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Instant Pot Chicken Nachos

By Polly Conner

Our Instant Pot Chicken Nachos are a great starter meal for the Instant Pot.

We teach you how to make this easy Instant Pot meal from fresh or straight from frozen. The best part about the recipe is that you can customize it how you want and it is a great recipe for large groups.

Freezer friendly Instant Pot nachos on a baking sheet

“I have an Instant Pot. Now I just need things to make in it.”

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered who have an Instant Pot but feel a little stuck. Either they are too intimidated by all of the functions or simply don’t know what recipe to start with.

As cookbook authors of, From Freezer to Cooker, we can assure you that we have tested loads of amazing Instant Pot recipes (which are also freezer friendly). We’ve learned the ins and outs of the Instant Pot and have even perfected how to prep freezer meals for the Instant Pot. This Instant Pot Chicken Nacho recipe works both from fresh and from frozen!

How Long do I Cook Chicken in the Instant Pot?

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts don’t need long in the Instant Pot. You’ll pressure cook the chicken breasts and sauce for just 7 minutes. Then, use a quick release of the pressure. That’s usually all you need, otherwise you’ll dry out your chicken. But, be sure to check to make sure the chicken is done using a meat thermometer. It should register 165°F internally. Or, another way to check for doneness is to make sure there is no more pink inside when you cut into it.

Shredded chicken on a cutting board

During our two years of research and testing, we learned EXACTLY how long to cook meals in the Instant Pot both from fresh OR from frozen. Be sure to download and print off our Cheat Sheet here. It’s so helpful to have inside your cabinet.

Close up of Instant Pot chicken nachos

Can I Make These in the Slow Cooker?

We know you love versatility! Yes, these can easily be made in the slow cooker as well. Just follow the recipe below and instead of cooking them in the Instant Pot, just cook them on low in the slow cooker for about 3. 5 hours. Just make sure you don’t overcook your chicken!

How to Serve Instant Pot Nachos

For dinner of course! Why not? It has protein, veggies, and each family member can customize their portion with a variety of Mexican toppings, like shredded lettuce, guacamole, diced tomatoes, sour cream, salsa, etc. 

Side dish ideas include cut up fruit, raw veggie sticks with our Creamy Southwest Ranch Sauce, or our Fiesta Chopped Salad

Close up of instant pot chicken nachos

How to Make it a Freezer Meal

Nachos? A freezer meal?

Yes! Well, kinda. To make Instant Pot Nachos a freezer meal, you’ll just prep and freeze the seasoned chicken before cooking it in the Instant Pot.

Freeze For Later: Place seasoned chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro into a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. (Make sure to not stack the chicken.) Seal and freeze alongside a bag of shredded cheese. Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need chips and your favorite suggested toppings to complete this meal. Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release.

Instant Pot Nachos Freezer Meal

Mix It Up!

The chicken in this nacho recipe is really versatile! Try one of these alternate ways of serving the cooked chicken.

  • Create a Chicken Burrito Bowl by serving the chicken and your favorite Mexican toppings over rice or quinoa. 
  • Make quesadillas with the chicken and cheese on whole wheat, corn, or gluten-free tortillas. 
  • Top a salad with this chicken, corn, black beans, shredded cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes. Use our Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette as the dressing.
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Instant Pot Chicken Nachos

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Mexican
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Instant Pot Chicken Nachos: A simple, lime-infused marinade for chicken breasts produces flavorful and moist shredded chicken with a hint of heat. Use it atop baked nachos, which come together in just minutes.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning (p. ?)
  • 2 cups of mild salsa (or medium, if you want a little more heat)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 small limes)
  • ⅓ cup of chopped cilantro
  • Half a bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Optional Toppings: avocado, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheese, salsa, lime wedges, fresh chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Season all sides of the chicken with taco seasoning. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro in the pot and give it all a stir. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done, which means no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and either shred it, using two forks, or dice it. Place the chicken back into the juice. Stir it around so it picks up a lot of that flavor and stays moist.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Cover a sheet pan with parchment or foil for easy clean up. Spread out the tortilla chips on the pan. Top the chips evenly with the shredded chicken (use a slotted spoon to drain excess liquid) and the cheese.
  5. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has fully melted. 
  6. To serve, top with additional fresh toppings, as desired. Serve immediately.

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. Place seasoned chicken, salsa, lime juice, and cilantro into a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. (Make sure to not stack the chicken.) Seal and freeze alongside a bag of shredded cheese. Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need chips and your favorite suggested toppings to complete this meal. Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Follow Steps 2-6, except cook for 15-20 minutes with a quick release.

Instant Pot Chicken Nachos with toppings

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

Sweet & Savory Oven Baked Boneless Pork Chops

By Polly Conner

A few simple ingredients (honey, soy sauce, and garlic) can bring a simple pork chop to life! These Sweet & Savory Oven Baked Boneless Pork Chops not only come together in a flash but can also be prepped as a make ahead freezer meal. Make sure to reduce the marinade into a delectable, sticky sauce to drizzle over the top just before eating. A great weeknight meal that everyone will love!

Oven baked boneless pork chop on a plate with green beans

After researching and testing various boneless pork chop recipes, I found that simple is better. In fact, the marinade for this tasty oven baked pork chop recipe only has 4 ingredients! On top of that, it can be cooked in the oven OR on the stovetop. Versatility in a recipe is always a win in my book.

Pro Tip: 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.

Here is a quick video demonstrating how easily these come together!

1 Minute Video: How to Make Sweet & Savory Boneless Pork Chops in the Oven

What’s in the marinade?

Here is what goes into the pork chop marinade. I bet you even have these in your pantry!

  • Soy Sauce (use coconut aminos for a gluten-free alternative)
  • Honey (local is best!)
  • Minced garlic
  • Salt

That’s it. Seriously.

Here’s a big tip though: let the pork chops marinate for at least 2 hours. The longer, the better (which is why this makes a great freezer meal) but we found that letting them soak up the marinade as long as possible yields the best results!

Raw boneless pork chops with marinade ingredients

How long do I cook boneless pork chops in the oven for?

Many think baking pork chops will produce dry, tough and tasteless meat. The truth is that baked pork chops can be amazingly tender and juicy if you cook them at the right temperature and for the right time.

For 1 inch thick, boneless pork chops, cook them at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the chop registers 140-145°F.

pork chops and green beans on a plate

More Pro Tips for Juicy Baked Boneless Pork Chops

  • Choose chops that are at least 1-inch thick. Thin chops tend to always dry up when baked. And yes, you can use bone-in or boneless pork chops for this recipe with great success.
  • Adjust Cooking Time if Needed. All pork chops are not created equal. Some are thinner, thicker, have extra fat on the edges, etc. Think of our suggested cooking time as a guideline. To ensure a perfectly cooked chop, you need to check the internal temperature with an internal meat thermometer a few times during the last part of the baking.
  • Remove the pork chops from the oven when they reach an internal temperature of 140°F and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. While it’s resting, the temperature will rise to 145 degrees, which is the USDA’s safe temperature guideline for consuming pork chops.
Cooked boneless pork chop

Can I freeze pork chops?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for make ahead freezer meals. Not only have we written two freezer meal cookbooks but we also have some amazing 1 Hour Freezer Prep Plans that walk you how to make 6 meals in one hour.

Like so many of our freezer meal recipes, these boneless pork chops work beautifully as a freezer meal.

TO FREEZE: Instead of placing the marinating pork chops in the fridge, freeze them in a gallon size freezer bag.

TO PREPARE: Let the pork chops and marinade thaw in the fridge for 24 hours. Prepare as directed.

Boneless pork chops with sweet & savory marinade in a freezer bag

What should I serve with boneless pork chops?

Sweet & Savory Pork Chops will play nice with all sorts of side dishes. Here are a few to get you started:

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Boiled Baby Potatoes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Strawberry Avocado Salad

Baked pork chops on a white plate with green beans
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Sweet & Savory Oven Baked Boneless Pork Chops

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Method: Oven

Description

A few simple ingredients (honey, soy sauce, and garlic) can bring a simple pork chop to life in about 30 minutes! These Sweet & Savory Oven Baked Boneless Pork Chops not only come together in a flash but can also be prepped as a make ahead freezer meal. Make sure to reduce the marinade into a delectable, sticky sauce to drizzle over the top just before eating. A great weeknight meal that everyone will love!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (for a little heat)
  • 6 boneless pork chops (1″ thick)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, garlic, and salt (and optional red pepper flakes). Place the marinade and pork chops in a gallon-size freezer bag. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Allow the pork chops to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil or parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and place on the pan. (Do not discard the marinade though!)
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they register to 140°F internally. Remove, tent with foil, and let rest for 5-10 minutes. (Temperature will rise another 5 degrees during this time.)
  5. Meanwhile, pour the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes. Drizzle the cooked marinade over the pork and serve.

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. Label and place the bag of pork chops and marinade in the freezer.

Prepare From Frozen: Let the pork chops thaw using one of these safe methods. Follow Steps 3-5.


Notes

Stovetop Cooking Method: In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil over medium-high heat. Remove the pork chops from the marinade but do not discard the marinade. Sear for 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning once. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, turning once, for 10-15 minutes, or until they register 140°F (temp will rise another 5° as it rests). Remove from the heat and let the chops rest 5-10 minutes.

To kick up the flavor a notch, add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

Some of our readers have seared the pork chops in an oven-safe pan on the stovetop for 1-2 minutes per side and then finished baking them until done.

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

Instant Pot 4-Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks couldn’t be easier or tastier with this 4 ingredient recipe. Make them fresh or from frozen. All ages love these!

seasoned chicken drumsticks in an Instant Pot with chicken broth

Some affiliate links are within this post.

Why Chicken Drumsticks in the Instant Pot are the Bomb

Like some of you, I’m a work-at-home mom with three kids who are schooling virtually right now. We are 8 months into this routine and I’m honestly so tired of cooking every meal. (Yes, even food bloggers/cookbook authors can say that!)

cooked chicken drumsticks on a plate with broccoli and mashed potatoes

That’s why I am obsessed with this super simple recipe that:

  • Requires only 4 pantry ingredients to season the drumsticks. (Boom!)
  • Can be doubled and a second batch frozen for later to save time. (See our freezing instructions below.)
  • Is gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • Leaves amazing homemade chicken broth in the cooker when you’re done, which you can freeze for later.
  • Everyone in the family enjoys! (This only happens every 30.3 meals, it feels like.)

Plus, making these chicken drumsticks in the Instant Pot, in particular, results in fall-apart tender and moist chicken on the bone. With a few minutes under the broiler at the end, you’ll have crispy and perfectly seasoned dinner ready to go in no time.

Ingredients You’ll Need

So…”what is the secret mix of 4 pantry seasonings you need to bring bland drumsticks to life?” you ask. I’ll tell ya…

raw chicken drumsticks and seasonings

We use a blend of seasonings that Polly’s mom (Janny) used regularly to prepare chicken-on-the-bone for her family while growing up. We had a hunch Janny’s salty-savory mix was the right blend for our chicken drumsticks. After several tests by us and our cookbook testing team–who still rave about this recipe–we were right!

Here is the 4-ingredient seasoning line-up:

  1. Garlic Salt
  2. Onion Salt
  3. Celery Salt
  4. Poultry Seasoning

Keep these on hand and use the same blend for all cuts of chicken or even pork, too. In addition, you’ll need a little chicken broth in the Instant Pot to help create the steam necessary to build pressure.

seasoned chicken drumsticks on a cutting board

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks

Watch this 1 minute video to see how easy it is to make drumsticks in your electric pressure cooker…

cooked chicken drumsticks on a serving platter with broccoli

How to Make This Recipe Into a Freezer Meal

When you combine the magical powers of the Instant Pot AND freezer cooking, you practically set yourself up for hands-free cooking. That’s because you can dump your frozen meal directly in the Instant Pot and cook it from frozen!

chicken drumsticks in a freezer bag

Freeze for Later: Follow step 1. Place the seasoned chicken and the broth in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (try not stack the drumsticks in the bag/container as much as possible; instead, place them side by side). Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen.

Prepare From Frozen: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen meal to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow step 2, but cook for 17 to 22 minutes. Follow steps 3 and 4.

We sound like a broken record, but doubling and freezing a batch is such a wise use of your time! Read more about how to make Instant Pot Freezer Meals here or see all of our Freezer Meal recipes here.

What to Serve with Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks

Next up is figuring out what to serve with these crispy drumsticks. We recommend going simple and kid-friendly. Try some of these favorites…

Creamy Mashed Potatoes (in the Instant Pot)

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Sweet and Savory Roasted Carrots

sweet and savory roasted carrots in a bowl

Bottom Line: Whether you want a healthy, kid-friendly dinner or a freezer meal on hand for later, we think you’ll love the simplicity of these Instant Pot 4-Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks!

cooked chicken drumsticks on a plate with broccoli and mashed potatoes
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seasoned chicken drumsticks in instant pot

Instant Pot 4-Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings (2 drumsticks per serving) 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Just 4 pantry seasonings plus a few minutes in the Instant Pot and and under the broiler turns out perfectly seasoned, crispy drumsticks that the whole family will love. Make them fresh or from frozen. 


Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or water)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt, and poultry seasoning. Rub the seasoning all over the drumsticks. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Transfer the seasoned drumsticks to the Instant Pot and pour in the broth. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 12 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done. It should register 165°F internally.)
  3. Position the top oven rack about 6 inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  4. Use tongs to place the drumsticks on the prepared baking sheet; discard any liquid remaining in the pot (or save it to use as homemade chicken broth later). Broil the chicken until the skin is browned and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Freeze for Later: Follow step 1. Place the seasoned chicken and the broth in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (try not stack the drumsticks in the bag/container as much as possible; instead, place them side by side). Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen.

Prepare From Frozen: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen meal to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow step 2, but cook for 17 to 22 minutes. Follow steps 3 and 4.

 

Want More Easy Freezer Meal Recipes?

Make sure to snag our Top 10 Easy Freezer Meals. You can download this, print it off, and have it for future reference when looking for great freezer meals.

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Spinach Lasagna Rolls

By Polly Conner

Spinach Lasagna Rolls are so EASY one of our favorite vegetarian freezer meal recipes. You can put cooked chicken in the spinach lasagna roll ups if you want to add in more protein. Either way, they make a nutritious and delicious family dinner.

Spinach Lasagna Roll Up on a white plate

My youngest child was and still is (at times) one of the pickiest human beings alive. You can imagine my elation years ago when he took one bite of his Spinach Lasagna Roll-Up and said, “Mommy, you said I was going to like these and you are right!”

They are basically individual vegetarian lasagnas filled with a mix of cheeses, marinara, and spinach. They are family-friendly, satisfying and perfect for portion control. It’s also a great way to get your kids to eat spinach (if they aren’t offended by green in their meal) and no one will miss the meat!

Lastly, they freeze and thaw beautifully making them a delicious vegetarian freezer meal.

Video Tutorial: How to Make Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Now check out how simple it is to throw these together…

Not only are these Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups a kid fave, but it’s easy to divide the recipe in half or double it to make into a freezer meal for another dinner another time. We’ve included the freezing instructions in the recipe below. This recipe also makes great leftovers for lunch the next day.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Cook your whole wheat lasagna noodles until they are al dente, toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking, and lay them out on a cooking sheet.

Cooked lasagna noodles on a baking sheet

Step 2: Spread the cheesy spinach mixture evenly over the noodles. 

Filling for spinach lasagna rolls on cooked noodles

Step 3: Now spread some of that saucy goodness over the cheesy goodness. A lot of goodness happening right now.

Spinach lasagna filling on cooked noodles

Step 4: Roll the noodles up, and place seam side down in a greased pan that has a little of the marinara sauce in the bottom of it.

Spinach lasagna rolls in a baking dish

Step 5: Top entire casserole with remaining sauce, remaining mozzarella, and remaining Parmesan cheese. Oh yes…this is gonna be GOOD.

Spinach lasagna rolls in a baking dish

Step 6: Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Cooked spinach lasagna rolls

Finally, serve hot and enjoy!

Spinach Lasagna roll with a fork on a white plate

So to sum it up, here is a quick at-a-glance image on how to assemble Spinach Lasagna Rolls:

Step by step image of how to make spinach lasagna rolls

How to Freeze & Thaw Spinach Lasagna Rolls

As I mentioned before, Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups freeze beautifully and can be a great meal to take to a new mom!  Just tell them to thaw them out and bake as directed below.

TO FREEZE: Assemble the lasagna rolls completely, but do not bake. Wrap the dish tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and 1 or 2 layers of foil, squeeze out excess air, and freeze.

TO PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Set out on the counter for 30 minutes to bring to room temperature and then bake as directed.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls in a freezer container covered with foil

What Freezer Containers Should I Use?

Note: Affiliate links are used below. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

We recommend freezing Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups in a glass or ceramic freezer-safe, oven-safe dish. We’ve learned that using foil pans actually can create a reaction with the acid in the marinara sauce, leaving a strange taste behind, so we don’t recommend those.

It makes sense to stock up on some quality, safe freezer dishes that you can bake AND store in. After searching long and hard, we highly recommend and use these freezer containers below. We both have collected a huge stash of them over the years!

8 inch Square Glass Baking Dish with TrueFit Lid

Freezer meal container

3 Quart Glass Baking Dish with Lid

Freezer meal container

What Goes Well with Spinach Lasagna?

Here are some side dish ideas that would go well with this recipe:

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Spinach Lasagna Rolls are the perfect meal for large groups. With fresh and natural ingredients, it also makes a great freezer meal!

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings (2 rolls per serving) 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

A family favorite packed with spinach, marinara sauce, and yummy cheese! Kids and adults alike love this comfort meal. Freezer instructions included.


Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked whole wheat lasagna noodles (about 16 noodles)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (8 ounce bag) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes, or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil, or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed very dry
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 (25-28 ounces) jars marinara sauce, divided (or use 67 cups Homemade Marinara Sauce)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles until al dente (i.e. slightly undercooked), about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in a colander. Coat them with a bit of olive oil, lay noodles out flat on a cookie sheet, and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish (or two 8×8 inch dishes) with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of the 9×13 dish (or 1/4 cup in each 8×8 dish) in a thin layer.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, egg, garlic, parsley, basil, pepper, salt, spinach, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese.
  4. On each noodle, spread a generous 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture and then 2.5-3 tablespoons of sauce. Note: You should have used up all the cheese mixture and one entire jar of sauce (3-3.5 cups) by this point, dividing them evenly among the noodles.
  5. Roll the noodles up, and place seam side down in the prepared pan(s). Squeeze them in however they fit best.
  6. Top entire casserole with the remaining jar of sauce (3-3.5 cups), remaining 1 cup mozzarella, and remaining 1 cup Parmesan cheese. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Cover with foil if it starts to get too brown on top. If desired, sprinkle the top with freshly chopped parsley and/or basil. Serve warm.

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-6. (Do not bake). Wrap the casserole tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and foil, squeezing out any excess air. Freeze for 3-6 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the casserole using one of these safe methods. Cook as directed in step 7.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 roll-ups per person

Ham and Cheese Sliders

By Polly Conner

These easy Ham and Cheese Sliders are a family staple. They are super easy to make, budget friendly, great for a group of people, and even freezer friendly. I’ve been making these for YEARS and constantly have people ask for the recipe.

Hand lifting a ham & cheese slider from a white dish

Video Tutorial: How to make Ham and Cheese Sliders

Tips to Make Ham and Cheese Sliders Even MORE DELICIOUS

Since I make these so often, I have a few tricks to make them even tastier!

  • I prefer to use an unsweetened ham from the deli. Since the glaze brings the sweetness factor, no need for the honey ham.
  • I’ve found that I can leave the poppy seeds out and they taste just as delicious.
  • I also sometimes omit the mustard if these are bring made for kids. I think the mustard brings a depth of flavor but it can for sure be left out if needed.
Hand holding ham & cheese sliders

What Kind of Roll Should I Use for Ham & Cheese Sliders?

You have options! Many like to use a classic Hawaiian Roll. I do love the soft, sweet bread that Hawaiian Rolls offer but I have also been known to make them with wheat rolls. This provides a bit of a healthier option.

You can also just use any down the pipe dinner roll that you find at the store. Tip: It saves a little time if they are pre-sliced!

What’s In the Glaze That I Put on Ham & Cheese Sliders?

Let’s talk about the glaze for a moment. I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with butter and brown sugar mixed together, right? The Worcestershire brings a delightful tang to the mix. Now, be warned: Do not overcook the sauce! It thickens the longer your cook it. I made the mistake of leaving it boiling for too long (like 4-5 minutes) and it got way too thick and sticky. 1-2 minutes of boiling should do the trick. I like to have enough glaze to coat each slider but not soak each slider. It’s a bit subjective but that’s where I land on how much glaze to add.

Glaze pouring over ham & cheese sliders

Can I Make Ham & Cheese Sliders Ahead of Time?

Yes! This is one of the many reasons I love this recipe. If I have a group of people coming over or just want to get dinner done ahead of time, I prep the sliders all the way up until baking. I stick them in my fridge (for up to 2 days) and then just pull them out and bake them when I’m ready!

Can I Freeze Ham & Cheese Sliders?

YES! Like many of our freezer meals, Ham & Cheese Sliders work wonderfully to prep ahead and freeze. I almost always do this when I’m making them. I mean, if I’m already getting the dishes out and doing the work for one batch, why not just double them! After making the sandwiches and covering them in the glaze, do not bake. Then, wrap the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap or foil or place them in an airtight container before freezing. (Here are a few freezer dishes we use and recommend.)

You can freeze these sandwiches for 3-6 months (or longer if you properly package them for freezing!) When you want to eat them, let them thaw in the fridge overnight and then just bake them as directed.

Ham & Cheese slider on a plate with apples

Ham & Cheese Sliders: Great for a Group!

What I also like about this recipe is that it can serve a lot of people for either a lunch or dinner. Like many of the recipes in these 20 Meals That Feed a Large Group, they are idea for feeding lots of mouths. It’s a great one to have in these tasty little sandwiches in your back pocket for your next gathering.

Ham & Cheese Sliders prepped for the freezer to make a freezer meal

What Side Dishes Go Well with Ham & Cheese Sliders?

Here are some recipe and meal ideas that would be tasty to serve with Ham & Cheese Sliders

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Ham and Cheese Sliders

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1520 mini sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These Mini Ham and Cheese Sliders are the perfect meal for a crowd or hungry kiddos! Always a hit.


Ingredients

  • 1520 mini wheat rolls
  • about 1 pound deli ham
  • 7 ounces Swiss cheese slices
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon poppyseeds (find in spice aisle)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
  2. Assemble the sandwiches, using 1-2 slices of folded ham and a 1/2 slice of cheese on the rolls. Place in 9×13 baking dish (or whatever size you have). Squeeze sandwiches in side by side.
  3. Mix butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds and brown sugar into medium sauce pan.
  4. On medium-high heat, bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat.
  5. Lightly drizzle each sandwich with the prepared sauce. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.

Freeze For Later: Prepare sandwiches with sauce on top in casserole dish, but do not bake. Seal tightly with a lid or wrap with plastic wrap and/or foil very well. Freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Let sandwiches thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake according to directions in step 6.

Ham & Cheese Sliders on a plate with apples

5 Pillars of the Perfect Charcuterie Board

By Rachel Tiemeyer

A holiday appetizer or simple meal doesn’t get easier than a Charcuterie Board! Anyone can pull this amazing spread together with our tips and tricks, including advice for pairing the perfect wine.

Charcuterie Board with Burgers' Smokehouse meat, cheese, crackers, grapes, apricots, pickles, roasted red peppers, pepper jelly, and dark chocolate.

Created in partnership with St. James Winery and Burgers’ Smokehouse. All opinions are our own.

What Is a Charcuterie Board?

Let’s get some important business out of the way. How do you say “charcuterie”, anyway? Say it with me like this: SHAR-KOO-TUH-REE. There you go. Consider yourself officially edjumicated. 🙂

Secondly, what does “charcuterie” actually mean? This French word is literally translated “cooked flesh”. Umm, gross. Maybe don’t tell your guests that part, k? When we say “charcuterie” today, we are usually referring to the act of preparing and arranging cold, cured meats on a board with cheeses, crackers, fruits, vegetables, and more.

A Charcuterie Board works wonderfully for a holiday gathering or as an impressive appetizer because of the variety of options and how gorgeous it is! Seriously, you have a high chance of impressing all friends and family with a board like this.

A Few Starting Tips

  1. Begin with a nice wooden cutting board. You choose the size for your group.
  2. Think about including food items that offer a variety of colors, textures, flavors, and heights.
  3. Utilize small ramekins or bowls to contain smaller items and spreads.
  4. There’s really no wrong way to build one, so don’t be intimidated! Start with our pillars below, but feel free to get creative.
  5. Don’t forget to offer interesting and well-paired beverages, especially wine. Read on for our wine pick!

5 Pillars of a Perfect Charcuterie Board

Stick to the five basics below (and starter tips above), and you’re well on your way to building an amazing Charcuterie Board that will wow your guests.

Watch how easily it comes together first…

Pillar 1: Choose Your “Charcuterie”

Pick your “charcuterie”, aka cold cooked or cured meat. You’ll build your board and wine pairings around this central part of your platter. We chose two affordable and very delicious smoked meats from Burgers’ Smokehouse, which you can find at Hy-Vee and many other local grocery stores…

Burgers’ Smokehouse Summer Sausage

Just place a slice of this flavorful sausage on a cracker and top with your favorite cheese and perhaps a condiment like mustard or a fig compote. (Admittedly, I had a hard time stopping snacking on their summer sausage during our photoshoot. Yum!) Works great for holiday gatherings or summer hang-outs. Check out the variety of flavors here.

Burgers’ Smokehouse Snack Sticks

These snack sticks are so fun to include! They’re easy to grab and all ages enjoy them. They also had height to the board, if you place them in a glass. Wouldn’t it be unique and fun to gift this Sampler Pack to the jerky lover in your home?

Pillar 2: Pick Your Cheese, Please

You typically want to shoot to include about three different types of cheese. Go for variety, picking ones from different regions and/or that have differing flavors and textures. Include a small cheese knife for easy cutting and serving.

Here are some of my favorite cheeses that are easy to find and affordable:

Soft Cheeses:

  • Goat/Chevre cheese (pictured) – Soft, tangy, spreadable cheese from goat’s milk. We used one rolled in cranberries to add color and texture to our board.
  • Brie – Soft cow’s milk cheese from France. Creamy, buttery taste.

Semi-Soft Cheeses:

  • Manchego (pictured) – Semi-soft sheep’s milk cheese from Spain. Fruity, nutty, sweet, tangy flavor.
  • Havarti – Semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Denmark. The taste is buttery, from somewhat to very sweet, and slightly acidic. 

Hard Cheeses:

  • Aged Cheddar – Hard, sharp-tasting, cow’s milk cheese from England.
  • Smoked Gouda (pictured) – Hard cow’s milk cheese from Holland region. Buttery, smokey, pale yellow.

Pillar 3: Offer Assorted Crackers or Breads

It’s imperative to include great vehicles for your meat, cheese, and condiments. Grab a variety of crackers and/or slice up a baguette. Fan them out around the board and you’re almost there.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Multigrain, artisan, water crackers (pictured)
  • Small baguette, sliced thinly
  • Pita chips
  • Consider adding gluten-free crackers for those who have dietary restrictions.

Step 4: Add in Fruit, Veggies, and More

Here’s where you can get super creative! Fill in the rest of the board with all kinds of colors, flavors, and textures from fruits, vegetables, nuts, spreads, and even candy. For mine, I tried to think about spreading out colors and textures around the board.

Give several of these fill-in foods a try. You might even have a lot of these on hand already!

Fresh and Dried Fruits

  • Grapes (pictured)
  • Dried apricots (pictured)
  • Fresh figs, sliced in half
  • Fresh berries

Vegetables

  • Baby Gherkins/Cornichons (pictured)
  • Olives
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Roasted red peppers (pictured)
  • Your favorite raw vegetable sticks

Spreads or Dips

  • Fig Compote
  • Apricot Jam
  • Orange Marmalade
  • Hot Pepper Jelly (pictured)
  • Mustards (there are so many interesting varieties on the market!)
  • Hummus

Nuts and Candy

  • Smoked or roasted almonds (pictured)
  • Roasted pistachios (pictured)
  • Squares of dark chocolate (pictured)
  • Chocolate-covered raisins

Step 5: Pair with the Perfect Wine

It’s not a far stretch to say that the perfect wine paired with a charcuterie board is a sensual experience. The beauty, smells, and variety of tastes paired together really do fill your senses. Our team genuinely had so much fun enjoying our board along with a delicious local Missouri wine from St. James Winery called Estate Norton.

This full-bodied dry red wine is complex and rich with layered flavors of berries, vanilla and bittersweet chocolate. Peter Hofherr, second generation owner of the winery and vineyard explained why the Estate Norton works so well with a Charcuterie Board:

Often our Estate Norton is used for the wine match as it has hints of fig, tobacco and brambleberry in the taste profile.  In addition, the Estate Norton is aged in American and French oak to give it the body and bigger profile it needs to match the contents of the charcuterie board.  

– Peter Hofherr, St. James Winery

Being from Missouri, this wine and it’s history has particular significance to us. The grapes are Norton, which is Missouri’s State Grape. They are grown at St. James’ vineyards, located in the Ozark Highlands.  The American Oak, which this wine is aged in, is sourced from barrel makers that are within 50 miles of the winery, and the oak itself is from the Ozark Highlands.  The Estate Norton truly is a Missouri made and grown product.                      

Grab a few bottles of Estate Norton at your local Hy-Vee or grocer, or find it online here for a genuine Missouri wine experience!

Bonus: Fill in with Greens and Get Messy!

We found that our board looked much more appetizing and colorful just by filling in negative space with arugula leaves. And…the messier, the better. There’s a danger is being too precise when laying out all the elements on a board. Don’t be afraid to get in there and muss it up a bit for the sake of art!

Now you’re armed and ready to take on any party that comes your way. No one will guess how simple your delicious Charcuterie Board was to pull together!

More Party Food Ideas

Looking for more appetizer ideas for a gathering? Here are some of our favorites:

Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese

Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese on a plate

Guacamole for the Masses with Tortilla Chips

Guacamole

Sliced Baguette with Garlic Herb Butter

Vegetable Platter with Simple Blender Hummus

Texas Caviar Dip with Tortilla Chips

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Chicken Parmesan Casserole is a family-favorite freezer meal that is super easy to make. This real food, healthy dinner recipe is a staple in our home.

Chicken parmesan casserole

(Looking for healthy freezer meal recipes? We have 70+ of our favorites HERE!)

Whenever I make my Roasted Whole Chicken and Vegetables (one my very favorite recipes) or Slow Cooker Whole Chicken, I sometimes have chicken leftover. So, I throw it in the freezer. When I’ve got a few cups of cooked chicken in the freezer, I’m ready to make this delicious chicken freezer meal: Chicken Parmesan Casserole.

Chicken parmesan casserole in a 8x8 glass dish

My family loves this simple chicken freezer meal recipe because it’s an old family favorite in a comfort-food form.

I bet you have most of these ingredients on hand:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
  • A few fresh herbs.

That’s it. You can eat it by itself or serve it over pasta. It might be nice over a bed of rice, too.

Chicken parmesan casserole with a side salad

Here’s How Easy Chicken Parmesan Casserole Comes Together!

How to Freeze Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Chicken parmesan casserole in a freezer container

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here.

The easy-to-print Chicken Parmesan Casserole recipe is below, but I wanted to mention that, as with so many of our freezer-friendly recipes, this Chicken Parmesan Casserole freezes wonderfully. Simply assemble the casserole (with cooked chicken) and freeze it in an airtight container before baking.

When you want to make it, thaw it safely and bake it according to the recipe instructions.

We recommend using a BPA-free container or dish. While it may be easier to buy the disposable Glad ovenware containers, it really makes sense to stock up on some quality, safe dishes that you can bake AND store in.

The Ultimate Chicken Freezer Meal: Chicken Parmesan Casserole

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Chicken Parmesan Casserole Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This family favorite is super easy to make, made with real food ingredients, and also freezer friendly.


Ingredients

  • 4 cups (about 1.5 pounds) fully-cooked chicken, shredded or cubed (where to find meat you can trust)
  • 1 jar (28 ounces) of marinara sauce (or make your own)
  • 1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Panko or whole wheat bread crumbs (Here is how to make your own) (Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or almond meal instead.)
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8×8 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
  3. Layer the fully-cooked chicken in the bottom. Dump in the marinara sauce and mix with the chicken. Next, top with both cheeses until all the chicken is covered.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, olive oil, fresh herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper together.
  5. Sprinkle the seasoned breadcrumbs over the top. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden on top and bubbling on the sides.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-5. Cover the casserole tightly with a few layers of plastic wrap and/or foil, squeezing out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw in the fridge over night and follow Step 6. Note: If it’s still slightly frozen in the middle, you’ll just have to cook it longer than the recipe calls for or defrost it a bit in the microwave before baking. Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.


Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox*. Their chicken is organic, curated from small, trusted farms, and absolutely delicious. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

Try our SUPER POPULAR 1 Hour Freezer Prep sessions. We give you everything you need to throw together 6 delicious, family-sized freezer meals in just 1 hour! Anyone can do it with our simple instructions, organized shopping list, and pre-filled out freezer labels.

Chicken parmesan casserole being scooped out of a dish.

Instant Pot Beef Stew {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe is easy enough to be a mid-week dinner or fancy enough for dinner guests. What would typically take all day in the slow cooker, only takes about an hour from start to finish in the Instant Pot. You’ll take a short cut by using stew meat (no chopping!) and Yukon gold baby potatoes (no peeling!).

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Here’s our full disclosure.

Instant Pot Beef Stew turns out melty-in-your-mouth delicious. Mmmm…the red wine, stock, soy sauce, and tomato paste work together to create a velvety sauce/broth that is full of complexity. While the meat pressure cooks, it tenderizes and soaks up all that sauce flavor.

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

Now, don’t confuse this Beef Stew, a classic comfort food, with an unhealthy choice, though. Thanks to grass-fed stew meat (or chopped grass-fed chuck roast from our favorite meat source) and all the vegetables included–onion, carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes, and peas–you’ll churn out a pretty darn nutritious and satiating one-pot-wonder. Serve with your favorite crusty bread and dinner is served!

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

Instant Pot Beef Stew leftovers can be reheated in the Instant Pot, stove, or microwave, but you may need to add a little extra broth to thin it out again. I think it tastes even better the next day!

Here’s a smart idea. While you have all the ingredients out, go ahead and prep one Instant Pot Beef Stew for tonight and one for another night or to pass along to someone in need. Freezing instructions are included in this Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe, like all our freezer-friendly meals. You can store it in the freezer for 3-6 months and then–magically!–cook this stew directly from frozen in the Instant Pot later. Check out these tips for cooking freezer meals in the Instant Pot.

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin
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bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

Instant Pot Beef Stew

  • Author: Rachel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 47 minutes
  • Total Time: 57 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Comforting and delicious Beef Stew comes together quickly in the Instant Pot. The beef and vegetables melt into the velvety sauce making this meal worthy of guests or a weeknight dinner.


Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 12 cups sliced carrots
  • 12 cups sliced celery stalks
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)*
  • 1/2 cup red wine (recommended: Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • About 1 1/22 pounds stew meat (preferably grass-fed and organic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 2 1/23 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Instructions

  1. Turn on the Saute function. Heat the oil until shimmering. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery until softened, about 7 minutes. Season lightly with the salt and pepper, to taste, as they cook. Add in the thyme and red pepper, too. Stir in the garlic the last 30-60 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the wine, broth, tomato paste, and soy sauce until smooth, scraping the brown bits off the bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes. Turn off the Saute function. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper on all sides and nestle into the cooker. Stir in the bay leaf and potatoes. (Do not add the peas yet.)
  4. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes, with a 10 minute natural release and then quick release of the pressure.
  5. Discard bay leaf. Stir in the peas. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1 and 2. Let the sauce cool and then add to a one gallon freezer bag or pressure cooker-shaped container with lid. Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper on all sides and add to the bag or container, along with the bay leaf and potatoes. Seal, toss gently to combine, and freeze. (Note: Make sure the potatoes are completely submerged in the liquid to avoid browning.) Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the pressure cooker.

Prepare from Frozen: Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Follow Steps 4-5. (The frozen meat will cook the same amount of time as from fresh.)

COOKING NOTES:

*To make this recipe Gluten-Free: 

  • Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari soy sauce in place of the soy sauce.
  • Do not add the flour at the beginning of the recipe. Instead, thicken the stew by using arrowroot powder right after Step 4 (before Step 5). To do so, in a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons arrowroot with 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir this into the stew. (It will thicken up shortly.) Then, follow Step 5. 

Instant Pot Tomato Soup

By Polly Conner

This freezer-friendly Instant Pot Tomato Soup has it all. Since it is a great freezer meal, I’ve written the recipe to be very large. This meal works well for large groups or simply to freeze as leftovers in small portions for lunches down the road. 

Instant Pot Tomato soup

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here.

I am all about taking killer recipes and translating them to work in the Instant Pot. Tomato soup is a recipe that the Instant Pot was made for. It comes together incredibly fast and only uses a few dishes.

When I shared about making this large batch Instant Pot Tomato Soup on our Instagram Stories a few days ago, I didn’t realize what a fan favorite it’d be. 

“I’m legit scratching down notes during these instastories!”

[email protected] 

“This is by far my favorite recipe in your cookbook!”

[email protected]

As a former tomato soup hater, I give this recipe credit for my conversion. My dear friends and loved ones, you’ll never go back to eating Tomato Soup from a can again. 

Instant Pot tomato soup in a white bowl

Freezing and Storing Instant Pot Tomato Soup

Now here is the beauty of making a large batch of tomato soup in the Instant Pot: It only gets better after freezing. (At least, in my opinion). I took the leftovers from this batch and froze a few in individual portions and then the rest in a large portion. Now I have a few for quick lunches for myself and another for dinner down the road. Just use one of our three safe ways to thaw food and you’ll be set. 

Frozen tomato soup in bag and in jars in the freezer

I’m super excited to get this freezer friendly Instant Pot Tomato Soup recipe in your hands. And in my belly. Because I have a jar of it thawing out in the fridge as I type this. Yum!

How to Make Tomato Soup in the Instant Pot

Note: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no worries. Here is how to make the Tomato Bisque on the stove.

While the exact recipe is below, we wanted to make sure you knew about our Printable Instant Pot cooking times chart. It’s an amazing, well-tested resource that you must have if you own an Instant Pot.

OK, on to the recipe!

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Instant Pot tomato soup in a white bowl

Instant Pot Tomato Soup (Freezer Meal)

  • Author: Polly
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This large batch freezer friendly Instant Pot Tomato Soup has been a huge win in my house over and over again. You won’t even consider touching canned tomato soup again.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 6 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or stock (sub: chicken stock)
  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, liquid and all
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup half and half, or more to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Turn on Saute function and heat the oil. Saute the onion and carrots until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste, and add the red pepper while they cook. Add the garlic the last 30-60 seconds of cook time. Press Cancel.
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar. Season lightly with more salt and pepper and stir until combined. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Seal and lock the lid. Cook for 7 minutes on high pressure and then quick release the pressure.
  4. Either transfer the soup to a blender or use an immersion blender in the pot and puree until very smooth. (Note: Please be careful during this step! Don’t fill the blender entirely full. Cover the lid with a towel and hold securely while blending, so the lid doesn’t pop off.) Carefully, return the soup to the pot.
  5. Stir in the butter and half and half until butter is melted. Taste and then season the soup with salt and pepper to your preference.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Add the uncooked soup mixture to a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze. Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need butter, half and half, and Parmesan to complete this meal. Turn on the Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Seal and lock the lid. Follow Steps 3-6, except cook for 12-15 minutes with a quick release.

Looking for more large meals? Here are 20 Easy Meal Ideas for a Large Group

meals for a crowd

Slow Cooker Chicken Fiesta Soup

By Polly Conner

This delicious, slow cooker chicken soup is not only gluten free and dairy free (if you don’t add cheese at the end), but it freezes beautifully either before cooking or after. Packed with fresh flavor, the veggies give it that fiesta vibe that everyone will love. This easy and healthy freezer meal is great for feeding a large group of people.

Slow cooker chicken fiesta soup in a white bowl

I hesitated on sharing this recipe. I mean, don’t we have enough Mexican-inspired slow cooker meals already?

But then, just in the nick of time, Smart-Polly showed up. And she got nose to nose with Lame-Polly and asked the question, “Is there such thing as having too many slow cooker Mexican-inspired meals?” 

Smart-Polly won. 

And I’m so glad she did. Because this crock pot Chicken Fiesta Soup is amazing. And incredibly simple. And makes a lot. And freezes well. And. And. And. 

Freezer friendly chicken fiesta soup in a white bowl with sour cream

Now hear me out on something. I would have loved to make this a dump and go meal. It would have given me something else to brag about on this soup (as if it needs more, ha!). But here’s the deal. The chicken is done in 4-6 hours and the onions just aren’t. They are a little too oniony when they don’t get a jump start or the chance to cook all day. That is why we have the extra step of sauteing the onions and peppers before dumping it all in. 

BUT, if you love a good shortcut, you can toss the veggies in a little oil and microwave them for 4-5 minutes until they begin to soften. Then just toss them in the slow cooker and do your dang thang. 

Did I mention that you guys are going to love this recipe? 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Fiesta Soup

  • Author: Polly
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This amazing, freezer friendly chicken soup is not only gluten free and dairy free (if you don’t add cheese at the end), but it freezes beautifully either before cooking or after. Packed with fresh flavor, the veggies give it that fiesta vibe that everyone will love. 


Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (suggested: one red and one green)
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 pounds medium boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 (28 ounce) petite diced tomatoes, juice and all (or two 14.5 ounce cans)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11 ounce) can shoe peg corn, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans green chilis
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 23 tablespoons taco seasoning 
  • Optional toppings: diced avocado, lime wedges, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt*, shredded cheddar cheese*, sliced green onions, corn tortilla chips, hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and bell peppers, and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. Stir in the garlic during the last 30-60 seconds. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Add the veggie mixture, chicken, tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, corn, green chilis, chicken broth, and taco seasoning to the slow cooker. Stir until combined.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until cooked through. (Chicken is done when it has no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)
  4. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks or chop into bite-sized pieces. Stir it back into the soup.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper amounts. Serve warm, topped with your favorite suggested toppings.

Notes

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. Add cooked, cooled veggies and all other ingredients (except the optional toppings) to one or two gallon-sized freezer bags or containers. Seal and freeze. Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need your favorite optional toppings to make this meal. Thaw. Follow Steps 2-5.

 

Spoon full of chicken fiesta soup

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that as we were testing recipes for our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, we have learned that not all slow cookers are created equal. Some cook hot and fast while others are low and slow. Based on the recommendation of America’s Test Kitchen, we use a Kitchen Aid Brand. You can find the exact one we use in our Kitchen Favorites. 

If you are digging this Slow Cooker recipe, you’ll love our roundup of 101+ Slow Cooker Freezer Meals. Hop over and snag some more recipe ideas!

101 Real Food Slow Cooker Freezer Meals - Your life just got easier and healthier with this list of the best whole foods freezer meals for the slow cooker. Enjoy these real food crockpot recipes today or freeze for later.

From Freezer to Table: Killer Carnitas

By Polly Conner

These slow cooker carnitas are one of my all-time favorite freezer meals. As one of my go-to recipes for large groups, our Killer Carnitas are a no-fail dump and go freezer meal.

From Freezer to Table: Killer Carnitas

“Woman, what have you done?!” This was my husband’s affectionate way of telling me he was a big fan of this recipe. After cooking it for 8 hours in the slow cooker, you’ll be left with fall-apart, flavorful chunks of juicy pork that you can then broil for a few minutes in order to give some extra texture. Wrap up the meat in a soft tortilla and top it with cheese, avocados, diced red onions, lime juice, cilantro, or whatever Mexican toppings you prefer, and you’ll be going loco over these carnitas.

This recipe can be found in our cookbook, From Freezer to Table.

cookbook

Here’s a one minute peek into this amazing resource.

Don’t own the cookbook? A similar recipe on Thriving Home is our Pulled Pork with a Mexican Flare.

4 Cheese Baked Penne Pasta {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer
4 Cheese Penne Pasta with whole wheat pasta is a healthier baked pasta that comes together quickly.

You can never go wrong with a baked pasta in my humble opinion. It feeds a crowd and typically pleases even the pickiest of eaters. Polly makes a phenomenal Hearty Baked Penne Pasta, but I wanted something a little cheaper, a tad lighter, and something I could throw together in minutes. 4 Cheese Baked Penne Pasta was just that.

4 Cheese Penne Pasta with whole wheat pasta is a healthier baked pasta that comes together quickly.

With some ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and feta cheeses in the fridge, I came up with this simple and tasty 4 Cheese Baked Penne Pasta. It’s made with whole wheat pasta, your favorite all-natural marinara sauce (mine is Newman’s Own Organic Marinara), and a simple cheese filling. Serve alongside some steamed broccoli and your favorite fruit for a well-rounded and fast weeknight dinner.

4 Cheese Penne Pasta with whole wheat pasta is a healthier baked pasta that comes together quickly.

Be sure to use your time wisely by doubling the recipe, making two 8×8 casseroles, and freezing one for another dinner later. That’s my kind of freezer cooking! To find 70+ more healthy freezer meal recipes, be sure to check out our index here.

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Mini Turkey Cheeseburgers {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These Mini Turkey Cheese Burgers are full of flavor and are a family favorite. Be sure to double and freeze an extra batch for later.

It had been an uneventful dinner so far. Everyone…yes, picky eaters and all…munched away on these easy Mini Turkey Cheeseburgers, which I served alongside some Simple Roasted Veggies that night. Uneventful dinner = a RAGING success these days. 🙂

We heard the familiar knock of my dad (aka Daddyman) at the door in the middle of said uneventful dinner. The kids raced to the door, and there he was with tool box in hand ready to fix yet another broken item in my house. Yes, I’m that spoiled.

As Daddyman worked away in the kitchen, I heard him mutter, “Oooo, those look good” toward my plate of cheese-topped patties. A few minutes later, he took a break from his fix-it job to down a Mini Turkey Cheeseburger with an audible, “Mmmm!” Then, as he walked back out the door, I noticed a second burger in hand.

It makes my heart skip a beat when I make someone happy with my food, especially my daddy!

Mini Turkey Cheeseburgers: A kid-friendly, healthy freezer meal!

I hope you can make your people so very happy with these flavor-packed and quite healthy little burgers. Either eat them plain or doctor with them up with all your favorite cheeseburger toppings. They make for great leftovers the next few days, too. Read more

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Freezer Friendly Balsamic Herb Grilled Chicken is moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. This easy grilling recipe be turned into a freezer meal and is a great recipe for groups of people. What more can you ask for in a chicken recipe!?

chicken on a grill and on a plate

Grilling season isn’t quite over yet in mid-Missouri thankfully. We’ve had 70 and 80 degree sunny days for what feels like months and our family is loving it! We just moved across town in late August to a “new” house that has a lovely back yard, so we’ve been enjoying many nights eating dinner on the deck.

A few weeks ago I decided to try out my Balsamic Dressing with Herbs as a marinade for grilled chicken, calling it Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken (original, eh?). I had a feeling the acidity from the balsamic vinegar combined with all those herbs and spices would transform this lack-luster piece of meat. And oh my! You can see the moisture and flavor on this chicken from the pictures. But, the taste…it’s even better! This will be one of my go-to marinades, in addition to Southwest Grilled Chicken, from now on.

Chicken on a grill

I threw some Mediterranean Shrimp Skewers on the barbie too. Have you tried these yet? My kids claw for them when I set them on the table. (What you can’t see is me holding my daughter’s greedy little hand out of the photo here.)

chicken on the grill

I added some cooked quinoa (seasoned well with salt, pepper, a little butter, and garlic powder), steamed green beans, and grapes to the table for what ended in a filling, tasty, and quite healthy dinner.

Balsamic Herbed Chicken on a plate with salad

The best part: no one complained. Can I get an amen to that, parents? 

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grilled chicken, rice, zucchini, and peaches on a gray plate with fork

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken recipe is made with all pantry staples and turns out moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. 


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes, crushed in hand
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/22 lbs)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even grilling.
  2. To a large zip-top bag, add the balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and oregano. Seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken and seal. (Freezing instructions begin here.) Refrigerate for about 2 hours and up to 24 hours to allow chicken to marinate. 
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done. Chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally or has no more pink inside.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Seal the bag tightly and freeze. 

Prepare From Frozen: Defrost the freezer meal using one of these safe thawing methods. Cook the chicken according to Step 3. Note: Be sure to cook the thawed chicken as soon as possible so it doesn’t get mushy or tough from over-marinating.

Here are a few more easy chicken recipes you might like. All of these can be turned into freezer meals too!

Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

These Grilled Marinated Chicken Kabobs are one of our favorites for the grilling season. Make ahead and freeze before or after grilling!

 

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

 

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches are the ultimate chicken sandwiches for any weeknight! Just prep and freeze all the components ahead of time. This well-seasoned, versatile grilled chicken also works to top pasta or salads. #freezermeal #realfood #thrivinghome

Southwest Chicken Tenders

 

This southwest chicken tender marinade is sure to please all the eaters in your house. This healthy, freezer friendly dinner idea is full of flavor, but not spicy. Great make-ahead meal or for freezer parties or freezer clubs!