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Seven Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes

By May 20, 2015Freezer Prep Session

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly: I made seven KID-FRIENDLY freezer meals in less than an hour and half.  Wahoo!  And the best part is that you can do the same because I’m sharing my recipes and grocery list for free below.

7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes

First, here’s what I made:

  1. Chicken Tacos
  2. Cheesy Tortellini with Ground Beef (modified from Damn Delicious)
  3. Chicken Noodle Soup
  4. Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole (modified from The Country Cook)
  5. Easy Chicken Pot Pie
  6. Turkey Black Bean Chili (from my No Cook Freezer Meals cookbook and shared for free below)
  7. Mozzarella-Stuffed Turkey Pesto Meatballs (a recipe from my cousin @sweetersidemom on Instagram)

CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE RECIPES AND GROCERY LIST

I’ve made some version of all of these recipes before, so I’m confident that they will be delicious (and I’m crossing my fingers that my 5 year old, 3 year old, and 1 year old will agree!).

Freezer eCookbooks

I purposely used as many veggies as possible in these recipes and refused to include condensed soup and other unhealthy crockpot meal ingredients.

I always try to make meals that my whole family will eat, but it doesn’t always work out that way.  To come up with a solution, I asked the people who follow my New Leaf Wellness Facebook Page what their kids eat besides chicken nuggets, mac ‘n cheese, and pizza.  After reading through all of the responses, I decided these seven freezer meals were the winners.

7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes

I bought the ingredients at a local grocery store for $75 and was able to prep all seven meals in 85 minutes (including cleaning up my kitchen and taking out the garbage and recycling!).  I’m really excited that these family-friendly meals don’t require a ton of time or money.

7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes

Here’s how I prepped the meals so quickly:

  • I only made meals that didn’t require any cooking ahead of time.  Simply combine the ingredients and freeze.
  • I filled out my freezer meal labels ahead of time.
  • I used my food chopper for the onions and potatoes.

7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes

If you’re new to freezer cooking, the printer-friendly recipes above will walk you through the process step-by-step.  My method is super easy – I promise!

Thoughts or questions?  I’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below and I’ll respond as soon as I can.


PS When my family eats dinner, we always ask everyone to share “the best part of their day.”  I love hearing my daughters’ responses and it’s a nice way for me and my husband to focus on the positives in of our day.  If you do anything fun to spur conversation during dinner I’d love to hear about it.

PPS Here are some pics of the meals we’ve tried so far.  YUM.

7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes

7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes

7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes

113 Comments

  • Karen says:

    I have to say I am SO thankful I found your site through money saving mom!!! I have made a number of your meals not only for my family, but to have on hand when babies are born, surgeries are had or a quick meal to bring somewhere!!! I was just with a friend last night who will next month have 4 kiddos under 3 and was wanting to make a bunch of meals for them!! Thanks for this set of recipes, they will be put to good use on a mommy who very much needs it!!!

  • Chrissy says:

    What are the greet sticks shown in the pictures?

  • Angel says:

    Your comment on how to spur on dinner conversation is a great one. I love that you keep it positive. Sometimes we’ll ask each kiddo what their favorite {fill in here} is. It helps us really see what they’re thinking and it’s always fun to see if they can answer why it’s their favorite {fill in here}. Favorite questions, color, animals, food, dessert, holiday, day of the week, movie, Christmas/Easter/Fall activity, etc. They each love having a turn at being the center of the conversation.

    • Kelly says:

      That’s a fun idea, Angel. Love it. I can totally imagine using those questions to pass the time in doctors’ offices too.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for these! Found this link through Money Saving Mom & can’t wait to try them. A lot of freezer/crock pot menus have the condensed soups & other chemical or preservative laden ingredients, so happy to see that these don’t so I can’t wait to try them!

  • Corinna says:

    Thank you so much. I follow your recipes all the time but I have VERY picky 10 yo twins and hadn’t seen a session they would eat. There might be one or two here that won’t work (they refuse beans ugh) but they’ll eat the rest YAY!! I’m so excited. We’re planning to move in a month and having these on hand will save me. You Rock!

    • Kelly says:

      Freezing meals for a move is a great idea, Corinna. I hope your whole family loves these recipes. 🙂

  • Nicole says:

    What are those really cool green holder contraptions on the side of each bag ?! Where do you get them? Are they expensive?

    • Kelly says:

      They’re called Jokari baggy clips and I bought them from Amazon. I think they’re typically $5.50 each, but I bought a 4-pack and 6-pack to save money. Now that I’ve started using them I can never go back to trying to balance my freezer bags on the counter. They fell over several times and dumped all over the floor.

      • Pam says:

        My first attempt at cooking freezer bag meals (31 back-to-school meals) … Bag spilled when I turned away for a second. The jokari bag clips would have saved my ingredients and the recipes… now the back recipes are wrinkly & look well used. Should have invested in bag clips. (also should have bought better quality chicken so I didn’t have to work so hard to cut off chicken fat) Lessons learned. : )

    • Jennifer says:

      They are the greatest product ever for freezer meal assembly. I love them and use them ALL THE TIME!

  • Laura says:

    I just found your website and I love it! Just a quick question though, how many servings are meant to be your frozen crockpot meals? Thanks!

  • Barb says:

    I love finding new freezer meal recipes. I can hardly wait to try these out! From one freezer meal gal to another, here is my favorite tip. I don’t use labels, and always double bag mine. I print out recipes on index cards, cook day directions on one side and the prep day on the other. Recipe name on both sides. I place the index cards in a sandwich Ziploc bag, and put the card bag between the 2 layers of freezer bags, it I get “stuff on it while prepping, I just wipe it off. If the family loves it we file it in a recipe box, it we hated it we file it in the back and mark it (this keeps me from doing it again). Real crowd winners get a small smiley face on it so I know to add to the more regular rotation. Each month when I am starting to prepare for another prep day, everyone picks out a card or 2.

  • Dee says:

    I’m excited to try all of these meals. Thanks so much for the recipes. I have one question. Do you brown your ground beef or ground turkey before mixing all of the meal ingredients together to freeze?

  • Renee says:

    i made the 4 chicken meals for my husband and I–we tried two of them so far and love them! I am just worried about overcooking/drying out: both of us work 8 hours, so I set the crockpot for 6, and just let it stay on warm til we get home. Any suggestions for that at all? Maybe I shouldn’t let the meals thaw as much? Thanks so much! This made two nights of cooking very easy for us! 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      Glad to hear you’re liking the recipes, Renee. I don’t think the amount of time on “warm” will dry out the chicken. If you’re really worried about it, maybe you can set the cooking time for 5 hours instead?

      • Lindsey says:

        I was having the same issue. All of the chicken recipes were dry. We were down to four hours and they still come out dry. The soups are the exception, those work pretty well. Am I missing something? We used costco boneless skinless chicken breasts.

        • Kelly says:

          It sounds like your crockpot is high-powered. I’d decrease the cooking time. They might even be done in 2-3 hours.

  • Heather says:

    I just printed this and heading off to the grocery store. I told the kids we are in “training”, diet sounds so ugly… 🙂 I’m so excited. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Minda says:

    Thank you so much! I started slow and made two of the recipes to freeze. I cooked the first one today-the Cheesy Beef Tortellini. It was SO good and my 20 month old son cleaned his plate.

  • Julie says:

    Quick question! Do you add the tortellini to all the ingredients in the crock pot when you first cook the meal, or do you add them separately near the end? Thanks!!!

  • Kim says:

    I’ve never had great luck with freezing potatoes. Do these come out mealy when cooked in these recipes?

    • Kelly says:

      No, I think they’re great. We just ate another recipe with them last night.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Hello!

        When I thawed the chicken pot pie recipe, my potatoes were pitch black. I’ve heard that freezing thaw potatoes can do this because of an enzyme reaction. Are they safe to eat?

        • Jeanie says:

          I hope that my potatoes don’t turn black. I just prepped everything last night. That will be disappointing if they do. I will report back.

          • Kelly says:

            Try doing a quick thaw in water if you can (instead of thawing overnight). I’m not sure why, but I think that helps.

  • Tina says:

    I want to try these recipes but the serving sizes are too small for my family. If I doubled the recipe would the cooking time still be the same? Thank you!

  • Pam says:

    Thank You SO Much for the healthy meals. I needed to get away from using canned soups in our meals. They had too much sodium, preservatives, and unnecessary additives. I jumped in with both feet and made 31 meals. I wish I would have bought better quality chicken. Would have saved hours trimming off fat. Also, I might use more Bragg Liquid Aminos (soy protein seasoning) as a Natural Soy Sauce Alternative next time. Had no idea my family would eat Kale or that I loved cannellini beans.

  • Cher says:

    These sound PHENOMINAL…can you tell me how many each feeds….we have 6 in our family…would I need to double your recipe?

    • Kelly says:

      The average ranges from 4-6 servings. If you open the pdf you should see the number of servings broken down my recipe.

  • […] are 7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals by Kelly at New Leaf Wellness that you can pull together in a little more than an hour and a half and it was just $75! […]

  • Kristie says:

    Thanks, with kiddos in sports, girl scouts, PTA events, etc. Dinner is getting more and more challenging. I am excited to try out these recipes. Regarding checking in and dinner conversation, we use “rose (something good), thorn (a bummer), bud (something we are looking forward to).

  • Christine G. says:

    When I thawed my chicken pot pie recipe the potatoes were black! Is this still safe to eat? It most certainly doesn’t look safe!

  • Michelle D says:

    Thank you! This was the first I had prepared freezer meals and everything I made was delicious and my picky eaters liked them as well! As a working mother every second I get to spend with my kids is precious and now that I spend less time prepping dinner I get more giggles and cuddling.

  • […] Cheesy Tortellini with Ground Beef by Newleafwellness.biz (My husbands personal favorite!) […]

  • corinne says:

    Hi, I tried the chicken noodle recipe today and it came out good however the wide noodles were not a good choice. ..very mushy and I didn’t put them in until the very end too. I would say maybe use elbow macaroni instead. anyone else have this happen?

  • Cassie says:

    Making your kid-friendly meals today! On the stuffed meatballs, when/how are the petite diced tomatoes used? They are on the ingredient list, but I don’t see them used in the directions. Thanks so much! I hope my four boys love these meals!!

  • Amy says:

    When my son was younger, I would ask what his favorite thing of the day was. Rather it was funny and silly or to learning something new. As he got older and one of my nieces moved in with us, I had to come up with new ways to get them to open up. So all conversations were open for discussion at the table nothing that they wanted to talk about was off limits. I would ask a question to get them to think and open their mind. If the zombie apocalypse broke out what would be our plan of action. Or if the world we know today ended, what would be our plan? If you were the principle of the high school, what changes would you make and why? What super power would you have and why? Etc….
    Can’t wait to try some of your recipes! I’ve been needing some new ones that I actually like! 🙂

  • Meg says:

    This was so easy to do. I just had a 3rd child and it was so easy to put these meals together in one afternoon while the others were in school. So far we have had the chili and chicken pot pie. Everyone loved both meals. Truly kid-friendly! Thanks.

  • Lori says:

    Do I thaw the tortellini or add them in frozen?

  • Lori says:

    I didn’t care for potatoes in these meals! They turn gray and are hard despite cooking the correct length of time.
    I wonder if I add them the morning of cooking if they would be better? I haven’t tried this yet, but think it will work fine for me!
    Has anyone tried this?
    I also have decided to keep the pasta separate as it always end up absorbing all the juice! So I cook them separate and everyone adds the amount they want (or not!) then put the crockpot recipe in the bowl. Seems like extra cleanup, but it’s just a small pot!
    These are just my findings and solutions! So far, I have liked ALL the recipes- my youngest isn’t a fan of onions, carrots or celery so she ends up picking that out! But if I only cooked food she liked, we would be eating lots of mac and cheese and chicken nuggets!
    Thank you Kelly for all you hard work in planning all these wonderful meals, but also making it easier for all of us moms in regards to shopping, labels, advice, ect!! I only have 2 kids and work and find it crazy! Don’t know how you ladies do it that have more children!!

  • Missy says:

    Hello again! I would also like to ask if the only way to measure the one or two pounds of meat that your recipes call for is to purchase a food scale? Is that what you use?

    Thanks!!

  • […] I am trying this freezer meal thing again.  I found these recipes on Pinterest yesterday and stopped at Aldi after work (before I picked up Zoe from daycare).  I […]

  • Katherine says:

    I am new to the freezer meals and found your website due to luck. All of these recipes look fantastic. Quick question how long can you freeze these meals? Thanks!

  • Dana says:

    I really like the idea of the turkey black bean chili, however ground turkey is very expensive and almost a budget buster for me…could I use turkey left overs and just make sure the pieces are small?

  • […] 2 are some good cookbooks to try, and these blog posts looks like they provide great recipes too: Seven kid-friendly freezer meals in 85 minutes  & Freezer […]

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have always been interested in trying freezer meals but have never gotten around to it but will definitely be trying these recipes and hope my picky eaters will enjoy them! As for dinner conversations – we always talk about at least one thing that we are thankful for. My 3 year old usually takes charge and asks everyone what they are thankful for – I love it!

  • Phanna says:

    I cannot seem to see any recipes or shopping lists on this site. Nice idea and I guess I can create my own ideas for recipes. And my own shopping lists. But I come to these sites for inspiration just cannot seem to open any links here.

    • Kelly says:

      Maybe it’s your web browser? I even created a new “download for free here” button that is bright green so it would be easier to find.

  • mirna says:

    What kind of bags do you use? Does the food get freezer burn?

  • Sandy says:

    These are all GREA! This is my first time freezer cooking and it was easy, less expensive than regular meal planning and cooking, and my family loved them all. I tried this at the perfect time too. We experienced the 2016 blizzard first hand. I am a NICU nurse and was mandated to stay at the hospital for a few days. My family was able to have a home cooked, nutritious meals easily. I didn’t have to worry they were surviving on mac ‘n cheese and PBJ’s alone. Thank you so much! Will be doing this again and again.

  • Yolanda says:

    What size crockpot are you using for these meals?

  • Shannon says:

    I just want to say thank you for all of the work you put into these recipes & assembling the grocery list.

    We recently lost my Mom, and my Dad has been struggling with many things during our difficult transition, including nutrition. Not only does he not know how to cook, he has no interest in learning. When I call to check in on him, he’s often driving through the Wendy’s drive-through, or munching on a Big Mac and fries. I think these crock pot meals are the perfect answer. They are simple and MUCH, MUCH better than fast food.

    Much appreciation 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, Shannon. I make them for my grandparents and they love them. Hugs to you and the rest of your family.

  • Anna says:

    What size of crockpot are these recipes for? Thanks!

    • Kelly says:

      They should work in a 4-7 qt crockpot. If there’s too much liquid in the soup, decrease by one cup of broth.

  • Melissa Palmer says:

    How many servings do these meals provide? We have a family of 6 – 2 adults, 1 teen and three others 11 and under. Just wondering if I needed to automatically double the recipes. Thanks!!

    • Kelly says:

      If you open the printable recipe doc, it’s broken down by recipe (I think it varies from 4-6 servings per bag). If you want to have leftovers, I think you could double the meals. You might need two slow cookers to cook them though if one bag fills up the crock.

  • Maria says:

    Hello, I tried a few of your crock pot recipes. Some need tweeting to our tastes but that’s to be expected lol. My question to you is, did you ever have a problem with the freezer bags getting holes? I’ve done this freezer thing 3 times now and everytime I have something in the fridge thawing, it pops a hole and I have juice and crap everywhere…. HELP!!!

    • Kelly says:

      Hmmm. Which brand of bag are you using? I like gallon-sized plastic freezer bags from Ziplock the best and Hefty second best. I often place a kitchen towel under my meal in the fridge just in case it leaks.

  • Elizabeth says:

    These look amazing! I’m a little concerned about dumping raw ground beef (actually I will use turkey) in the crockpot and it turning out. Is the texture okay? Trying to prep thing before baby 2 arrives in 6 weeks 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      Yep! It’s a little bit “softer”, if that makes sense, but we like it that way and it saves a lot of time. You might want to check out my 40 pre-baby freezer meals
      blog post too.

  • Brit says:

    These look delicious! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Do you blanch your potatoes?

    • Brit, You’re welcome. I don’t blanch my potatoes, but I know that many people have difficulties with potatoes turning black when frozen. You can definite blanch ahead of time if you are more comfortable doing so. I also feel like I have better luck with red skinned potatoes…

  • Beck says:

    Silly question… Is it ok to freeze leftovers?

  • […] 7 Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals in 85 Minutes (by newleafwellness.biz) […]

  • Susanna says:

    My family is dairy free due to food allergies, but I’m thinking of trying the chicken pot pie recipe. Any suggestion for heavy cream replacement at the end?

  • Emily says:

    I was so excited to find this. This is pretty awesome, the grocery list is right there so I don’t have to do any extra work. I will be doing this again. I put all 7 meals together yesterday. My only comment is this took me about 3 hours but I think maybe if I had used my veggie chopper (I’m a little OCD about my veggie prep) it probably would have been a little quicker. That did not deter me from this. I will be doing this again. Spending an afternoon prepping dinners (I also made freezer breakfast sandwiches for the next couple of weeks) for almost an entire month for my family is totally worth it. Thank you so much for putting so much time into this!! 🙂

    • Emily, you rock! And don’t worry, I’m not as fast as Kelly either. I think it’s the onions and garlic that always take me so long. Kelly recently gave me a great tip…buy them already diced in the freezer section!

  • Gabrielle says:

    Hi!
    Where do you buy the stands for your crockpot assembly bags?

  • Antoinette says:

    I’ve done a couple of your freezer sessions. I don’t get too involved in “timing myself” it always seems like I’m doing more than one thing at a time anyway, so I don’t expect to do them quickly. I spend a couple of hours on a Sunday getting everything and putting it all together. I’m just thankful I get it done for the next couple of weeks! I love being able to throw something in the crock pot and have dinner ready when I get home! I really like the recipes that don’t have a can of cream of something soup in them! The ingredients are “real”! I really like that.

  • heather says:

    Made several of these already so far had decent results. The chicken tot casserole we referred to as “cat vomit casserole” the kids loved it but the texture/appearance was really unattractive. The tots all dissenegrated in the crock pot and the pink bacon bit chunks were too much for us. I’m devouring the chicken tacos with pretzel chips and fresh avocado tonight. This freezer sesh has changed my weekly 1+ hour a night cooking while the kids are hungry, complaining/meal planning every week for sadly overcooked or under seasoned food and going back to the grocery store for forgotten items to easily pulling out “something” the night before and dumping it in the crock and going. This has changed dinner time SO DRASTICALLY for my sanity. Dinner was a huge source of stress before and it’s really changed already. Looking forward to trying a few more before I “stock the deep freezer” for #3 coming in 10 weeks.

  • […] Tortellini Bake, a favorite in our […]

  • Debi says:

    What is the serving size for the chicken noodle soup. I see that it serves 4 but is that 1 cup, etc. I am currently doing Weight Watchers so trying to figure out how to track it. Also, I dumped this in the crock pot in a hurry this morning and just now noticed that the noodles are not supposed to go in until 30 minutes before its done. I added mine this morning. Is that going to be a problem?

  • marcy says:

    Hello!~ Can u email me a copy of the meatball recipe? for some reason when I print it the words are all funny, thanks!
    marcymcafee@gmail.com

  • Kate says:

    Just wanted to leave a note to tell you how much these have changed my life!! My husband has health issues and can’t help with cooking, and now that my 2 boys are in baseball my weeknights fly by! These have seriously been a game changer. I’ve done two of your plans so far and just made my way through prepping 2 more. Our nights are much more relaxed, my house is cleaner and everyone is eating good food instead of drive thru burgers at 8 pm. THANK YOU!!!

    • Kate says:

      Short update– the meatballs didn’t even have time to get cold before my 8 year old decided he “just couldn’t wait” to try them, so we had them for dinner tonight. They did not disappoint. He tells me I need to go get the ingredients and make more of them so we can have them every week. Thanks again!! 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      Yay! Thank you for your kind encouragement, Kate. You just made my day. 🙂

  • Nancy says:

    Looking forward to trying these out! I just found your site when looking for options for my college son. He’s in a demanding program with little time to cook healthy. I am planning to make some of these for him to use in his crock pot at school during these last few stressful weeks of his year.

  • Laurie says:

    These recipes look awesome! I’m just not sure how to make these work on busy weeknights since many of the recipes are 4-6 hours on low. How does one accomplish this? I leave for work in the morning and get home in the afternoon as most folks do. Will it work for the typical 8 hour slow cook? Thanks! 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      It depends on your slow cooker. If you’re used to cooking for 8 hours+ and the food doesn’t dry out, you’re fine. A lot of the newer ones cook faster. I use a 6-quart crockpot with a programmable timer. It cost about $40.

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