Custom Freezer Meals- So That You Can Spend Your Time with Your Family Instead of In the Kitchen

Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

 

parent’s time is in high demand. The to do list is endless, the kids need our love and attention, and we need a break ourselves.

Any possible way to cut down on our demands is a blessing!

That’s why I created these custom freezer meals- for parents who just need a little less time cooking and a little more time with their kids.

These meals are super basic but very yummy! My favorite part is that they are , customizable so I can eat something new, something I’m excited about, and something that my kids will eat.

The basic components are: 1- Meat, 2- Veggie, 3- Side of Rice or Potatoes, 4- Sauce or Seasoning.

Each meal is freezer safe. They are easy to cook when you need them- easy enough for my husband to feel comfortable putting them together. It is so nice to have a break from cooking once in a while or to just have a quick meal that seems like it took all day to cook.

Improve your freezer meal by adding healthy and delicious energy-boosting super foods!

Here’s how to do it!

  • Write the directions for cooking on a gallon Ziploc bag. (The freezer bags work best if you plan to keep these meals long term for a rainy day. They help avoid freezer burn on your food over time.) This step is best to complete first because it is hard to write on the bag once it is full of food. However, it doesn’t make much sense until after I explain the rest of the freezer meal. For that reason, there are more specifics in step #7 about what to write.

Click the image below to purchase Gallon sized Ziploc Freezer bags!

For the following steps, feel free to include the kids for the assembly of your freezer meals!

  • Choose your meat.

Some of our favorites are:

  • Chicken breast
  • Chicken legs
  • Chunks of beef or pork
  • Pork chops
  • Steaks
  • Turkey breast
  • Ham
  • Fish

Place your meat in a gallon, freezer-safe Ziploc bag.

  • Choose a sauce or seasoning to go with your meat.

I love premade sauces at the store, like barbecue sauce or honey mustard. They usually only cost a couple bucks (or less!) and I don’t have to put any extra energy into preparing a sauce. This makes these meals cheap and easy to throw together.

Examples include:

  • BBQ sauce
  • Ranch seasoning packet
  • Italian seasoning
  • Lemon pepper seasoning
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Orange chicken sauce
  • Kung pao sauce
  • General Tso’s sauce
  • Mesquite smoke packet
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Honey Mustard

Add the sauce or seasoning to your meat.

  • Add liquid.

If you chose to flavor your meal with a dry seasoning, it will need more liquid for the cooking process. Add about 1 cup of water or broth. I prefer broth because it adds flavor.

If you chose to flavor your meal with a sauce, it doesn’t need quite as much liquid. Only add 1/2 cup of water or broth. Again, I prefer broth for the yummy flavor.

The extra liquid will keep your food (especially the meat) from drying out.

**Don’t be afraid to add more liquid during the cooking process if you would like!

  • Veggie time.

Decide if you want your veggies to be soaked in the sauce with your meat or separate. This could change which vegetable you want.

(For example, I like broccoli on the side of my BBQ chicken, but I don’t like broccoli with BBQ sauce on it. I do like onions mixed in with my BBQ chicken.)

**I prefer to buy the frozen packaged veggies. Some fresh veggies don’t freeze well, so buying the frozen kind ensures that your frozen meal will turn out great! Plus, frozen veggies are cheap and there is no prep necessary!

Remember to check this post to find out what veggies will increase your energy!

If you want your veggies in the sauce, add them to the gallon Ziploc bag with your meat.

If you want your veggies separate, place them in a smaller Ziploc. Add butter, salt, or any seasonings desired. Place the small Ziploc into the gallon Ziploc bag. You will cook the veggies separately when you are ready to enjoy your meal, but this keeps everything together for easy storage.

  • Prepare your side of rice or potatoes.

We won’t cook the side just yet- but we will keep each component of the meal together in the freezer for easy storage. (This also helps me when I’m cooking because I have mommy brain and don’t always have the wherewithal to piece together a full meal. It’s better to have it all in one place for those days.)

Place 2 cups of uncooked rice, potato flakes, or potato pearls in a small Ziploc bag. Place the small Ziploc bag into the gallon Ziploc bag. This is enough to feed 3-5 people as a side, depending on how hungry they are. 😊

Rice and potatoes are so simple to prepare, they are wonderful recipes for children to help with! 

Feel free to add yummy extras to your side if you would like. For example, you could add garlic salt, ranch seasoning, or parmesan cheese to your potato pearls or flakes. You could put a chicken bouillon cube or a bay leaf in with your rice. Then, when you cook it later, you’ll have some extra flavor!

Make sure you write directions on how to cook the rice or potatoes on the front of the gallon Ziploc bag (see step #7). Do not write the directions on the small bag since it could get rubbed off.

  • Write directions on the gallon Ziploc bag.

Like we said before, this is actually the first step. It’s easier to write the directions before you prepare the meal because it is difficult to write on the Ziploc when it is full of food.

We include it last because your directions for cooking depend on how you decided to make your freezer meals. Here is all the information you need.

When you are ready to cook your frozen meal, follow these steps:

Thawed chicken, beef, turkey, and pork takes between 3-4 hours to cook in a crock pot depending on the quantity of meat you use. If your freezer meal is larger, it will take longer to cook. If your meal is still frozen, no problem! Just separate any small Ziploc bags from the rest and plan 2 extra hours for cook time.

Fish tends to cook faster, around 1-2 hours in a crock pot (thawed) or it can be yummy cooked in a pan with butter as well (around 15-20 minutes).

Most varieties of rice cook at a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. That means if you have 2 cups of rice, you will need 4 cups of water. Check on the box or bag to make sure this applies to you.

(How to Cook Rice Over the Stove- When it is time to cook your meal, you will place cold water and rice in a pot (remember, 1:2 ratio of rice to water). Bring the water to a boil. When the water is at a rolling boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the water is completely dissolved and the rice is cooked through. You can also cook your rice in a rice cooker if you prefer that method.)

Potato pearls or flakes are easy to cook. Just add boiling water to the flakes or pearls until you reach a consistency that you enjoy. Some people like a little more or less water. It’s up to you! The potatoes usually need a little more flavor, so I like to add butter, salt, pepper, and garlic to mine. You can add these seasonings before you freeze the meal, or you can add it to the meal as you are cooking.

If you chose to put your veggies in a separate bag, sauté the veggies in a pan with butter or boil the veggies. If you included your veggies in with the meat, they will be added to the crock pot and you won’t have to worry about this step!

That’s a lot to write on a gallon Ziploc bag.

I shorten these directions so that it’s not too much to write. Here is an example of what I wrote on a bag of Mesquite BBQ Chicken:

Mesquite BBQ Chicken with Broccoli and Rice (I always include a title so that I know what I’m eating)

  • Cook chicken in a crock pot (Estimated 4 hours if thawed)
  • Cook the Broccoli separately in boiling water, then sauté in butter (Estimated 15 minutes)
  • Cook the rice separately in 4 cups of water (Estimated 30 minutes)

Here’s one more example:

Ranch Pork Chops with Zucchini and Mashed Potatoes

  • Cook the pork chops and zucchini in a crock pot (Estimated 4 hours if thawed)
  • Boil water. Add boiling water to the potato pearls. (Estimated 15 minutes)

So simple, my husband can follow these directions easily if I’m too tired to cook!

Here’s some examples of freezer meals that my family has enjoyed!

Mesquite BBQ Chicken with Broccoli and Rice

*Ingredients: Mesquite BBQ sauce, chicken legs, onion (included in the sauce and chicken              mixture), water, broccoli (separate), rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook chicken in crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), boil broccoli separately   (estimated 15 minutes), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Italian Chicken with Squash and Rice

*Ingredients: Chicken breast, Italian seasoning, chicken broth, squash (included in chicken and seasoning), rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook chicken and squash in crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Salmon Stir Fry over Rice

*Ingredients: Salmon, lemon pepper seasoning, water, frozen stir fry veggies, rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook salmon and frozen stir fry veggies in a sauté pan with butter (estimated 15-20 minutes), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Kung Pao, General Tsao’s, or Orange Chicken Stir Fry over Rice

*Ingredients: Chunks of chicken or turkey, sauce (choose from list above), water, frozen stir fry veggies (included in sauce and meat), can of pineapple chunks, rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook chicken and veggies in crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Ranch Pork Chops, Carrots, Bell Peppers, and Rice

*Ingredients: Pork chops, ranch seasoning packet, water or broth, carrots (included in water and meat), bell peppers (included in water and meat), rice (separate)

*Directions: Cook pork and veggies in crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), cook rice separately in 4 cups of water (estimated 30 minutes)

Steak and Broccoli with Mashed Potatoes

*Ingredients: Steak, seasoned salt, broccoli (separate), potato pearls (separate)

*Directions: Cook steak on the grill (estimated 30 minutes), in a sauté pan (estimated 30 minutes), or a crock pot (estimated 3-4 hours if thawed), boil broccoli separately (estimated 15 minutes), add boiling water to the potato pearls (estimated 15 minutes)

Think about how much time you’ll have with your family now that you won’t be spending hours cooking every night! Try some of these unique indoor activities with your kids!

Enjoy your meals!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

Share with any parent who needs a break from cooking!

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