Preparing food and meal planning takes a lot of work. It takes even more work when you are trying to meal prep for yourself and your little ones. Who really wants to put in a ton of work just to have your kids not like the meal?
Even as a professional chef, it’s sometimes hard for me to find the energy at the end of the day to prepare my family a wholesome meal.
While I love to cook, sometimes I just don’t have the time. I’ve found that designating a fair amount of time a few days a month to prepare freezer meals really helps. Knowing that I have an inventory of healthy freezer meals stored away can make my day a lot easier.
Freezer meal prep basics
The preparation of these freezer meals does take a few things:
- Extra kitchen tools and accessories (A crockpot or Instant Pot is a necessity! A 4-5 quart crockpot is a great size for the recipes below.)
Find the time
Set aside an afternoon for yourself and start with a clean kitchen. Don’t try to do too many meals at once. It will be overwhelming. This time is time well spent, believe me!
Pick the freezer meals you want to make and shop for ingredients
I like to start by selecting s few meals that I want to prepare for the freezer. I make a shopping list and gather all of my ingredients.
Most of these recipes are 10 ingredients or less. There is nothing more intimidating (or annoying) when you find a recipe you like and it has a long list of hard-to-find ingredients. These recipes have ingredients that should be easy to find, if you don’t already have them.
The cooking begins!
Pull out everything that you need first. It will make things move quickly. Once all of the bags are prepared and completed, clean up the kitchen and relax!
You should feel good knowing you have a few meals under your belt already and you’ve freed up some of your evening time in the future.
Once you get more comfortable, you can start doing multiple meals at a time. If you are lucky enough to have an extra freezer, you could do multiple batches of these recipes to really stock up.
A few tips when preparing easy freezer crockpot meals
- Buy heavy duty freezer bags. The cheaper ones might rip or break. You can even buy reusable freezer bags like these.
- It’s very important to label and date all of your food before it goes into the freezer. Most meals will last between 3-6 months in the freezer. Using a permanent marker works great on disposable plastic bags. Sticker food labels are also a great option.
- Freezer bag holders are a great accessory to have while preparing frozen crockpot meals. While these little gadgets are not necessary, they do make things a lot easier.
- Keep an inventory of the freezer meals you have stored. A simple list on a magnetic dry erase sheet on the outside of the freezer is all that you need to keep track and make freezer meal planning a breeze. It’s easy for things to get lost in the freezer. If you keep a running list, it will help you plan for the week.
- Tape a copy of the cooking instructions to the outside of the freezer bag. If your labels are big enough, you can also write the instructions on that.
Freezer dump meals
These meals can be prepped ahead, no cooking required (yet!), and then frozen until you are ready to put in your slow cooker. You just dump all the ingredients into a bag and freeze.
Recipes to make first, freeze later
These are a few reverse freezer meals. Instead of prepping and cooking, you will cook and then store the meals in small, easy to grab portions.
Bonus tip: Start a freezer meal swap
One of my favorite things about freezer meal prep is sharing the recipes and sharing the meals with other parents. One fun thing to consider is to start a freezer meal swap with some other local families. I started doing this a few years ago with some friends and it’s been really successful.
We make enough meals for each of the families involved. That’s a lot of food! But it’s worth it and you will be getting those meals back. Each family then swaps meals with the group. For example, if there are five people in the group, including myself, I will make five meals. I keep one for myself (because why do all of the work if you can’t keep one for yourself!) and then I will trade my other four meals for four new meals made by my friends.
It’s a really great way to mix things up. I love meals prepared by other people and seeing what kind of recipes they have. My kids also get a big kick out of eating food prepared by their friends’ parents.
Have fun with freezer meal planning
There are a lot of great resources on the internet for freezer meal ideas. I also love getting tips and recipes from my friends and family. It can seem a bit intimidating at first, but if you keep it simple with recipes like the ones above, it should become very easy and maybe even fun!