Freezer Meal Planning Tips can feel like a daunting task. However, it can be a great way to save time and money. Having meals ready to go in your freezer can be a very handy way to feed your family when cooking time is tight.
These tips, along with my Weekly Meal Plans will help you get dinner on the table for your family every night.
Using a freezer inventory sheet for meal planning is an excellent way to streamline your grocery shopping and save money.
Before you write this off as a waste of time, let me give you some easy tips and I'm sure you’ll likely wonder why you waited so long to start.
You can also get creative by transforming leftovers into new dishes. With a bit of imagination, you'll be able to whip up delicious meals in no time!
Make sure you check out my popular Make Ahead Freezer Meal Plan to help you put together meals your family is going to love.
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Freezer Meal Plans
In order to keep track of what meals, meat or vegetables you have in the freezer, it helps to use a freezer inventory sheet. Lucky for you, you can easily print out one by filling out this form. The pdf file will be sent to your email account...EASY!
Here are a few other freezer meal tips:
- Start by labeling your freezer shelves with the items you commonly store, such as meats, frozen vegetables and sauces.
- Keep a printed copy of your inventory list on hand, checking it each week before you shop to make sure you have enough of the needed ingredients.
- This way, you'll be able to quickly identify what you already have in stock and use that information when creating your grocery list.
- Keeping track of what's in your freezer can also help reduce food waste, as it allows you to plan meals around items that may be nearing their expiration date.
- Make sure you take advantage of the FREE Freezer Inventory Printable available along with weekly meal plan, grocery list and a list of 88 dinner ideas and recipes!
Freezer Meal Containers
Before you begin with these freezer meal planning tips, make sure you have the appropriate food storage containers on hand. You'll need a variety of contains that can hold chopped veggies and other food items for easy storage in the fridge or freezer.
You'll use these containers for just about everything from snacks and lunches to cooked meals and leftovers. It's helpful to have a range of sizes, as well.
These dual compartment containers are great for veggie prep. The larger glass containers are freezer and oven safe. For a less expensive alternative, the set of aluminum tin foil pans come in a variety of sizes.
Not every meal will need to be made ahead of time; sometimes you're just prepping the ingredients, such as chopping the veggies. When planning your meals in advance, look at the common ingredients in each meal and try to prep enough of the same ingredient ahead of time so that it can be stored and divided among the meals accordingly.
Try combining a few ingredients you already have on hand with a few fresh items for an easy and budget-friendly meal. Have fun experimenting with different flavors and textures - adding spices, herbs and condiments can take ordinary dishes to the next level.
Try making enough of one main ingredient that can be used throughout the week for multiple meals. A great example is chicken.
If you roast a chicken or even purchase several rotisserie chickens, that meat can be used for several meals, such as BBQ Shredded Chicken Sandwiches, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup, Creamy Chicken Enchiladas and more.
The chicken can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer so that it is easily incorporated into a meal.
Freezer Meal Ideas
Freezer meals that are made ahead of time are a great idea for busy weeknights. Keep in mind that you'll need to take the meal out either the night before or the morning of so that it can thaw in your refrigerator before heating it up.
This is where it's handy to have a schedule of your planned meals for the week so that you'll know what to pull out and thaw. Make sure you take into account your freezer capacity when making freezer meals.
Don't make more than you can comfortably store unless you have a second freezer available in your household.
Here is a general list of great ideas to help come up with a plan:
- Soups, Stews, Chilis
- Marinated Chicken
- Stuffed Peppers
- Stuffed Pasta Shells
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Freezer Meal Plan Inventory Printable
If you decide to try the freezer meal approach, plan what you would like to make, make a grocery list, set aside a day to do all the prep and cooking and make sure to label and date the food you've prepared.
Make sure you keep track of what you are preparing. If you're making quite a few meals, you might forget what's in the freezer.
Use this freezer meal plan inventory printable to help you keep track of the meals prepared.
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