Easy freezer meals on a budget are so nice to have around for days when you are too busy to plan dinner. It is great to be able to take something out of the freezer quickly. Even if you stay at home or work full-time, freezer meals come in handy. They certainly save you money since you have a back-up meal when running behind or didn’t plan something. This way you aren’t as tempted to go out to eat. This does take some planning and block of time to prep it all but it is so worth it. Plan a Sunday afternoon to do all the prep work and you can do a month of meals in one day.
When I make freezer meals, I sometimes make a double batch of a meal and freeze one. Sometimes, I freeze leftovers so I don’t have to throw it away. Sometimes, I make a large batch of a certain item to freeze a lot of it at once.
Some things I use to make prep work easier:
You can buy 50 or 100 packs of baking dishes for bulk freezing on Amazon a lot cheaper than at the store.
Sharpie– write on the bags what it is, fresh ingredients needed and cooking directions. Learn from my mistakes and write on them BEFORE you fill them.
Funnel– for sauces, and broths if freezing in mason jars
Mason jars– I freeze sauces and broths in quart size or smaller. This makes it easier for thawing.
This is chicken broth I made in my Instant Pot after making a whole chicken in it. I then put it in the freezer after it cools.
Some of my frequent and favorite things to freeze are: chili, chicken and noodles, breakfast burritos, cheesy chicken penne bake, beans, street tacos, and spaghetti sauce. Here are the recipes and links for those and more! Let me know what your favorites are. I am always looking for new meals to try.
Here is my list of easy freezer meals on a budget.
- Chili-I make this homemade. I can’t give you exact measurements lol but here is the overall recipe. I make mine sweet and my husband’s spicy. I cook 2lbs of ground beef. Once it’s brown, I sauté onions, garlic, and green peppers. I then add my spices and let the spices cook a little before adding liquid. Spices I use: a ton of chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, little sugar and brown sugar. I then add pinto beans with the juice, water, and ketchup. I bring to a boil and then turn it down to simmer for up to two hours. I taste as it cooks and add spices throughout. This is so much better the next day after it sits and marinades in the fridge.
- Cheesy Chicken Bake- this is one of our family’s favorite recipes. I do not add mushrooms and I add extra cheese in the sauce and on top. I use the Italian blend in addition to parmesan cheese. I also grill the chicken instead of pan frying. Check it out at American Times Food.
- Chicken and Noodles- This recipe is so simple and I cook it in a crockpot during the day. I freeze the leftovers because it makes so much. It really makes 2 meals plus leftovers. I put 2-3 chicken breasts in the crock pot with 48oz of chicken stock and the large can (26oz) of cream of chicken soup and salt and pepper. I then cook egg noodles separate when we are ready to eat then add it to the soup. I then add in frozen corn to the soup. I put it on top of mashed potatoes. It is so yummy!
- Breakfast burritos- these are so easy to make a bunch at a time and freeze. I cook scrambled eggs, ground sausage or bacon, sometimes I add hash browns or onion to the mix. I warm up the tortillas and put the mixture in, add shredded cheese, and roll it up. I then roll it up in Saran Wrap. I use the burrito size tortillas. I usually make around 8 that size with 1lb of meat and 12 eggs.
- Street Tacos- We eat street tacos about once a week. When I shop I usually buy a large pack of chicken then prep and divide the chicken. I will add the seasoning to the bag for this and freeze several at a time. That way when it thaws it’s already marinaded. The seasoning recipe is: 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 3/4 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp of salt. I make a large batch of the seasoning and keep it in a mason jar. I then add to the chicken and just make sure it’s well coated. The more the better. When I have measured it out for one meal, I double that recipe for 3 chicken breasts. I don’t measure it out from the jar. When I’m ready to cook it, I grill the chicken.
- Beans- I make and freeze pinto beans and black beans. We usually have refried beans with the street tacos and black beans with ground beef tacos. Beans are super easy to cook in a slow cooker, then put in quart size bags with the juice for the freezer. Make sure to lay them flat in the freezer. This helps save space and keeps them from getting stuck in the grates and leaking. Then just heat them up when you are cooking. No need to thaw.
- Spagetti Sauce- when I make homemade sauce, I usually triple the recipe then put it in mason jars and freeze them. I’m sure it would be easier to can it but I’m so afraid I will kill my whole family by doing it wrong! So, I freeze it. You do have to let the sauce cool before putting them in the freezer so that the glass doesn’t shatter. I usually let them cool on the counter then put them in the fridge for a day or so. This is easier if you use a funnel to fill the jars. The recipe I use is from Paula Dean’s spaghetti bake.
- Cinnamon rolls- I love Paula Dean’s cinnamon roll recipe. Beware, it is loaded with butter of course!
- Biscuits- biscuits are so much cheaper if you make them yourself. Here is a recipe from Favorite Freezer Foods.
- Lasagna- this can be a pricey meal but it is so yummy and freezes well. This is my recipe that you could adapt to make it cheaper. I cook 2lbs of ground beef then add in my homemade spaghetti sauce. I cook lasagna noodles (hate oven ready noodles). You don’t want the noodles to be completely cooked because they will finish in the oven. I use a 9×13 glass pan. I put down a layer of noodles, sprinkle a little cheese to keep them from sliding away from the meat when eating. Then half of the meat and then half the cheese. More noodles, little cheese, meat and top with remaining cheese. I use 8 cups of cheese, mixing cheddar with Italian blend and mozzarella. This is where it gets pricey but you can make this two meals. You can use less if you want. I then bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. It should be nice and brown on top. You can cook it and freeze it or put it in the freezer before baking. Then bake at 425 degrees for 1-1.5hrs.
- Shepherd’s Pie- This has become my favorite meal! I love the way my grandmother makes it. She browns 2lbs of ground beef then saute’s onion with it. Then she makes 3 cups of brown gravy and adds it and salt and pepper to the beef mixture. Then add in a bag of frozen peas and carrots mix. Then top with mashed potatoes and some butter on top. Bake it at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Then turn to broil to brown the potatoes. You can freeze this easily.
- Chicken Pot Pie- Here is a great freezer recipe from Meal Planning Magic.
- Hawaiian Chicken Kebobs- when I am prepping my chicken, I freeze several batches with different marinades. I love the KC Masterpiece Hawaiian Spicy Mango marinade. It’s with the BBQ sauce in the grocery store. I will marinade the chicken and freeze. You could make the kebabs and freeze as long as you don’t use wooden skewers. Here is the recipe I use from Cooking Classy.
- Chicken- as I mentioned, I prep a lot of chicken at once. I use different marinades then freeze them. I also will grill a bunch at once and put them in the freezer already cooked. This makes it very handy for salads or quick meals. That way I don’t have to wait for it to cook if we are in a big hurry.
- Ground meat- just like the chicken, you can precook ground meat and freeze it for quicker cook times later. You can add taco seasoning or onions so that you save on prep time later.
Check out How To Create A Weekly Meal Plan.
Prepping and freezing meals ahead of time saves you time and money in the long run. It makes your life easier as a working mother also. It is so much easier to prep meals for the week or month in one day. Then you aren’t tempted to go out to eat when you are too tired to cook.
Let me know what your favorite easy freezer meals on a budget are!
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