Getting Your Healthy Kitchen Under Control with Freezer Cooking {65+ Recipes}

Getting Your Healthy Kitchen Under Control with Freezer Cooking

By Jami Balmet, Contributing Writer

I don’t know about you, but I just feel overwhelmed sometimes when it comes to making healthy meals for my family. After a long day of blogging, cleaning, housework, laundry, bills, and chasing down my very active twin boys, I just don’t have the energy (or the time) to put into making delicious and healthy meals from scratch every night. I know that real food and home cooked meals are the most nutritious way to bring up my kids, and family time around the dinner table is invaluable - but what do you do when you are exhausted and already feel overwhelmed with everything else you do?

Freezer cooking. These two simple words have transformed how I run my kitchen. I think my husband would agree the process has vastly improved the meals we eat! I began freezer cooking (or once a month cooking) before we had kids and we lived in a small apartment with a teeny tiny refrigerator and freezer. But I made it work (see how I used to do freezer cooking) and now that I have a larger refrigerator in my kitchen and a chest freezer, my love of once a month cooking has grown even more.

To give you a head start so you can jump right in to freezer cooking, I’m going to cover the basics (with some resources for digging in further) and a roundup of amazing freezer cooking recipes. Real food, healthy cooking has never been so easy!

The Basics of Freezer Cooking

Decide on a Method

When someone says that they do “freezer cooking” this can be done numerous ways. In fact, no two homemakers probably do freezer cooking exactly the same way. And as you will see, often we adapt multiple methods of freezer cooking. But here are a few of the basic methods for freezer cooking:

Cook Once for a Full Month – This is the method of freezer cooking that I first fell in love with. It’s the concept that you take one day and do all your grocery shopping for the month (or most) and do a full day of cooking 20 to 30 meals to last the entire month. This is a great option for those really busy times in our lives like when you are having a new baby!

Make Double Batches – As I’ve gotten more comfortable with what freezes well, I’ve started doing this more and more. When I’m making a lasagna for dinner, I just go ahead and make two. We enjoy one for dinner that night and the other one goes into the freezer for another day. This works great for those of us who have little kids running underfoot and a full day of cooking just sounds like torture. This way, you already have all the ingredients out and you just make a double batch.

Just Make the Staples - I’ve also adapted this method of freezer cooking and couldn’t survive without it!  When I make dried beans in my crockpot, I will cook 2 or 3 big bags at a time. When it’s done, I divide the beans up into smaller bags and freeze them so I can pull soaked, homemade beans out whenever I need them! This also works well with rice, shredded chicken, beef for tacos and burritos, and more.

Hunt for the Deals

Shop smart, and you can find amazing deals on your food for freezing cooking. Once a year, my local natural foods store has organic, free-range chicken fryers for $5! So I go early and buy as many as I can get my hands on. Then I come home, shred all the chicken, and package them up into 2 cup packages and away they go in the freezer. This way we have frozen, shredded chicken ready for last minute meals. In the long run, it saves so much money.

I do the same thing with fresh produce. When peaches are in season we will buy them 100 pounds at a time. We wash them, cut them into quarters and freeze them for the long winter months. They go great in kefir smoothies. Then we have fresh, organic produce all year round for rock bottom prices.

65+ Healthy Real Food Freezer Meal Recipes

Know Your Limit

Two months ago we moved into our first house. We got a great big refrigerator/freezer from my mom and bought a chest freezer for our mud room. Now I have ample room to buy food in bulk and freeze, freeze, freeze! But just three months ago, we lived in a small apartment and I was taller than our fridge … enough said. I didn’t have room to store 30 pounds of meat, 100 pounds of peaches, and a full month’s worth of meals.

So I had to be selective with that I froze. Some months that meant we cleared out the freezer and had 20 meals ready for that month. But other months it meant just having the staples like shredded chicken and beans stockpiled in our freezer. Start off slow and as you learn what your freezer can handle, you can dive in further.

Do Some Research

One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that so many other homemakers are willing to share their secrets and what they’ve learned. I’ve compiled a more thorough resource list for freezer cooking, but here are a few to get our started:

Once a Month Meals Whole Foods Menu – I tried out Once a Month Meals years ago, before they had a whole foods menu. I really like it, but at the end of the day I like to cook our family’s favorite dishes. If you are new to freezer cooking and want to give it a try, OAMM are an easy way to try it out. They give you a full month’s worth of menus planned out, printable recipes, and even your shopping list! I do know that part of their website is now a paid membership, but I think it can be worth it.

Money Saving Mom – Crystal Paine posted a mini series on freezer cooking and even has some free printables to help you plan your cooking. She also has an eBook on freezer cooking that you can get for free when signing up for her newsletter!

Life As Mom – In a great series that goes beyond just the basics of freezer cooking, Jessica Fisher covers shopping for freezer meals, cooking with kids, how to keep track of your meals, and more.

Intentional By Grace – Leigh Ann Dutton quickly covers the basics of freezer cooking and moves on to great topics such as organizing a freezer meal swap, yummy recipes and more.

Pinterest – Of course, this is my favorite resource! I’ve created a freezer cooking Pinterest board with all these resources, recipes, and much much more. Follow my Real Food Freezer Cooking board and start browsing Pinterest for awesome recipes.

65 Freezer Meal Recipes

*Please note: As with most recipes, I scan the ingredients before making it because often I’ll substitute whole wheat flour for white, honey or maple syrup for sugar, etc. So a few of these recipes below are not completely “real food,” but with a few tweaks I know they will turn out great!

Breakfast

Easy Morning Glory Muffins

Sourdough Pumpkin Waffles

Cherry Maple Muffins

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Pancakes Recipe

Asparagus & Bacon Quiche

Whole-Grain Banana Pecan Muffins

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos 

Apple Butter Muffins

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Peanut Butter Muffins

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancake 

Lunch

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

Bean and Cheese Burritos

Wholesome Tuna Salad Sandwich

Cafe Rio Shredded Pork and Cafe Rio Creamy Salad Dressing

Chihuahua Chili

Homemade Chicken Salsa Pockets

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

Mini Chicken Pot Pies

Green Rice Casserole Recipe

Dinner

Mexican Chicken Chili

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Queso Fundido

Crockpot Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks

Honey Lime Chicken

Irish Shepherd’s Pie

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Lasagna Casserole Recipe

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Making a Freezer Kit

Slow Cooker Mexican-Style Shredded Beef

Crockpot Lasagna

Slow Cooker BBQ Cranberry Chicken

Cajun Chicken with Sausage

Homemade Frozen Pizzas

Homemade Croutons, Shredded Chicken and Recipe for Red Sauce

Simple Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Slow Cooker Asian Pot Roast

Honey & Spice Glazed Pork Chops

Crockpot Beef Tips & Gravy

Italian Lemon Chicken

Shepherd’s Pie

Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken

Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Slow Cooker Chicken & Gravy

Chicken in Marinades

Beef Mexi Rice Recipe

Slow Cooker Green Chile Pork Tacos

Soups & Stews

Sausage & White Bean Slow Cooker Soup

Rustic Chicken Slow Cooker Stew

Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken Soup

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Stew

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

Snacks/Sides/Desserts

Freezer Friendly Pizza Dough

Mama’s Frozen Biscuits

Savory Muffins

Homemade Flour Tortillas (that you can freeze!!)

Homemade Yogurt in the Slow Cooker (that you can freeze!!)

Savory Crescent Chicken Pockets

Fried Rice

Best Ever Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Bars

Homemade freezer biscuits

Homemade Bone Broth

Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge

Have you ever done freezer cooking? What method do you follow? 

About Jami Balmet

Jami is passionate about Biblical Homemaking and striving to be a woman of God. Jami and her loving husband Jason,recently welcomed twin baby boys into their home. She has a heart for hospitality and making her home an inviting place that reflects Christ. She blogs about this passion at Young Wife's Guide. She is also passionate about creating a healthy and thriving home and shares recipes, tips, and tutorials at Homemaking From Scratch.

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Comments

  1. First, thanks for linking to Intentional By Grace. Freezer cooking is near and dear to my heart. Ironically, I’ve been struggling to come up with new recipes. Our tried and trues get old after six years, especially for someone who rarely makes the same meal twice! ;) When I saw this post, I got giddy excited. I can’t wait to check out the resources you linked, as well as the recipes! Thanks, Jami! This is amazing!

  2. I’ve only dabbled with freezing double batches/leftovers/etc., mainly due to the limited freezer space I have…but I feel like it’ll be a necessary part of keeping healthy food on the table amid the increasingly busy family schedule as my kids get older. Thanks for such a resource-rich post – pinned for future reference! :)

    • I totally understand that Dena! For the past 4 years we have lived with a tiny fridge and freezer so I just made what I could! And every little bit helps :)

  3. Love this list! I also freezer meal cook. A friend introduced the idea to me when I was pregnant with my 3rd baby (he would be my 2nd c-section). With long recoveries and no kitchen help, this was a wonderful option! We cooked 6 weeks worth of meals. After he was born and we went through those and I recovered, I just kept cooking them. Perfect for busy days, therapy appt. days for my special needs son, etc. I triple meals a lot of times (upto x6) once a week and somedays I just spend all day freezer meal cooking (like a slow day at home). Infact a friend is coming over this THursday and we’ll x6 everything and split it all. Mini pizza kits, chx pot pie, and cookie dough balls. The books “Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer” REALLY helped me!

    • Ooh I’ll have to check out that book! Thanks for the suggestion :)

      I first started experimenting with freezer cooking when I was working full time out of the house. Then when we got pregnant with our first (actually twin boys), then I took freezer cooking to a whole new level haha!