Last week I cooked dinner once but my family ate healthy, homemade meals every night. I LOVE Family Freezer Cooking! I am able to cook and clean once and get 3 or more meals out of it. It gives me more time with my family and less stress in the kitchen. I would love to help you learn how to get started with family freezer cooking. Once you get the hang of it you will never look back. No more take out, complicated recipes, or cooking and cleaning every night!
We just purchased a chest freezer for our garage and I will be stocking it with family meals. Cook along with me and over the next 4 weeks we will stock our freezers with:
- healthy toddler snacks
- kids’ lunches
- toddler dinners and sides
- 30 second kids’ breakfasts
- weekend family breakfasts
- family dinners, and
- healthy family snacks.
My plan is easy and stress free. To get started complete these simple tasks and be ready to get started this weekend.
- Stock Up & Clear Out Go through your plastic and glass food storage options and weed out anything without a matching lid. Stock up on Ziploc Bags (freezer quart sized, freezer gallon sized, and regular snack sized). I buy all generic brands for the bags to save money. If you don’t have enough storage containers with lids on hand pick up some small, medium and large storage containers. I use whatever is on sale, even store brand. I really like the Ziploc Twist and Lock round containers, but really anything will work. Clear out any old freezer burned food in the freezer to clear space for your new awesome meals!
- Grocery List & Weekly Menu Every week I sit down with the local ads and make a menu for the week. I plan 7 dinners and make sure I have something for breakfast, lunches and snacks. This week, you can plan to have BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Wild Rice Salad and Corn on the Cob, and Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches with a side salad. So just plan 5 more meals for the week.
My goal is to make two or three freezer dinners per week, which means we eat one serving the day it’s made and freeze the rest which is usually 3 servings, so I end up freezing about 3-6 dinner servings. This is my stock up mode. After the 4 weeks is over we will tone it down and do one freezer meal per week or less just to replenish what we use. Freezer cooking is going to come in so handy when baby #2 arrives in November! 😀
Week 1 Freezer Menu:
We will make 3 Family Menu Items, and 3 Toddler Menu Items. 17 containers will be frozen.
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (1 fresh, 3 to freeze) Double the recipe from Pinterest! This is a family dinner that you can serve on toasted buns or in a wrap. It’s so good you could eat it on it’s own! I served this with the Wild Rice Salad and corn on the cob. I love seeing my husband’s face when he walks in the door and smells this cooking in the crock pot. His eyes light up like a Christmas Tree!
Wild Rice Salad (2 fresh, 3 to freeze) Do not double this recipe. It is huge! My friend Tracy shared this recipe with me and I love that it is packed full of nutritious veggies! It makes a great side for sandwiches or a quick picnic item. It’s a great family side and my toddler liked the edamame and chunks of sweet potato.We had one serving with dinner, one at lunch and froze the rest.
- 1 c wild rice
- 4 c water
- 2 oranges, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 c frozen edamame
- 1 c cubed sweet potato
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1/4 c pomegranate balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 c toasted slivered almonds
- 1/2 dried cranberries
- 3 minced green onions
- black pepper to taste
Combine water and rice, bring to a boil and simmer until tender about 1 hour. Drain and return to pan, cover and let it rest about 10 minutes then transfer to a mixing bowl. Simmer sweet potatoes in water until tender but not mushy. Stir rice, oranges, edamame, sweet potatoes, almonds, cranberries and green onions. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar and pepper then pour over rice mixture. Chill before serving.
Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches (1 fresh, 2 to freeze) Double the recipe! I am really craving meat during this pregnancy and I needed something to satisfy my umami cravings. This hit the spot! We had it on toasted buns with provolone and a side spinach salad. This yummy family meal can be served without the bun for a tot, or maybe with a side of crackers or provolone cheese toast.
Sweet Potato- Apricot Oatmeal (1 fresh, 3 to freeze) When I make oatmeal for my daughter I never make one small portion. I make a batch using 1/2 cup of oats and fill it full of healthy fats, fruit, yogurt, and maybe even some sweet veggies.
- 1 c unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 c oats
- 4 dried apricots, diced
- 1/4 c of mashed baked sweet potato
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Dash of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of full fat plain greek yogurt
Mix almond milk, oats, apricots and sweet potato in a large bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir in cinnamon, coconut oil and yogurt. Divide into 4 equal portions. Serve one portion immediately and freeze the remaining portions to defrost later.
Green + Orange Smoothies (1 fresh, 3 to freeze) Just like with the oatmeal, when I make a smoothie I always make enough to freeze. For this smoothie I blended:
- unsweetened almond milk
- frozen mixed fruit,
- plain full fat greek yogurt,
- sweet potato,
- chia seeds, and
I served one fresh and packed the leftovers in the freezer. Sometimes I mix the frozen smoothie into plain oatmeal, extra almond milk, or just defrost and serve in a straw sippy cup for a fruit and veggie side during a meal.
Honey Roasted Rainbow Carrots (1 fresh, 3 to freeze) We had so much fun making this toddler side together! As a family we harvested the rainbow carrots from the garden. The next day I had prepped the carrots for a simple Mommy Daughter recipe. I washed and cut most of the carrots and had the honey- balsamic glaze ready to mix. My little girl can focus on an activity for maximum 10 minutes so prepping before she sat down to help saved a lot of time. We added our chopped carrots to a large glass baking pan then shook them in the glaze and roasted in the oven until tender and soft. She was so excited to taste her creation! From the backyard to her plate, so cool! Since my husband and I eat after she has gone to bed we get our veggies in salads or sides, so having the honey roasted carrots makes it easy to add a veggie to her meals.
- 1 pound of crinkle cut carrots
- 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Whisk together the balsamic, olive oil, honey and salt and pepper. Drizzle over carrots and roast at 400 for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
I hope you’re feeling ready to take this on! You will be making a lot of food but the schedule is easy! Here’s how I got it done.
- Saturday- Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteak after a morning out with the family.
- Sunday- Wild Rice Salad during nap time.
- Monday- Oatmeal at breakfast and Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the morning while she watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
- Tuesday- Smoothies at breakfast.
- Wednesday- Honey Roasted Carrots before lunch, made as a learning activity with my daughter.
If you would rather get stuff done on the weekend you could start a slow cooker on Friday night before you go to bed, wake up on Saturday package the meal, and start the second one!
Next week I have some delicious vegetarian meals planned and a delicious Houston Style Salsa Verde…. and more meat for my crazy cravings!
As always, send me an email or Facebook message if you have any special diet requests or questions!