You know that saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail?” Well, cheap freezer meals are my version of planning! Freezer meals are an absolute lifesaver when life gets chaotic. Whether it’s with work, school, or kids, life is busy and dinner is just another thing to think about. With a batch of meals in the freezer, I know that I can at least throw something in the slow cooker or oven and have a yummy and nutritious meal at dinner time! Making these cheap freezer meals has been a game-changer for us.
Today I’m sharing 5 different recipes that you can add to your freezer meal rotation for little cost, low effort, and maximum payoff. Each meal makes about 4 servings, but you can totally double, triple, or quadruple each recipe to make even more meals! If you quadruple each recipe, you’ll end up with 20 cheap freezer meals!
Freezer Meal FAQs
How long do they last in the freezer?
According to the USDA, frozen meals are safe to eat indefinitely. However, after 3 months the flavor and texture might change and not be as good, so I recommend eating them within 3 months. And honestly, if I keep it in the back of my freezer any longer than that I forget how long it’s been there!
My freezer meals are always freezer burnt. How do I avoid that?
To protect from freezer burn make sure you use freezer gallon-sized bags. Normal bags won’t work as well. For casseroles, cover them with 1-2 layers of foil on top, and make sure they’re super tightly wrapped.
What do I need to start making cheap freezer meals?
Cheap Freezer Meal Tips
- Write down the meal name with any cooking information and side ideas on the freezer bag or aluminum foil tin with a sharpie before you add the food in.
- Freeze any baked dishes or casseroles in disposable aluminum pans. Sometimes glass pans can shatter in the freezer, and that’s super dangerous, obviously, and expensive! So I like to fork out a couple of dollars for a pack of disposable aluminum pans for whenever I make a freezer casserole. They freeze well in them, and they’re easy to gift to a friend or neighbor in need! Then they don’t have to return any dishes to you.
- Double, triple, or quadruple any of these recipes to add more servings. I make them in separate bags to keep the quantities and baking times the same.
- Don’t add large amounts of liquid to freezer bags, as they can break in the freezer and make a mess! I usually add any liquid in when I go to cook them.
- Use these bag holders to easily keep the bags open and scoop in the food with no mess!
- Take your meals out of the freezer the night before you want to cook them and allow them to thaw.
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/3 cup Italian dressing (I like Olive Garden brand)
- Hamburger buns
- Write the name of the recipe and directions on a gallon-sized freezer bag. Add the chicken, barbecue sauce, and Italian dressing to a large freezer bag.
- When ready to cook, let thaw, then add to a greased slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through. Shred with two forks in the slow cooker. Serve on buns and with coleslaw, if desired, and enjoy.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 3 large carrots
- 2 ribs celery
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup wild rice (not instant wild rice)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- Write the name of the recipe and directions on a gallon-sized freezer bag. Add all of the ingredients to the bag except for the chicken broth and cheese.
- When ready to cook, let thaw, then add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. along with the chicken broth.
- Cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 hours, checking every half hour. Do not cook on LOW or the rice will get mushy.
- After the rice is cooked, stir in the cheese. Let the cheese melt and serve. Enjoy!
Fiesta Chicken Casserole
- 4 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1 cup uncooked instant rice
- 10 oz can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning
- 3 tbsp milk
- 15 oz can corn, drained
- 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
- 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and sliced avocado (optional)
- Write the name of the recipe and directions on a gallon-sized freezer bag. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl except for 1/2 cup of the cheese and mix well. Pour into a disposable aluminum baking tray and cover tightly with 1-2 layers of foil. Write the directions on the foil with a permanent marker.
- Before you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350℉. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with 1/2 cup cheese.
- If baking from frozen, bake for 60 minutes, covered, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. If you let the casserole thaw overnight, bake for 30 minutes, covered, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 6 oz frozen peas and carrots
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 24 oz container Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes (you can also make your own if you prefer)
- 1.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- To a skillet on the stove add the ground beef and onion. Cook until the ground beef is browned and cooked through, then remove any excess grease. Add the seasonings, salt, pepper, parsley, rosemary, and thyme, and stir well. Add the Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the broth and frozen peas and carrots. Stir well and let simmer for 7 minutes on the stove.
- Spray a 9×13 aluminum disposable baking dish with nonstick spray, then add the ground beef mixture to the bottom of the pan. Spread it out evenly, then carefully spread the mashed potatoes all over the filling. Cover tightly with 1-2 layers of foil. Write the directions on the foil with a permanent marker.
- Preheat oven to 350℉. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with cheese.
- If baking from frozen, bake for 60 minutes, covered, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. If you let the casserole thaw overnight, bake for 25 minutes, covered, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!
Sausage and Vegetables Sheet Pan
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 lb golden or red potatoes, cubed
- 1 lb smoked chicken sausage, sliced into disks
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 white onion, sliced
- Chop all the vegetables and potatoes, and slice the sausage. Add to a bowl and combine with the seasonings and the olive oil.
- Write the directions on the container with a permanent marker. Pour the veggies and sausage into an aluminum baking dish or gallon-sized freezer bag. (You can also lay everything out on a parchment-lined baking dish and place in the freezer for a few hours, then transfer to a plastic bag. This will prevent things from sticking together).
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350℉. If frozen in a plastic bag, let thaw for a few minutes before pouring out into a greased sheet pan so everything doesn’t stick together. If frozen in an aluminum dish, you don’t have to let it thaw, and can bake it for 40-50 minutes.
- If thawed, pour into a greased sheet pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Enjoy!