A year ago I was taking 12 credit hours of graduate course work, working full-time, horse momming, going to horse shows, and trying to maintain a social life with like the three friends I have. There were a few pretty standard human activities that also flew way under the radar such as sleeping, showering, and eating. I just did not have time to do all three and unfortunately that meant I was eating bananas or Micky D’s chicken nugs for dinner on a regular basis. With a little planning ahead, freezer meals were able to save my life.
I made 20 slow cooker freezer meals for around $250. I’m really horrible at math but I’m going to break it down for you. That would be about $12.50 per freezer meal and if we say each freezer meal is 4 servings (most of them have more) that brings us to $3.13 per serving. So you’re saving tons of money and ALL the time.
Now the biggest part of this whole ordeal was finding time to sit down, find recipes, shop the circulars, make a list, organize the list, go to three grocery stores, and prep the meals. But that’s why you have me! I have the recipes and a list ready to share with you. All you need to do is shop the circulars to find the best deals, cross off the stuff you don’t need on the list, go to the store and prep the meals. I know, this is still daunting, but set aside a Saturday or Sunday and you will be set in the dinner department for over a month!
So first thing I recommend doing is looking at the recipes because if they don’t tickle your fancy, you need to stop here. I found all my recipes from New Leaf Wellness. She has put together recipes for 19 Freezer Meals and the best part is that she made a shopping list for you! There are millions of freezer recipes out there but she adapted these with freezing instructions, serving suggestions, and a shopping list. I only made about 10 of these meals and then got another 5 recipes from Hello Glow-12 Make Ahead Slow Cooker Freezer Meals. She breaks down the recipes, serving suggestions, and if you look in the comments one of her followers made a shopping list for you.
Here are the freezer meal options that you get from these two sites:
- Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken Tacos
- Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks
- Chicken with Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- White Wine Chicken with Artichokes
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches
- Tex Mex Chicken
- Honey Sesame Chicken
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Shredded BBQ Chicken
- Chicken Black Bean Enchilada Stack
- Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- Chicken Fajitas
- Chicken Tinga
- Ginger-Peach Chicken
- Italian Chicken
- Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies
- Lemon Garlic Chicken from
- Southwestern Chicken
- Meatballs and Tomato Sauce
- Vegetable Beef Stew
- Teriyaki Chicken
- Pork Country Ribs and BBQ Sauce
- Salsa Chicken
- Mushroom Barely Stew
- Lentil Butternut Squash Curry
- Sausage Lentil Soup
- Sloppy Joe’s
My next suggestion is to pick which freezer meals you want to make. Use the lists from the lovely ladies of New Leaf Wellness and Hello Glow, to cross off any ingredients that you don’t need or already have at home. Organizing the lists took the most time for me because I had to make sure that I was still getting enough of X ingredient when I omitted a recipe I didn’t want to make. Also I feel like this is a good moment to make be sure that you either have freezer bags or put freezer bags on your shopping list. After getting your list in order it’s time to look at the circulars and weekly adds. I know it sounds super “extreme couponer” but when you are buying this much meat you want to find stores that have the best deals. I ended up going to Aldi for the majority of my produce and pantry items but used Meijer and Mariano’s to buy meat and specialty items. I started browsing circulars over the weekend but most grocery stores have their best deals early to mid-week. Tuesday and Wednesday is probably when you’ll get the freshest food at the best prices so try to shop then.
After you do your shopping, stop and get a really large coffee. You deserve it.
So now you’re home, and you’re probably realizing that your kitchen is way smaller than you ever thought it was. Like who in the world put a galley kitchen here? Prepping my freezer meals literally extended from my kitchen into my living room. It’s all good though, because you will no longer be eating bananas for dinner.
Start by labeling your freezer bags.
- Write what it is.
- When it expires (usually 3 months from the time you prep them).
- What you need to add to it when you cook it (ex: add 1 cup of chicken broth).
- Cooking Instructions (ex: cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours).
- *Bonus* What you will be serving with it. This made it easy when I did grocery shopping for the week. All you have to do is, open the freezer, look at three or four freezer meals, read what they need added and what you want to serve with it, and add it to the shopping list. This extra step really saved me time and minimized frustration when going to the store.
So that my friends is how freezer meals and my slow cooker saved my life. I hope freezer meals can be as life changing for you as they were for me. It’s a lot of work up front but saves you so much time and money. Make sure you subscribe to emails so you can get notifications every time I post (life changing) time savers!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase. All views and opinions expressed are my own.