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Look no further for kid-friendly freezer meals that you can stock up on. These 30+ recipes are well-tested on our own families and many of our readers’ families, as well. A must-have resource for the future!
Benefits of Freezer Cooking
- Freezer cooking saves money by buying in bulk and avoiding eating out. If you can incorporate 1-2 freezer meals a week, you can save over $2,000 in a year!
- Cooking in bulk cuts down on time in the kitchen by prepping meals with the same ingredients at one time. Browning ground beef? Chopping veggies? Making soup? Why not double or triple it and then utilize the freezer? You save time on prep and clean up. We even created 1 Hour Freezer Prep Sessions to help you do this!
- Freezer cooking helps you eat wholesome, delicious meals at home regularly. You know what goes in your food. You can make modifications too.
- Having a stash of freezer meals reduces dinnertime stress while bringing your family together around the table. This is what freezer cooking is really all about!
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What’s the best way to store frozen meals?
There are several different ways to safely and effectively store meals in your freezer. Some work better than others depending on the type of food you are freezing or even the space you have in your freezer.
The best way to store and save a freezer meal is in any method that will prevent air from getting to the food. It really depends on the recipe!
Freezer Meal Containers We Use and Recommend
Having a glass baking dish or rigid container with an air-tight lid is a safe, reusable, and practical option. It not only allows for easy stacking of frozen meals, but a glass baking dish can also go into the oven when ready to bake or reheat.
You have two options for resealable freezer bags: Disposable or reusable bags.
Most canning jars are freezer-safe and useful when freezing soups, sauces, broths, and more. We like that they are made of safe material and that you can store smaller or individual servings of your freezer food.
Foil does a great job of blocking moisture and air in the freezer. It’s helpful because it can be molded into almost any shape and used to wrap and store baked goods, meat, burritos, sandwiches, etc. Or, use it to wrap a baking dish that doesn’t have a lid.
Many of our readers have said they use a vacuum sealer for their freezer meals and have had great results. The benefit of preserving food this way is that, if done correctly, your meal is completely air-tight. And…as we all know by now…air is the enemy of delicious freezer meals! Vacuum sealer fans and companies swear that this method extends the life of freezer food from months to years. We haven’t tested that yet. 😉
What’s the best way to thaw a frozen meal?
We’ve learned all the tricks when it comes to safely thawing your freezer meals. Here are the 3 primary ways:
Thaw Freezer Meals in the Refrigerator
The best and safest way to thaw a freezer meal is to put it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Thawing time will depend on the size of the meal but plan on roughly 5 hours per pound.
Thaw Frozen Food in Cold Water
Another safe thawing option is to place the food in a leak-proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water, changing the water out every 30 minutes. This still takes a bit of time–anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on how big your meal is, but it’s quicker than the refrigerator option.
Thaw Frozen Food in the Microwave
A third option is to microwave-defrost food in a microwave-safe dish. Defrost your food using your microwave’s instructions. The reason this is the third option (our least favorite) is because this method (especially chicken) can tend to dry out food a bit.
Regardless, sometimes you just need to quickly thaw something, so the microwave it is!
Homemade Chicken Nuggets
Satisfy your fast food cravings at home with these healthier, homemade chicken nuggets. Only a few recognizable ingredients are needed. Kids and adults love this recipe!
If you have a Chicken Tenders lover, try our easy shake-and-bake version!
Ham & Cheese Sliders
These are my go-to meal for groups. Kids LOVE them.
Freezer Breakfast Burritos
Your family will love this easy, make-ahead Breakfast Burrito Recipe that goes straight from the freezer to the microwave or oven for a fast and satisfying breakfast. My family also loves breakfast burritos for dinner!
Chicken Parmesan Casserole
Hands down our most popular recipe on Thriving Home. Serve “as is” or over your child’s favorite pasta.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal
Rachel bakes one of these most weeks and her kids mow through it. Serve warm with a little milk on top.
Check out all our Baked Oatmeal Flavors!
Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato
Rachel’s made this baked mac and cheese for years for her little ones as a way to add in some extra veggies. The sweet potato is pureed (read: hidden) and gives it that orangey color they like. 😉
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
Did you know you can make a large batch of pancakes ahead and freeze them? These are a reader and kid fave!
We even wrote a recipe for Oatmeal Pancake Mix that you can keep on hand to speed up your process!
Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
A great weeknight meal that all ages love. If your kids love drumsticks, be sure to try our Crispy Baked Drumsticks as well!
Beefy Baked Ravioli
This fake-out lasagna is hearty and delicious! I don’t know a man, woman, or child alive who wouldn’t like this easy fake-out lasagna.
Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef
One friend’s child confessed, “This is better than candy!” True story. Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta or on it’s own.
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Chicken Tortellini Soup
This easy Chicken Tortellini Soup is a delightful twist on chicken noodle soup that will bring some serious comfort food to your table without much fuss. It’s kid-friendly, freezer-friendly, and delicious.
Sweet and Savory Pork Chops
A few simple ingredients (honey, soy sauce, and garlic) can bring a simple pork chop to life! To make these pork chops a sweet & savory delight, be sure to reduce the marinade at the end and drizzle it over the top of those chops. You won’t regret it.
Moist and packed with Italian flavor, these sliders will impress anyone from guests to the youngest eaters in your house.
French Dip Sandwiches
There’s no getting around the truth–this easy recipe is absolutely mouthwatering! I make this at least once a month for my family, because it’s SO easy to throw together and everyone loves it.
Creamy Chicken Taquitos
These can be made in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker, and go directly from freezer to oven to table in minutes! A family favorite among our readers.
We also have a recipe for Beef Taquitos!
Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub
This Pork Tenderloin Rub recipe is one of our family’s top 5 favorites. I’ve been making it for YEARS, and it turns out perfectly every time.
Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches
If your kids prefer shredded beef over shredded pork, then give this freezer meal recipe a try. Make it in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker!
Spinach Lasagna Rolls
Kids love the individual rolled-up lasagna noodles. Don’t worry, the sneaky spinach is tucked away inside the cheesy goodness.
Breakfast Casserole Muffins
Have these on hand for hearty, grab-and-go breakfasts. They have been a reader favorite for a LONG time.
Italian Baked Chicken Thighs
So easy and so delicious! Only 6 ingredients and most are already in your pantry!
Mini Chicken Burgers
This chicken burger recipe is a kid and adult fave! Make ahead and freeze a batch for later or make them tonight for a delicious and healthy dinner.
Baked Italian Meatballs
Serve with a side of sauce for dipping, or over spaghetti, or on mini buns with provolone cheese. Delicious!
5-Ingredient Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
If a cheesy hash brown casserole had a baby with a traditional breakfast casserole (the kind with bread), you’d end up with this Breakfast Casserole with Hash Browns! It’s hearty, cheesy, and full of flavor from the meat and cheese. Bonus: This dish is gluten-free!
7 Must Have Smoothie Recipes
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Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches
Marinate and grill up these flavorful chicken breasts for some delicious sandwiches that everyone will love.
Mini Meatloaf Muffins
We have parents tell us all the time that they make these for their kids. Great way to sneak in extra veggies, too.
Totally Tasty Taco Bar
What kid doesn’t love a taco in some form? I mean, I guess there’s one out there somewhere but most love a crunchy or soft shell taco with some meat and cheese in it. The beauty of a taco bar is that they can customize it.
Change up Taco Night with Baked Nachos and customize each corner of the pan to individual preferences.
Baked Penne Pasta
This baked pasta makes a TON! Tip: Split it between two 8×8 inch casserole dishes and freeze one for later!
Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes
These salmon and sweet potato cakes are packed with nutrition and flavor! Enjoy them as a sandwich or a la carte. Don’t worry, there’s no fishy-ness in these cakes. All the different flavors and textures make them absolutely great, in my opinion.
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Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce
With a few simple ingredients, this hearty Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce couldn’t be easier or tastier! Serve over pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash for a delicious and healthy dinner. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and freezer-friendly.
We have an Instant Pot recipe as well!
The Best Kid-Friendly Freezer Meal Resources
Although we love the recipes above, we actually spent years painstakingly developing, testing, and retesting freezer-friendly recipes for our cookbooks! You can find them at all major booksellers. Check out the reviews to see what readers are saying!