10 Freezer Meal Ideas to Save Time, Money, and Effort
As you may or may not know, I am currently 8 months pregnant (at the time of this post). Given the time proximity to giving birth, I have started to think of ways in which I can plan ahead to make my life easier once baby arrives. As we all know, life changes significantly after the birth of a new child – certainly during those first few weeks. I’m personally a proponent of “thinking smarter, not harder” when it comes to preparing for baby.
One way that I’m “thinking smarter and not harder” is to spend a little time NOW to prepare freezer meals. This will save me a ton of time, money, and effort once baby arrives. My main concern is simply EFFORT. I know I’ll need the majority of my energy to take care of a new little human, and the last thing I want to be thinking about it preparing healthy meals.
I’ve always been a fan of meal prepping. I typically meal prep on Sundays and make all of my lunches for the week. I also wash and cut up all of the vegetables I buy for breakfasts for my breakfast scrambles. I’ve learned through experience that an hour or two of meal prep can save you hours upon hours down the line. SO, that is why I have decided to look into making freezer meals in preparation for baby. All I’ll have to do (or my husband) is pop these pre-prepped badass meals into a slow cooker or the oven – then VOILA! A healthy (because eating healthy is a priority in our lives), delicious, and easy meal will be ready. Almost like magic (almost)!
Caveat: I have not yet tried any of these meals. These are a mixture of recipes I have found on Pinterest and from friends. Once I actually eat them, I’ll be sure to post my thoughts/options/tweaks in terms of recipes!
1. Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki: This one looks AWESOME. I actually included a link to a PDF that actually includes 3 freezer meal recipes and a free grocery list to prep all of the meals. For me – I’m snagging the Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki Recipe from this list.
2. Lemon Garlic Dump Chicken: It doesn’t get much easier than this. There are very few ingredients and therefore very little prep. The easier, the better. And of course, this recipe looks healthy and delicious. I will likely add in some extra vegetables and add to brown rice. This recipe is prepped and frozen in advance, defrosted when ready, then popped in the oven.
3. Cheesy Enchilada Quinoa: I’m a huge quinoa fan and a huge Mexican food fan. This recipe checks all of the boxes. It’s sure to be flavorful and filling. I’ll be looking forward to this one! For this recipe, you’ll need to brown the ground turkey in advance. Then all ingredients can be added to a freezer bag and dumped into a slow cooker when ready.
4. Split Pea Soup: This one looks seriously easy, and it will be nice to have some comforting, hot soup to look forward to during a cold winter day. Our baby’s due date is in November, so it’ll definitely be soup season!
5. Chicken Fajitas: You could also use pork or beef with this recipe, but I tend to favor chicken. This freezer meal is very versatile. I might serve it over spiralized zucchini, grains (farro, quinoa, or brown rice), over greens, or on tacos.
6. Shepherd’s Pie: I’ll be making a few tweaks to this one to make it healthier. I may substitute ground turkey or chicken for the beef. I’ll top my Shepherd’s Pie with sweet potatoes. I’ll likely adjust seasonings to taste. Once I’ve made my own, I’ll be sure to share my recipe! This meal is actually completely cooked and prepared prior to freezing. This means it will just need to be reheated in the oven. I also love that I can make a big batch that will last for multiple meals.
7. Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples and Sweet Potatoes: I’ll be honest – I’m not 100% excited about this one, but it’ll be a nice change of flavor profile to switch things up. I’m just a little apprehensive about the texture of the sweet potatoes once cooked in a slow cooker. I’ll get back to you! Again in this recipe, all ingredients are placed in a freezer bag raw. The night before, the bag should be moved to the fridge to defrost, then popped in the slow cooker when ready.
8. Beef Barley Stew: Here’s another hearty looking stew that will be perfect for a chilly day. For this recipe, prep all ingredients and add to a freezer bag. Freeze until ready to use (defrost the night before adding ingredients to the slow cooker). On the day you cook this meal, you’ll just need beef broth to add to the crockpot.
9. Shrimp Stirfry Freezer Skillet Meal: This recipe looks seriously quick and easy to prep, using primarily already-frozen ingredients (veggies and shrimp). Unlike the other recipes, you use a skillet to cook up this freezer meal when ready. Chicken, pork, or beef can be substituted if you’re not a seafood fan. Serve over rice or noodles for a complete meal.
10. Easy Freezer Meatballs: Again, these meatballs will be something to look forward to – something different. We rarely make meatballs at our place, so we will enjoy having something unique to look forward to. These meatballs are fully prepped and cooked in advance, then frozen. Therefore, you’ll only need to reheat them in the oven. I will likely serve mine alongside a nice, big, healthy greens salad!
Well, there you have it! Here’s a sneak peak of the meals I’ll be enjoying in the first couple of weeks following the birth of our baby girl. If you have a favorite freezer meal recipe, PLEASE share! I have a feeling we’ll be relying on freezer meals for quite some time, so I’ll need more healthy and delicious recipe ideas for once we’ve eaten all of these!
Looking for more healthy recipe ideas that are easy to prep in advance? I recommend Irish Root Vegetable Soup for lunches, my Loaded Pizza Breakfast Casserole for breakfasts, or my Buckwheat Pumpkin Spice Muffins for a great grab-and-go s