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Sweet & Savory Oven Baked Boneless Pork Chops

By Polly Conner

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

Oven baked boneless pork chop on a plate with green beans

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

Pro Tip: To make these pork chops a sweet & savory delight, be sure to reduce the marinade at the end and drizzle it over the top of those chops. You won’t regret it.

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

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

What’s in the marinade?

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

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

That’s it. Seriously.

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

Raw boneless pork chops with marinade ingredients

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

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

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

pork chops and green beans on a plate

More Pro Tips for Juicy Baked Boneless Pork Chops

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

Can I freeze pork chops?

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

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

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

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

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

What should I serve with boneless pork chops?

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

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Boiled Baby Potatoes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Strawberry Avocado Salad

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

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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

Instructions

Make It Now:

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas

By Polly Conner

It’s hard to not like Carnitas made in the Instant Pot. In fact, pork shoulder is one of my favorite cuts of meat to cook in electric pressure cookers! Coming from someone who has tested hundreds (yes, hundreds) of Instant Pot recipes, that means a lot. Carnitas can be prepped in minutes, they make a great freezer meal, and they feed a large number of people.

Instant Pot Carnitas

Instant Pot Carnitas | A One Minute Video

Instant Pot Carnitas

These Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas are by far one of my family’s favorite recipes. The seasoning and marinade, plus the Instant Pot cooking method, pack some serious tangy-smoky-citrusy flavor into the meat. After being pressure cooked in the Instant Pot and shredded, you’ll pop the meat under the broiler and broil until it begins to crisp up on the edges. You’ll find yourself going back to this recipe again and again!

Instant Pot Carnitas shredded

How to Cook Pork Carnitas in the Instant Pot

The secret to getting divine Instant Pot Carnitas is cooking the pork just right.

After testing hundreds of recipes for our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, I’m pretty convinced that a pork roast (also known as a pork shoulder or pork butt) is one of the best cuts of meat to cook in the Instant Pot.

  1. Cut the pork into 4 equal pieces. Pat dry and rub seasoning over each piece.
  2. Cook in the Instant Pot.
  3. Transfer meat to a cutting board and shred. Broil the shredded meat

It’s worth noting that we’ve tested pork in the Instant Pot a lot of different ways and found that pork roast cooks best in the Instant Pot when it is cut into a few pieces. In all of our Instant Pot pork recipes, we instruct you to cut it into four equal pieces. Not only does this make the cooking time go faster, but the meat gets more evenly cooked and shreds very easily. This is especially true when cooking pork roast from frozen!

Pork shoulder cooked in an Instant Pot

How Long do I Cook a Pork Shoulder in the Instant Pot?

If making a pork shoulder in the Instant Pot, you’ll want to cook it at high pressure for 45 minutes with a 10 minute natural release.

If you want to know how long to cook other cuts of meat, I’d strongly encourage you to download and print off our Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart. Tape it up in your pantry for future reference. You can thank us later. 

Can I make Carnitas is the Crock Pot? What About a Dutch Oven?

You bet! We have all of the instructions written up for you in this post.

The Perfect Instant Pot Freezer Meal

As if our Instant Pot Pork Carnitas weren’t good enough, I have even better news. They make an amazing Instant Pot Freezer Meal. Simply doubling the recipe and freezing a portion before cooking it will set you up for an incredibly easy dinner down the road.

Here are some great tips on making Instant Pot freezer meals if you want to learn more on that. We also have a printable Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart that would be helpful for anyone who uses their pressure cooker regularly.

Pork Carnitas as a freezer meal

How Serve with Pork Carnitas

  • One of the beauties of this meal is that it can be easily customized and served in so many different ways. That’s why I love this meal as one for large groups. Here are some ideas:
  • Change up taco night by using this filling instead of ground beef.
  • Top a leafy green salad with it and other toppings like roasted fresh corn shaved off the cob, diced bell peppers, red onion, and crunched up tortilla chips.
  • Throw this shredded pork in a quesadilla or on top of a “burrito bowl” with brown rice, beans, and your favorite Mexican toppings.

So many options! I personally almost always serve it with our Avocado Lime Salsa.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas in wraps
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Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas

  • Author: Polly
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Seasoned, marinaded pork roast gets cooked in the Instant Pot and then broiled until crispy in this easy, freezer friendly, and delicious recipe for a crowd.


Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (4–5 pounds) pork shoulder (also known as pork butt or Boston butt), trimmed of excess fat 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup lime juice* (juice of about 4 limes)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice* (juice of about 3 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • chopped cilantro (optional for garnishing)

*Freshly squeezed is the best!


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Turn on Saute function and heat the oil.  Saute the onion just until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper while it cooks. Stir in the garlic during the last 30-60 seconds. Press “Cancel”. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. 
  3. On a cutting board, cut the roast into 4 or 5 equal pieces. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and then rub the seasoning all over each piece. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  4. Add the seasoned meat, lime juice, orange juice, and hot sauce into the Instant Pot. 
  5. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 45 minutes at high pressure. Naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes (or more if you prefer) and then use a quick release.
  6. Remove the pork to a cutting board, and shred with two forks.
  7. Preheat the broiler. Broil the meat on a rimmed baking sheet for 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn the meat over and spoon about ¼ cup of the juices from the Instant Pot over the meat. Broil another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the edges of the meat start to crisp up and turn brown. Remove from the oven and spoon another ¼ cup of the juices over the cooked pork.
  8. Serve immediately in tacos, burritos, or salads, or enjoy a la carte. If serving in a corn tortilla, we suggest topping with diced avocado, pico de gallo, Cojita cheese crumbles, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges. If serving on a salad, use those same toppings and try our Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette as the dressing.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-3. Place the onion/garlic mixture, seasoned pork, lime juice, orange juice, hot sauce into a gallon-sized freezer bag or round freezer container. Seal and freeze. Tip: Set the freezer bag in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours to help it freeze in the shape of the pressure cooker.

Prepare From Frozen: Turn on Saute function. Saute the frozen meal for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Follow Steps 5-8, except cook at high pressure for 45-50 minutes with a natural release for 10 minutes and then a quick release. (The frozen meat will cook approximately the same amount of time as from fresh.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas in wraps

Make sure to swing by and check out our other Instant Pot recipes.

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

By Polly Conner

Filled with only 6 flavorful ingredients, this Spinach and Bacon Quiche comes together quickly but won’t stick around for long. Make ahead and freeze directions included.

baked quiche in a glass dish and a slice of spinach bacon quiche on a plate

Post contains affiliate links.

Why This is a Staple in Our Home

This freezer-friendly quiche recipe has been circulating in my home for quite a while now. You guys, it is SO good. I mean, it’s got cheese, bacon, and heavy whipping cream soooo, yeah, it’s a party in your mouth.

I wish I could say it was healthy, but I can assure you it wouldn’t be on the weight watchers website. However, with the exception of a store-bought pie crust, it is made with real ingredients, so that’s a win, right? #silverlining

Some other perks about this amazing, delicious recipe is that it only requires a few ingredients and is super easy to double and freeze one for later. In fact, I never make this without doubling it.

We enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The leftovers are just as good as the first day, in my opinion, too.

If you prefer a bite-sized version of this recipe, try our Mini Bacon, Spinach, and Egg Quiches recipe instead.

How to Make Spinach and Bacon Quiche

To get started, put your pie crust in a round baking dish.

round glass freezer container with lid

Here is the baking dish that I prefer to use for this recipe, because it is deep enough for a quiche AND has a storage lid so you can store leftovers or freeze the recipe easily. 

Back to the pie crust…either make your own or use a store-bought one. I cheat and use the store-bought ones. A busy mom can only do so much. I’ll make my own crusts in like 18 years.

pie crust in a glass dish

Now, add your cooked bacon to the pie crust. Hello, beautiful. (Btw, try our no fail trick for baking bacon. It’s the ONLY way I’ll make it now.)

bacon in a bowl

If you have little hands around that you need to keep busy, this is a good task for them. Just be warned that not all of the bacon will make it into the crust.

boy's hand putting bacon in a pie crust

Now add two cups of chopped spinach. Not only does this healthy ingredient balance out all that bacony-cheesy-creamy goodness, but it adds some beautiful color to the quiche.

spinach and bacon in a pie crust in a pie dish

This may seem like a lot of spinach, but when it cooks, it wilts down quite a bit. My husband, who turns his nose up at cooked spinach in recipes, doesn’t even bat an eye at this when it’s done.

Now sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese over the top.

cheese, spinach, and bacon in a pie crust

Lastly, whisk together 6 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream in a bowl. Pour it over all of the ingredients. It will be VERY full.

(Sorry, no picture of this one. Had to deal with a sibling brawl in my kitchen. The smell of bacon brings out the animalistic qualities in all of us.)

If you doubled the recipe, this is the point that you will cover the uncooked quiche and freeze it. If not, continue on to baking it!

spinach and bacon quiche baking in an oven

To bake it, cover the quiche loosely with foil and put it in the oven. This keeps the top from burning. After one hour, remove the foil and cook about 15 more minutes or until the top starts to barely brown and the middle isn’t jiggly (must…refrain…from…immature…joke).

(Baking Tip: If you are using a shallow baking dish, place a baking sheet underneath the dish. You might have an overflow issue on your hands.)

Take it out and let her cool down a bit.

baked spinach and bacon quiche in a round glass dish

Slice it up and serve warm.

slice of baked quiche on a plate

How to Freeze Quiche

As authors of two popular freezer meal cookbooks, we have years and years of testing and research under our belts and have learned what it takes to turn out high-quality freezer meals.

The key to freezing quiche (really any egg-centric casserole) is to prep it, package it tightly, and freeze it BEFORE baking. You can wrap it in a layer of foil and a few layers of plastic wrap (or a tight-fitting lid). The most important factor in packaging any freezer meal is to reduce its exposure to air, which causes freezer burn and adversely affects taste and texture. Store in freezer up to 3 months.

If you want to freeze your quiche after it’s been baked, you can but it will have a soggy crust and the eggs may get overdone when rewarmed in the microwave or oven. This is not our preferred freezing method.

How to Prepare Frozen Quiche

When you’re ready to enjoy your uncooked, frozen quiche, thaw it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. This is hands-down the best way to defrost a dish like this (the microwave defrost setting could partially cook it, which is no good). After it’s fully thawed, bake it according to directions and it’ll taste just like a fresh meal!

baked quiche on a table with a pie server nearby

More Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas

I love having breakfast ready to go in the freezer. Here are a few fairly simple make ahead ideas for you.

Breakfast Casserole Muffins

Smoothie Freezer Packs

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

We hope you enjoy this simple quiche for a special occasion or an easy weekday meal! Don’t forget to double the batch and freeze one for later.

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Spinach and Bacon Quiche

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Description

This comfort food quiche makes an easy, make ahead breakfast OR dinner. Simple ingredients and freezer friendly!


Ingredients

  • 1 uncooked pie crust
  • 1 pound of cooked bacon, chopped (try our No Fail Bacon method)
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the pie crust into a round baking dish. Layer the bacon, spinach and cheese into the dish.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and heavy whipping cream in a mixing bowl. Pour the mixture over the top of all ingredients. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  4. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until the middle is set (doesn’t jiggle when you shake it).
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-3. Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil and a few layers of plastic wrap (or a tight-fitting lid) and freeze. Store in freezer up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Let quiche thaw in fridge for 24-48 hours. Follow Steps 4-5.

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

By Polly Conner

This Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken recipe is easy, tasty, freezer-friendly, and made in the crock pot. Shred up those tender chicken thighs and serve it over rice for a delicious, filling dinner. For a dump and go crock pot freezer meal, it doesn’t get much better!

Slow cooker teriyaki chicken on a plate with green onion

Oh man, was this Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki good. Yes, I do repeat. This is a GREAT SLOW COOKER RECIPE. I have tried one too many slow cooker recipes that have failed to impress me, but this one is a keeper.

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken?

The ingredients are simple. I bet you have most of them at home already! Here is what you’ll need…

Ingredients in slow cooker teriyaki chicken
  • Olive or avocado oil to saute the onions
  • 1/2 onion, diced – We found that this needs to be sauteed in order to be done when the chicken is done. If not, you’ll have crunchy onions!
  • Garlic cloves, minced – Shortcut: 1-2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic
  • Soy sauce Gluten-Free Option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar 
  • Rice wine vinegar 
  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (This is where we get our favorite organic chicken*.) – You can also use boneless, skinless thighs!
  • Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce at the end.

*affiliate link

That’s it! In fact, watch this short video to see how easily Teriyaki Chicken comes together:

How Long Do I Cook Chicken Thighs in the Slow Cooker?

There is a lot of misinformation out there about how long to cook chicken in the slow cooker. After testing hundreds and hundreds of slow cooker recipes for our cookbooks, we have nailed down the perfect cooking times for all the most common cuts of meat. In fact, we created a free, printable slow cooker cooking times chart. You can download it and print it off to have on hand for the future.

When it comes to chicken thighs, we have found it’s always best to cook them on Low and only for 3-4 hours at the very most. While chicken thighs can cook a bit longer than chicken breast, they will definitely start to dry out after that amount of time cooking.

Teriyaki chicken thighs in a slow cooker

Can you freeze Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki?

Yes! This recipe makes for an awesome make ahead Crock Pot freezer meal. Here’s how:

To Freeze For Later: Place the raw chicken thighs and all of the marinade ingredients (except for the cornstarch) into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

To Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe methods and then cook as directed.

Teriyaki Chicken thighs in a freezer bag with marinade

Can I add vegetables to this meal in the slow cooker?

While you can for sure add vegetables to the recipe in the slow cooker, I’d recommend giving them a quick saute on the stove instead and then stirring them in at the very end. That way they stay fresh and crisp. When cooked in the slow cooker, vegetables can get a little soggy.

I also love to serve it over a bed of brown rice.

Teriyaki chicken on a serving platter with vegetables

Can I use other cuts of chicken instead of thighs?

You bet! Just use our cooking times chart to navigate how long to cook the chicken for in the slow cooker.

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Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Description

This fast, healthy chicken teriyaki dinner will thoroughly impress your family and friends. The best part – it’s made in the slow cooker, so you have very little work to do!


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (Shortcut: 12 teaspoons pre-minced garlic)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free Option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (This is where we get our favorite organic chicken*.)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

*affiliate link


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Saute the onions for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic and saute for another 30-60 seconds. (Shortcut: Place the onions and oil in a small microwaveable bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic and microwave for another 30-60 seconds.) Add to the slow cooker.
  2. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and honey to the slow cooker and whisk until combined. Nestle the chicken into the bottom and make sure it’s coated in the sauce.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours, until internal temperature registers to 165°F.
  4. When chicken is done, remove it from the marinade to a serving platter*. Then, carefully pour the marinade into a medium sauce pan.
  5. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together 3 tablespoons cold water and the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved and no longer lumpy.
  6. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the teriyaki sauce mixture, and whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, and let it cook for about 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
  7. Pour the sauce over the top of of the chicken until it is well coated. (This won’t take all of the marinade; you will have some remaining). Optional: Using two forks, shred the chicken and serve over rice.

Freeze For Later: Place the raw chicken thighs and all of the marinade ingredients (except for the cornstarch) into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe methods and then cook as directed in Step 3.

COOKING NOTES:

*If you want the skin on the chicken to be crispy, transfer it to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil the chicken under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until crispy. Keep a close eye on it.

Want More Slow Cooker Freezer Meals?

We have an amazon collection of make ahead crock pot meals. Here is a great round up of 25+ Slow Cooker Recipes to get you started!

slow cooker and crock pot Recipes for groups of people

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This grilled chicken recipe is moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. It can be turned into a freezer meal and is a great recipe for groups of people.

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

Grilling season isn’t quite over yet in mid-Missouri thankfully. We’ve had 70 and 80 degree sunny days for what feels like months and our family is loving it! You’re going to love this grilled chicken recipe, especially the marinade.

Chicken on a grill

Ingredients in Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

Marinating chicken is THE key to infusing flavor into typically lean, bland poultry cuts. The simple Balsamic Herb marinade in this recipe requires only a few pantry staples to turn that lackluster cut into something super tasty!

ingredients for grilled balsamic herb chicken
  • Olive or avocado oil – To keep things moist.
  • Balsamic vinegar – Acid is a must in all marinades, yet this one brings a little sweetness along with it.
  • Honey – A bit more sweetness to balance out the acid.
  • Dijon mustard – Brings a complex tanginess.
  • Garlic cloves – Delicious pungent flavor.
  • Dried parsley, basil, and oregano – All the herbs add color and an herbaceous undertone.
  • Salt and Pepper – Basics that balance every marinade.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – Widely available and lean. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs will work, too.

1 Minute Video: How to Make Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

Check out just how quickly this marinade and recipe comes together using only pantry staples…

How to Make This Into a Freezer Meal

Freezer cooking is our jam! We’ve co-authored two popular freezer meal cookbooks and been blogging about it for 9 years now. It’s a way of life that makes getting dinner on the table SO much easier each night.

Here’s how to make this grilled chicken recipe into a freezer meal to have on hand when you need it…

1) First, you’ll pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even grilling.

2) Then, to a large freezer bag, add the marinade ingredients. Seal and shake to combine.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade

3) Add in the chicken, seal, and freeze. Be sure to label your bag with the recipe name, cooking instructions, and the date. You might find our Freezer Meal Labels helpful for that.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade

4) When you’re ready to eat your freezer meal, defrost it using one of these safe thawing methods. Grill the chicken according to Step 3 in the recipe. Note: Be sure to cook the thawed chicken as soon as possible so it doesn’t get mushy or tough from over-marinating.

grilled balsamic herb chicken on the grill with zucchini and peaches

What to Serve with Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

This recipe can be served up a variety of ways. You could go simple, like I usually roll for our family dinners. I served my grilled chicken with some cooked quinoa, steamed green beans, and grapes for what ended in a filling, tasty, and quite healthy dinner.

Or, you could serve it alongside your favorite grilled produce, like:

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

Another idea is to offer a colorful salad on the side like our Strawberry Avocado Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette, which mirrors the flavors in the marinade well.

Try All Our Chicken Marinades

I have to say, this is definitely one of my go-to marinades from our 7 Best Chicken Marinades. Oh, did I mention we have 7 delicious chicken marinades for you?? Try some of our other favorites to mix things up:

If you want to have all 7 of our simple marinade recipes on hand anytime, download our free 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.

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

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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

Instructions

Make It Now:

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

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

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

More Grilled Chicken Recipes

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

Southwest Grilled Chicken Tenders

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

Create the ultimate chicken sandwiches for any weeknight by prepping and freezing all the components ahead of time. This well-seasoned, versatile grilled chicken also works to top pasta or salads.

Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

Southwest Chicken Tenders

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This southwest chicken recipe is sure to please all the eaters in your house. It’s easy, healthy, freezer-friendly, and full of flavor but not spicy. You can bake it or–even better–grill it!

Southwest Chicken tenders on a white plate and on the grill

These Southwest Chicken Tenders take main stage in our Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps and Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls recipes. However, we’ve also learned that they are delicious on a salad or a chicken sandwich. There are so many ways to use them.

How to Make Southwest Chicken Tenders

Just check out how easily this southwest chicken recipe comes together…

Do I have to use chicken tenders for this Southwest Chicken recipe?

Heavens, no! We know our readers love versatility. The marinade will work for almost any cut of chicken. You can use it on:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Drumsticks
  • Thighs
  • And, of course, tenders.
southwest chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

What Ingredients are in the marinade?

As a mom of three younger kids, what I love about this marinade is that it’s so very flavorful but not too spicy. The resulting meal is a home run with all ages. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Avocado or olive oil – Use a fairly neutral oil keeps things moist without an overpowering flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Cider vinegar adds a delicious twist on the acid component but white vinegar will work.
  • Fresh chopped cilantro (or parsley) – Adds a pop of green and fresh flavor. Use dried parsley (half the amount) as a sub.
  • Chili powder – Smoky, subtle heat from ground chilis. Flavor can vary between brands.
  • Garlic powder – This pantry staple adds big (and convenient) garlic flavor that rounds out the whole marinade.
  • Ground cumin – Love this smoky yet not spicy addition.
  • Dried oregano – Crush in your hand before adding to release the oils in this dried herb.
  • Salt – A must in any chicken marinade.
  • Ground black pepper – Gives a little bite. Add more if you’d like.
Ingredients in a southwest chicken recipe

Can I Freeze Southwest Chicken Tenders?

YES YES YES!

This recipe is one of my go-to freezer meals. It’s so easy to scale up and make multiple batches at once.

HOW TO FREEZE:

Combine all ingredients except the chicken tenders in a large freezer bag, seal, and shake. Add chicken tenders, seal tightly, and shake again. Label and freeze.

HOW TO THAW AND PREPARE:

Place the frozen chicken in the fridge and let thaw for about 24 hours. If you need your chicken defrosted sooner, use one of these safe thawing methods.

Southwest Chicken recipe in a freezer bag
 

How Should I Cook Southwest Chicken Tenders?

The two best ways to prepare southwest chicken tenders are:

Grill it!

Grill chicken tenders over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. (source)

Bake it!

Bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes, 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. (source)

Southwestern Chicken on a grill

How Should I Serve Southwest Chicken Tenders?

Here are some ways to use your chicken tenders:

  1. Serve them in Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps. This is my personal favorite, and I make it all the time for groups.

2. Use it for Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls. We love this option, because everyone can personalize their own bowl.

3. Turn it into a chicken sandwich like the Gourmet Grilled Chicken Sandwich.

Create the ultimate chicken sandwiches for any weeknight by prepping and freezing all the components ahead of time. This well-seasoned, versatile grilled chicken also works to top pasta or salads.

4. Dice the chicken and use on top of a salad, perhaps with our Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette.

However you serve it, be sure to double and freeze a batch for later. Your crew is going to love this southwest chicken recipe!

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Southwest Chicken Tenders

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These southwest chicken tenders are sure to please all the eaters in your house. They are full of flavor but not spicy. 


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or white vinegar (Gluten-Free: Make sure your vinegar is gluten-free.)
  • 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, ground
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Combine all ingredients except the chicken tenders in a large zip top bag and shake. Add chicken tenders and shake again. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place bag in a dish and set in the refrigerator. Let chicken marinate for 2 and up to 24 hours, occasionally turning the bag to evenly distribute the marinade.
  3. Cook the chicken using one of the following two methods. Chicken is done when you cut into it and there is no more pink or it registers 165°F internally. Do not overcook. 
    1. OPTION ONE: GRILLING – Grill chicken tenders over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side. 
    2. OPTION TWO: BAKING – Bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes, flipping half way through. 

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe thawing methods. Cook the chicken according to Step 3.

Southwest chicken tenders after being grilled

Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup

By Polly Conner

This is the only Mexican Soup recipe you’ll ever need. I’ve been making a variation of this soup for my family and guests for years.

Mexican soup in a white bowl with toppings

Affiliate links are used this this post.

One of the things I appreciate most about this Mexican Soup recipe is its versatility. It can be made on the stove, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot. It’s also a crowd-pleaser and makes a large batch, so it’s a great recipe for groups of people or to use as a make ahead freezer meal. And get this: this soup is made with real food ingredients.

Seriously, you need this soup in your kitchen! 

How to Make Mexican Soup: You Choose!

There aren’t many soups that can be made every which way. This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to this recipe! Here’s a quick overview of your options:

MAKE MEXICAN SOUP ON THE STOVE:

After cooking the onions and the beef in a skillet, add all the ingredients into a large stockpot. Simmer for 1-2 hours.

MAKE MEXICAN SOUP IN THE SLOW COOKER:

After cooking the onions and the beef in a skillet, add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

MAKE MEXICAN SOUP IN THE INSTANT POT:

Use the sauté setting to cook the onions and beef. Add all the ingredients in, lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure.

Mexican soup in a white bowl

Can I Freeze this Mexican Soup recipe?

Yes yes yes! Mexican soup freezes and thaws beautifully BEFORE or AFTER cooking. Because it makes such a big batch, I almost always freeze it in small portions to have for lunches down the road. When frozen after cooking, it can also be a great freezer meal for 1-2 people.

TO FREEZE:

Option 1 (Before Cooking): Cook the onions and beef, then stir in the rest of the ingredients, and freezer in airtight freezer containers.

Option 2 (After Cooking): Follow all of the cooking instructions in the recipe below. Let cool and freeze in airtight freezer containers.

TO PREPARE:

Option 1 (Before Cooking): Let the soup thaw completely. Then follow the cooking instructions for whatever cooking method you choose (see options below).

Option 2 (After Cooking): Let soup thaw completely. Then just warm up in the microwave or on the stove on low until desired temp.

Mexican soup with toppings and spoon

Where to Get Ground Beef You Can Trust

A recipe is only as good as the ingredients in it. This is why we continually nudge people to use high-quality, organic produce and meat if possible.

One EASY way to have humanely raised 100% grass-fed beef delivered to your door is through ButcherBox.

What is ButcherBox?

ButcherBox has high-quality meat delivered to your door… easy and convenient. They carry humanely raised 100% grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, and wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon all free of antibiotics and added hormones.

Polly Conner with ButcherBox

What Should I Serve with Mexican Soup?

Believe me when I say this soup is hearty. You won’t need much more to go with it other than tortilla chips or maybe some corn bread. I like to provide some optional toppings like:

Want More Recipes That Are Great for Groups?

Check out our roundup of 25+ Slow Cooker Recipes for Groups of People.

Ok, ready to chow down on some Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup? Get after it!

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Crowd Pleaser Mexican Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Super easy Mexican soup recipe. Packed with flavor, very filling and makes a TON. Great recipe for large groups. Freezer friendly as well!


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef (or sub ground chicken or turkey) (where to find meat you can trust)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt (Sub: 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt)
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 2 (15 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, juices and all (Tip: Use fire-roasted tomatoes for more flavor.)
  • 2 (4 oz) cans diced green chilies, juices and all
  • 2 (15 oz) cans shoe peg white corn, drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 quart of chicken broth 
  • 1 cup mild salsa (use medium if you like spice!)
  • Optional Toppings: Shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, diced avocado, salsa, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, squeeze of fresh lime, red onion

 


Instructions

Make It Now

Stove Top Method

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. 
  2. Add in garlic and ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the meat is cooked through (5-7 minutes.) Drain the grease from the meat.
  3. Add the meat mixture and all other ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Optional: Serve with your favorite Tex Mex toppings.

Slow Cooker Method

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. 
  2. Add in garlic and ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the meat is cooked through (5-7 minutes.) Drain the grease from the meat.
  3. Add the meat mixture and all other ingredients to a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  4. Optional: Serve with your favorite Tex Mex toppings.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Set the 6-quart Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until shimmery. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while they cook. 
  2. Add in garlic and ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the meat is cooked through (5-7 minutes.) Press cancel. Drain the grease from the meat.
  3. Add all other ingredients to the Instant Pot. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure. 
  4. Optional: Serve with your favorite Tex Mex toppings.

Freeze For Later

Option 1 (Before Cooking): Cook the onions and beef, then stir in the rest of the ingredients, and freezer in airtight freezer containers.

Option 2 (After Cooking): Follow all of the cooking instructions in the recipe. Let the soup cool and then freeze in airtight freezer containers.

Prepare From Frozen

Option 1 (Before Cooking): Let the soup thaw completely. Then follow the cooking instructions for whatever cooking method you choose in the recipe above.

Option 2 (After Cooking): Let soup thaw completely. Then just warm up in the microwave, on the stove on low, or in the slow cooker on low, until warmed through.

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

Make Ahead Banana Breakfast Cake

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Banana Breakfast Cake is my dream breakfast. My whole family likes it, it’s full of nutritious yet simple ingredients, and it works perfectly to double the batch to make a breakfast freezer meal. 

Make Ahead Banana Breakfast Cake

I’ve been making this breakfast cake for YEARS. It’s one of my go-to make ahead breakfast recipe ideas that my whole family will devour.

Think moist, sweet banana bread but in a cake form. I love to warm it up a bit and serve with a little bit of butter.

The best part: It is filled with banana and sneaky sweet potato! YES, you can get your crew to eat sweet potato for breakfast!

What’s in Banana Breakfast Cake?

As I mentioned before, this breakfast cake is made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Bananas – The riper the better. Pro-tip: You can freeze ripe bananas for recipes like this! Here’s how to freeze bananas.
  • Cooked sweet potato – You can also substitute canned pumpkin or cooked butternut squash for sweet potato.
  • White Whole Wheat Flour – Please note that this is not just whole wheat flour. It needs to be WHITE WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR variety. If you don’t have that, you can use half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour as a substitute.
  • Coconut oil – Make sure it’s melted or substitute avocado oil.
  • Plain Greek yogurt – You can use full fat sour cream instead, if you want.
  • Mini Chocolate Chips – I’ve used dark chocolate chips before and loved it!
  • Standard baking ingredients: Eggs, vanilla, sugar (I used coconut sugar), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Slice of banana breakfast cake on a plate

One thing worth noting on this recipe is that you will need a blender. This makes the batter SUPER smooth and hides all the sneaky produce.

How do I Freeze Banana Breakfast Cake?

We are huge fans of make ahead freezer meals. Not only have we written two freezer meal cookbooks, but we have a huge collection of freezer meals that are delicious, healthy, and easy! Banana Breakfast Cake is a recipe that freezes beautifully.

If you are already busting out all of the ingredients and utensils to make this breakfast cake, you might as well make two batches and freeze one for later. Here’s how:

TO FREEZE BREAKFAST CAKE: Bake breakfast cake just until done. Cool completely. Either cover the baking dish tightly in a few layers of foil or plastic wrap or carefully lift the cake out of the baking dish and wrap in several layers of foil or plastic wrap, pressing as much air out as you can.

TO PREPARE BREAKFAST CAKE FROM FROZEN: Thaw on the counter. Warm a slice in the microwave for 15-20 seconds and top with a pat of butter, if desired.

Banana breakfast cake in an 8x8 dish

What Should I Serve with Banana Breakfast Cake?

Our smoothies would be a perfect pairing with breakfast cake. Choose from one of the following flavors!

Another idea would be Oven-Baked Bacon. It comes out perfectly every time using our baking method.

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Banana Breakfast Cake

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: one 8x8 pan 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A deliciously moist banana cake that makes a healthy snack or breakfast. You will be surprised how fast your family will empty the dish on this one!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (sub: 1 cup wheat flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I often use unrefined coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cooked and mashed (about 1 cup) (sub: pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (sub: avocado oil or melted butter)
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (sub: sour cream)
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips (I used carob chips, since they are low in sugar and dairy-free)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish (or a 9×13 baking dish, but note the shorter cooking time) with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a blender, combine the bananas, sweet potato, eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, and yogurt. Blend until smooth. (If needed, add just a splash of milk to help the blender get moving.)
  4. Using a spatula to clean out the blender, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a spoon just until combined (do not over mix). Batter will be thick. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan and spread evenly using a spatula.
  6. Bake for about 35-40 minutes (for a 9×12, bake 25-28 minutes). It’s done when a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely.

Freeze For Later: Bake breakfast cake just until done. Cool completely. Either cover the baking dish tightly in a few layers of foil or plastic wrap or carefully lift the cake out of the baking dish and wrap in several layers of foil or plastic wrap, pressing as much air out as you can.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw on the counter. Warm a slice in the microwave for 15-20 seconds and top with a pat of butter, if desired.

Young boy holding banana breakfast cake

Want more make ahead freezer meal breakfasts? Hop over to our freezer meal index and browse around!

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.

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!

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

By Polly Conner

Who doesn’t love a simple BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich with moist shredded meat? After a day in the slow cooker, this shredded pork is a total crowd pleaser. Not only is it an easy dump and go meal for the Crockpot but it also makes a great make-ahead freezer meal!

Slow cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches on a yellow plate
Image Credit: Hélène Dujardin in From Freezer to Cooker

Why We Love Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This BBQ Pulled Pork has been a regular around our house. It’s SUPER easy, freezes beautifully, and makes a lot of servings. Since we used rolls to turn the last batch into pulled pork sandwiches, it was enough to feed 10+ people!

A butcher will tell you to plan for 1/2 pound per person but I find that to be pretty generous. I guess it just depends on the appetites of those you are feeding.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (A short video tutorial)

This crock pot pulled pork recipe is hard to screw up. Watch and see how easy it comes together!

What Ingredients do I need to make Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork?

The ingredients are SO simple! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1, 3-4 lb. pork shoulder (also known as Boston butt)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (Here is our homemade recipe)
Ingredients for slow cooker bbq pulled pork

How Long Do I Cook Pork Shoulder in the Slow Cooker?

After testing hundreds of recipes for our slow cooker cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, we found that cooking a 3-4 pound pork shoulder should take 7-9 hours depending on your slow cooker.

Oftentimes, people take the pork out too early because it appears to be tough and dry. However, the pork needs lots of time to break down the fibers holding the meat together. When cooked correctly, pork in the slow cooker should be tender and juicy.

Cooked pulled pork on a wooden spoon coming out of the slow cooker

After years of testing slow cooker recipes for our website and cookbooks, we’ve developed a reliable cooking times chart for all different types of recipes. Never overcook or undercook a recipe in the slow cooker again!

How to serve Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

My favorite way to eat it is as a sandwich. If you want to go gluten-free, eat it without a bun. I serve it with more Killer Homemade BBQ Sauce on the side. Some side dishes that go well with Slow Cooker Pulled Pork are:

BBQ Pulled Pork on a plate with asian slaw

Can I freeze pulled pork?

YES! Like so many of our freezer meal recipes, BBQ Pulled Pork works great as a make-ahead freezer meal. To make this recipe into a freezer meal, follow these instructions:

TO FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow steps 1 and 2. Place the seasoned pork and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze. Place the remaining 1 ⁄2 cup BBQ sauce in a small freezer bag or container and the buns in a separate freezer bag. Seal and freeze them alongside the pork.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Thaw. Place the pork in the slow cooker. Follow steps 4 through 6.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich on a white plate

This is a great recipe to stock up on when pork goes on sale! Such an easy freezer meal and a great meal to take to others.

Print

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 810 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This pulled pork recipe is a cinch to make when you whip it up in the crockpot. Add some BBQ sauce and your dinner is done!


Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) pork shoulder (also known as Boston butt), trimmed

  • 1.5 cups BBQ sauce, homemade or your favorite all-natural store-bought BBQ sauce


Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels and rub it with the seasoning mix to coat all sides. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Place the seasoned pork in the slow cooker and top with 1 cup of the BBQ sauce.
  4. Cover and cook on Low for 7 to 9 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat easily shreds.
  5. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred the meat. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir it into the sauce.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to the toasted buns and top with the remaining BBQ sauce as desired. Serve.

FREEZE FOR LATER:

Follow steps 1 and 2. Place the seasoned pork and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze. Place the remaining 1 2 cup BBQ sauce in a small freezer bag or container and the buns in a separate freezer bag. Seal and freeze them alongside the pork.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN:

Thaw. Place the pork in the slow cooker. Follow steps 4 through 6.

Making this for a group of people? Here are more recipe ideas for large groups if you need some! You can also check out our 25+ Slow Cooker Recipes for a Crowd if you want more ideas.

Collage image of 20+ meal ideas for groups of people

Freezer-Friendly Pizza Sauce

By Polly Conner

Once you’ve made homemade pizza sauce, you’ll never go back. Once you’ve realized you can make LOTS of pizza sauce and learn how to freeze it, you’ll for SURE never go back! Here is a delicious freezer-friendly pizza sauce recipe PLUS instructions on the best ways to stock your freezer with it.

Freezer friendly pizza sauce

Can you freeze pizza sauce?

Have some leftover pizza sauce? Don’t let it go to waste! Just like marinara sauce, pizza sauce freezes beautifully and can be used months and months down the road! Whether it be from a can or a homemade recipe, you’ll be glad to get your money’s worth by using every last drop.

What’s the best way to freeze pizza sauce?

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

There are many ways to freeze pizza sauce. Just keep this in mind: air is the enemy of freezer food. The less air exposure your sauce gets, the longer it will last. Because of this, my preferred way to freeze sauces is in an airtight freezer bag.

My second preferred method is to freeze pizza sauce in a mason jar or freezer container. Here are some that we use and recommend.

pizza sauce in a freezer container

I also think Soupercubes would be a great option for freezing pizza sauce or other liquid recipes. I have been using Soupercubes for all sorts of recipes that I want to freeze in small portions.

Soupercubes

Why make homemade pizza sauce?

I mean, doesn’t this stuff come in a jar or can at the store? Why should I make it at home?

Here’s the short answer: It’s tastier and healthier.

Here’s the longer answer: It’s SO much tastier and SO much healthier.

Freezer friendly pizza sauce in a glass bowl with a wooden spoon

OK, but in all seriousness, as a rule of thumb, ingredients like pizza sauce, pesto, marinara sauce and salad dressings are just better when made from scratch. The ingredients are less processed, there are less additives and preservatives, and you can modify the taste depending on what you like!

Freezer friendly pizza sauce in a glass bowl

Recipe for Homemade Pizza Sauce

Ready to make your own? Follow the recipe below! Make sure to use it on our homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough!

Enjoy!

Print

Freezer Friendly Pizza Sauce Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 46 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Using this delicious and easy homemade pizza sauce recipe, you can make your homemade pizza taste like restaurant quality. I’ll never go back to the artificial, expensive canned stuff again.


Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Three 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil into a hot pan over medium-high heat. Throw in the minced garlic and chopped onions and give them a stir. Cook until the onions are soft (4 to 5 minutes).
  2. Add the chicken broth and whisk it so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook until the liquid reduces by half.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar.
  5. Add the dried oregano and basil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions: To Freeze: Cook sauce as directed. Let cool completely. One cooled, pour in to mason jars leaving approximately 1 inch of space at the top for the sauce to expand once frozen. Store for up to 3 months. To Prepare: Thaw jars of sauce in refrigerator overnight. You can also set jars in bowl of warm water to quickly defrost.

Ways to Use Homemade Pizza Sauce

Now that you’ve got a healthy stash of pizza sauce in the freezer, here are some ways to use it!

English Muffin Pizzas – These freezer-friendly English Muffin Pizzas are something all ages enjoy, and you can easily double and freeze extras for later.

Use on top of our Zucchini Pizza Crust – You’ll be shocked at how good this actually is!

Pizzadillas – a kid favorite!

Whole Grain Pizza Bread – An easy weeknight meal.

homemade pizza

Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This kid-friendly Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos recipe goes from frozen chicken breasts to a delicious dinner on the table in 45 minutes with very minimal hands-on work. You can easily double and freeze these for later.

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

How We Developed and Tested This Recipe

Polly and I spent over two years researching, developing, and testing Instant Pot recipes for our second cookbook called From Freezer to Cooker. It is a monstrous labor of love, and, thankfully, we had the help of 500 readers on our Recipe Testing Team along the way. Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos is one of the only recipes that appears both in our cookbook and on our website here. This meal was a HUGE win with them!

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

The inspiration for this easy dinner recipe originally came from our popular Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos. Both the Instant Pot and slow cooker versions have proven to be a favorite dish not only our own households but many of our readers’ and recipe testers’ homes, too. In fact, I had a mom tell me just yesterday that her pickiest eater told her that he loved this recipe. I could see the wave of relief on her face as she told me that story.

If you’re looking for recipes that work in both the Instant Pot AND Slow Cooker AND that you can make ahead and freeze, we think you’re going to love From Freezer to Cooker. Or, if you just want to learn more about freezer cooking and find some of our hands-down favorite freezer meals for families, try our first cookbook, From Freezer to Table.

What We LOVE About Instant Pot Chicken Taquitos

  1. Quick Dinner: If you missed the window for the slow cooker version of this recipe, you can still make it in the Instant Pot in time for dinner. This recipe only takes 7 minutes of pressure cook time (or 15 minutes with frozen chicken). Now, keep in mind that it will take some time for your Instant Pot to build pressure first (about 10 minutes for fresh chicken and 20 for frozen). This Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos recipe went from frozen chicken breasts to our table in about 45 minutes with very minimal hands-on work.
  2. Can Use Frozen Chicken Breasts! We’ve all been there…dinner time is rapidly approaching and all we have on hand are FROZEN chicken breasts. I’ve got good news, though. Unlike the slow cooker, you can cook frozen meat directly in the Instant Pot. Unfortunately, the USDA says it’s not safe to put icy ingredients in a slow cooker. It keeps the food in the “danger zone” for too long, a temperature range where bacteria flourishes. Not worth the risk! So, if you are working with frozen chicken breasts, Instant Pot to the rescue!
  3. Make Ahead and Freeze: Once you’ve rolled up your taquitos, you can either cook them right away or freeze them for later. We give you detailed instructions for how to do this below. Be sure to double this recipe so you can make the best use of your time in the kitchen. You’ll thank yourself in the future when you’ve got dinner already done for another night!
  4. Cooks Directly From Frozen: The AMAZING thing about this particular freezer meal recipe is that you can take out however many taquitos you want from the freezer and cook them DIRECTLY FROM FROZEN. This is the perfect solution for those busy weeknight meals.
  5. All Ages Love It! We’ve heard over and over from readers and recipe testers on our team for From Freezer to Cooker how much their entire family loves this recipe.
Chicken and Cheese Taquitos piled on a serving platter with avocado lime salsa on top. Other toppings are nearby, like avocado, tomatoes, and salsa.

Watch How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Taquitos

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1:

You are going to LOVE how simple this is. Start by placing your chicken breasts in the Instant Pot and then seasoning with some taco seasoning (try our Homemade Taco Seasoning here). Then, add some chicken broth.

Chicken breasts with seasoning and broth in an Instant Pot

Now here’s the key: Do not overcook your chicken! If you follow our recipe, you’re good to go. But…be sure to download and print off our Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart that we spent two years developing for our cookbook. This guide will help you pressure cook both fresh and frozen meals perfectly! It’s our gift to you!

Step 2:

Once that chicken has cooked, grab two forks and give it a good shred. Return it to the Instant Pot and stir it around with the broth.

Shredded chicken on a wooden cutting board

Step 3:

Then, stir some cream cheese and salsa into the shredded chicken mixture. Next, tightly roll up the chicken mixture and some shredded cheese in each tortilla.

shredded cheese being sprinkled into tortillas with shredded chicken

At this point, you can freeze a batch for later. Then, on a busy night, just pull however many you need out of the freezer, place them directly in the oven, and bake! This is such a smart use of your time in the kitchen. Your future self will be singing your praises!

Chicken Taquitos rolled up and in a freezer bag for a freezer meal.

Step 4:

If you’re making this recipe now, you’ll pop the rolled up taquitos in the oven until they are melty and golden brown.

Chicken and Cheese Taquitos are rolled up and lined up on parchment paper.

Step 5:

Serve warm. To round out the meal and take this crunchy, baked (read: healthier!) meal to the next level, serve with some of these sides or toppings: Homemade Guacamole or Creamy Avocado Dip, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and your favorite salsa. We love this Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa for something a little different.

Side Dishes to Go with This Recipe

What to Do with Leftover Tortillas

P.S. If you have leftover tortillas, did you know you can freeze them? Here is the best way to freeze tortillas for later.

tortillas in a freezer bag

Are you ready to be the dinner hero in your house? It’s time to get cooking some Taquitos!

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

Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings (2 taquitos per person) 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

With just a few simple ingredients, this kid-friendly Instant Pot chicken dinner takes minutes to whip up. It’s also freezer-friendly and goes straight from the freezer to the oven!


Ingredients

  • 11 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 package of all-natural taco seasoning or 23 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning recipe
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or substitute water)
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • ¼ cup your favorite salsa
  • 8 (8-inch) tortillas (we use whole wheat tortillas; corn tortillas won’t work)
  • 1½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (here’s how to easily shred your own to save money)
  • Optional: sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, salsa, guacamole

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Place chicken breasts in your Instant Pot. Cover both sides of chicken with taco seasoning. Add the broth. Lock and seal the lid.
  2. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure. (If chicken is frozen, cook for 15 minutes at high pressure.) Use a quick release when the time is up or you can use a natural release, if you have time. (Note: The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally or has no more pink inside.)
  3. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  4. Shred the chicken in the pot with two forks and stir it with the broth so the seasoning is evenly distributed. Add cream cheese and salsa to the shredded chicken and stir until the cream cheese is melted.
  5. Arrange tortillas on a flat surface. Top each tortilla with an equal amount of chicken mixture. (Important tip: Drain off the extra liquid from the chicken as you remove it from the pot; I just used two forks to transfer it to the tortillas.) Leave a little room at the edges so the filling doesn’t spill out. Top the chicken mixture with 2-3 tablespoons of shredded cheese. Roll up tortillas tightly. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Place the rolled tortillas on the baking sheet, seam side down. Spray the tops with cooking spray. You can also sprinkle any remaining cheese over the tops, if you like. Bake 15-20 minutes, until cheese melts and they are golden brown.
  7. Serving suggestion: Top with salsa, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and/or guacamole.

Freeze For Later: Complete the recipe through Step 5. Then, place rolled up tortillas in a freezer bag or freezer container (BEFORE baking) in a single layer. Separate the single layers with parchment paper. Seal tightly and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place frozen taquitos on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or foil. Cover them lightly with a piece of foil (so they don’t brown too quickly). Bake for about 25 minutes or until warmed through and cheese is melty. Remove foil and bake about 5-10 more minutes until golden brown on top. (Note: You can use the broiler to crisp them up at the end for about 2 minutes, if desired. Watch them closely so they don’t burn.)


Notes

You can also make this recipe in the Slow Cooker. Find the recipe here.

Download and print our free Instant Pot Cooking Times chart here. Learn more about our rigorously-tested Instant Pot cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, here.

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

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

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos is a delicious meal that the whole family will love! Be sure to make a double batch for the freezer. Then, you can pull out however many you want and throw them directly in the oven for a quick weeknight dinner.

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

Affiliate links may be included.

There is a short list of meals in my house that pleases all five of us. It seems like everyone has their own aversions and favorites, which can be exhausting sometimes. Can any moms out there relate??

Now, there is an added bonus when you can find a recipe that is easy, made in the slow cooker, AND freezer friendly. This is why I love Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos! Or, you can make them in the Instant Pot using our Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos recipe.

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

Watch How This Meal Comes Together

How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

You are going to LOVE how simple this is. Start by seasoning your chicken with some taco seasoning. Toss it in the slow cooker and add some broth. Water works fine too.

Now here’s the key: Do not overcook your chicken! We wrote a whole post about how long to cook chicken in the slow cooker if you want a bit more information but for now, just follow the recipe, got it? Yeah, you got this! 🙂

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

Once that chicken has cooked, grab two forks and give it a good shred.

Shredded chicken on a cutting board


After this, rolling up the taquitos and baking them just takes minutes. I also love that I can make these in advance and pop them in the oven right before dinner (fresh or frozen).

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

How to Freeze Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

As I mentioned above, another beauty of this recipe is that Chicken and Cheese Taquitos are freezer-friendly. Because of this, I almost always double the recipe. Simply follow the cooking instructions right up until baking and then freeze them in a single layer in a freezer bag.

Chicken and cheese taquitos in a freezer bag

Then, you can pull out however many you need on a busy week night and bake them directly from frozen using our freezer meal instructions below.

Side Dish Idea

Looking for something to serve this with? Try our Avocado Lime Salsa!

Avocado Lime Salsa

What to Do with Leftover Tortillas

If you have leftover tortillas, did you know you can freeze them? Here is the best way to freeze tortillas for later.

tortillas in a freezer bag

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Printable Recipe

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours and 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This is a delicious meal that the whole family will love! Be sure to make a double batch for the freezer. Then, you can pull out however many you want and throw them directly in the oven for a quick weeknight dinner.


Ingredients


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker. Rub both sides of the chicken with all of the taco seasoning. Add water or broth.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for about 2.5 – 3.5 hours, until it shreds easily. (Note: Chicken should be 165°F internally when done.) Shred the chicken with two forks and stir, so the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  3. Add cream cheese and salsa to the shredded chicken and stir until cream cheese is melted.
  4. Arrange tortillas on a flat surface. Top each tortilla with an equal amount of chicken mixture, leaving a little room at the edges so the filling doesn’t spill out. Top chicken mixture with 2-3 tablespoons of shredded cheese. Roll up tortillas tightly. (Freezing instructions begin here.) 
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  6. Place the taquitos on a baking sheet, seam side down. Spray the tops with cooking spray and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese melts and they are golden brown on top. (Note: If you have leftover cheese, you can sprinkle it over the top of the taquitos before they bake.)
  7. Serving suggestion: Top with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, salsa, Guacamole, or our Avocado Lime Salsa.

Freeze It For Later: Complete the recipe through Step 4. Then, place rolled up tortillas side-by-side in a single later in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal tightly and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: When ready to bake, you have two options:

Method 1 (Thawed): Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Bake as directed, beginning with Step 5.

Method 2 (From Frozen): Follow Steps 5-7, but cover the frozen taquitos with foil after spraying them with cooking spray. Then, bake for about 25 minutes or until warmed through. Remove the foil and bake another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.


Notes

For Instant Pot instructions, try our Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos.

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

Be sure to try our Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos for a faster cooking method.


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Hearty Baked Penne Pasta {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

Delicious dinner recipe? Check. Freezer friendly? Check. Makes a lot of leftovers? Check. Approved by all ages in the family? Check. Feeds a large group of people? Check. Easy to make? Check!

Baked Penne Pasta

Affiliate Disclosure:  Posts may contain affiliate links.

I’ve been making this Baked Penne Pasta Recipe for a while now. It’s finally time for me to share it with the world. If any of you dear readers out there embark on making this recipe, the world will be a better place. Share the love and impress your eaters.

Video Tutorial: Baked Penne Pasta

How to Make Baked Penne Pasta

To get started with the hearty-gooey-tasty deliciousness, you make the sauce first.

Ingredients for Baked Penne Pasta

Start by softening up your garlic and diced onion in some olive oil. (PS-here is a little tip on how to dice an onion!) Now add your ground beef and brown it up until there is no pink showing. (Here is where you can find meat you can trust, btw.)

Browning ground beef

At this point, things will start smelling really good and your toddler will begin his attempts to climb up your leg. When he fails, he will likely take any loose-fitting pants down with him. Just sayin.

Now that your toddler is occupied watching fire trucks on your iPhone (wait, I’m not supposed to do that before two years old, right?) Well, at least I’m not cooking pantless anymore. I digress.

After the meat is browned up, drain off some fat and add in the tomato sauce and tomatoes. You could sub these two for two jars of marinara if you want. Add your salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and anything else you feel it needs.

Now let it simmer on low for about 25-30 minutes. After that, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down. You’ll see why in a bit.

Making tomato sauce

After you get that sauce a-simmerin’, start multitasking. If you need to shred your cheese (here is why you should shred your own cheese by the way) go ahead and do that. You can also start to boil your pasta. Make sure to undercook it a tad. Seriously. If not, you’ll have some funky texture going on after it bakes in the oven.

In another bowl, combine your creamy stuff: ricotta, egg, 2 cups mozzarella, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Give it a good stir. But not TOO good of a stir. Just enough to mix it together, k?

Once pasta is cooked and drained, mix it with your cheese mixture. After the pasta and cheese mixture is combined, add in that cooled pasta sauce I told you about earlier. You did follow my directions, right?!

Once you’ve mixed that together, you have a delicious, gooey mess.

Pour the pasta into a baking dish. 

Pasta in a 9x13 dish

Now top it off with remaining pasta sauce.

Pasta & sauce in a 9x13 dish

Now finish it off with a layer of mozzarella.

Cheese on top of pasta in a 9x13 dish

If you’re planning on freezing this meal, this is the point in which you put your lid on and freeze it. Here are the freezing containers we use and recommend.

Either freeze your baked pasta at this point, or….

Freezer meal

Bake it!

Baked Penne Pasta in a 9x13 dish

Let it cool a bit before serving it up.

Baked penne pasta next to a green salad

Goodness. I need to make some more after writing this post.

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Baked Penne Pasta

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Freezer Friendly Baked Penne Pasta Recipe. Easy, kid-friendly dinner idea. Great for large groups too.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground beef (or one pound ground beef & one pound Italian sausage) Here is where you can find meat you can trust.
  • 1 can (28 ounce size) whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounce) tomato sauce or marinara sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tub (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 11/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Begin to boil your pasta. Make sure to undercook it a tad–especially if freezing!
  7. In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  8. Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and barely mix it together.
  9. Add the cooled meat sauce that you set aside earlier and toss to combine.
  10. Dump the pasta mixture into a large greased casserole dish or lasagna dish. (NOTE: I ended up using a 9×13 AND a 9×9 dish to fit all of it!) Spoon the remaining sauce over the top, then top with remaining mozzarella cheese. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Hint: Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving!

Freeze For Later: Follow the recipe through Step 10. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, foil or a lid. Freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: When ready to cook, you have two options:

  1. Thawed: Thaw in the fridge (may take up to 48 hours) or thaw in the microwave on defrost setting. Bake at 375 degrees F according to Step 11 in the recipe.
  2. Frozen: If cooking directly from frozen state, cover with foil. Bake in a 375°F oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or so, until heated through and bubbly. Remove the foil the last 20 minutes.

Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The ground beef is grass-fed, grass-finished with no hormones or antibiotics and is absolutely delicious! We highly recommend this service to source DELICIOUS and HEALTHY meat–like heritage-raised pork, organic chicken, wild salmon, and uncured bacon–and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.

Looking for more ground beef recipes?

Check out our Top 10 Ground Beef Freezer Meals!

Ground Beef Freezer meals

Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread {Freezer-Friendly}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Ah, sweet breads. Forgiver of all added-in leftovers and hidden fruits and veggies. Your family is going to love this pretty darn healthy Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread!

chocolate banana bread slices on white plate

I had leftover pureed sweet potato and several overripe bananas in the freezer to use up recently.  (Yes, you should definitely freeze leftovers like that to save money.) Anyway, this delicious banana bread was the result! It’s similar to my Banana Pumpkin Muffins but with some added cocoa and a sweet potato twist. 

chocolate banana bread slices on white plate

In the recipe, I suggested several substitutions to make this bread even healthier (if you want):

  • For 100% whole wheat bread, use the white whole wheat variety in place of both flours.
  • Want a dairy-free loaf? Substitute canned coconut milk for the yogurt and use coconut oil instead of butter.
  • To make this recipe a bit lower on the glycemic index, use coconut sugar in place of the other sugars. Also don’t add the chocolate chips. 🙂

I also love using cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder, which is even healthier!) in recipes like this because: a) it adds chocolate-y decadence without the added fat and sugar of chocolate chips, b) it’s actually full of antioxidants, and c) it masks the flavor of any hidden veggies. 

chocolate sweet potato banana bread

As I write this post, I’m enjoying a piece of this warm-from-the-oven bread with some butter and hoping I’m going to be able to stop with just one. Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread is absolutely decadent and healthy.  My favorite kind of snack!

If you love muffins and sweet breads, be sure to try these other favorites from our site:

How to Store Overripe Bananas for Later

P.S. If you have more overripe bananas than you can use in this recipe, did you know you can freeze them? Here is the best way to freeze bananas for later.

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chocolate banana bread slices on white plate

Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 bread loaf or 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Feel good about what you’re feeding your family. This bread is chock full of hidden veggies, antioxidants, and loads of other good-for-you ingredients.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup smashed overripe bananas (about one banana)
  • 1/2 cup smashed or pureed cooked sweet potato (sub: pumpkin puree)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (sub: coconut milk from the can)
  • 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (sub: coconut sugar)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (sub: coconut sugar)
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (sub: white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (sub: white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (sub: cacao powder)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan or standard-sized muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer, add the banana, sweet potato, yogurt, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined. Add sugars; beat again until combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose and wheat flours, flaxseed, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. (Tip: Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife to measure correctly.) Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir by hand just until blended.
  4. Optional: Gently stir in the mini chocolate chips. Do not over mix.
  5. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan or muffin tin and place on the center rack of the oven. For bread: Bake for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. For muffins: Bake for 15-18 minutes until a wooden pick comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes or so and then turn the bread or muffins out onto the rack. You may have to run a knife around the edges to help the bread or muffins come out more easily.

Freeze For Later: Follow entire recipe, letting the bread or muffins cool completely. Wrap the bread in a few layers of plastic wrap and/or foil and freeze. Or, place the muffins in a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and freeze. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the bread loaf or desired number of muffins on the counter or using the defrost setting on the microwave briefly.

Easy Homemade Croutons (Freezer Friendly)

By Polly Conner

Once you’ve made these Easy Homemade Croutons, you’ll never go back to buying them at the store. Not only do they taste better, but they’re healthier too! Make a large batch and freeze them for later.

Homemade croutons

I wish I would have known how easy it is to make your own croutons much earlier in life. Turns out, it’s incredibly simple, and they taste SO much better than the store-bought version. Not to mention, they contain a lot less additives and preservatives too.

How to Make Homemade Croutons

With just a few simple ingredients, you can top your soups and salads with flavorful homemade croutons that have a lot less additives and preservatives than the store-bought version.

Homemade croutons on parchment paper
Read more

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Breakfast Cookies

I love this easy healthy breakfast idea: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Breakfast Cookies. These healthy make ahead breakfast cookies are great fresh or also as a freezer meal. 

Zucchini for breakfast!? Yep. And bananas, oats, and nut butter, too. All in one transportable, super nutritious, tasty COOKIE.

Close up of zucchini breakfast cookie

My kids fight over these things, friends. In fact, I usually double this recipe and freeze more for future breakfasts, snacks, and even lunch box treats.

Chocolate Chip zucchini breakfast cookie on a sheet pan

If the zucchini scares you off, though, simply leave it out or try our traditional breakfast cookie recipe. But, I really think your people might go for it if you give it a try.

Batch of zucchini breakfast cookies on a pan
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Zucchini Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 18 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Imagine zucchini for breakfast. My kids fight over these delicious, healthy whole grain cookies! Bake a double batch and you’ll have a fantastic treat to pull out of the freezer.


Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups oats (for gluten-free, be sure to be GF Oats)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup nut butter (I used half peanut and half almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup or honey
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 small or 1/2 large zucchini, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (Dairy-Free option: use DF chocolate chips, like Enjoy Life)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine oats, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  3. Combine nut butter, maple syrup/honey, bananas, and zucchini in another bowl.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Add pecans and chocolate chips and mix just under combined.
  5. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop or large spoon, scoop out cookies (about 2 tablespoons each) onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Press them down a little to flatten them, since they won’t during baking.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions: To Freeze: Once cookies are completely cool, store in a freezer ziptop bag or other freezer container. To Prepare: To thaw, let sit out for a few minutes on the counter or microwave the cookies in 10 second increments until defrosted.

Homemade Basic Cheese Sauce (with NO Velveeta!)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This all-natural basic cheese sauce transforms vegetables, leaving my family always asking for more! It also works as a delicious sauce over pasta, meat, or rice. Best of all, NO VELVEETA!

This all-natural basic cheese sauce transforms vegetables, leaving my family always asking for more! Works as a delicious sauce over pasta, meat, or rice, too. Best of all, NO VELVEETA!

Wow. Just wow. This real cheese sauce is made from all known ingredients (see ya processed cheese block), is absolutely delicious, and is even freezable! My kids beg for this stuff.

What can I use Homemade Basic Cheese Sauce for?

So far I’ve served Homemade Basic Cheese Sauce over steamed broccoli, whole grain pasta, rice, and have even used it as a dipping sauce for Oven Fried Chicken Tenders. My point is that you can use this creamy basic cheese sauce to jazz up everything from nachos to asparagus to leftovers! It makes just about anything more delicious, including those vegetables your picky eaters turn their noses up at.

Can I save and reheat the leftovers of Homemade Basic Cheese Sauce?

I’ve stored leftover cheese sauce both in the fridge and freezer. In both cases, the sauce reheated just fine! I honestly couldn’t believe it worked. So, don’t toss the leftovers. Just stick them in a glass freezer container for next time. Thaw in the fridge or using the defrost setting in the microwave, and then rewarm in the microwave or over low heat in a pan on the stovetop. You might have to stir in a little milk to thin it back out when you warm it up.

Recipe for Homemade Basic Cheese Sauce

Are you ready for your family to ask for more veggies so they can put some cheese sauce on top? Then get going on this recipe…

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All-Natural Basic Cheese Sauce

Homemade Basic Cheese Sauce

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 1.52 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This all-natural basic cheese sauce transforms vegetables, leaving my family always asking for more! It also works as a delicious sauce over pasta, meat, or rice. Best of all, NO VELVEETA!


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour (Recommended: white whole wheat)
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of ground pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever you have on hand)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly to prevent lumps, until the mixture darkens a little, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Turn up heat to medium-high. Pour in the milk and continue whisking to break up any lumps. When the milk thickens to the consistency of thin gravy (approximately 2 to 3 minutes), turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses, salt, and pepper until well incorporated. If it’s still too thick, add more milk.
  3. Serve warm over vegetables, pasta, rice, or whatever you want!

Freeze For Later: Freeze leftovers in an air-tight freezer container for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting on the microwave. Warm up in the microwave or over low heat in a pan on the stove, stirring occasionally. Add more milk to thin it out when rewarming, if needed.

Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner
A delicious twist on Asian lettuce wraps. Add a tortilla for a whole different, healthy dinner. Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps are also freezer friendly and would make a great meal to take to others. | Thriving Home

Freezer Friendly Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps

Confession: there are a handful of recipes in our Recipe Index that I have yet to try. Don’t worry– every recipe in there has been tested by either Rachel or myself. (We wouldn’t share a recipe if we hadn’t tried it and given our stamp of approval on it.) BUT, with two bloggers in the mix, it just so happens that there a few gems in there that I have yet to tackle.

A recipe that Rachel has been yapping about for a while was the Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Every time it has been brought up, she reminds me of how good it is.

Since my blogging buddy is usually pretty spot on with her recipe recommendations, I threw it on the menu plan and gave it a whirl.

I shouldn’t be surprised by this but I liked it! So did my husband. To be honest, my kids weren’t big fans but I think that was primarily because it looked suspicious through their eyes.

A delicious twist on Asian lettuce wraps. Add a tortilla for a whole different, healthy dinner. Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps are also freezer friendly and would make a great meal to take to others. | Thriving Home


A great perk about this recipe is that it makes great leftovers.

A delicious twist on Asian lettuce wraps. Add a tortilla for a whole different, healthy dinner. Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps are also freezer friendly and would make a great meal to take to others. | Thriving Home

A few nights later, the plan was to have the leftovers for dinner but I was out of lettuce. Luckily we had wraps so I thought I’d give it a whirl in those. 

Guess what. We liked them even more! This time my kids were a bit more open to them too.

So yes, I pretty much snagged an existing recipe, repackaged it and am sharing it as a “new” recipe: Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps.

A delicious twist on Asian lettuce wraps. Add a tortilla for a whole different, healthy dinner. Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps are also freezer friendly and would make a great meal to take to others. | Thriving Home


I can’t wait to make these again!

A delicious twist on Asian lettuce wraps. Add a tortilla for a whole different, healthy dinner. Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps are also freezer friendly and would make a great meal to take to others. | Thriving Home

One last thing–I think this would be a great recipe to take to someone who needs a meal. It would transport easily and be something that they typically wouldn’t get. Make sure to pin this recipe so you don’t lose track of it!

Follow me on Pinterest for more yummy dinner ideas!

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Asian Chicken Tortilla Wraps {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: