If you’re like me, you love to be prepared. I was so nervous about Landon’s upcoming birth with all the unknowns and possible ways I could be unprepared. What if he cried all the time? What if we never got any sleep at all? What if this is so hard that I won’t be able to function?

Yeah, dramatic I know. But, hey, he was my first baby, so I think I had a right to be that uncertain about things. One thing I knew for sure, though, was that I could control our meals by preparing freezer meals ahead of time. With the major help of my mom, we finished with over thirty freezer meals and quick lunch options. Not bad, right? It took me months to get through them all. Landon wasn’t nearly as scary or exhausting as I was anticipating, but I still loved having easy meal options for busy nights.

The best idea I had stumbled across was freezing them in freezer safe gallon Ziploc bags. When freezing them, freeze them flat on a cookie sheet until solid, and then stack in the freezer. This takes up waaaaay less space than casserole dishes.

Do make sure to label each bag with its contents and specific baking or cooking instructions to make your life easier when it comes time to cook them.

These recipes will also work great to make again before returning back to work. I love having freezer meals to rely on now that I’m back to work full time. It’s almost harder now to make meals than it was when Landon was a newborn.

These are my top ten freezer meal recipes, and most are family recipes from both my and my husband’s families. Several can even be cooked or reheated in a slow cooker: bonus! Enjoy!


1. Tator Tot Casserole

A definite favorite between my husband and me. I just made the “goop” part, split this recipe in half to give us two separate meals, and kept the tator tots frozen in the freezer until time to make it. 

Ingredients

1-2 lbs hamburger (your choice – if being more budget conscious, one pound works just fine)
Chopped onion, to taste (about half an onion)
2 cans cheddar cheese soup
2 cans fancy cut green beans
1 cup milk
Pepper, to taste
Lawry’s, to taste (or other kind of seasoning salt)
Tator tots

Brown hamburger and onion until done. Drain excess grease. Combine soups, seasonings, and milk until smooth. Mix with hamburger mixture and drained green beans.

Cool and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge, then put contents in baking dish. Cover with tator tots. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour.

2. Cheeseburger Chowder

I froze this in two separate meals, and for freezing purposes, I definitely recommend you do the same. This could easily be reheated in a slow cooker on low for several hours until done.

Ingredients

½ to ¾ lb hamburger
1 onion, chopped
¾ c. carrots, chopped
¾ c. celery, chopped
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 stick butter
¼ c. flour
32 oz. chicken broth
5-6 c. hash browns
1 ½ lb Valveeta cheese
3 c. milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

Brown hamburger. Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil, and parsley in 4 T. butter. Add broth, potatoes, and beef – bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. In another skillet, melt remaining butter, then add flour to make thickening agent. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is bubbly. Add to soup and bring to boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. To finish soup, add cheese, milk, salt, and pepper. Heat until cheese melts; stir.

To freeze, cool, then separate into at least two freezer bags. Freeze flat until hardened and then store. To eat, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat.

3. Beef Barley Soup

Again, I would definitely split this in two meals because of freezing purposes. This is another great slow cooker options. Just reheat until done on low, probably 3 hours or so.

Ingredients

1 lb hamburger
2 medium onions
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
⅓ c. barley
¼ c. ketchup
1 T. beef bouillon granules
1 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
5 c. water

Brown hamburger and onion and drain excess fat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer one hour, then add salt and pepper to taste and remove bay leaf.

Cool completely and then freeze in at least two separate bags.

When ready to eat, thaw overnight and reheat.

4. Chicken Spaghetti

Again, I split this into two smaller meals.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into two inch pieces, and then cooked until al dente
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can Rotel, drained
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. Lawry’s
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 additional cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except additional one cup cheese. Cool and then freeze. If you want to be really organized, you can even measure out separate quart-sized bags with one cup of cheese and label it for the chicken spaghetti and then freeze. 

When ready to eat, thaw overnight in fridge. Put in oven safe pan and top with additional cup of cheese and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until cheese is bubbly.

5. Porcupine Meatballs

This is a great crock pot meal option, or it can also be baked in the oven.

Ingredients

½ c. uncooked rice
1 lb hamburger
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 T. minced onion
2.T. vegetable oil
1 can tomato soup
1 c. hot water

Combine rice, hamburger, salt, pepper, and onion and form into twelve meatballs. Brown in oil.  Combine soup and hot water.

To freeze, cool meatballs and sauce, then wrap meatballs well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Pour sauce into freezer bag, and then place all in gallon freezer safe bag.

When time to cook, place meatballs in slow cooker, cover with sauce, and cook on high for 5-6 hours. To bake, bake for 2 hours at 300 degrees.


6. Sweet and Sour Meat

This is another good slow cooker option that can cook all day while you’re at work or working around the house. Bonus: no pre-cooking required!

Ingredients

½-¾ c. cornstarch
¾ c. sugar
⅓ c. soy sauce
1 ½ c. water
½ c. ketchup
2 T. worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. pepper
3 lbs sirloin or rib steak, cubed
¼ c. carrots, chopped
¼ c. celery, chopped

Mix sauce, then add meat, carrots, and celery. Freeze. When ready to eat, bake 3 hours at 300 degrees in oven or 7-8 hours on low in slow cooker. Serve over rice.

7. Beef Stroganoff

I love this beef stroganoff recipe. I would make just the “goop” and add the sour cream just before serving it when you’re ready to eat it. It would also be reheated well in a slow cooker.

Ingredients

2 lbs hamburger
1 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ med. onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste
Chili powder, sprinkling
3 tsp. beef bouillon
2 T. taco sauce
Ketchup, few shakes
1  can cream of mushrooms soup
1 c. water
2 T. flour
¾ c. sour cream

Brown beef with mushrooms and onions. Drain. Add other ingredients except sour cream. Cook until done, a few minutes.

Cool completely and then freeze. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in fridge and then reheat. This would work great in a slow cooker on low for maybe 3-4 hours or quickly reheated on the stove. Add sour cream just before serving. Serve over pasta.

8. Taco Soup

I would suggest splitting this in two separate meals and freezing. Thaw in fridge overnight and reheat to boiling. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, then serve. Or reheat on low in slow cooker for 3-4 hours.

Ingredients

2 lbs hamburger
1 ½ cups water
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
Chopped onion to taste
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can chili beans
1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can Rotel
1 envelope ranch dressing mix

Brown beef and onion and drain. Add taco seasoning and mix well. Add water. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, uncovered for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and freeze.

9. Chicken and Dumplings

I recommend just making the “goop” of this one and adding the biscuits in once you are reheating it. This recipe was actually an adaptation of a slow cooker recipe. You could freeze it all raw but ready to go (except for the butter/flour paste), thaw overnight in the fridge, and then cook on low for 5-6 hours, shred the chicken, add the paste, biscuits and peas, and then cook on low for another 2 hours.

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
¼ tsp. thyme
4 cups chicken broth
3 T. butter, softened
¼ c. flour
1 16 oz. can refrigerated biscuit dough
1 cup frozen peas

In dutch oven, add chicken broth, raw chicken breasts, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, seasonings, and bay leaves. Bring to boil and simmer until chicken is done.

While simmering, combine softened butter and flour to form a paste. Once chicken is done, remove and shred, then return it to the pan. Stir or whisk in flour and butter paste one teaspoon at a time until desired thickness. I usually use it all. Stir in frozen peas and remove bay leaves.

Cool and freeze.

When ready to eat, thaw overnight and reheat until boiling. Simmer 5 minutes or so. Cut biscuits into quarters and drop in “goop.” Cook until biscuits are done, around 5-10 minutes. **Or use slow cooker adaptation listed above in the description. 

10. Chili

Chili is a great freezer meal, and I truly believe that the longer it sits, the better the flavor. It is one of my ultimate comfort foods, and this recipe has been a favorite for everyone who’s tried it (including a chili cook-off!). You can add the beans before you freeze; however, I would suggest just keeping them in your cupboard until you’re ready to thaw and reheat it, as they’ll taste better “fresh.” This would also reheat well on low in the slow cooker for 3-4 four hours and might make it taste even more AMAZING!

Ingredients

1 lb hamburger
1 lb Italian sausage
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
2 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. chili powder
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Brown hamburger, sausage, garlic, and onion. Drain excess fat. Add all other ingredients except beans. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for at least one hour on low heat.

At this point, I would suggest you cool it and then freeze in 2 four-serving portions because of the bean ratio. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat until boiling. Add one can of black and one can of red beans and simmer for additional ten minutes, then serve. (**NOTE: this recipe is actually doubled already. If you freeze it in two separate meals, the bean ration in the directions is correct. If you opt to do this in just one meal, add both cans of black beans and both cans of red beans.)


What are your thoughts on these recipes? I’d love to hear suggestions! Leave them in the comments below.

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