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Easy Instant Pot Jambalaya

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Our 3-step Instant Pot Jambalaya recipe is incredibly flavorful and so easy! Serve over brown rice for a healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free dinner. Freezing instructions included.

multi image with instant pot jambalaya in a bowl, in a freezer bag and in the Instant Pot

This Instant Pot jambalaya recipe was inspired by one of my favorite people in the world–my dad! He’s been making and honing this Cajun specialty dish for some time now. In fact, his slow cooker version called “Curt’s Slow Cooker Jambalaya” made it into our first cookbook, From Freezer to Table. Let me tell you, he really knocked it out of the park!

So with dad’s original recipe as my basis and my Instant Pot know-how (Did you know Polly and I published a whole cookbook full of Instant Pot recipes, too?), this Easy Instant Pot Jambalaya came to life.

Why I Love Jambalaya in the Instant Pot

In case you need some convincing, let me tell you why it’s totally worth throwing this dish together.

Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage over rice in a bowl
  1. It’s super easy! This “dump and go” meal only requires three steps, a handful of ingredients, and about 30 minutes from start to finish.
  2. Delicious! The combo of all the vegetables, the andouille sausage, and seasonings create a complex flavor explosion in your mouth without much work.
  3. It makes a LOT. This can feed a large group or you can freeze half a batch for another meal later.
  4. Speaking of freezing, this makes a great freezer meal. I’ll teach you the best method for freezing below.
  5. Really healthy! It’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, full of vegetables, lean protein, and is served over fiber-rich brown rice.

What is Jambalaya and What’s in this Recipe?

Jambalaya was born in Louisiana and is filled with a combo of sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors that make it stand out from other one-pot dishes. The Spruce Eats says, “Although the exact origin of jambalaya is unknown, it is most likely the result of multiple ethnicities mingling in the port city of New Orleans centuries ago.” There are two versions of the dish:

  • Cajun – Called “brown jambalaya” that doesn’t contain tomatoes.
  • Creole – Known as “red jambalaya” that does have tomatoes.
Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage in a freezer bag

My recipe falls under the Creole category because I used tomatoes. I tried to keep it pretty lean and healthy while also packing in big taste! Here are the simple ingredients you’ll find in it:

Onions, Green Bell Peppers, and Celery – This combo of veggies is known as the “holy trinity” in Cajun cooking. It’s also known to make your house smell amazing while they cook.

Andouille Sausage – A Cajun sausage that infuses the other ingredients in the pot with spice and smoke. I opted to slice up some all-natural, fully-cooked andouille as a short-cut for this recipe.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – This lean cut gets infused with flavor and doesn’t dry out thanks to the Instant Pot. But, you can use boneless, skinless thighs instead to add in a little more fat (read: more flavor).

Fire-roasted diced tomatoes – If you can find canned fire-roasted tomatoes in the store, they add complexity to this dish and are my favorite. But, if you can’t, look for petite diced tomatoes instead.

Chicken broth – You can either make your own or buy some at the store. I really like the Swanson brand. It tastes homemade and doesn’t have all the yucky additives.

Cajun seasoning – My dad swears by Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning but use whatever kind you like. This seasoning adds in salt, black and red pepper, chili powder, and garlic.

Dried herbs – A combo of dried oregano and thyme round out the seasoning. Make sure you have these in your pantry.

A lot of jambalaya recipes also call for shrimp. You can easily stir in some pre-cooked shrimp at the end of the cook time, if you want. Or, you can use uncooked shrimp and boil the jambalaya for a few minutes using the “Saute” function, until the shrimp is just cooked through. I decided to keep things simple and exclude it myself.

How to Make Jambalaya in the Instant Pot

Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage in the Instant Pot with a bowl of wild rice on the side
  1. Stir in the Ingredients: Add the chopped veggies, tomatoes, broth, chicken, sausage, Cajun seasoning, oregano, and thyme to the Instant Pot. Stir.
  2. Pressure Cook: Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (Note: It will take about 10-15 minutes for the IP to come to pressure before starting the cook cycle.)
  3. Serve: Stir and serve warm over cooked rice. Top with hot sauce, if desired.

How do you Freeze Jambalaya?

One of THE best qualities of the Instant Pot, in my humble opinion, is that you can cook frozen meals directly in it. That’s not the case with the slow cooker, according to the USDA! Seriously, don’t put frozen food in your crockpot.

We recommend freezing this jambalaya dish before pressure cooking it, so it turns out tasting just like a fresh meal. Since this is a big batch meal that feeds at least 8 people, one idea is to freeze half the batch and cook the rest for dinner. The cook time will NOT change if you do this.

How to Freeze For Later:

Add the veggies, tomatoes, broth, chicken, sausage, and seasonings to one or two gallon-sized freezer bags or round containers. Seal and freeze. (Tip: 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.)

How to 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.” Cook at high pressure for 17-22 minutes. (I usually start at the lower time recommendation. Check to make sure the chicken registers 165°F internally or is no longer pink inside. If it’s not done, cook at high pressure another 2 minutes and check again.) Serve warm over rice.

How to Serve Instant Pot Jambalaya

Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage over rice in a bowl with a spoon

Serve over brown rice or quinoa and you will have a delicious, nutritious dinner. If you want to go completely grain-free, try serving it over cauliflower rice. Top with a little hot sauce, if you want to kick up the heat.

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Jambalaya with chicken and andouille sausage over rice in a bowl

Easy Instant Pot Jambalaya

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Cajun
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Our 3 step Instant Pot Jambalaya recipe is incredibly flavorful and so easy! Serve over brown rice for a healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free dinner. Freezing instructions included.


Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted, diced tomatoes (Sub: petite diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 11.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes (Sub: boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1214 ounces precooked, all-natural andouille sausage, thickly sliced (Sub: andouille chicken sausage)
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (Recommended: Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed in hand
  • 8 cups cooked brown rice (Sub: cooked long-grain white rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice)
  • Hot sauce, optional for serving

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Into the Instant Pot, add the onion, bell peppers, celery, tomatoes, broth, diced chicken, sliced sausage, Cajun seasoning, oregano, and thyme. (Do not add the rice.) Stir to combine. 
  2. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure*. (Note: It will take about 10-15 minutes for the IP to come to pressure before starting the cook cycle.)
  3. Stir and serve the jambalaya mixture over rice. Top with hot sauce, if desired.

*This is a good time to make a quick-cooking rice on the stovetop, if you aren’t using the pre-cooked rice from the store.

Freeze For Later:

Add the veggies, tomatoes, broth, chicken, sausage, and seasonings to a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze. (Tip: 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:

Note: You will need to have cooked rice on hand to complete this meal. 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 3, but cook for 17-22 minutes. (Check to make sure the chicken registers 165°F internally or is no longer pink inside. If it’s not done, cook at high pressure another 2 minutes and check again.) Follow step 4.


Notes

Chopping Tip: Be sure to chop the veggies all about the same size and fairly small, since we aren’t sautéing them at the beginning. That way they cook at the same rate and get cooked through. 

Freezing Tip: Since this is a big batch meal, you may want to freeze half the batch for later and make the rest now. Note: If you divide the batch in half, you will NOT have to adjust the cook time. It will cook at the same rate.

Heat Level: I would say this dish is moderately spicy. If you’re sensitive to heat (or are making this for kids), I suggest only using half of the Cajun seasoning. You can always add more hot sauce to individual servings later, if needed.

Can I cook the rice in the Instant Pot with everything else? I did not test it this way because I like the texture of rice cooked on the stove for the exact amount of time better. However, you could throw some Instant Brown Rice (not the long cooking rice!) in with the other ingredients before pressure cooking, and it will work out okay…just not perfectly. And I like perfectly. 🙂 

How to Add in Shrimp: You can easily stir in some precooked shrimp at the end of the cook time, if you want. Or, you can use uncooked shrimp and boil the jambalaya after pressure cooking for a few minutes. To do this, turn on the “Saute” function, stir, and cook until the shrimp is just cooked through. It won’t take long. P.S. I recommend using peeled, deveined shrimp to make your life much easier!

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.

Can You Freeze Rice?

By Whitney Reist

As cookbook authors of From Freezer to Table and From Freezer to Cooker, we are big fans of freezer cooking around here. “Can you freeze rice?” is an important question, since freezing it can reduce food waste and save time. Read on for our expert answer!

three varieties of rice

Can You Freeze Rice?

Yes, cooked and uncooked rice freeze and thaw easily. Frozen cooked rice reheats well, too! 

In fact, you may have noticed a selection of cooked frozen rice more readily available at the grocery store. But convenience always comes with a higher price tag. Save money, time, and simplify your meal prep by following our expert tips for freezing and reheating rice at home.

Any type of cooked rice can be frozen and reheated, from cooked white rice, brown rice, wild rice, to flavored Spanish or Mexican rice. 

Although dried rice is shelf-stable for a long period of time, you can freeze uncooked rice for even longer storage, according to the U.S. Rice Federation.

How to Freeze Rice

cooked rice in a bowl with cilantro

How to freeze UNCOOKED RICE

Place the package of uncooked rice in a gallon freezer bag and seal tightly. Label and freeze up to 18 months.

How to freeze COOKED RICE

Whether it be cooked white rice, brown rice, Mexican rice, Spanish rice, all can be frozen in the same way:

  • Cool the cooked rice. The key to maintaining a good texture with frozen rice is to make sure the rice is completely cool before freezing. We recommend spreading cooked rice on a large cookie sheet to help it cool quickly and evenly. 
  • Divide into portions. Once the rice is cool, scoop portions into quart or gallon-size freezer bags. Be sure to squeeze all of the air out when sealing. 
  • Label and freeze. Label your freezer bag with the type of rice, amount, and date. Stack your bags of rice on a flat surface in your freezer. And that’s it!

How Long Can You Freeze Rice?

According to the USDA, as long as frozen food is kept at 0°F in the freezer, it is safe to consume for an indefinite amount of time. Since we know it’s safe to consume indefinitely, the question then becomes “how long will the rice retain optimal taste and texture in the freezer?” 

Uncooked rice can be frozen for up to 18 months if packaged well. However, cooked rice is a different story. Our experience in writing From Freezer to Table and From Freezer to Cooker has proven that most frozen foods, including cooked rice, should be consumed by 3-6 months for optimal taste and texture. 

How to Use Frozen Rice

Our favorite thing about using frozen rice? It doesn’t need to be thawed! That’s right. You can reheat it directly from the frozen state, either in the microwave or in a recipe, by following the steps below:

  • Reheat cooked, frozen rice in the microwave. Break your block of frozen rice into chunks and place them in a microwave-safe bowl or dish. Add a drizzle of a flavorful oil or a dab of butter and cover the dish with a damp paper towel. You may also want to add a little chicken broth for additional moisture. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir, add more broth if needed, and then heat an additional minute or so. Serve while the rice is hot!
  • Add cooked frozen rice directly into a recipe. If the rice is going to be stirred into a casserole mix, a soup, or a recipe with a good amount of liquid, you can add it in the frozen state. 
  • For uncooked frozen rice, simply place the amount of frozen rice you’d like to cook on the counter or in the fridge for several hours. You can then cook and prepare the rice according to the package directions. 

Recipes to Use Up Your Frozen Rice

After freezing your rice, thaw and use it in one of these delicious recipes…

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Toss in your cooked rice at the end of making this popular (and super easy!) vegetarian soup.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup in a large stock pot

Make Ahead Lunch Wraps

Throw your cooked rice in these wraps for a hearty and healthy lunch. I have these in the freezer often!

freezer-friendly lunch wraps on a wooden cutting board

Fried Rice With Sweet Soy Sauce

If using previously frozen cooked rice for this recipe, be sure to add in a little chicken broth for moisture.

fried rice in a pan

Bottom Line

Rice is an excellent food to freeze. If rice is a staple that your family enjoys and you want to save time and money, build up a stash of frozen rice! 

What Else Can You Freeze?

Wondering what else you can stock up on and freeze? Read on…

How to Freeze Tortillas

How to Freeze Butter

How to Freeze Muffins

How to Freeze Bananas

How to Freeze Zucchini

7 BEST Chicken Marinades (+ Printable Recipe Cheat Sheet)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These 7 easy marinades for chicken breasts will transform this boring cut into several tasty and healthy meals! Learn how to prep and freeze for later OR how to make them for dinner tonight. Plus, snag our FREE one-page cheat sheet of all the recipes.

7 chicken marinades

Affiliate links included.

Why We Love Marinating Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are the go-to cut of poultry in our houses. They are lean, easy to find, and versatile. But, without some serious culinary help, this cut can be flat-out boring and lackluster.

chicken marinade in freezer bags

That’s where our 7 marinades for chicken breasts come in! Marinating chicken helps to infuse flavor throughout and adds moisture to a cut of chicken that can be notoriously dry. We’ve developed 7 delicious combos of marinade ingredients so you never get bored again!

marinades in small mason jars

In this article, you’ll find:

  • Video Tutorial: How to Make 7 Chicken Marinades
  • FREE Printable Cheat Sheet
  • 7 Amazing Chicken Marinades
  • FAQ: Can you freeze chicken marinades?
  • FAQ: How long should I marinate chicken breasts?
  • FAQ: Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?
  • FAQ: Where do you buy your chicken from?

1 Minute Video: How to Make All 7 Marinades for Chicken Breasts

Check out just how quickly these marinades come together using mostly pantry staples…

Download our Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet Printable!

If you want to have these simple marinade combos on hand anytime, download our quick cheat sheet. This handy one-page printable includes all the recipes and 4 options for cooking your marinated chicken breasts. Tape it up inside a cabinet or pantry door, so you can whip up these recipes anytime.

7 Chicken Marinade Recipes

There is a marinade for everyone in our collection! Each recipe works for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts. Which flavor profile looks tastiest to you?

chicken breasts in marinades in freezer bags

1. Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade

With just a few key Asian-inspired ingredients, you can create some seriously tasty marinated chicken. Serve it in wraps, on salads, or over rice. A perfect side dish is our Asian Slaw…yum!

marinade in a small mason jar and two chicken breasts in a freezer bag with marinade

2. Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade

You had me at 5 ingredients! That’s right. This recipe only requires 5 pantry staple ingredients for a perfect sweet and tangy result. Delicious on top of salad with our Honey Dijon Dressing or serve on a bun with your favorite chicken sandwich toppings.

Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade

3. Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, and more, this bright and flavorful marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken. Pairs perfectly with our Crispy Smashed Potatoes and Strawberry Fields Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.

lemon garlic marinade in mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

4. Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade

Fresh herbs and pantry staples combine to create this complex marinade. Grill or bake the chicken, then enjoy on its own or atop a salad. Side dish ideas include our Simple Boiled Baby Potatoes or No Boil Corn on the Cob.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade and marinade in a mason jar

5. Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

Cilantro, lime, garlic and more marry together to create this fresh, citrusy marinade. Serve on tacos, in quesadillas, or shredded on top of nachos, like these Instant Pot Chicken Nachos.

marinade in a mason jar and marinade and chicken in freezer bag

6. The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade

This marinade packs a flavor punch! In fact, I think it’s the BEST savory one you’ll find. With just a few pantry staple ingredients, boring chicken is taken to a whole new flavor level! Enjoy a la carte, on top of our Favorite Cobb Salad, on a sandwich, or in a wrap.

savory chicken marinade in a mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

7. Southwest Chicken Marinade

Of all the marinades in the world, THIS Southwest Chicken Marinade is the one I make the most. Hands down. My kids love it. All adults love it. And it can be served any way you dream up–a la carte, in tacos or quesadillas, in Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls, or in our Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps.

chicken marinade in a small mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

FAQ: Can you freeze these chicken marinades?

Absolutely! As freezer cookbook authors, we especially love how easy it is to prep these chicken breast marinades ahead of time and freeze them to have on hand for another night. Every recipe includes freezing instructions, so you can double and freeze a batch anytime.

frozen chicken in marinades in freezer bags

To Freeze: Simply add all the marinade ingredients to a BPA-free gallon-sized freezer bag or one of our favorite freezer meal dishes, toss or whisk to combine, and add in 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts per marinade batch. Then, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months for best results.

To Thaw: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods and then cook the chicken according to our recipe instructions. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

We encourage you to stock up on all the ingredients for these marinades and prep them in bulk for an hour or so over the weekend. You’ll love having them on hand in the freezer!

FAQ: How long should I marinate chicken breasts?

In our tests, we found that it’s best to marinate your chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Less than 1 hour didn’t seem to infuse enough flavor into the chicken breasts and more than 24 hours can cause them to become a bit mealy and mushy, especially if the marinade has a high acid content.

marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

If you’re freezing your chicken in the marinade, skip the time in the refrigerator and throw it immediately into the freezer. It will not over marinate in the freezer, but the chicken will begin to absorb some of the flavor during its stay. Then, while it thaws using one of these safe methods, it will marinate even more.

FAQ: Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?

Absolutely! All cuts of chicken can benefit from a dip in a marinade. So, these marinades work just as well for chicken thighs and bone-in chicken. Cooking time will vary from our recipes, however, since we direct you how to cook chicken breasts.

chicken marinades in freezer bags

FAQ: Where do you get your chicken breasts from?

We are HUGE fans of Butcherbox and have been getting our chicken (and beef, seafood, and pork) from them for years now. We love that their chicken is 100% organic and all their meat is healthy and sourced responsibly. It’s so convenient to have it delivered to our doorsteps whenever we choose!

You should definitely check it out and see if Butcherbox would be a good fit for your family. Our readers and we just love it!

We hope you find these recipes helpful in your home and helpful for stocking your freezer with healthy and delicious meals!

Don’t forget your Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet

Disclaimer: Some of the links in below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

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marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

7 BEST Marinades for Chicken Breasts

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Any cooking method
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These 7 easy marinades for chicken breasts will transform this boring cut into an amazing meal! Prep and freeze for later OR make them for dinner tonight.

All of these marinades work best for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts but feel free to double or triple the recipe.


Ingredients

Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade:

  • ⅓ cup oil (recommended: peanut or avocado)
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar (make sure it’s not “seasoned” rice vinegar)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free option: coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (sub: ½ teaspoon dried thyme or ¼ tsp ground thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (sub: 2 tsp dried parsley, crushed in hand)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade:

  • ½ cup oil (recommended: avocado or olive oil) 
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Southwest Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the marinade ingredients to a gallon-sized freezer bag or a freezer container with lid, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken breasts however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

COOKING NOTES:

How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. 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.

Notes

These marinades work best for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts, but feel free to double for triple the batch for a larger portion.

You can use other cuts of chicken with this marinade, but our cooking directions are specifically for chicken breasts.

The nutrition info below is for the Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade, but they are all fairly similar. Check each recipe in the post above for specific nutritional information. 

More Freezer Meal Round-Ups You Might Like

Top 10 Ground Beef Recipes

70+ Healthy Freezer Meals (Listed by Category!)

Top 70+ Healthy Freezer Meals (Best of the Best by Category!)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for healthy freezer meals.

As freezer meal experts (and self-proclaimed “freezer cooking evangelists”), we’ve published TWO freezer meal cookbooks, had freezer meal recipes featured on Hallmark Home & Family, People Magazine, and many more media outlets.

We know what makes a great freezer meal and after testing hundreds and hundreds of recipes over 10 years, we’ve narrowed down the best of the best healthy freezer meals for you.

Our make ahead freezer meal recipes are easy, made with real food ingredients, and delicious. You’re going to want to pin this one, my friends!

Polly Conner & Rachel Tiemeyer cooking + collage of freezer meals

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

Why should I make freezer meals?

Freezer cooking has transformed the way we grocery shop, cook, and eat over the past 10+ years. We were both in Freezer Clubs for many years while our kids were young. Today, we cook and freeze in bulk every single week on our own. From our experience, preparing healthy freezer meals has so many benefits:

  • Saves money by buying in bulk and avoiding eating out.
  • 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. 
  • Helps you eat wholesome, delicious meals at home regularly. 
  • Reduces dinnertime stress while bringing your family together around the table. This is what freezer cooking is really all about! 
Chicken Taquitos rolled up and in a freezer bag for a freezer meal.

What is considered a healthy freezer meal?

In these 70+ healthy freezer meal recipes below, you’ll see our real food philosophy represented. We aren’t about diets, eating low-fat foods, or cutting out food groups.

We are about cooking tasty, homemade food and eating all things in moderation. We’re also about cooking with as many unprocessed, organic and/or local ingredients as possible, including a variety of:

  • vegetables and fruit
  • whole grains
  • local, organic, and/or grass-fed meats (that’s why we’re big fans of Butcher Box*)
  • healthy fats (i.e. olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and organic dairy)

*affiliate link

By simply making homemade meals for your family, you are cutting out loads of sodium, sugar, simple carbs, and harmful trans-fats that come from fast food and store-bought convenience foods. You control what goes in your food. Plus, you’ll be motivated to grab what’s on hand rather than going out to eat.

Rachel Tiemeyer and Polly Conner

What’s the best way to store freezer meals?

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! If you want more detail on how to properly freeze food, we have written a whole post about the 5 Best Ways to Package and Store Freezer Meals.

Meaty marinara in a freezer container

What’s the best way to thaw a freezer meal?

Great question! There are 3 Safe Ways to Thaw Freezer Meals that we recommend.

Freezer friendly breakfast sandwiches

We are pumped to share our 70+ favorite healthy freezer meal recipes in one post. But, for some, we realize that number can be overwhelming. If you want this list narrowed down, we have a free eBook of our Top 10 Easy Freezer Meals.

70+ Healthy Freezer Meals

Freezing instructions are included at the end of each recipe.  Please share your successes, tips, or questions in the comments. We’re here to help (and genuinely love to)!

Top 10 Breakfast Freezer Meals

Top 10 make ahead breakfast freezer meals

1. Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

2. Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins

3. Freezer Smoothie Packs: 7 Recipes + Printable Labels + Shopping List!

4. Pumpkin Muffins with Crumble Topping

5. Breakfast Burritos

6. Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

7. Double Chocolate Zucchini Waffles

8. Savory Breakfast Muffins

9. Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread

10. Make-Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches

Bonus: 7 Overnight Oats Recipes: These aren’t a freezer meal but you can make them ahead for the week and store in the fridge!

Top 10 Chicken Freezer Meals

Top 10 Make Ahead Chicken Freezer Meals Collage

1. On the Go Chicken Burritos

2. Southwest Grilled Chicken Tenders

3. Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs

4. Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

5. Chicken Parmesan Casserole

6. Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

7. Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

8. Lemon Garlic Chicken

9. Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

10. Baked Chicken Spaghetti

Top 10 Beef Freezer Meals

Top 10 Make Ahead Beef Freezer Meals collage

1. Super Sloppy Joes

2. Baked Italian Meatballs

3. Beefy Baked Ravioli

4. Mini Meatloaf Muffins

5. Taco Kit Using this Seasoning

6. No Peek Beef Stew

7. Balsamic Shredded Beef

8. Hearty Baked Penne Pasta

9. Pesto Burgers

10. Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup

Tip: This is the place where we both source our grass-fed beef (and it’s delivered to our doorsteps)

Top 10 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

Top 10 make ahead slow cooker freezer meals

1. Slow Cooker BBQ Beef

2. Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken

3. French Dip Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

4. Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

5. Cilantro Lime Chicken

6. Chicken Fiesta Soup

7. Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Sliders

8. Cheddar and Bacon Potato Soup

9. Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

10. Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

Bonus: Never overcook (or undercook!) a slow cooker meal again. Download our printable Slow Cooker Cooking Times Chart!

Top 10 Instant Pot Freezer Meals

Top 10 Make Ahead Instant Pot Freezer Meals

1. Instant Pot BBQ Beef Sandwiches

2. Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

3. Vegetable Soup

4. Tomato Soup

5. Crispy Carnitas

6. Chicken Parmesan Sliders

7. Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

8. Chicken Nachos

9. BBQ Pulled Pork

10. Beef Stew

Did you know we have an Instant Pot cookbook called From Freezer to Cooker? While testing recipes for this book, we honed in on the best timing and methods for cooking different types of meals in the Instant Pot. We are excited to share this valuable information with you.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION OF OUR INSTANT POT COOKING TIMES CHART HERE.

Top 10 Vegetarian Freezer Meals

Top 10 Make Ahead Vegetarian Freezer Meals Collage

1. English Muffin Pizzas

2. Tortilla Soup

3. Hash Brown Casserole (omit bacon)

4. 20 Minute Pumpkin Chili

5. Make Ahead Lunch Wraps

6. Hearty Vegetable Soup

7. Cancer Fighting Soup

8. Autumn Chowder (omit bacon)

9. Tomato Bisque

10. Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Top 10 Misc. Freezer Meals

10 Surprising Make Ahead Freezer meals collage

1. Chicken Burrito Bowls

2. Ham & Cheese Sliders

3. Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes (or Super Stuffed Potatoes)

4. Turkey Pesto Paninis

5. Mediterranean Shrimp

6. Asian Lettuce Wraps

7. Powerball Cookies

8. Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes

9. Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

10. Chocolate Oatmeal Energy Bites

We hope our monster list of healthy freezer meals helps your home run just a little smoother!

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.

Can You Freeze Butter?

By Whitney Reist

Butter makes everything better, amiright? That’s why it’s so smart to buy butter in bulk when it’s on sale, especially right before the holidays. As cookbook authors and freezer cooking experts, we have found that freezing butter is one of the best ways to preserve it when you stock up. 

chunks of butter in flour

Can You Freeze Butter?

Yes, butter freezes very well! According to Land O’ Lakes, having extra butter on hand and freezing it is a good idea. This way you don’t run out when the urge to bake something hits. 

While many foods are great candidates for freezing, maintaining optimal taste and texture is always the biggest concern. Follow our expert instructions for freezing butter to ensure that you have fresh product whenever you need it.

How to Freeze Butter

The simplest way to freeze butter is to keep it in the original packaging and place that inside a gallon-size freezer bag. However, the form of butter you buy and how you plan to use it can influence how it should be frozen:

  • Butter sticks – Butter sticks can be kept in the wrapper and frozen in a gallon-size freezer bag or a freezer-safe container.
  • Butter blocks – We recommend cutting butter blocks into portions that you would use in a recipe. Cut the butter into smaller blocks, wrap each block in plastic, then place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for freezing. 
  • Tub butter – Since tub butters are not packaged in freezer-grade materials, the best way to freeze them is to transfer them into an airtight, freezer-safe container. Divide into smaller containers as needed so you can use a little bit at a time. 
chunks of butter in a white ceramic bowl

How Long Can You Freeze Butter?

According to the USDA, as long as frozen food is kept at 0°F in the freezer, it is safe to consume for an indefinite amount of time. However, after a year or so, you will likely notice signs of freezer burn on butter. 

During our research and recipe testing for our cookbooks, From Freezer to Table and From Freezer to Cooker, we learned that most frozen foods, including butter, should be consumed within 3-6 months for optimal taste and texture. Be sure to freeze your butter well before the USE BY date for safety purposes. That way you’ll have plenty of time left to use your butter after it thaws out. 

How to Defrost Frozen Butter

We have found that the way you defrost frozen butter depends on how you plan to use it. Thaw butter according to these different uses:

  • For softening and spreading – If a recipe calls for softened butter or you’d like to spread it on toast, thaw the butter slowly in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. You can then let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so to soften it evenly throughout. 
  • For melted butter – You can defrost butter in the microwave if you need to melt it for a recipe. Place the frozen butter in a covered microwave-safe container and heat in 30-second increments at 70% power, stirring in between heatings until melted. 
  • For cold butter – In pie crusts, scones, and pastry doughs, butter can be grated directly from the freezer with large holes of a box grater. Or thaw in the refrigerator.

Once frozen butter is thawed, you should plan to use it within 30 days for the best flavor. 

Recipes to Use Up Your Frozen Butter

Boiled Baby Potatoes

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (A Bread Machine Recipe)

Cinnamon Rolls

Hash Brown Casserole

hash brown casserole on table

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Bottom Line

Butter is one of the best kitchen staples to stock up on and freeze! Freeze butter for up to 6 months and thaw according to how you would like to use it.

What Else Can You Freeze?

Wondering what else you can stock up on and freeze? Read on…

How to Freeze Tortillas

How to Freeze Green Onions

How to Freeze Muffins

How to Freeze Bananas

How to Freeze Zucchini

10+ Freezer Meals to Take on Vacation

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Ready to save money and time in the kitchen while on vacation? Freezer meals are the answer! I’ve rounded up the best freezer meals to take on vacation, as well as expert tips for prepping and transporting them, too.

make ahead freezer meals to take on vacation

I’ve made food ahead of time and taken it on vacation for years. Not only has it saved us hundreds of dollars by eating in our condo or cabin, but I spend very little time in the kitchen and a lot more time having fun with my people!

10 Things I'm Glad I Did On Our Family Vacation

Whether you’re headed to the mountains or the beach, I’ve rounded up 10+ delicious freezer meals to make ahead and take on the road with you. But, first, consider our expert tips before making your freezer meals for vacation…

Tips for Making Freezer Meals for Vacation

1. Choose meals that don’t require much work on the back end.

Sometimes freezer meals are fast to prep on the front end but require more work at the end. I intentionally chose meals that have most of the work on the front end, so it will only take you minutes to prepare on vacation.

2. Package and freeze them the right way.

The best way for storing most of these vacation freezer meals is either in a rigid freezer container with a lid or in gallon-sized freezer bags that you will freeze flat for easy stacking. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that air is the enemy of good freezer meals. So wrap your meals up really tight. Make sure your meals are frozen solid before transporting them.

3. Transport them the right way.

Stack your completely frozen meals in a large cooler and cover them in ice. They will stay plenty cold and mostly frozen in the cooler for 24 hours at least. You will need to add more ice after 24 hours. Even if your meals thaw a bit, it’s not a safety issue as long as they stay super cold.

4. Thaw them the right way.

As soon as you arrive at your destination, you’ll probably want to go place several or all of your meals in the refrigerator right away to begin thawing. They can take 24-48 hours to thaw. You will need to use them within 2-3 days of thawing. Or, use one of these other safe thawing methods.

5. Pick up and serve easy sides.

Keep things simple on vacation when it comes to side dishes. Make a quick trip to the store once you arrive at your destination to grab some simple sides to serve with each of these meals. Here are a few side dish ideas:

  • Baby carrots, veggie sticks, and/or sugar snap peas with hummus or Ranch dip
  • Store-bought guacamole and/or salsa and tortilla chips
  • Lots of fruit to use with each meal (i.e. apples, berries, watermelon, peaches, etc)
  • Salads in a bag
  • Baked beans and coleslaw from the prepared food section
  • Applesauce
  • A loaf of bakery bread, like Sourdough or Italian, and butter to go with the casseroles.
  • Prepackaged cooked rice

Freezer Meals to Take on Vacation

These freezer meals to take on vacation have been well-tested by our families and our readers over the years. Not only are they a favorite among all ages, but they require very little work for you on the back end.

1. Baked Italian Meatballs

Bake, cool, and freeze the meatballs in marinara sauce in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Then, thaw, warm, and use over spaghetti or in meatball subs (with Provolone cheese slices on top, of course).

2. Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos (or Instant Pot Taquitos)

The magic of this freezer meal is that the taquitos go directly from freezer to the oven and to the table in no time. Serve with your favorite Mexican toppings, like guacamole, sour cream, and salsa, on top. Kids love these!

Chicken and Cheese Taquitos piled on a serving platter with avocado lime salsa on top

3. Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Put together this crowd-pleaser casserole, do NOT bake, and then freeze. When you arrive, place in the fridge to begin thawing. Bake as directed. Serve “as is” or over your favorite pasta with a salad and some bread on the side.

4. Baked Penne Pasta

Another easy thaw and bake casserole option. This is a HUGE and very popular recipe, so you’ll have leftovers for another meal or two.

5. Ham and Cheese Sliders

Perfect for lunch or dinner. All ages love these sliders.

6. Breakfast Casserole Muffins

A hearty, grab-and-go breakfast option. Warm up in the microwave in seconds.

7. Chicken Spaghetti

Here’s another casserole that your family will love and that only requires you to pop it in the oven after it’s thawed.

8. BBQ Beef Sandwiches (or try our Instant Pot version)

Cook and shred the meat ahead of time. Freeze it in the sauce. Then simply thaw and rewarm for a quick dinner. Corn on the cob, watermelon, baked beans, or coleslaw are all great side dish ideas for this one.

BBQ shredded beef sandwich on a plate with corn and grapes

9. Grilled Pork Tenderloin

If you have access to a grill, this is an easy and tasty one to prepare ahead and to grill later. Simply season your pork tenderloin and place in a freezer bag according to the recipe. Thaw and grill at your destination. My kids love this!

10. Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Sliders (or this Instant Pot version)

If you have a slow cooker or an Instant Pot, this is a super simple recipe to make on vacation. Every age enjoys it, too. You’ll need mini buns, grated Parmesan, and Provolone slices on hand to complete the meal.

11. Make Ahead Lunch Wraps

Budget-friendly and goes straight from the freezer to the oven or microwave. Enjoy for lunch or dinner.

freezer-friendly lunch wraps on a wooden cutting board

12. Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Enjoy a Tex-Mex night at your home away from home with this irresistible enchiladas! Grab some pre-made Mexican rice and some guac and chips at the store to complete your meal.

Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

13. Blueberry Avocado Muffins

Great for grab-and-go breakfasts. Everyone will love these. Thaw in the microwave in 15 second increments or on the counter for a few minutes.

Blueberry Avocado Muffins with Lemon Streusel Topping from "From Freezer to Table" Cookbook (copyrighted)

14. Smoothie Freezer Packs

Perfect for healthy breakfasts and snacks! We’ve developed 7 delicious smoothie recipes to make ahead and freeze. Just add liquid to the blender, dump in your pack ingredients, and blend.

Plus, you can download and print all the recipes, shopping lists, and freezer labels for free.

15. Super Sloppy Joes

This homemade veggie-rich Sloppy Joes recipe with a tangy-sweet tomato sauce is a family favorite. Double and freeze extras for later!

16. Freezer Breakfast Burritos

I love that these go directly from freezer to oven! Absolutely delicious for any meal.

How to Make Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot

Want to take your Instant Pot and use it on your vacation? That’s super smart! Here’s why: you can make Instant Pot freezer meals ahead of time to drop in your pot FROM FROZEN when you get there. It’s hands-free cooking at it’s best!

Our latest cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, will teach you how to make freezer meals for the Instant Pot. Plus, every single recipe works in both the slow cooker AND Instant Pot. Plus, we give you freezer meal instructions for each recipe, too!

Or read our article about How to Make Instant Pot Freezer Meals and check out our Instant Pot Recipe Index on our site for more ideas!

P.S. ROAD TRIP CARDS

I don’t know about you, but I like to plan a few fun, interactive things to do in the car (other than screens) on long road trips. We created our Road Trip Cards to help you do just that. You’re going to love our collection of car games and conversation starters for all ages!

Can You Freeze Bananas?

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Bananas are always on our grocery list, yet we can never seem to finish them before they turn brown and mushy. I’m sure you can relate. That’s why we want to answer the question “can you freeze bananas?” today. Our role as freezer cooking experts and cookbook authors has led us to test all the different methods of freezing and uses for frozen bananas. 

a bunch of bananas

Can You Freeze Bananas?

Yes. Ripe or overripe bananas can be frozen once they are peeled, according to Dole. Our tests have shown that frozen bananas are best to use in smoothies and baked goods. Frozen bananas can also be whipped in the blender for a delicious and healthy treat.

Below are some different ways we recommend freezing bananas according to how you plan to use them:

  • Freeze ripe banana slices for making banana ice cream or drizzling pieces with melted chocolate. Ripe frozen bananas have the best flavor for a frozen banana treat.
  • Freeze ripe or overripe whole peeled bananas for smoothies and blender recipes like pancakes, baked oatmeal, or blender muffins. Cutting the banana in half can make it easier on your blender.
  • Peel and freeze ripe or overripe mashed bananas for baked goods like breads, muffins, and cakes. In our testing, we have found that overripe frozen bananas lend the best flavor to baked goods. 
frozen bananas in a freezer bag

How to Freeze Bananas

One question we get is “do you have to peel bananas before freezing them?” Although not necessary, it is difficult to peel the bananas once they are frozen unless you completely thaw the banana. So, we recommend peeling for ease of use. 

How you should freeze bananas really depends on how you intend to use them. Here are some tips:

  • Sliced Bananas: Freeze sliced bananas on a tray lined with wax paper for 2 hours or until solid before transferring them to a freezer-safe bag or container until ready to use. Label and date the container.
  • Half or Whole Bananas: Freeze half or whole bananas in a gallon-size freezer bag or in portions you would use for a particular recipe. Frozen whole bananas are easy to break apart, so do not worry about sticking. Press all of the air out of the bag as you close it. Label and date the container. 
  • Mashed Bananas: Freeze mashed banana in a freezer-safe container or place in a freezer-safe bag. If using a bag, press all of the air out as you close it and freeze the bag flat. We suggest writing the measurement amount of banana mash on the container with the label and date for ease of use.

How Long Can You Freeze Bananas?

According to the USDA, as long as frozen food is kept at 0°F in the freezer, it is safe to consume for an indefinite amount of time. 

While this is something we noted in writing From Freezer to Table and From Freezer to Cooker, our testing has proven that most frozen foods, including bananas, should be consumed within 3-6 months for optimal flavor and freshness. 

inside a freezer

How to Defrost Frozen Bananas

Depending on how quickly you need to use your bananas, there are a few easy ways to thaw them:

  • Thaw a container of frozen bananas in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  • Run the sealed bag of frozen bananas under lukewarm running water until thawed. 
  • Microwave the bananas for 3-4 minutes at low heat (about 40% power) until they are thawed. Some microwaves have a defrost button, which will work. Stir halfway to ensure even thawing. 

Once frozen bananas are thawed, you can refreeze them, according to the USDA. Thawed mashed banana is the best to refreeze, as thawed whole bananas will become mushy once defrosted. USDA advises against refreezing foods left outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.

Recipes to Use Up Your Frozen Bananas

Try some of our favorite recipes that use up your frozen banana stash. Most of these recipes are freezer-friendly. (Yes, you can freeze your bananas for a second time in these recipes.)

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

banana chocolate chip muffins

Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread

chocolate banana bread slices on white plate

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie (with freezer pack instructions)

blueberry smoothie in mason jar with straw

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal in a casserole dish with a fork

Bottom Line

Bananas can absolutely be frozen! Store them in an airtight container for up to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw them slowly in the refrigerator or microwave for use in your favorite banana recipes. 

What Else Can You Freeze?

Wondering what else you can stock up on and freeze? Read on…

How to Freeze Butter

How to Freeze Tortillas

How to Freeze Green Onions

How to Freeze Muffins

How to Freeze Bananas

How to Freeze Zucchini

Can You Freeze Tortillas?

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Let me guess. You just stocked up on tortillas that were on sale at the grocery store or have a half-used package in the refrigerator and are asking, “Can you freeze tortillas?”. We’ve been there many times! As freezer cooking experts and cookbook authors, we tackled this question and lend our freezer cooking tips and advice.

tortillas in a freezer bag

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

Can You Freeze Tortillas?

Yes, both soft corn and flour tortillas freeze well, according to our own tests and according to one of the largest manufacturers of tortillas, Mission Foods.

One important thing we learned when writing From Freezer to Table and From Freezer to Cooker is that if your food—tortillas included—is kept at 0°F in the freezer, it will remain safe to consume indefinitely. That’s the USDA that says that, not us. Shocking, I know!

If food safety isn’t the issue, then the question really becomes “how do I freeze and defrost tortillas in a way that retains their original taste and texture?“. Follow our freezing instructions to ensure that your tortillas remain fresh even after their freezer staycation.

How to Freeze Tortillas

You can freeze tortillas in their original store packaging for a few weeks with good results. However, if you plan to store tortillas in the freezer for longer than that (or if you’ve made fresh tortillas that have fully cooled!), follow these steps to maintain their quality and freshness.

  1. Remove the store packaging.
  2. Wrap the stack of tortillas tightly with plastic wrap, foil, or freezer paper. (Note: If you want to pull out individual tortillas from the freezer rather than having to defrost the entire stack, America’s Test Kitchen suggests adding a layer of parchment or wax paper between each tortilla to keep them from sticking together.)
  3. Place in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air from the bag and seal tightly.
  4. Label and date the package and then place the tortillas in the back of the freezer. You might find our printable Freezer Labels helpful for this task.

How long can you freeze tortillas?

If you freeze tortillas in their original store packaging, they will remain fresh in the freezer for a few weeks. If you package tortillas using our freezing instructions, they should remain fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months or so.

How to Defrost Frozen Tortillas

According to Mission Foods, the best way to thaw frozen corn or flour tortillas is to set them in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days until they are completely defrosted. That way, they won’t stick together when you try to pull them apart.

In our tests, simply setting a small package of tortillas on the counter for an hour or so worked just fine for defrosting them.

Lastly, Chef David J. Alvarez recommends this cool trick! Defrost corn tortillas in the toaster. He instructs viewers to place two (not just one) completely frozen corn tortillas in each toaster slot or 1-2 minutes. They will come out soft, steamy, and ready to use.

Recipes to Use Up Your Frozen Tortillas

Try some of our favorite recipes that use up your tortilla stash. Most of these recipes are freezer-friendly. (Yes, you can freeze your tortillas for a second time in these recipes.)

Make Ahead Lunch Wraps

freezer-friendly lunch wraps on a wooden cutting board

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

Farm Fresh Breakfast Quesadilla

Bottom Line

Tortillas are very freezer-friendly. Package them tightly and store up to 6 months in the freezer. Remember to let them thaw slowly in the refrigerator or counter top for best results.

What Else Can You Freeze?

Wondering what else you can stock up on and freeze? Read on…

How to Freeze Butter

How to Freeze Green Onions

How to Freeze Muffins

How to Freeze Bananas

How to Freeze Zucchini

How to Freeze Green Onions or Scallions

By Polly Conner
Freezing green onions

Can you freeze green onions?

So, this is one of those posts that many of you will chuckle at and think, “You didn’t know that?”

I am here to tell you that, no, I did not know that you can freeze and save green onions for later use. So for those of you out there, like me, this post is for you.

This year, my backyard garden has given us a CRAZY amount of green onions. They are bigger than I’ve ever seen in a grocery store and I simply didn’t know what to do with them all. I mean, look at these crazy things!

Green onions growing in garden

I was about to throw them in the compost when I ran the question past my dad, the gardener extraordinaire, of what I should do with so many leftover scallions (green onions and scallions are the same thing, FYI). He informed me that you could chop them up and freeze them for later use. Duh.

So that’s what I did today. I yanked out a TON of onions, washed them off, chopped them up, and froze them!

Want to save some leftover onions in the future? Read on, my thrifty friends!

How to Freeze and Store Green Onions

Green onions picked from the garden

First step is to wash your veggies. Use a combination of white vinegar and water to soak or rinse your produce. One study says use 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar. Another said use 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar. I usually use somewhere between those two recommendations.
Mine were out of the garden so I didn’t have to worry about pesticides but I did have to spray some dirt off and make sure I didn’t freeze any bugs along with my onions. 

Next, chop up your onions.  I first chopped off the roots, then cut the bulb off, and froze those in a separate bag. After removing any dead growth, I choppy-chopped away!

Green onions & scallions chopped for the freezer

Lastly, spread out chopped onions on cookie sheet. I laid some parchment paper down (to make for easier removal later) and spread them out as best as I could. I then stuck both sheets of onions in the freezer. I do this so they aren’t all clumped up and frozen together.

After they had been in there for a few hours, I moved them all to a Ziploc bag. (I’ve read that saving them in an empty water bottle is handy too!)

How to Use Green Onions that Have Been Frozen & Thawed

Since freezing onions will cause them to lose their crisp texture, only using them in dishes you will cook. So these would be good for soups, marinades, omelettes, fried rice, etc. Here are some of our delicious recipes that use green onions:

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes

Add them to:

Honey Bourbon Chicken and Stir Fry Vegetables on a large white platter

More Resources on Freezer Cooking

We have a wealth of information on freezer cooking that you might find helpful. Make sure you start with all of the freezer meals in our recipe index.

Here are a few more ideas:

5 Best Ways to Package and Store Freezer Meals

3 Safe Ways to Thaw Freezer Meals

30+ Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

freezer meals, freezer containers

Baked Italian Meatballs

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Look no further for a delicious baked meatball recipe. Our Baked Italian Meatballs are a 30 minute meal staple in our house! The ingredients are simple but they are still packed with flavor. They make a great freezer meal because you can easily double the batch to freeze meatballs for later!

Baked meatballs on a white plate with marinara sauce

Easiest Baked Meatballs… EVER

Everybody loves a good meatball, right? Well, at least everyone in my crew does. And, as my mom friends out there know, it’s no small feat to prepare a meal that everyone eats and enjoys. These delicious, moist, Baked Italian Meatballs may get eaten before they ever make it atop whole wheat spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce or a Meatball Sandwich.

The ingredients in our baked meatballs are simple:

You likely have all of the ingredients for these easy baked meatballs in your pantry!

Baked italian meatball

Perhaps the best part: Skip the stove top mess and bake these away in the oven for only 20 minutes. They come out perfect every time. And, like so many of our recipes, you can make these meatballs ahead of time and freeze them for a quick, healthy meal later. Check out the freezer meal instructions in the recipe.

Here is a short video of how Baked Italian Meatballs come together

How to Freeze Baked Meatballs

One of the best parts about this meatball recipe is that it is freezer friendly. Meatballs work beautifully to assemble and then freeze before baking for a meal down the road. I’d suggest rolling them up and placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet to freeze.

How to freeze baked italian meatballs

After they are frozen enough to hold together, place them in an airtight container or freezer storage bag.

The beauty of freezing meatballs is that you can now pop out as many as you need for future meals. No need to bake them all at once. These can be a great freezer meal for 1-2 people.

Ways to Use Baked Meatballs

Baked meatballs are incredibly versatile. Here are some ideas on ways to use them!

  • Serve them over whole wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce
  • Bake them and then assemble them as Meatball Sandwiches
  • Eat them plain! They can be a great appetizer.
  • Lighten up but don’t miss out on flavor by serving them over zoodles.
Baked italian meatball on a fork

What to serve with Baked Italian Meatballs

Here are some ideas that baked meatballs would go well with:

Print

Baked Italian Meatballs {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings (about 24 11/2 inch meatballs) 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Everybody loves a good meatball! These delicious, moist ones may get eaten before they ever make it atop spaghetti or a sub sandwich. You’ll want to make this baked version of meatballs again and again.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef (This is where we get our favorite grass-fed ground beef.*)
  • 1 cup whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

*affiliate link


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Using clean hands, gently combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Use a medium dough scooper or a spoon to scoop and then roll about 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Line up meatballs on the sheet pan, leaving room between each.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until no longer pink inside (160 degrees internal temperature).
  5. Optional: Serve with marinara sauce over pasta or on a sub sandwich.

Freeze For Later:

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Then, complete Steps 2 and 3. At this point, flash freeze uncooked meatballs by placing on the sheet pan (or in a baking dish) in the freezer for about an hour or so. Once frozen, dump meatballs in a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and place in freezer.

Prepare From Frozen:

Thaw meatballs using one of these safe thawing methods. Cook according to instructions, beginning with Step 4.

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.

The 5 Best Ways to Package and Store Freezer Meals

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Freezer meal experts and cookbook authors, Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer, share their best secrets to packaging and storing freezer meals the right way.

Deep freezer stocked full of food

You’ve spent hours carefully preparing delicious freezer meals for your family. Pat yourself on the back, because that’s a really smart use of your time and money! Now, the last thing you want is to have all your hard work get freezer burned and stale in the freezer.

Don’t worry. As long as you package and store your prepped meals the right way, your food will taste like a fresh meal on the other end of its stay in the freezer.

How should I package and store freezer meals to keep them fresh?

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 most important thing to keep in mind is that AIR IS YOUR ENEMY. That’s why you have to choose packaging that will allow minimal air exposure to help prevent your food from tasting like cardboard.

Two women packaging freezer meals

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5 Best Ways to Package and Store Freezer Meals

Over the 10+ years, we’ve been freezer cooking, we’ve narrowed down the following five best freezing methods for storing freezer meals.

1) Freezer-safe glass baking dish with air-tight lid

Baked Peach Oatmeal from From Freezer to Table cookbook. Order your copy today at www.FromFreezerToTable.com.

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*.

Glass is also a safer alternative to plastic containers. This is because plastic can break down over time from high temperatures and overuse and potentially leach harmful chemicals into food, especially when heated. 

Our favorite glass freezer storage containers are this 8×8 inch glass baking dish from Anchor Hocking…

8x8 inch glass baking dish

…and this 9×13 glass baking dish from Anchor Hocking. We like that you can see through the lid, the fun colors and that they stack nicely in the freezer.

9x13 glass baking dish

If you do not have an air-tight lid, simply wrap the dish in several layers of plastic wrap (or foil) and squeeze out any excess air before freezing.

*Note: Do not expose glass baking dishes to extreme temperature differences. Be sure to thaw your food first.

2) Freezer storage bags

Freezer bags with freezer meals

You have two options for resealable freezer bags:

1) BPA-free plastic freezer bags

Resealable BPA-free freezer storage bags, both gallon-sized and quart-sized, are quite useful when it comes to freezing. Just DO NOT heat them or place hot foods into them, as plastic can leach chemicals into your food when heated. Store fully-cooled baked goods and soups, plus meat in marinades and many other cooled-down foods in these freezer bags easily. Be sure to squeeze out all excess air before sealing.

Baked meatballs in a freezer bag with freezer meal label

2) Silicone storage bags

An alternative to using plastic freezer bags are resealable silicone storage bags. Silicone is one of the safest materials to freeze food in and does not leach chemicals when exposed to heat or hot foods. We both own and use these 4 cup silicone storage bags, although you may want to try these 1-gallon bags for larger freezer meals. They are dishwasher safe (although you will have to hand dry them) and leak-proof. The slider over the top may be difficult for younger kids to use, FYI. We especially like these bags for making Freezer Smoothie Packs.

smoothie pack in a silicone storage bag

3) Wide-mouth mason (canning) jars

frozen food in mason jars

Most canning jars are freezer-safe and useful when freezing soups, sauces, broths, and more. We like that they are made of a safe material and that you can store smaller or individual servings of your freezer food. That way you can have a jar of soup in the freezer always ready for lunch or to pass along to a friend in need.

Just be sure to follow these tips when using jars for freezing food to avoid having them break:

  • Only use canning jars, not just a glass jar of any type. Other types of glass jars will shatter in the freezer. (I’ve had this happen with a repurposed pickle jar!)
  • Always leave at least one inch of headspace when filling to allow for food expansion.
  • It’s also very helpful if the canning jar has a wide mouth at the top, as it allows more space for expansion, but a regular mouth jar will work if you don’t fill it too full.

4) Heavy-duty aluminum foil

breakfast burritos wrapped in foil

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.

breakfast sandwiches wrapped in foil

Remember, air is the enemy of delicious freezer meals. So, a smart move is to wrap the item in a layer or two of plastic wrap or freezer paper first. Then, cover with a layer or two of foil, making sure it is air-tight. Or, you can wrap items in foil and place in a large freezer bag.

5) Vacuum sealer

salmon in a vacuum sealer

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. 😉

Label Your Freezer Meals

Now that you’ve selected the best packaging for your freezer meals, make sure to label it with the type of food it is, cooking instructions, how many servings, and a date. Our printable freezer meal labels work well for this purpose.

Breakfast sandwiches in a ziplock

The Best Freezer Meal Recipes

If you’re looking for well-tested, real food freezer meal recipes, we’ve got a few suggestions:

1) Dig into our Freezer Meals Recipe Index.

freezer meals

2. Snag our popular freezer meal cookbooks!

We’ve spent years painstakingly developing, testing, and retesting freezer-friendly recipes for both of our cookbooks called From Freezer to Table and From Freezer to Cooker.

From Freezer to Table: 75+ Simple, Whole Foods Recipes for Gathering, Cooking, and Sharing

In our first cookbook, we teach you all the basics of freezer cooking, how to start a freezer club, and provide 75+ of our favorite, family-friendly recipes. With nearly 200 5-star reviews on Amazon, readers are loving it!

From Freezer to Cooker: Delicious Whole Foods Recipes for the Slow Cooker and Instant Pot

In our second cookbook, we turn our focus to freezer meal recipes for the slow cooker and Instant Pot. Beautifully photographed, rigorously tested, and the only cookbook of it’s kind! You won’t believe the versatility of every single recipe.

More Freezer Cooking Resources

6 No-Fail Steps to Making Delicious Freezer Meals

How to Make Instant Pot Freezer Meals

How to Throw a Freezer Party

How to Start a Freezer Club

80+ Easy Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Top 3 Myths About Freezer Cooking Debunked!

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Don't let these 3 myths stop you from saving time and money, eating healthier, and having delicious meals on the table regularly! Here are the top 3 freezer cooking myths debunked!

As self-proclaimed “freezer cooking evangelists”, we’re on a mission to convert friends, family, and readers to the freezer cooking lifestyle. That’s because we’ve been convinced over our 15+ combined years of experience with this type of make-ahead meal prep that it really does save time and money, helps us eat healthier, and reduces stress at dinner time.

We are always looking to help just one more person experience the end result of enjoying a delicious, homemade meal around the table with their loved ones. And, that’s really why we decided to write our cookbook called From Freezer to Table.

We get it. You’re hesitant to give freezer cooking a go, right? We’ve even been in your shoes, but it’s time to get some facts straight. So today I want to clear up the top three freezer cooking myths we’ve heard from our “nose turner upper” pals. 🙂

Myth #1: Freezer meals aren’t fresh tasting. They are usually mushy and boring.

My husband and I LOVE good food and claim to be “foodie-wanna-bes”. Mushy, boring, beige meals are what I avoid most when cooking. What I’ve learned is that freezer meals can taste just as good as fresh meals when prepared correctly. They can be full of vibrant color and complex flavors, too. Check out a few examples (and, yes, these are freezer meals)… Read more

Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs {Freezer Meal}

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

You want a killer marinade that everyone will like? Give this baby a try. This Southwest-inspired marinade packs a little smokiness, just a hint of heat, and a salty punch. We love it, especially on these fast-cooking kabobs.

For juicy, tender bite-sized chicken that will please a crowd try these Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs.

Just chop up your chicken, throw it in a bag with the marinade, and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two. While it soaks up the flavor, sit your kabob sticks in some water so they don’t get obliterated on the grill.

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

Then, all you have to do is quickly thread them on the sticks and grill away. This recipe only takes a few minutes on each side. The marinade would also be great on grilled veggie kabobs like peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. But, I prefer to cook them on separate kabob sticks, because they cook at a different pace than the meat.  

For juicy, tender bite-sized chicken that will please a crowd try these Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs.

As long as you don’t overcook these guys, you’ll end up with very moist, tasty pieces of meat. Serve them over rice, a salad, inside a taco, or on their own with some of your favorite sides.

For juicy, tender bite-sized chicken that will please a crowd try these Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs.
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Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Grilled Marinated Chicken Kabobs {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Southwest

Description

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


Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup olive oil (or I like avocado oil b/c of it’s high smoke point)
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar (sub: white vinegar) (Gluten-Free: Make sure your vinegar is gluten-free.)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (sub: fresh parsley)
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, crush in hand
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients (except the chicken) in a large zip top bag and shake. Add chicken and shake again. Place bag in a dish and set in the refrigerator. Let chicken marinate for an hour or two, occasionally turning the bag to evenly distribute the marinade.
  2. While chicken marinates, place wooden kabob sticks in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  3. Grill chicken kabobs over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side. Chicken is done when you cut into it and there is no more pink. Do not overcook.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions: To Freeze: Place marinade and chicken in a freezer bag, shake, and freeze. To Prepare: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Grill according to directions.

Leftover Ham and Nine Bean Soup {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Cheap, rich and savory, and good for you too! This Ham and Bean Soup is a perfect winter comfort food. #freezermeal #realfood

Cooking within a tight grocery budget? Let me tell ya, this soup is the bomb. It’s not only cheap thanks to the beans, but it’s also very filling and boasts a rich savory flavor thanks to the ham. (Want to save even more? Try my equally delicious Ham and Bean Soup that’s even more budget-friendly due to only using a ham bone to flavor it.)

I created this new Ham and Bean Soup recipe after Thanksgiving as a way to use up the leftover ham for my Uncle Rich, who won’t touch turkey with a 10 foot pole. What makes this soup so simple is the use of a nine bean soup mix that you’ll find in the bean aisle of most grocery stores. Just be sure to follow the package directions, because YOU WILL NEED TO SOAK THE BEANS a few hours or even a day beforehand. That’s about the most complicated part of all this, which isn’t complicated at all. Soaking the beans just requires a wee bit of planning.

Cheap, rich and savory, and good for you too! This Ham and Bean Soup is a perfect winter comfort food. #freezermeal #realfood

Make this recipe before winter passes, because it’s one of those soups you need to sip on while watching the snow flakes fall outside your window. Add a hunk of crusty bread alongside it, and you’ll feel that all is right in the world for those 10 minutes. It’s true.

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Leftover Ham and Nine Bean Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Cheap, rich in taste, savory, and good for you too! This Ham and Bean Soup is a perfect winter comfort food.


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 64 oz (2 cartons) salted chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 cups of ham steaks, cubed
  • 1 lb soup bean mix (Soak first according to package directions.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot, saute onions in olive oil. Add garlic, red pepper, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Add chicken stock, water, ham, beans, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower heat, put on a lid (keep it tilted for venting), and simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Add more stock or water, if it reduces too much.
  3. Taste broth and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add carrots. Simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the bay leaves.
  5. Garnish a bowl of soup with some fresh chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Notes

Freezer Instructions:

To freeze:
Simply fully cook the soup, let it cool completely, and freeze in a BPA-free gallon freezer bag or other air-tight freezable container for up to 3 months.

To prepare:
Either thaw in the fridge overnight and warm up over low heat on the stovetop or in a crockpot.

Start a Freezer Club: Eat Healthier While Saving Time and Money

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This mom was in a Freezer Club for 7 years and learned how to save time and money while eating healthier. Here's everything you need to know to start a Freezer Club of your own.

Sponsored by Frigidaire

During college and my early 20’s, despite off-and-on dieting and excessive exercising, I always hung on to about 10-20 extra pounds. Not only that, but I felt like a prisoner to food and exercise—counting every calorie and punishing myself with long workouts to make up for poor eating. Looking back now, I see that I was going about “being healthy” all wrong.

When I got pregnant for the first time at age 27, I finally decided I was sick of living for myself when it came to my obsession with losing weight. I had to start thinking of others—mainly the new life growing inside me. Over time, I shifted my focus to cooking and eating at home, rather than my obsession with calorie-counting and losing weight. My goal now was to live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. It was so freeing and doable! A surprising result was that over time I naturally lost and have kept off all the extra weight without obsessing over it.

This mom was in a Freezer Club for 7 years and learned how to save time and money while eating healthier. Here's everything you need to know to start a Freezer Club of your own.A significant, if not the most important, part of my new on-going healthy lifestyle was joining a Freezer Club with friends. If you’re wanting to improve your eating habits or simply save time and money, the New Year is a perfect time to consider starting your own Freezer Club. I’d love to tell you more about my group, why I loved it, and how to start one of your own.

But before we get started, you’ll want to think about where you’re going to put your freezer meals. One of the best investments I made after starting a Freezer Club was purchasing a stand-alone freezer to house my monthly bounty. Polly and I have both loved our upright Frigidaire Gallery® 2-in-1 Freezers (pictured at left). This is by far the best appliance I own! I’ll tell you why this is the king of all freezers in a minute. But first, you may be wondering… Read more

The Easiest Baked Mac & Cheese {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This dump, stir, and bake method really is the easiest Baked Mac and Cheese ever. Plus it's delicious! #freezermeal
Another Mac and Cheese recipe? Really? (Uh-hem, Rachel, you’ve already got the 5-Ingredient Mac and A Better Mac and Cheese in your Recipe Index.)

Really. Here’s why this one is worth yet another Mac and Cheese post.

I’ve found the easiest way to make baked mac ever, and my family loves it. No roux involved! (A roux is that messy flour/butter combo which is part of the delicate cheese sauce-making method.) Instead, this recipe is just a simple add, stir, bake method that actually works! The cheese doesn’t melt perfectly, so if you’re fussy about seeing no rogue shreds of cheese, then look away. But, over here, we’re perfectly happy with the taste, texture, simplicity and yumminess.

A few more cooking notes:

  • I used whole wheat pasta, but your family will never bat an eye. So serve them up some good ole extra fiber and nutrition.
  • You’ll notice that there are quite a few more eggs in this recipe than a normal baked mac. Worry not! That’s what gives it a custard texture, which is a good thing.
  • I also snuck in a little pumpkin, which is tasteless in a recipe like this, but adds a little nutrition. Feel free to leave it out if you’re weirded out by it. Or if you love the idea, here are 50 more ways to sneak nutrition into kid favorites. I do it by default, quite honestly.

The other thing I’ve found about this recipe is that it freezes well for later. Just whip up a double batch, freeze one before baking, and eat the other. Then, you’ll have an easy weeknight meal ready on hand. (More detailed freezer meal instructions in recipe.) If you’re looking for more healthy, kid-friendly freezer recipes, check out our Freezer Meal Page.

Enjoy!

This dump, stir, and bake method really is the easiest Baked Mac and Cheese ever. Plus it's delicious! #freezermeal

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The Easiest Baked Mac & Cheese

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This easy method for baked mac and cheese is sure to be a family favorite. Plus you will love being able to double it and throw a batch in the freezer for an easy weeknight meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat macaroni noodles
  • olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (optional but tasteless!)
  • 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley (crush in hand)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • 12 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (or almond meal)

Instructions

  1. Cook the macaroni in a large pot until al dente, according to directions. Drain pasta, toss with a little olive oil in the pot, and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, milk, salt, pepper, ground mustard, parsley, and nutmeg until combined. Pour mixture over the macaroni noodles and stir gently until combined.
  4. Add in the shredded cheese a handful at a time, stirring to combine as you go. It won’t melt completely.
  5. Pour the mac mixture into the baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and spray the cooking spray over the top of the casserole.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until bubbly around the edges and starting to brown on top.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Complete the recipe through Step 5. Let cool. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and/or foil. Freeze.
To Prepare:
Let casserole thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake according to instructions. If it’s still a bit frozen in the middle, bake longer until heated through. Cover with foil if it starts to brown on top too much.

Host a Freezer Meal Party: How to Store and Thaw Your Meals

By Polly Conner

Throw a freezer meal party--how to store and save your meals

Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Frigidaire. But the opinions are all ours!

Whether you throw a Freezer Meal Party or not, we think that today’s post will be super helpful for anyone wanting to stock their freezer with homemade food. As self-proclaimed “freezer cooking evangelists” (ha, ha!), we feel called to share the know-how we’ve acquired over our 12+ combined years of freezer cooking experience. So, today we’re answering some of the most frequent questions we get about how to store and thaw your freezer meals, which are perhaps the two most integral steps to your freezer cooking success. Read more

Throw a Freezer Meal Party: How to Host the Event

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Throw a freezer meal party and have fun while saving time and money! This post is all about how to throw the actual event. #freezermeal

Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Frigidaire. But the opinions are all ours!

Now that we’ve convinced you of why to throw a freezer meal party (hopefully!) and how to plan and prep for one, let’s talk about hosting the actual event. With a little forethought and prep, your party will not only provide a fun night out with friends but also a productive one: you and your pals will head home with six delicious and healthy freezer meals! Just follow these simple guidelines. Read more

Throw a Freezer Meal Party: Party Planning and Preparation

By Polly Conner

Throw a Freezer Meal Party for a fun and productive night with friends! Save time and money, all while putting together six healthy prepared meals for the freezer! #freezermeal #realfood

Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Frigidaire. But the opinions are all ours!

Freezer meal parties are all the rage as of late! (This post explains what they are and why we think they are so worth it.)

I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend an evening with friends AND stock your freezer with homecooked meals at the same time.

The concept is catching on and we wanted to prepare you for how to throw a freezer meal party of your own. With a little preparation and planning, it can be easily pulled off by anyone. Below, we will walk you through the steps on what to do BEFORE the actual party.

How to Throw a Freezer Meal Party

Read more

Throw a Freezer Meal Party: Why We are Loving These

By Polly Conner

What is a Freezer Meal Party and why is it SO worth your time? We've got your basic questions answered in this series all about saving you time and money!

Last night, we wrapped up our second freezer meal party in just two weeks. Thanks to these freezer cooking parties, we both currently have freezers stocked with 12 healthy, home-cooked, delicious recipes that will feed our families for weeks. (Cue the angelic voices from the skies).

“Wait. What’s a freezer meal party?” you may be asking.

Well friend, glad you asked.  We’re pretty excited to tell you more about this newer concept of a one-time Freezer Meal Party. It has been a huge help to our families and we are pretty convinced it would be a great help to you, no matter your stage in life.

Because let’s face, it. It is HARD to make home cooked meals every night. Kids are crabby. Parents are tired. And when convenience food is so… convenient, it’s tempting to go that route.

Enter, freezer cooking parties. Read more

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer
This Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin is a lean, flavor-packed, crowd-pleaser. It's been part of our family dinner rotation for years. #freezermeal #realfood

True or False? Once upon a time, a local news reporter did a 5 o’clock news story about my Freezer Club. My only line in the whole thing was, “I’ve never met a pork tenderloin I didn’t love.”

True. And my husband still loves to quote my “famous” line back to me almost every time we eat pork tenderloin. Hey, but look. It’s truly an awesome, easy-to-fix, and hard-to-mess-up piece of affordable meat. And, this Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin recipe has been part of our regular dinner rotation for years.

This Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin is a lean, flavor-packed, crowd-pleaser. It's been part of our family dinner rotation for years. #freezermeal #realfood

The seasoning rub turns this bland cut into something superb every time. Kids and adults ask for this one around our house. So, don’t forget to double or triple this recipe and freeze extras for later. Freezer meal instructions are included.

This Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin is a lean, flavor-packed, crowd-pleaser. It's been part of our family dinner rotation for years. #freezermeal #realfood
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This Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin is a lean, flavor-packed, crowd-pleaser. It's been part of our family dinner rotation for years. #freezermeal #realfood

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A wide range of dried herbs and seasonings from the pantry makes this simple main dish a win every time. Roasting at a high temperature creates a crust on the outside, while cooking it just until it’s done (and not a minute more) and letting the tenderloin rest, keeps all the juices inside. Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin pairs nicely with creamy mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, and a crisp white wine.


Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In small bowl combine garlic powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, thyme, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Place pork tenderloin in foil-lined or parchment-lined roasting pan. Pat dry. Then, drizzle and rub about 1 tablespoon olive oil all over pork tenderloin.
  4. Next, rub the seasoning mixture all over the tenderloin, pressing gently so the seasoning adheres well to all sides.
  5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until it reaches an internal temp of 145 degrees. (Note: At this safe internal temperature, it will still be slightly pink inside.) Do not overcook. (Note: If you prefer to cook in your slow cooker, instructions are at the bottom.
  6. Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes so juices redistribute. Slice on an angle and serve.

Notes

Slow Cooker Instructions:
Complete recipe through Step 4. Add pork tenderloin to the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 2-3 hours. (Internal temperature should be 145 degrees F when done.) Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes so juices redistribute. Slice on an angle and serve.

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Complete Steps 2-4 and place the seasoned, uncooked pork tenderloin in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.
To Prepare:
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Set on the counter at room temperature for 30 minutes right before cooking. Then, roast in a preheated 450 degrees F oven according to the directions in Step 5 and 6. If the middle is still cold, it may take longer to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Need a side dish idea?

Serve this with our 3-Minute No-Boil Corn on the Cob!

Mediterranean Shrimp {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

This freezer-friendly shrimp will make even the most reluctant seafood eaters happy! It's a fun one to serve for family dinner or as a party appetizer. #freezermeal #realfood

Disclaimer: This recipe was created in partnership with Frigidaire. But the opinions are all ours!

I love the versatility of this Mediterranean Shrimp recipe. It takes minutes to make, is freezer-friendly and is also kid-friendly. The marinade flavor is wonderful and there are several ways you can cook the shrimp.

One option of making Mediterranean Shrimp is throwing the shrimp on skewers (don’t they look pretty?). Broil in the oven or grill them in just minutes this way. If you don’t have skewers on hand, you can also sauté the shrimp in a skillet. Shrimp cooks very quickly so it’s important not to overcook it or it can get tough.

This freezer-friendly shrimp will make even the most reluctant seafood eaters happy! It's a fun one to serve for family dinner or as a party appetizer. #freezermeal #realfood

After you’ve cooked the shrimp, throw it on some brown rice or whole wheat pasta topped with some feta for a delicious, healthy dinner.

Freezer Friendly Mediterranean Shrimp. Even the most reluctant seafood eaters will enjoy this succulent lemony shrimp. Broiling for only a few minutes on each side creates a crisp exterior while maintaining a juicy interior. The skewers and beautiful garnishes make this easy dish a fun one to serve for family dinner or as a party appetizer.

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Mediterranean Shrimp {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Seafood
  • Method: Broil
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Even the most reluctant seafood eaters will enjoy this succulent lemony shrimp. Broiling for only a few minutes on each side creates a crisp exterior while maintaining a juicy interior. The skewers and beautiful garnishes make this easy dish a fun one to serve for family dinner or as a party appetizer.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of about 1 1/2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic (23 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pound raw deveined large (16/20 count) shrimp (peeled or shell on)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Crumbled feta cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all marinade ingredients, from olive oil through dried basil.
  2. Pat dry the shrimp with paper towels. Then add to the marinade and toss. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate. Stir occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup.
  4. Optional: Thread four or five shrimp on each skewer. Set shrimp on baking sheet. Discard the rest of the marinade (or boil marinade and use as sauce per serving instructions below.)
  5. Broil shrimp for 2 minutes on the first side and then flip the shrimp. Broil for another 2 minutes on the second side. Shrimp is done when it is pink. Do not overcook.
  6. Garnish shrimp with some minced parsley, a squeeze of lemon, and some crumbled feta. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving Suggestion:

  1. Boil the leftover marinade in small pot on the stovetop for 4-5 minutes and then pour over shrimp and pasta or rice. Then top with parsley, lemon, and feta.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a ziptop bag. Then rinse, pat dry, and skewer the shrimp, if desired. Place skewers or shrimp in a separate freezer bag. Seal the bags well and freeze.
To Prepare:
When ready to cook, submerge sealed freezer bags in cold water until the shrimp is mostly thawed (about 15 minutes). Then cook and serve according to directions, starting with marinating the shrimp in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 pound of shrimp

Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders makes a quick, healthy, and kid-friendly dinner. Double and freeze a batch for later with the included freezer meal instructions!

Skip the messy dredging and breading process of most chicken tender recipes with this easy shake-and-bake one. The oven-fried method produces a crispy, yet healthy version that rivals any deep-fried nugget.

The Old Bay seasoning lends a peppery New England hint, but even the pickiest eaters will enjoy these chicken strips. Be sure to double this freezable recipe and bake directly from frozen on busy weeknights.

Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders makes a quick, healthy, and kid-friendly dinner. Double and freeze a batch for later with the included freezer meal instructions!

Your family is gonna love these Oven Fried Chicken Tenders! Try them with some homemade Oven Fries and Roasted Broccoli for the kid-friendly meal of the century.

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Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This yummy version of chicken fingers are a sure winner! Your family will love the moist chicken packed with loads of flavor. You will love the healthy twist on classic chicken fingers.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (omit this ingredient if you don’t want a little spicy-ness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/3 lbs chicken tenders
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover a metal sheet pan with with foil for easy clean up, if desired. Place the pan in the preheated oven, so it gets hot.
  2. Meanwhile, place the flour, Parmesan cheese, Old Bay, and garlic powder in a large zip ­top plastic bag; shake well to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, lightly season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Then toss with the oil until coated.
  4. Add several chicken tenders at a time to the bag of dry ingredients. Close and shake well to coat each piece.
  5. Carefully remove hot sheet pan and generously grease with cooking spray. Arrange seasoned chicken tenders on the pan, leaving room between each one.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until done, turning once halfway through cooking time. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Serve immediately.

Freeze For Later: Bread the chicken tenders according to Steps 2-4. Flash freeze the uncooked, coated chicken tenders by placing on a baking sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once frozen, place tenders in a gallon-sized freezer bag, squeeze out all the air, and place in the back of the freezer until ready to prepare.

Prepare From Frozen: Follow Step 1. Bake the tenders directly from frozen on the hot greased sheet pan at for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 2-3 chicken tenders per person

Side Dish Idea:

Want an idea of what these will go well with? Serve these with our Simply Boiled Baby Potatoes!

Hearty Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge, freezer, and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup. Whip up a big batch and your family will eat on this all week long.

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup.

I call this soup my “post holiday cleanse” soup. It’s pretty much all I desire after a few weeks of overly indulgent foods. Every few weeks in the winter (especially right after the holidays), I like to whip up a huge pot of this filling, nutritious, and warming Hearty Vegetable Soup. Then, we eat on it all week long.

You can really add whatever veggies you have on hand to this recipe. I also like to add in black beans or lentils, as well. It’s a great one for cleaning out the fridge (and the digestive system..ha, ha!). Plus, it takes no time at all.

Now, if you really want to make this a homemade comfort meal, try your hand at my favorite Easy Homemade Sandwich Bread. I break it down step-by-step so that anyone can do this. A slice of this warm homemade bread would perfectly compliment a steaming bowl of Hearty Vegetable Soup.

homemade wheat sandwich bread
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hearty vegetable soup recipe

Hearty Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: about 12 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Use any combination of vegetables in your fridge and pantry to make this hearty, delicious vegetable soup. Whip up a big batch and your family will eat on this all week long.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 medium or large onion, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 12 cups chicken broth (three 32 oz boxes of broth)
  • 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes, juice and all
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 34 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced (do not peel)
  • 12 cups fresh or frozen green beans, trimmed and chopped
  • 12 cups frozen corn
  • 12 cups frozen peas
  • Optional: chopped kale or spinach

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until it’s shimmery. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add garlic and tomato paste and sauté for another minute. Add broth, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir in the potatoes, green beans, and corn. (Don’t add the peas yet.) Reduce to a simmer (a low bubble). Season with a bit more salt and pepper, but don’t go overboard since you can adjust the seasoning at the end. Cook and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender (check by piercing with a fork).
  3. Stir in the frozen peas (and stir in the optional kale/spinach), until they are warmed through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  4. Serving suggestion: Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and serve with a good loaf of crusty bread.

Freeze For Later: Prepare soup as directed. If you do not plan on eating any of it on the day you prepare it, do not add the frozen peas. Let soup cool completely. Place in freezer safe bags or containers. Store for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Let soup thaw using one of these safe thawing methods. Warm on low on stovetop or in a slow cooker. You may need to add a little more water or broth as the vegetables tend to soak up the liquid once it sits.