When I was pregnant with my fourth baby I came up with the idea to stock my freezer with 40 homemade meals. To save time, I focused on recipes that could be frozen without any cooking ahead of time. I also broke up the meals into three separate “prep sessions” so I didn’t have to make all of them at once.
The whole thing was really easy to do and my baby is six weeks old now and we have been eating like KINGS. (Seriously. These meals taste so, so good since they cook for the first time out of the freezer.) I love that we can eat a homemade meal every night without any of the work.
Here’s what I made:
- Crockpot Beef Chili
- Crockpot Mexican Black Bean Chili
- Crockpot Sloppy Joe’s
- Crockpot BBQ Baby Back Ribs
- Crockpot Sweet and Sour BBQ Meatballs
- Crockpot Stuffed Peppers
- Crockpot Beef Roast with Carrots
- Crockpot Mississippi Roast with Carrots
- Crockpot Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes
- Crockpot Cranberry Pork Roast
- Crockpot Beef Barley Stew (modified slightly from Live Simply)
- Crockpot Sausage Spinach Tomato Soup
- Crockpot Meatball Vegetable Soup
- Crockpot Italian Wedding Soup
- Crockpot Meatball Minestrone Soup
- Two Chicken Pot Pies
- Two Brown Sugar Meatloaves (I actually made three because my pans were small)
- Two “No-Bake” Lasagnas with Baby Spinach
- Two pans of Mexican Stuffed Shells (adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything)
- Two pans of Sausage-Stuffed Mini Peppers
- Crockpot Artichoke Chicken
- Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas
- Crockpot Chicken Spinach Alfredo
- Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala
- Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Crockpot Cranberry Chicken
- Crockpot Honey Bourbon Chicken
- Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken
- Crockpot Honey Mustard Chicken
- Crockpot Orange Chicken
- Crockpot Parmesan-Crusted Chicken
- Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken
- Crockpot Thai Chicken
- Crockpot White Chicken Chili
- Crockpot Zesty BBQ Chicken
(Please note that the 15 chicken crockpot meals that I made were from my Chicken Crockpot Freezer Meals Cookbook eBook, so they are not included in the free printable. I added some free chicken recipes that you can make instead, but I highly recommend the eBook recipes!!)
After each “prep session” I shared what I learned in a blog post:
- 15 Beef/Pork Crockpot Freezer Meals
- 10 Casserole-Type Freezer Meals
- 15 Chicken Crockpot Freezer Meals
The best thing about these meals is that they include fresh vegetables and are healthy. Yay! They’re also delicious. These are freezer meals that I’ll make for my family over and over again.
To sum up what I learned making all 40 meals:
- Enlist help if you can. I made most of the meals with my mom and it was so much fun.
- Try to make a bunch of the meals at once. I split the meals into three prep sessions and it was totally doable. I think filling my freezer slowly with only a meal or two at a time would have been horrible. Just way too much time and mess.
- Spend a little extra money on pre-chopped fresh veggies if you can. I chop all of my fresh vegetables when I make 10 meals or less, but it is *so helpful* to splurge on the pre-chopped one when I’m making more. It is a huge time-saver. Substituting frozen veggies for fresh is also great (for example, frozen green beans for fresh).
- BUY FROZEN DICED ONIONS INSTEAD OF CHOPPING TONS OF FRESH ONES. Your eyes and hands will thank me later.
You don’t need anything fancy to make these freezer meals, but if you have some extra money to spend, here’s what I use and love:
- Hands-Free Baggy Holders
- Crockpot 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
- Name-brand freezer bags (like Hefty and Ziplock)
- Disposable pans for the casserole-type meals
- Avery water-resistant stickers for labeling the bags
- An upright freezer (not necessary, but great if you’re a freezer fanatic like me)