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25+ Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas for Christmas

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Don’t spend Christmas morning working away in the kitchen! Instead, prepare a few of these delicious make ahead breakfast ideas in advance, so you can relax and enjoy time with your loved ones. We rounded up the best of the best recipes on the internet!

Pin image for 25 Make Ahead Christmas Breakfas Ideas

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are sponsored and/or 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.

The BEST Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas for Christmas Morning

As freezer cooking experts and authors of From Freezer to Table and From Freezer to Cooker, we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to make ahead meals. We scoured the internet to help you find the VERY BEST make ahead breakfast and brunch ideas for Christmas morning. Off we go!

1. Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Gruyere from Thriving Home

Friends and family will oooh and ahhhh over this gourmet breakfast casserole. Its depth of flavor and beautiful color come from the bacon, onions, garlic, kale, roasted red peppers, and Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses. Turn on the crockpot first thing in the morning, and it will be ready by a mid-morning brunch.

Breakfast Casserole in a Crockpot on a wooden cutting board

2. Homemade Cinnamon Rolls from Thriving Home

Our Christmas mornings aren’t complete without cinnamon rolls. We’ve made these for YEARS. Make ahead and refrigerate them using our instructions. Then bake fresh in the morning.

Cinnamon Rolls

3. Overnight Cinnamon Roll Casserole from Gimme Some Oven

If making cinnamon rolls from scratch ain’t your thing, no worries. Try this fake-out cinnamon roll casserole that you can make ahead. With all that cinnamon, sugar, and cream cheesy frosting, you may never know the difference. 🙂

Photo Credit: Gimme Some Oven

4. Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins from Thriving Home

If you have kids at home, this is a simple recipe they can help with. Make, freeze, and enjoy these single-serving egg casseroles on Christmas morning and beyond. Low stress and tasty!

breakfast casserole muffins on a white plate

5. Glazed Cranberry Orange Scones from Sally’s Baking Addiction

How gorgeous will these look on your holiday breakfast table? Sally gives several ideas at the bottom of the recipe for how to make them ahead of time–either weeks in advance or the night before.


6. Ham and Cheese Quiche from The Cozy Cook

This simple Ham and Cheese Quiche can be made ahead of time and is totally freezer friendly! A hint of caramelized onions along with savory ham and two kinds of cheese makes this an unbeatable flavor combination!

ham and cheese quiche
Photo Credit: The Cozy Cook

7. Blueberry Avocado Muffins from Thriving Home

A reader favorite! The tasteless (and nutritious) avocado keeps these muffins moist, while the blueberries and crumble topping bring the sweetness.

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

8. Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake from Averie Cooks

Christmas in a casserole! Buttery, soft baked French toast that tastes a lot like soft gingerbread and molasses cookies.

overnight gingerbread french toast breakfast bake
Photo Credit: Averie Cooks

9. Bacon and Spinach Quiche from Thriving Home

Just a handful of ingredients come together to create this cheesy, decadent quiche. Make ahead and bake it the morning you want it. So beautiful and delicious!

bacon and spinach quiche slice on a plate

10. Berry French Toast Casserole by Joyous Apron

Prepare the night before and pop into the oven when you wake up in the morning. You’ll end up with a moist on the inside, slightly crispy on the top French toast casserole with loads of fresh strawberries and blueberries.

berry french toast casserole in a white casserole dish
Photo Credit: Joyous Apron

11. Maple Sage Breakfast Sausage from Budget Bytes

Make these homemade sausage patties ahead of time, refrigerate or freeze them, and cook them Christmas morning. They also reheat well in the microwave or oven after being cooked.

sausage patties cooking in a cast iron skillet
Photo Credit: Budget Bytes

12. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction

You had me at dark chocolate. I mean at raspberries. Actually at coffee cake. I’ve decided there is nothing NOT to love about this gorgeous breakfast cake. Perfect for the holidays!


13. Freezer Croissant Breakfast Sandwiches from Damn Delicious

Simple to make yet a special treat because of the croissants. These make ahead sandwiches are definitely Christmas worthy.

croissant breakfast sandwiches on a baking sheet
Photo Credit: Damn Delicious

14. Freezer Breakfast Burritos from Thriving Home

Make a big batch of these eggy-cheesy-bacony burritos ahead of time for Christmas morning and beyond. Either thaw and heat up OR you can warm from frozen.

freezer breakfast burritos

15. Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread from Thriving Home

A decadent-tasting, chocolatey sweet bread that includes some sneaky nutrition. (No one has to know!) Double and freeze this less-guilt recipe to have on hand for the holidays!

chocolate sweet potato banana bread

16. Amazing Mexican Breakfast Casserole from Gimme Some Oven

Loaded with colorful ingredients, this unique breakfast casserole is naturally gluten-free (and can also be made vegetarian), easy to make ahead, and, according to Ali from Gimme Some Oven, “just ridiculously delicious!”.

Amazing Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Photo Credit: Gimme Some Oven

17. Overnight Cinnamon Apple French Toast Bake from Damn Delicious

Soaked in maple syrup and topped with tender cinnamon apples and toasted pecans, your crew will love this beautiful, aromatic overnight French toast.

apple cinnamon overnight french toast
Photo Credit: Damn Delicious

18. Make Ahead Biscuits and Gravy from Simply Home Cooked

Who doesn’t love good biscuits and gravy? Who doesn’t want to spend time making it on Christmas? (Me!) Try this recipe that includes make ahead instructions, so you can have your cake biscuit and eat it, too.

biscuits and gravy on a plate with a fork
Photo Credit: Simply Home Cooked

19. Biscuit Breakfast Casserole from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Here’s another way to get biscuits on the table without all the hassle the morning of! Eggs, sausage, peppers, and cheese meet buttery biscuits all in one dish.


20. Mini Cranberry Orange Cream Scones from Budget Bytes

These festive two-bite scones can be made ahead, frozen, and warmed on Christmas morning. Yum!

Glazed Cranberry Orange Cream Scones on a cooling rack.
Photo Credit: Budget Bytes

21. Easy Cheesy Breakfast Casserole (GF) from Gimme Some Oven

This gluten-free breakfast casserole doesn’t skimp on comfort or flavor. With hearty hash browns, eggs and cheese as the anchor, the onions, garlic, and red bell peppers add color and pizzazz. Easy to prep ahead, stick in the fridge, and bake the next morning.

Easy Cheesy Breakfast Casserole | gimmesomeoven.com
Photo Credit: Gimme Some Oven

22. Gingerbread Muffins with Lemon Glaze by Sally’s Baking Addiction

With beautiful crackly tops, robust spice flavor, and a zippy lemon glaze, I love the sound of these festive and unique muffins for Christmas morning!


23. Fluffy Eggs and Bacon from Thriving Home

A reader favorite! We take a shortcut for this make ahead casserole and have you use a baking mix (like Bisquick), so you can spend more time with family and less time in the kitchen.

fluffy eggs and bacon casserole

24. Breakfast Enchiladas from Ideas for the Home by Kenarry®

Infuse some Tex-Mex into your Christmas morning menu with these easy-to-prepare Breakfast Enchiladas. Don’t the red and green bell peppers add a fun holiday pop?


25. Make Ahead Banana Breakfast Cake from Thriving Home

Want at least one (delicious) healthy-ish item on the Christmas breakfast table? Throw this nutritious sweet bread together in advance and serve it alongside a savory casserole in this round-up. It’s a family favorite around here.

make ahead banana breakfast cake

26. Tater Tot Breakfast Bake by Midwest Foodie

Loaded with eggs, cheese, veggies, bacon, and ham, this easy comfort casserole takes just minutes to throw together. Prep ahead of time, and then just add the tator tots at the last minute before popping it into the oven.

Overhead shot of a pan filled with homemade breakfast casserole
Photo Credit: Midwest Foodie

27. French Toast Casserole with Streusel Topping by Plated Cravings

Julia from Plated Cravings says, “Easy to prep in advance and topped with a crunchy Cinnamon Pecan Streusel, this baked french toast recipe saves you time in the morning and tastes so delicious.”

Photo Credit: Plated Cravings

28. Coffee Cake by Preppy Kitchen

John from Preppy Kitchen says you can make this melt-in-your-mouth coffee cake ahead, wrap tightly, and freeze. Then, warm up on Christmas morning using his instructions.

A piece of coffee cake with a few bites taken out.
Photo Credit: Preppy Kitchen

More Make Ahead Recipes You’ll Love

30+ Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals

When it comes to cooking for picky kids, we’ve got your back. Many of these make ahead recipes in this round up are tried and true in our homes.

pin image for kid friendly freezer meals

20 Meals for Groups of People

Whether you have a big family or a group to feed, try our popular round-up of big batch recipes! Almost every recipe includes make ahead and freeze instructions.

pin image for meals to make for a large group

Make Ahead 10-Minute Cranberry Sauce

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Wow your guests at your next holiday meal with this deceptively simple Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce. The best part is that you can work ahead and freeze it, so you can spend more time with loved ones at your gathering.

Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce with orange zest and fresh cranberries

To be honest, I used to think cranberry sauce came from a can, and I wanted nothing to do with that gelatinous mound of goo. Yuck! Once I tasted homemade cranberry sauce many years later, though, I realized what an amazingly delicious, tangy-sweet side dish it is!

homemade cranberry sauce in a glass bowl with orange and rosemary as garnish

What’s in This Sauce?

When first making my own cranberry sauce, I learned that it is one of THE easiest and most beautiful holiday side dishes ever, producing “ooos and ahhhs” every year it shows up at the holiday table.

My recipe includes fresh or frozen cranberries, fresh orange juice and zest, honey, and several autumnal spices. You can even toss in a little bit of fresh, minced rosemary if you’d like, too. The smell is out of this world!

zesting orange over homemade cranberry sauce in a pot

My daughter, age 12 now, has been making this Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce for our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for many years now. Homemade cranberry sauce is THAT easy. It really only takes 10 minutes to come together!

girl making homemade cranberry sauce

Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?

You can definitely freeze homemade cranberry sauce! In fact, we double the recipe at Thanksgiving and freeze half for Christmas!

To freeze your sauce, let it cool and then seal and freeze it in a BPA freezer bag, a freezer container with lid, or a mason jar (leave 1 inch of head room at the top).

When you’re ready to use it later, let the cranberry sauce thaw in the refrigerator or use one of these 3 safes ways to defrosting it. Warm it up over low heat on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.

homemade cranberry sauce in a glass bowl with fresh cranberries, orange, and rosemary as garnish

Cooking and freezing ahead is one of our top 10 tips for making a big holiday meal less stressful!

Main Dishes That Go with Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This cranberry sauce isn’t just for turkey. Serve it up alongside one of these main dishes, too.

Holiday Ham with Cranberry-Orange Glaze

spiral sliced ham on a serving dish with parsley and grapes

Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

pork tenderloin

From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this beautiful, aromatic, and EASY side dish at your next holiday meal.

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cranberry sauce

Make Ahead 10-Minute Cranberry Sauce

  • Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups (6 servings) 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top or Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This cranberry sauce is made with all real food ingredients, comes together in just 10 minutes, and can be frozen ahead of time. So delicious!


Ingredients

  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and sorted
  • 1⁄2 cup honey
  • Zest of 1 medium orange (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Instructions

Make It Now

Stovetop Method: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, honey, 1/2 cup water, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Instant Pot Method: Turn on the Sauté function. Combine the cranberries, honey, 1⁄2 cup water, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have popped and the mixture has thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Freeze For Later

Let sauce cool completely. Seal and freeze in a freezer bag or freezer container with lid. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen

Thaw. Warm gently over low heat on the stove, in a crock pot, or in the microwave.

Top 3 Dump and Go Crock Pot Meals (+ Shopping List)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

We’ve rounded up 3 amazing dump and go crock pot meals. Bonus: You can make them ahead and freeze for later, too. Freezing instructions and shopping list included!

dump and go crock pot freezer meals

This post was created in partnership with Hy-Vee (Columbia).

Dump and Go Crock Pot Meals: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Let’s start with the bad and ugly. After researching, testing, and writing a cookbook all about slow cooker meals, one of the big takeaways for us was that most “dump and go” crockpot meals just aren’t very good. Most delicious slow cooker meals require a few extra steps to get the texture and flavor just right.

But…but, but, but…there are a few exceptions to this rule. We’ve pulled together three of our very best drop and go crock pot meals: Honey Bourbon Chicken, French Dip Sandwiches, and Vegetarian Tortilla Soup.

dump and go crock pot freezer meals

No extra–or very few extra–steps are required of these dishes. You’ll simply throw all your ingredients in the slow cooker for a hands-free dinner OR in a freezer bag for later. The combo of ingredients only get tastier as they slow cook!

Double and Freeze All 3 Recipes

A smart way to use your time efficiently is to double each of the recipes below and freeze them for later. Polly and I both do this regularly and call it the “freezer cooking lifestyle.” Believe us when we say, your future self will thank you!

6 dump and go crock pot freezer meals

Simply, set aside about an hour to make 2 batches of all 3 recipes. After doubling all these recipes, you’ll stock your freezer with 6 meals! You’ll have dinner ready to go for weeks.

To make it super easy for you, we’ve made you a shopping list with enough ingredients to double each of the 3 recipes.

shopping list for dump and go crock pot meals

Ultimate Time Saver: Use Aisles Online!

We recommend doing your shopping at Hy-Vee where ingredients are well stocked, it’s easy to keep kids entertained, and the store is clean and well staffed.

If you’re an online shopper, just hop to Aisles Online and fill up your cart with the ingredient list. It’s even easier to shop for sales this way in my opinion!

Their website is incredibly easy to navigate and their pick-up process is flawless…

Or, you can even have your groceries delivered…

I can think of no easier way to make this cooking session happen than having someone drop the groceries right to your doorstep.

You can do this!

Download and Print the Shopping List

As a reminder, this list is for the go-getters who want to double all three of these recipes. If you only want to make one or two, simply print off the recipe card(s) below.

Top 3 Dump and Go Crock Pot Meals

Alright, you know where to shop for the ingredients (Hy-Vee), you know the easiest way to get them to your home (Aisles Online), and you’ve heard our plea to double the recipes to save yourself time in the long run. Now it’s time to get cooking!

Every recipe that we link to below has instructions for how to freeze it ahead and how to prepare it from frozen.

1. Honey Bourbon Chicken

A little sweet and a little spicy, this easy chicken recipe is BIG on flavor and takes just minutes to throw in the slow cooker. Stir fry some veggies while it cooks and then serve it all over rice. A reader favorite!

honey bourbon chicken freezer meal

MAKE IT AHEAD: Add the sauce ingredients and chicken to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal, toss to combine, and freeze.

TO PREPARE: Thaw and place the meal in the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Shred or chop and serve over rice and stir-fried veggies.

A similar recipe to this one is our Teriyaki Chicken Thighs. You might like that one as well!

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

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Chicken

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

A little sweet and a little spicy, this chicken dish is big on flavor and takes just minutes to throw in the slow cooker.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (For Gluten-Free: use coconut aminos or GF tamari soy sauce.)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup organic or all-natural ketchup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon or other whiskey (For Gluten-Free: Omit or use chicken stock/broth instead.)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (decrease to 1/8 teaspoon, if sensitive to heat)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/22 pounds boneless, skinless medium chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Cooked basmati rice or brown rice, for serving
  • Stir-fried vegetables, for serving

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, ketchup, bourbon, oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and green onions. Add the chicken and stir to coat with the sauce. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the chicken and sauce in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours or until cooked through. (The chicken is done when it is no longer pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.) Carefully transfer the chicken to a wooden cutting board, dice or shred the meat, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Carefully pour the juices from the slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Add in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken and sauce to the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine. Serve over rice. Garnish with green onions and serve with stir-fried vegetables, if desired.

Freeze For Later:  Follow step 1. Pour the sauce and chicken into a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen:  Note: Have cooked rice, cornstarch, and (optional) stir-fried veggies on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Follow steps 2 through 4.


Notes

One of our readers tested this recipe without the bourbon and reported that their family thought it was still delicious. 

2. French Dip Sandwiches

My kids cheer when they see this drop-and-go crock pot meal on the menu plan. It slow cooks all day long and is fall-apart tender by dinnertime. Simply shred the meat, put together the sandwiches (a quick broil toasts up the rolls and melts the cheese), and dip them in the leftover au jus. Or…turn them into grilled cheese sandwiches to take them over the top!

french dip sandwich freezer meal

MAKE IT AHEAD: Pour the sauce ingredients into a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Season the roast lightly with salt and black pepper and add to the bag/container with the sauce. Seal and freeze. Place the bread and cheese in separate freezer bags or containers. Seal and freeze alongside the roast.

TO PREPARE: Thaw. Place meat/sauce in the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Shred the meat and serve on toasted buns with Provolone (or turn them into grilled cheese sandwiches). 

A similar recipe to this one is our Balsamic Shredded Beef. It’s a reader favorite!

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Slow Cooker French Dip Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Slow Cooker
  • Method: Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 34 lbs boneless beef chuck roast (1 large roast or 2 smaller ones), trimmed of excess fat
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 16 large slices of sourdough bread
  • 16 slices provolone, cheddar, or pepper Jack cheese

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, soy sauce, minced onion, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the roast in the cooker and season lightly with salt and black pepper on all sides. Pour the sauce over the top.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 5 to 6 hours, until the meat easily shreds. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and shred with two forks. Return the meat to the cooker and stir it into the sauce.
  4. Spread a thin layer of butter over one side of each slice of bread. Place a slice of cheese on the unbuttered side of half the slices of bread. Using a slotted spoon, add a layer of the shredded meat (be sure to drain the liquid first). Top with another slice of cheese and a second slice of bread, buttered-side up.
  5. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Cook the sandwiches for a few minutes on each side, until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
  6. Serve the sandwiches warm, with the warmed juices from the cooker in small bowls alongside for dipping.

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Pour the sauce into a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Season the roast lightly with salt and black pepper and add to the bag/container with the sauce. Seal and freeze. Place the bread and cheese in separate freezer bags or containers. Seal and freeze alongside the roast.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Place in the slow cooker. Follow steps 3 through 6.

3. Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This pantry staple Vegetarian Tortilla Soup recipe is a meatless “one pot wonder” that I’ve been making and freezing for years for my family. Filled with beans, tomatoes, chilis, corn, and more, it only gets better the longer it sits in the fridge (or freezer).

vegetarian tortilla soup freezer meal and finished dish

MAKE IT AHEAD: Place all the ingredients except the rice in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

TO PREPARE: Thaw and place the soup in the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This one-pot wonder is packed with flavor but is also vegetarian! This winning combination of ingredients and flavors is sure to impress your family and friends.


Ingredients

  • 1 (32 ounce) box vegetable stock (Sub: chicken stock or broth)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can vegetarian refried beans* (Sub: drained pinto beans that have been smashed with a fork)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (Sub: kidney or pinto beans)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained (Sub: 2 cups frozen corn)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (juice and all) (Tip: Fire-roasted diced tomatoes are delicious!)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles (Sub: 1/2 cup salsa)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons all-natural taco seasoning mix
  • 12 cups cooked brown rice (Sub: cooked quinoa)
  • Optional Toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeños, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, crushed tortilla chips, lime wedges, diced avocado

Instructions

Make It Now:

Stovetop Method: In a large pot, combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce to a simmer. Cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally while it cooks. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Slow Cooker Method: Combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning in the crockpot. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Instant Pot Method: Combine broth, refried beans, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, salsa, and taco seasoning in the crockpot. Stir and break up the refried beans as much as possible. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Stir in the cooked rice and serve warm with optional toppings.

Freeze For Later:

Method 1 (Uncooked): Combine all ingredients in a pot/bowl, except rice and optional toppings. (Don’t worry if the refried beans aren’t completely integrated.) Carefully ladle the soup into gallon-sized freezer bags or containers and seal. Package the cooked rice in a small freezer bag and freeze alongside the soup.

Method 2 (Fully Cooked): Fully cook the soup according to instructions. Stir in the rice. Let cool. Freeze in freezer bags or containers, as individual servings or one full meal. Freeze until ready to use.

Prepare From Frozen: 

Method 1 (Uncooked): Fully thaw the soup. Cook according to instructions.

Method 2 (Fully Cooked):

Stove or Slow Cooker: Warm over low heat on the stove or in the slow cooker.

Instant Pot: Turn on Saute button and warm over low, stirring frequently.*


Notes

*If you want to cook the soup from frozen in the Instant Pot, you’ll need to freeze it in a round container that is smaller than the diameter of the pot. When ready to cook, turn on the “Saute” function and saute the frozen block of soup for 5-10 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel”. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 12-17 minutes with a quick release.

Gluten-Free: If using a taco seasoning packet from the store, be sure to buy one that is gluten-free.

Dairy-Free: Omit using any cheese or sour cream on top.

For more make ahead freezer meal ideas, check out our Top 3 Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas (with shopping list)!

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.

80+ Easy Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

By Polly Conner

A common question we get about freezer cooking is, “What are some easy freezer meals for 1 or 2 people?” We’ve compiled over 80 make ahead recipe ideas from our website and first cookbooks that work to individually prepare and package for 1 or 2 people.

Freezer Meal Ideas for 1 or 2 people

How to Package Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Air is the enemy of freezer cooking. Here are a few tips on how to keep those freezer meals fresh!
1) If you’re making individual items like hamburgers, chicken tenders, or fish sticks, we suggest freezing them in single layers in a freezer bag or container and then divide those layers with parchment paper so they don’t stick to each other. Some recipes like sandwiches and burritos work well to wrap individually in foil. This will make it easier for you to pull out the amount you need.
Foil wrapped sandwiches for the freezer
2) Another trick is to flash freeze foods that you will remove individually (i.e. chicken tenders, burgers, fish sticks, etc). That just means you place them on a sheet pan and put them in the freezer until they are solid (about 2-3 hours). Then dump them in a freezer bag. They won’t stick together and will be easy to pull out for single uses.
3) As for casseroles, divide our recipes up and put into loaf pans (9 inch pans) to make about 2-3 servings. Note that the baking time will be less, since it’s a smaller amount, so keep a close eye on it. I hope that helps some.
4) I find that mason jars work really well for individual portions of soup, but remember to leave at least 1 inch of head room at the top because the food will expand when it freezes.
Freezer meals in mason jars
 You might also like the Anchor Hocking dishes we mention in this article, especially the smaller ones. These are our favorites on the market as of right now.

80+ Freezer Meals That Work for 1 or 2 People

Below are well-tested recipes from that will successfully work for smaller portioned freezer meals. Some recipes require you to thaw and then cook them. Others require you to thaw and just warm them up (because they’ve already been cooked). And, still others can be cooked directly from frozen. I made notes below for you.

Breakfast: Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Scones on a baking sheet

Breakfast: Freezer Meal Recipes for 1-2 People

 

Chicken: Freezer Meal Recipes for 1 or 2 People

Freezer friendly chicken and broccoli foil packs

 

Beef: Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Freezer meals for 1 or 2 people

 

 

 

Pork and Turkey: Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Freezer friendly turkey pesto paninis. Freezer meal for 1 or 2 people.

 

 

 

Seafood: Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Freezer friendly salmon burgers. Freezer Meal for one or two people.

 

 

Pizza, Pasta, & More: Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Freezer meal for 1 or 2 people: Mini English Muffin Pizzas

 

 

 

  • Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups – freeze about 4 rolls (2 servings) in a loaf-sized pan and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil; note that the cook time will decrease some, so keep an eye on them.
  • Whole Grain Pizza Bread – cook directly from frozen

 

Soup: Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Freezer meal for 1 or 2 people: Chicken and rice soup

 

 

  • All of the soups, except the ones with tortellini or noodles, would work well. Cook fully and freeze in small portions. Then, thaw and warm up.


Slow Cooker: Freezer Meals for 1 or 2 People

Freezer meals for one or two people: Carnitas

 

 

 

 

As I mention above, freezer cooking is incredibly versatile and useful fo all stages of life. Hopefully this resource can give you some ideas on how to make meals for not only yourself but also anyone else who could benefit from meals prepped and ready to go in their freezer.

Recipes from Our Cookbooks that Work for 1-2 People

cookbook

If you have our first cookbook, From Freezer to Table, here are recipes from the book that work for 1-2 people.

NOTE: If you are looking for ideas from our second cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, simply refer to the icon index in the back of the book (page 247) and you’ll find a list of Fully Cook and Freeze recipes that will work for 1-2 people as well! If you’re a slow cooker or Instant Pot fan, you’ll LOVE this cookbook.

Breakfast Recipes

  • Blueberry Avocado or Pumpkin Muffins (p. 42 and 45)
  • Breakfast Cookies (p. 47)
  • Peaches and Cream Baked Oatmeal (p. 51) – divide into two 8×8 pans
  • Oatmeal Pancake Mix (p.54)
  • Apple Maple Sausage Bites (p. 56) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Chocolate Zunana Waffles (p. 58)
  • Scones (p.61)
  • Breakfast Burritos (p. 64)

Chicken Recipes

  • Chicken Tenders (p. 72) – take out however many you want and cook from frozen
  • Chicken and Broccoli Foil Packs (p. 75) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Individual Chicken Pot Pies (p. 83) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Chicken Fried Rice (p. 91) – freeze in small portions; takes just a few minutes to warm in the microwave

Beef Recipes

  • Cheddar Chive Burgers (p.98) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Beef and Bean Burritos (p.106) – take out however many you want, thaw and warm up
  • Sloppy Joes (p.110) – freeze into smaller portions, thaw, and warm up

Pork and Turkey

  • Yum Loaves (p.115) – take out what you need, thaw, and bake
  • 4-Ingredient Pork Chops (p. 116) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Ham and Swiss Glazed Paninis (p.120) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Super Stuffed Baked Potatoes (p. 121) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Mini Turkey and Veggie Burgers (p. 127) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Turkey Pesto Paninis (p.129) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook

Seafood

  • Straight From Alaska Salmon Burgers (p. 132) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Not So Fishy Sticks (p.134) – take out however many you want; cooks directly from frozen
  • Shrimp Potstickers with Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce (p. 138) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Mini Crab Cakes with Creamy Herb Dipping Sauce (p.144) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Pesto and Feta Tuna Melts (p.147) – take out however many you want, thaw, and cook

Pizza and Pasta

  • English Muffin Pizzas (p. 160) – remove however many you want; cook directly from frozen
  • Cheesy Lasagna Pockets – remove however many you want; takes a few minutes to warm in the microwave
  • Make-Your-Own Calzones – remove however many you want; takes a few minutes to warm in the microwave
  • Pesto Chicken Lasagna Rolls – freeze about 4 rolls (2 servings) in a loaf-sized pan and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil; note that the cook time will decrease some, so keep an eye on them.

Slow Cooker

  • Chicken and Cheese Chimichangas (p. 192) – remove however many you want, thaw, and cook
  • Chili-Rubbed Brisket (p. 195) – We don’t offer this in the freezer directions, but you can fully cook and then freeze small portions to warm up later.
  • Killer Carnitas (p. 196) – We don’t offer this in the freezer directions, but you can fully cook and then freeze small portions to warm up later.
  • French Dip Sandwiches (p. 198) – We don’t offer this in the freezer directions, but you can fully cook and then freeze small portions to warm up later.
  • Polly’s Signature Taco Soup (p. 209) – freeze in individual portions, thaw, and warm up

Find all our free Freezer Cooking resources and recipes here.

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!

10 Make Ahead Freezer Meals for Emergency Preparedness (+ Shopping List)

By Polly Conner

After writing not one but TWO cookbooks on make ahead freezer meals, we can quickly identify easy recipes to quickly stock the freezer.

Since there are a lot of unknowns and fears right now, we figured the best way to serve our audience is to share some of our easiest recipes that you can either make fresh or double and freeze for later.

10 Make-ahead freezer meals for emergency preparedness

Every recipe on this list includes freezing instructions, and we’ve provided a printable shopping list to make grocery shopping even easier.

These freezer meal recipes for emergency preparedness are also useful for people who aren’t able to get to the grocery store often or those who just prefer to shop less. They also can be taken to people around you who might need a meal.

Top 10 Freezer Meals Printable Packet

We know many of you will want all of these freezer meals in one nice, neat place. You can easily download and print off all 10 of these freezer meals by clicking the button below.

Shopping List for 10 Make Ahead Freezer Meals

If you’re wanting to make a few (or all!) of these freezer meals, we’ve put together a free shopping list for you. No email required for this one! Just click below and save it to your computer to print.

Our hope is that this would make feeding your family and stocking your freezer as easy as possible!

10 EASY Make-Ahead Freezer Meals to Stock Up On

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

Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

Slow Cooker Instructions & Instant Pot Instructions.

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.


Freezer friendly slow cooker beef sandwiches

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches

This dump and go slow cooker dinner can make a great freezer meal. Using our Homemade BBQ Sauce puts these family friendly sandwiches over the top.


Freezer friendly chicken parmesan casserole

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

This is by far the most popular Thriving Home recipe to date. Readers gravitate towards the simplicity and recognizable ingredients of this freezer meal. But, they return to this favorite because it’s always a hit! 


Freezer meal: pork tenderloin with seasoned rub

Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

This is one of the first pork tenderloin recipes that Rachel learned how to make. The fact that she is STILL making it regularly for holidays, guests, and weeknight meals should prove that it is a keeper! You’ll be amazed at how such an easy recipe can pack some serious flavor. 


Peanut butter and banana baked oatmeal for the freezer

Peanut Butter & Banana Baked Oatmeal

Packed with fiber, protein, and potassium (from bananas), this baked oatmeal is not only mouth-watering but also a healthy way to start your day. Throw it together in minutes for a warm and comforting breakfast the whole family will love. Be sure to double and freeze one for later. 


baked Italian meatballs (freezer friendly)

Baked Italian Meatballs

Meatballs don’t get easier than this baked version, which means less work and fewer dishes to clean up than typical recipes. These tasty little orbs may get eaten before they ever make it atop spaghetti or a sub sandwich. They are moist and perfectly seasoned every time. 


Southwest Chicken Tenders: Freezer friendly

Southwest Chicken Tenders

This southwest marinade is sure to please all the eaters in your house. It is full of flavor, but not spicy. Once you try this, it will for sure find its way in to your regular meal rotation. 


Freezer meal: Ham & Cheese Sliders

Ham & Cheese Sliders

This recipe takes a ham sandwich to a whole new level. When Polly has a group coming to her house, this is her go-to recipe. Not only do all ages like them, but they are cheap and easy to make. 


Easy freezer meal: Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins

Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins

This on-the-go breakfast takes seconds to warm up in the morning before heading out the door and will stick with you through lunch. 

These mini casseroles are full of simple ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen, too. Do invest in some silicone muffin liners and/or generously grease muffin tins to avoid what can be tough clean up. 


Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (Freezer meal)

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

This one-pot wonder is packed with flavor, but is also vegetarian! This winning combination of ingredients and flavors is sure to impress your family and friends. 


Hopefully this gives you a great list of meals to start from for emergency preparedness! Don’t forget to print them all off by clicking below!

More Helpful Freezer Cooking Resources

30+ Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

By Polly Conner

Look no further for kid friendly freezer meals that you can stock up on. These 30+ recipes are well-tested on our own families and many of our readers’ families, as well. A must have resource for the future!

Color foil pans for kid-friendly make ahead freezer meals

A few days ago, my three year old threw a 15 minute tantrum at the kitchen table. The reason for the unrest? A broken banana. I wish I were joking. As I was peeling it for him, it broke in half. My attempts to explain that it would taste just the same fell on deaf ears.

If you’ve had young children, you are well aware that they can love something one day and consider it a crime that you would even consider putting that food on their plate again. Their fickleness about food can be maddening–especially if you’ve worked hard to make a homemade meal.

Colorful freezer containers in a freezer

Because we are well acquainted with the struggle of finding meals that kids will like, we’ve tested and rounded up over 30 kid-friendly freezer meals. We’ve included instructions to make ahead and freeze every single recipe. This means if you are a wise mama, which I’m sure you are, you should probably double the recipe and freeze one for later

30+ Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals

BREAKFAST RECIPES:

Breakfast may well be the most important meal your child eats all day, so why not prep some healthy freezer meal breakfast options to have on hand?

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Can be frozen and thawed individually for a grab-and-go meal.

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

What kid doesn’t love a muffin? This one’s tasty and healthy.

Whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffin

Freezer Smoothie Packs

Having a stash of smoothie packs is such a fun, unique idea for kids! Use our printable labels to help keep them organized too.

Smoothie freezer packs

Blueberry Power Muffins

Packed with nutritious ingredients and great for busy mornings.

Blueberry Power Muffins - freezer meal for kids

Breakfast Casserole Muffins

Have these on hand for hearty, grab-and-go breakfasts.

egg casserole muffins on a white plate; freezer meal for kids

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

Rachel bakes one of these most weeks and her kids mow through it. Serve warm with a little milk on top. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal - freezer meal for kids

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Did you know you make a large batch of pancakes ahead and freeze them? These are a reader and kid fave!

whole wheat pumpkin pancakes

Chocolate Zucchini Waffles 

A chocolately way to pack in some extra veggies. Make extras and freeze for later.

Chocolate Waffle recipe with zucchini - kid friendly freezer meal

SLOW COOKER RECIPES:

Slow cooker meals that picky kids will eat? We’ve found them! P.S. Did you know we published a whole cookbook with family-friendly freezer meals that work in the slow cooker?!

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef

One friend’s child confessed, “This is better than candy!” True story. Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta or on it’s own.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef recipe

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Sliders

A simple mid-week recipe that can easily be prepped ahead of time and ready to throw into the slow cooker (or try this Instant Pot version).

Slow cooker chicken parmesan sliders on a cutting board

French Dip Grilled Cheese

This is one of the most popular recipes from our newest cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker. We’re excited that our publisher gave us permission to share this one with you! Your family is going to love this drop-and-go meal.

French Dip sandwich for the slow cooker with au jus sauce

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

These go directly from freezer to oven to table in minutes! A family favorite among our readers.

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos - kid friendly freezer meal

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Can’t go wrong with pulled pork! Kids and parents alike love this freezer meal.

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork on a plate

Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches

If your kids prefer shredded beef over shredded pork, then give this freezer meal recipe a try.

Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches

CASSEROLE RECIPES:

Most casserole recipes can be prepped and frozen. They are a great way to stock the freezer for busy nights! 

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Hands down our most popular recipe on Thriving Home. Serve “as is” or over your child’s favorite pasta.

This fake-out lasagna is hearty and delicious!

Beef baked ravioli

Baked Penne Pasta

This baked pasta makes a TON! Tip: Split it between two 8×8 inch casserole dishes and freeze one for later!

Baked Penne Pasta

Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato – Vegetarian freezer meal

Rachel’s made this baked mac and cheese for years for her little ones as a way to add in some extra veggies. The sweet potato is pureed (read: hidden) and gives it that orangey color they like. 😉 

A better mac and cheese with sneaky sweet potato

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups – Vegetarian freezer meal

Kids love the individual rolled up lasagna noodles. Don’t worry, the sneaky spinach is tucked away inside the cheesy goodness. 

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

MORE KID FRIENDLY FREEZER MEALS

We’re not even close to done! Here are some more make ahead meal ideas that kids will love!

Baked Italian Meatballs

Serve with a side of sauce for dipping, or over spaghetti, or on mini buns with provolone cheese. Delicious!

Baked meatballs on a white plate with marinara sauce

 

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

Marinate and grill up these flavorful chicken breasts for some delicious sandwiches that everyone will love.

 

Ham & Cheese Sliders

These are my go-to meal for groups. Kids LOVE them.

Hand lifting a ham & cheese slider from a white dish

Mini Meatloaf Muffins

We have parents tell us all the time that they make these for their kids. Great way to sneak in extra veggies, too.

meatloaf muffins on a white serving platter

Pork Tenderloin with a Seasoned Rub

We’ve both been making this easy, weeknight recipe for our families for years. A winner dinner! Serve with ketchup or BBQ sauce, if the kids like that.

 Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub

Mini Italian Burgers

Take your sliders to the next level by adding in some shredded Parm, fresh herbs, and tomato paste. Yum!

Mini Italian burgers with broccoli on the side

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs

No one ever complains when we serve these! Eat by themselves or on a mini bun.

Mini Chicken Burger with Herbs Recipe

SOUPS AND STEWS:

Tomato Bisque

One of our most popular recipes! Rachel serves this soup with grilled cheese that’s cut into sticks. She calls it “Grilled Cheese Dippers” and the kids use the soup as a dipping sauce. 

Tomato Bisque soup in white bowl with spoon

Slow Cooker Cheddar & Bacon Potato Soup

Potatoes, bacon, cheese…what’s not to love here, kids?

Slow Cooker Cheddar and Bacon Potato Soup in white bowls with bread. Kid friendly freezer meal.

Easy No-Peek Stew

If your kids will go for beef stew, this is the one to make. It’s the EASIEST!

No-peek stew in a casserole dish

Mexican Soup

Top with some sour cream and cheese and serve with tortilla chips.

Mexican soup recipe - kid friendly freezer meal

 

The Best Kid-Friendly Freezer Meal Resources

Although we love the recipes above, we actually spent years painstakingly developing, testing, and retesting freezer-friendly recipes for our cookbooks! You can find them at all major booksellers. Check out the reviews to see what readers are saying!

Freezer meal cookbooks - ideas for kid-friendly freezer meals

 
 

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

Baked Italian Meatballs

By Rachel Tiemeyer

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

Baked meatballs on a white plate with marinara sauce

Easiest Baked Meatballs… EVER

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

The ingredients in our baked meatballs are simple:

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

Baked italian meatball

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

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

How to Freeze Baked Meatballs

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

How to freeze baked italian meatballs

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

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

Ways to Use Baked Meatballs

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

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

What to serve with Baked Italian Meatballs

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

Print

Baked Italian Meatballs {Freezer Meal}

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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

*affiliate link


Instructions

Make It Now:

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

Freeze For Later:

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

Prepare From Frozen:

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

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

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

Cancer-Fighting Soup

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Cancer-Fighting Soup (aka Immune-Boosting Soup) is chock full of vegetables, lentils, and black beans that science has shown helps fight inflammation in the body. Whether you’re wanting to help someone with a diagnosis or just eat as healthy as possible yourself, this comforting soup fits the bill.

Large pot of vegetable soup with three bowls of vegetable soup. Spoons and napkins and fresh herbs on the side.

This post was originally shared February 2015. It has since been updated and reposted.

Darcie’s Cancer Story

Cancer. No one expects to hear that diagnosis from their doctor, even though one in three Americans will get cancer at some point. You especially don’t expect it when you’re a 38-year-old seemingly healthy mom of four children.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.59.20 AM

My long-time and dear friend Darcie received that diagnosis in Fall 2014, after finding a lump in her breast. It was a shock to all of her friends, family and church family to say the least.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.58.22 AM

Her friends and family quickly gathered like a small army around her and her family. You see Darcie is widely known as one of the most generous, thoughtful, bleeding-heart people around our area. Many lives have been touched by her and her family in some way. Everyone loves Darcie.

A small group of her closest friends gathered a few days after her diagnosis to pray and plan for her. I was awed as I saw each friend in our group using her own particular gifting to serve and encourage her. It’s humbling to watch Christ’s church at work as the hands and feet of Jesus during a time of crisis like this.

One friend brought Darcie a “Battle Bag” full of encouraging Bible verses to read any time of day or night. Others were already working on coordinating house cleaning, meals for the family, rides for the kids, starting a fundraiser site. One friend in the medical field sat through the initial consult appointment with her and her husband to be another listening ear. My decorator friend announced she would embark on a quick bedroom make-over, so Darcie can feel at peace in her space while undergoing treatment. The list goes on.

(Below: Living it up 80’s style with Darcie (on right), me (center) and our friend (Kelley). Can you handle all that blue eye shadow and crimping?)

Darcie and friends

And what do you think was my first inclination when I heard the news about my friend? To cook!

My mission in the days to follow her diagnosis: How can I make my friend the most nutritious, delicious, cancer-fighting soup possible? How can I equip her with the foods and nutrition information she’ll need to give her body the best fighting chance?

My role–surprise-surprise–was quickly dubbed by my team of friends as “Darcie’s nutrition helper”…which let me just say I feel completely inadequate for! Because of my under qualified status, I’ve been desperately researching and talking to friends who actually are nutrition experts. I’ve been learning all about the BEST foods for fighting breast cancer and inflammation in the body.

The Best Foods for Fighting Breast Cancer

Large pan of chopped vegetables on a wooden cutting board.

Through my research and her doctor’s guidance, she decided to focus on a plant-rich diet full of a variety of vegetables, lentils, beans, fruit, nuts, eggs, and Omega 3-rich fish to provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats to aid healing and boost immunity.

We learned that foods like mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower, lentils, black beans, and spinach are some of the best for fighting breast cancer. And, that’s exactly the kinds of foods I included in this big batch of Cancer-Fighting Soup for my friend.

Close up shot of vegetable soup in a ladel

IMPORTANT! Please keep in mind that I am not a dietician or licensed medical practitioner, so please ask your doctor if the ingredients included in this soup are ok for you if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and/or are receiving treatment. I’ve heard that some foods like grapefruit and even garlic can interfere with certain medications.

How to Prepare Cancer-Fighting Soup

I’ve made three huge pots of Cancer-Fighting Soup now for Darcie and for our family. Let me tell you, it’s absolutely PACKED with flavor thanks to all the seasoning and veggies just as much as it’s PACKED with nutrition. Here’s a 1 minute video showing how easily it comes together…

The key to the complex flavor is to saute the aromatics (onions, celery, carrots, and garlic) to kick-start their flavor and then to season every step of the way.

Large pot of vegetable soup with three bowls of vegetable soup. Spoons and napkins and fresh herbs on the side.

Another tip is to chop all of the vegetables about the same size so they cook evenly and are bite-sized. It’s actually a pet peeve of mine when vegetable soup contains pieces that are too big to enjoy in one bite. It’s worth taking the time to chop them perfectly. 🙂 My recipe will guide you to the perfect soup, so don’t worry!

How to Make Ahead and Freeze Cancer-Fighting Soup

This soup is perfect for making ahead and taking to a friend. If you want, just change the name to “Immune-Boosting Soup” if your friend has a cold. 🙂 It has now been tested from fresh, reheated from the fridge as leftovers, and reheated after being frozen. It delicious and works great in all these situations!

Vegetable soup in a freezer container with label on top

If you want to deliver it to a friend as a fresh meal or freezer meal, you can deliver it in one of these freezer containers, including a freezer container with lid (see above image) or mason jars (see below image). I love using mason jars, since the soup can be divided into single servings. Just be sure to leave at least 1 inch of headspace at the top if freezing.

Vegetable soup in mason jars.

My hope is that you can make this recipe for yourself and/or take it to anyone else who is battling cancer or an illness. This Cancer-Fighting Soup fights inflammation in the body and provides warmth and comfort when healing.

Bowl of vegetable soup in a white bowl with a spoon

You may even want to add a word of encouragement to the container you deliver it in, too. I quickly scribbled out a few favorite encouraging Bible verses in sharpie on the freezer containers of the soup for Darcie.

Or you may want to include a set of our printable Truth for Trials verse cards.

Truths for Trials image for store

To make your meal a little more fancy-schmancy than mine with these Printable Freezer Meal labels to go on top.

Printable freezer meal labels

I hope this recipe is a blessing to you or someone else. Please leave a comment for me, and I’d love to pray for you or a loved one who is battling cancer.

P.S. Thanks to Darcie for letting me share some of her story. She said to me, “Share on, sister. Hoping it makes a difference, inspiring someone to change one small thing about their lifestyle.”

P.P.S. In case you’re wondering, here is the story of Darcie’s Head-Shaving Party and more about how she’s doing. It’s so encouraging!

darciestrawberry

P.P.P.S. At the time of updating this post on 11/8/20, Darcie is now over 5 years cancer-free (“no evidence of disease”) and doing great!

Print
Bowl of vegetable soup in a white bowl with a spoon

Cancer Fighting Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1216 servings (about 2 cups per serving) 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This hearty soup brings a healthy and tasty dose of vegetables to the table to boost the immune system. Make ahead and freeze for later using our freezing instructions.


Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 23 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if you don’t like heat)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 12 cups (or three 32-ounce cartons) of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (look for BPA-free cans)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup lentils (any kind will work; rinse first)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped finely
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped finely
  • 23 cups spinach, chopped
  • 12 cups frozen green peas

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute the onions, carrots, and celery for about 4-5 minutes, until tender. Add in the garlic and stir for 1 more minute. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to your preferred heat level), and Italian seasoning.
  3. Stir in the chicken or vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, lentils, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer (slight bubbling), stirring occasionally. Season again lightly with salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, and broccoli and simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the spinach and frozen peas and turn off the heat (or turn to low), so they don’t overcook. Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. If you like, serve with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese and/or whole grain crackers or crusty bread.

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-5. Let the soup cool completely. Suggestion: divide soup into some shallow pans to put in the refrigerator to cool it more quickly. Divide soup into gallon-sized freezer bags or containers, squeeze out excess air, seal, and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe thawing methods. Then reheat gently over low heat on the stove or in a crock pot. Another option is to put the frozen soup block over low to medium-low heat on the stove top or in a crock pot. Add about 1-2 cups of water or broth over the top. Gently warm over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Follow step 6 for serving.


Notes

It’s a good idea to chop your veggies all about the same size, so they cook evenly and they are bite-sized.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1.5-2 cups
Large pot of vegetable soup with three bowls of vegetable soup. Spoons and napkins and fresh herbs on the side.

Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Looking for an easy breakfast idea? We love this easy Breakfast Casserole Muffin recipe. It’s made with simple ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen. These make a fabulous, freezer-friendly breakfast. For sure worth a try!

Breakfast casserole muffins on a white plate

Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins: What’s Not to Love?

Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins have been a reader favorite for a LONG time. Maybe it’s because they come together quickly with ingredients you likely have on hand. Or possibly because they are budget-friendly. Or maybe it’s because they work beautifully as a make-ahead breakfast idea. (Here are many other make-ahead breakfast ideas, FYI.) For many reasons, we think you are going to LOVE this recipe. Here is a quick look at how it comes together.

When you make these savory muffins, it’s super easy to include your kids in the preparation.  My kiddos love helping me tear up leftover bread pieces (which I store in a ziplock in the freezer) and placing them in each greased muffin tin.  They also help sprinkle shredded cheese, tear up and scatter ham pieces, and stir the egg mixture. It’s such an easy breakfast idea!

Little girl helping with breakfast casserole muffins

The measurements in my recipe are approximate. It’s hard to mess these up, so use your judgment as you go. You can also jazz them up with some chopped spinach, parsley, or different kinds of cheese.

Or you can keep it simple and kid-friendly. Your call!

Breakfast casserole ingredients

How to Freeze and Thaw Breakfast Casserole Muffins

Breakfast casserole muffins in a silicone muffin tin

Wondering if these work as a freezer meal? I have great news for you. They work beautifully as a make-ahead breakfast idea!

How to Freeze: To freeze our breakfast casserole muffins, simply follow the recipe instructions and fully cook them. Let them cool and store them in an airtight freezer bag or container.

How to Prepare: One of the best things about this recipe is that you can cook them straight from frozen! Simply wrap in a moist paper towel and microwave in 30 second increments until warmed through (about 1-2 minutes).

Breakfast casserole muffin

What to Serve with Breakfast Casserole Muffins

4 smoothie recipes in mason jars

I personally love pairing these with a smoothie. Here are smoothie recipes we recommend:

Ready to make your own Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins?

Print

Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 minute
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

We love this easy Breakfast Casserole Muffin recipe. It’s made with simple ingredients that you likely have in your kitchen. These make a fabulous, freezer friendly breakfast. For sure worth a try!


Ingredients

  • 34 pieces whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces (enough to fill muffin tins almost to top)
  • 34 slices deli ham (look for preservative-free), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (or more or less to taste)
  • dried parsley, for garnish

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a muffin tin very well or use a silicone muffin tin.
  2. Drop bread pieces evenly in muffin tins until they come about 2/3 of the way up the tin.
  3. Sprinkle ham pieces evenly in each tin.
  4. Sprinkle cheese evenly in each tin.
  5. Whisk together eggs, milk, ground mustard, and pepper.
  6. Pour egg mixture evenly in each muffin tin.
  7. Sprinkle a little dried parsley on the top of each one to add a pop of color.
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through the middle.

Freeze For Later: Bake according to instructions and let fully cool. Place muffins in a single layer in a gallon-sized freezer container or bag. Seal well, squeezing out excess air, and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Wrap a muffin in a moist paper towel and microwave in 30 seconds increments until heated through (about 1-2 minutes). Or thaw in the refrigerator and warm in the microwave.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 muffin

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 Beef Stew {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

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

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

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

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

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

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

bowl of stew in white bowl with napkin

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

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

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

Instant Pot Beef Stew

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

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

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

COOKING NOTES:

*To make this recipe Gluten-Free: 

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

Slow Cooker Chicken Fiesta Soup

By Polly Conner

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

Slow cooker chicken fiesta soup in a white bowl

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

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

Smart-Polly won. 

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

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

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

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

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

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Slow Cooker Chicken Fiesta Soup

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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

 

Spoon full of chicken fiesta soup

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

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

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

3 Safe Ways to Thaw Freezer Meals

By Polly Conner

Can you thaw food in a crock pot? How long does it take to thaw a freezer meal in the fridge? Can I just leave it on the counter for a few hours?

Ever since the release of our cookbook, From Freezer to Table, Rachel and I have had the awesome opportunity to speak to groups about meal planning and freezer cooking. One thing we’ve realized is that there is a bit of confusion on how to properly thaw frozen food.

Fear not. We are here to set the record straight.

Three ways we recommend to safely thaw your freezer meals:

Read more

Top 3 Myths About Freezer Cooking Debunked!

By Rachel Tiemeyer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves are a kid-favorite and a great way to sneak in extra nutrition!

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

I could eat these super healthy Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves hot or cold, I tell ya. They really aren’t just for kids, although my three children gobbled them up with a side of ketchup tonight. I’m glad I doubled the recipe, so I can freeze half of them for another night. Snaps for #freezermeals, eh?!

These Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves are a kid-favorite and a great way to sneak in extra nutrition! #realfood #freezermeal #healthy

Here’s the other thing: If you have a hard time getting enough vegetables into your family, these mini meatloaves are also a winning way to sneak some extra nutrition in (which you may know I’m a fan of). I would suggest using the food processor to chop the vegetables finely, if you have some suspicious kiddos. Give your munchkins a good squirt of ketchup for dipping purposes and you’re good to go!

These Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves are a kid-favorite and a great way to sneak in extra nutrition! #realfood #freezermeal #healthy

I served our Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves up with a twice baked potato, steamed broccoli, and some strawberries. Want to really hit a homerun when it comes to the sneaky nutrition, though? Try a side of Cream Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes. You’ll have just fed your kids zucchini, carrots, onion, and sweet potatoes in one delicious meal. Boom!

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These Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves are a kid-favorite and a great way to sneak in extra nutrition!

Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These Mini Turkey and Veggie Meatloaves are a kid-favorite and a great way to sneak in lots of extra nutrition!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (about one small onion)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (about one carrot)
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini (squeeze out excess liquid with hands)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs 99% fat free ground turkey
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (or whole wheat panko)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup all natural ketchup, divided
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley, crushed in hand
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed in hand (or dried oregano)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack over the sheet (baking rack keeps bottoms from burning and allows drippings to fall below.) Grease baking rack generously with cooking spray.
  2. In a saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, sauté vegetables in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Lightly season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste while they sauté. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine cooled vegetable mixture, ground turkey, egg, panko, 1/4 cup ketchup, broth, garlic powder, parsley, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Do not over mix.
  4. Gently scoop out a heaping, loosely packed 1/2 cup of meat mixture for each meatloaf. Gently form into a patty that’s evenly about 1 1/2 inches thick. Do not press down hard on mixture to avoid compacting it. Top each mini meatloaf with about 2 teaspoons ketchup, spreading around on top evenly.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the middle is no longer pink.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze: Bake and let cool completely. Seal in freezer bag or container, squeezing out all the air. Freeze up to 2 months.

To Prepare: Thaw in refrigerator overnight and reheat in microwave, using a lower power setting, just until warmed through. Or if reheating from frozen, use the defrost setting on the microwave.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 meatloaf

Hy-Vee Freezer Cooking Classes: Why We Are BIG Fans

By Polly Conner

HyVee freezer meal cooking class--why we are big fans!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Hy-Vee but opinions are all mine! 

You guys. Last night, we had so much fun at a freezer cooking class at Hy-Vee. Before I launch in to tell you all about why I am digging this new method of freezer cooking, take a peek at this video to give you a visual of what we were up to.

Read more

Cream Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These may be healthier than mashed potatoes, but these Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes will have your family coming back for more! #realfood #freezermeal #delicious

It’s no secret that I like to sneak more nutrition into kid-friendly meals wherever I can. My kids aren’t the worst vegetable eaters in the world, but they certainly aren’t the best. And, hey, my husband and I could stand to eat more too. So, why not transform the ole carb-loaded, fat-loaded mashed potatoes into something DELICIOUS that also happens to be good for you? Right. That’s what I said.

Make Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with some Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin or Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders and you’re golden. And, don’t bat an eye about freezing the leftovers. They will thaw and reheat heat well for another day.

These may be healthier than mashed potatoes, but these Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes will have your family coming back for more! #realfood #freezermeal #delicious

Ooo, I wonder if I can make a shepherd’s pie with these guys on top? That’s my next challenge.

These may be healthier than mashed potatoes, but these Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes will have your family coming back for more! #realfood #freezermeal #delicious

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These may be healthier than mashed potatoes, but these Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes will have your family coming back for more! #realfood #freezermeal #delicious

Cheesy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

With fewer carbs and more nutrients than regular mashed potatoes, these healthy yet decadent-tasting Cheesy Mashed Potatoes are sure to be a family favorite!


Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced sweet potato (about 2 medium ones)
  • 3 cups diced potatoes (about 2 medium ones)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons plain cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley, crushed in hand

Instructions

  1. Place diced potatoes in large pot of cold water and turn on high heat. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Drain in a colander over the sink and return to pot.
  2. Add butter/oil, cream cheese, chicken broth, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley. Gently stir until cream cheese is melted and incorporated.
  3. Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
After cooking and cooling, freeze in an air tight container for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Thaw in the refrigerator or defrost in the microwave. Warm in the microwave or slow cooker on low after thawing. You may have to add a bit more liquid (milk or chicken broth) after reheating, if too dry.

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

By Polly Conner

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

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

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

Throw a Freezer Meal Party: How to Host the Event

By Rachel Tiemeyer

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

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

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

Throw a Freezer Meal Party: Party Planning and Preparation

By Polly Conner

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

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

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

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

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

How to Throw a Freezer Meal Party

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Throw a Freezer Meal Party: Why We are Loving These

By Polly Conner

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

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

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

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

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

Enter, freezer cooking parties. Read more

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin {Freezer Meal}

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin

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

Description

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


Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

Notes

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

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

Need a side dish idea?

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