make a quick and easy, healthy dinner, simply prep the ingredients and freeze them. Then, the night before you want to serve the meal, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw. As a result, you will be able to make a healthy dinner for your family with very little effort!

    Tips To Make Freezer Cooking Faster & Easier

    1. Plan out your freezer recipes

    To make the freezer cooking session a breeze and streamline your process, it’s best to first plan which recipes you want to freeze, how many batches of each one you can prepare during your session (whether that’s half a day or a full day), and what groceries you need after you look through your pantry & fridge.

    2. Don’t overdo it

    When you are first starting out with freezer cooking, choose only 1-2 recipes, and batch cook 2-3 batches of each, or more, depending on how much time you have. It’s super easy to prep several batches of the same recipe all at once.

    3. Choose easy recipes & dump-and-go recipes

    The goal of freezer cooking is to make cooking easier so you can get dinner on the table faster and with less effort. I recommend choosing simple and easy recipes when you batch cook and assemble freezer meals.

    Also, choose one or two dump-and-go (or no-cook recipes). Depending on how much time you have, you can also batch assemble only no-cook recipes.

    4. Grocery shop ahead of time

    Before you start your batch cooking & assembling session, it’s best if you buy all your groceries the day before so you are prepared and not in a hurry.

    5. Batch prep, cook & assemble

    When I batch cook freezer meals, I like to chop all my vegetables, take out from the pantry & the fridge all the condiments I will need, and take out all of the tools (bowls, measuring spoons & cups, appliances, bags, freezer storing containers etc.) I will be using. Use appliances and tools, like a food chopper or processor, to make prep work go faster. Shred meat with these claws.  Lastly, I prepare the meat and portion it if necessary and keep it in the fridge until I need it. This saves you time in the long run and keeps you organized. (Use appliances and tools, like a food chopper or processor, to make prep work go faster. Shred meat with these claws

    After you have done all the prep work, cooking or simply assembling the no-cook recipes is quick & easy. Buy bag holders, or place bags in a large bowl to help keep them standing up while you add ingredients during the assembly.

    If you precook the recipes before you freeze them, make sure they cool down before you place them in freezer storage containers/bags.

    6. Utilize your Slow Cooker and Instant Pot

    It goes without saying that the slow cooker and the instant pot are perfect helpers in the kitchen when it comes to freezer cooking.

    You can cook a meal in the slow cooker while you cook another one in the oven, on the cooktop or in the Instant Pot. This way you can cook several recipes at the same time.

    7. Store in appropriate containers

    I like to portion out each meal in a container that holds enough for dinner and leftovers for the next day. It’s very convenient to have food not only for dinner but also for lunch the following day. It saves me time for not cooking for lunch, saves me money from not eating out and helps me eat wholesome homemade food. Use packaging that is durable, water-proof, leak-proof, and resistant to low temperatures.

    8. Label everything

    Don’t forget to label each container with the name of the recipe, any thawing instructions or cooking instructions if necessary. Also, write down the date when you cooked and froze it. You can try using freezer labels too. (Label the bags before you add the food!)

    9. Keep a freezer inventory

    I like to keep an inventory list of my freezer meals as well as different meat cuts, poultry, and seafood I store in my freezer. You can cross off each meal or meat when you use it and always have a good idea of what is available.

    How Long Do Freezer Meals Last

    To get the longest life out of your healthy freezer meals, you will want to follow the tips below. By doing so, your meals will keep well in the freezer for 3 to 4 months!

    How To Thaw Frozen Food

    The best and safest way to thaw frozen food is very simple. However, to prevent any possible risk of food contamination, it is important to follow these important food safety tips:

    1. Never thaw frozen food at room temperature. Instead, place frozen foods in the refrigerator to thaw. If you are thawing any type of meat, poultry, or fish, place the bag of frozen food on a small sheet pan or in a bowl. This way, if the bag leaks, you will prevent the food from contaminating any other fresh food in the refrigerator. You need about 5 hours per pound.
    2. Keep the frozen food in a sealed bag or closed container. Again, this will help prevent cross-contamination with other foods in the fridge.

    Freezer Unfriendly Foods

    • Fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, will become limp and soggy when thawed.
    • Cooked potatoes develop a gritty texture when frozen and they don’t hold their shape and texture.
    • Gravies and sauces thickened with cornstarch or flour will separate during the freezing process. You can freeze an unthickened sauce, and then add thickeners after thawing.
    • Fully cooked pasta may become mushy and overcooked once reheated. Slightly undercook pasta before freezing it.
    • Some dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, sour cream, and light cream, will separate when frozen.

    Best Healthy Freezer Meals

    To make browsing these recipes as easy for you as possible, you will find them broken into categories, as follows:

    • BEEF
    • PORK
    • POULTRY (chicken and turkey)
    • SEAFOOD
    • VEGETARIAN & VEGAN

    Healthy Beef Dinners

    Although beef is typically higher in fat and calories than other proteins, it can still be part of a healthy dinner.
    To ensure that your freezer meals made with beef are as healthy as possible, choose cuts that are at least 90 percent lean. According to the Cattleman’s Beef Board, lean beef options include:

    • Ground sirloin
    • Sirloin tip side steak
    • Tenderloin
    • Top round steak
    • Strip steak
    • Flank steak

    Beef Freezer Meal Recipes

    Healthy Freezer Meals – Pork

    As is the case with beef, healthy freezer meals can also be made using pork. The leanest cuts of pork are the loin and tenderloin.

    Make Ahead Chicken and Turkey Dinners

    Out of all of the healthy freezer meal recipes on the Interwebs (and there are plenty of them!), the most popular are made using poultry. This is primarily because white meat chicken and turkey are lean proteins. But also, because poultry is the most budget-friendly. You can typically make at least 3 meals from a small turkey.

    Healthy Freezer Meals – Seafood

    For the most part, fish and shellfish are healthy in and of themselves. The key to creating healthy freezer meals with them is to avoid the use of heavy breading. And of course, baking and broiling are healthier ways to prepare them than deep frying.

    Vegetarian + Vegan Freezer Meals

    When it comes to meatless healthy freezer meals for dinner, the protein typically comes from ingredients such as tofu, lentils, and quinoa. These recipes are delicious, nutritious, and incredibly easy to make!

    Did you make this recipe?

    Use the tag #DeliciousMeetsHealthy when posting a picture of your recipe, and make sure to follow @deliciousmeetshealthy on Instagram!

    March 17, 2020

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    Comments

    Meghan McMorrow

    Thanks for all of these yummy freezer meal recipes!! I am always on the hunt for a new recipe and seem like great ones!

    Pol

    Freezer meals are the best. So much less effort is needed for dinners!

    Dara Whitelaw Michalski

    This post is a gold mine of recipes! Freezer meals are far better than eating out or getting boxed meals at the grocery store. I like to prepare our food myself and keeping some of them ready in the freezer would give me that assurance that my family will have something hearty and healthy to eat during those times when I am out on travel.

    Inna

    I don’t freeze my meals nearly enough and I know it could save us a TON in groceries! Definitely need to start doing that from now on and some of these meals are so easy to make (and budget-friendly, too!)

    Kat

    I seriously need to get on the meal prep bandwagon-I have no time to cook, and it’s going to get worse when I go back to work. These freezer meals are perfect!

    Keli

    I love freezer meals, they can save so much time and energy and money. This list has a few choices that I think I’d like to try.

    Alina

    Thank you so much for helping me with life! All of your recipes and organization have saved me! life is so much easier now that I don’t have to think about what to cook! Ya’ll are the best!!!!

    Florentina Lile

    Thanks for all the great ideas. I am looking for ways to make cooking healthier meals a priority and this list has so many recipes that I can freeze in advance.

    Tolan

    Thanks for this list. I’ve been trying to find one with recipes for the freezing and this is terrific! We’ve got big things (or a little thing more like it) coming and I want to have a freezer full of food.

    Tatiana

    I pinned 9 recipes from here!! I can’t wait to get cooking and freezing!

    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

    LOVE this round-up for easy freezer meals – thanks so much for featuring my recipe! Sharing on Pinterest for later! xoxo

    Instant Pot love

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