There are few things that are as satisfying as a freezer stocked full of meals. But you, my friend, are seriously busy. And while you are sure of the life-changing magic of meal prep, you can’t exactly block out 10 hours to make a truckload of meals.
Luckily, getting started with meal prep can be SUPER quick and easy. Franky, you don’t have time to NOT be doing these things. With a little effort here and there, you can build up a freezer full of meals with these insanely easy meal prep ideas
Try as I might, I can rarely bust out a major meal prepping session these days with 4 little kids and a jam-packed schedule. Which is why I rely on these crazy easy meal prep ideas to fill up my freezer with easy-to-prepare foods–foods that make it easy to get dinner on the table in a pinch.
EASY MEAL PREP IDEAS
1) Marinated Chicken Breasts
When suddenly dinner time hits and you’re scouring the internet for recipes, do you ever run into recipes that sounds amazing but involve chicken marinating all day? Ooof. That’s the worst.
Then the pictures taunt you saying “Hey mama, if you could just be a little more on top of it, you could be having a tasty dinner.”
That’s is why this strategy is one of my favorites. In mere minutes, you can create delicious marinated chicken for several meals that can be easily thawed and prepared. You get all the flavor of chicken marinating all day, but with very little effort and planning. It makes throwing together a dinner quick and easy.
Here’s what I do:
When there’s a good sale on chicken breasts or tenders, I LOAD up. Like awkward-looks-from-everyone load up. I then take them home, divide them into quart freezer bags (which I label before filling).
Then in each bag, I throw in some marinade. It can be as easy as bottled BBQ sauce or another store bought marinade.
Or, if you have a few extra minutes, you can make your own in just a couple of minutes. This is one of my go-to marinades:
Tasty Asian Marinade (for about 1-2 lbs chicken)
- ⅓ c. soy sauce
- ⅓ c. oil
- ⅓ c. honey
- 2 cloves garlic
- pepper to taste
I literally throw all the ingredients in to this amazing little food processor (which I use almost daily), blend, and then pour them into the bags of chicken.
But you can use ANY marinade that your family loves. Here are some other marinade recipes with ingredients I simply throw into my mini food processor (no need to chop, slice, mince or whatever!).
Once you’ve got your chicken and marinade into bags, seal trying to get all the air out. Then lay flat in the freezer. Just pull out what you want and thaw before cooking it up.
So stinkin’ easy.
2) Spaghetti Sauce
Spaghetti sauce is super easy to make, freezes like a champ, and defrosts quickly. Which means that you can throw a dinner together in mere minutes. (Here’s a easy and yummy recipe)
On a night I plan to make spaghetti, I’ll triple or quadruple my favorite spaghetti sauce in my electric skillet, let it simmer, and then divide them into quart freezer bags. Once completely cool, I seal the bags and lay them flat in the freezer.
When I need a meal in a hurry, this is perfect. I can defrost a bag of sauce under running water in minutes and then heat it up in a saucepan while I cook up some pasta. And BOOM: a homemade meal in just minutes.
3) Shredded Beef
If your family likes Mexican food (mine does), getting a big roast and making a crockpot full of shredded beef is the way to go. Divide into quart freezer bags and freeze. When you’re ready to use it, you can then throw it in burritos, on rice bowls, in quesadillas, or on top of nachos.
We love this Barbacoa Beef recipe from The Recipe Critic.
Don’t underestimate the power of a muffin to change your mornings.
Sounds extreme? Well, having them for breakfast for my kids has literally saved my sanity in daily chaos of my mornings. Feeding 4 kids 6 and under is no joke. And they need to be fed. All. The. Time.
Thus enters The Miraculous Muffin.
Muffins are quick and easy to make and freeze perfectly in gallon freezer bags. Plus you can stuff them full of whole grains and your kids will have no clue.
Then, you can then just pop them out of the freezer as needed, and stick ‘em in the microwave for 30 seconds. And BOOM, you’ve got an instant breakfast or snack.
If you’ve ever been seduced by the convenience of an Eggo waffle, then you’ll want to try this out. It’s infinitely cheaper and a waaaay healthier option.
On a morning you’re making waffles anyways (usually weekends at our house), double or triple (or more) the recipe.
Cook up all the waffles and stack the remainder in gallon freezer bags. To avoid sticking to each other, you can place a small piece of parchment paper between each waffle.
When you’re ready to eat, just pull them out and either microwave for 30 seconds or stick in the toaster. (I also do the exact same thing with pancakes.)
Also works as an AMAZING breakfast-for-dinner!
EASY MEAL PREP IDEAS = STOCKED FREEZER
Filling your freezer full of meals doesn’t have to be some overwhelming endeavor. But it WILL make your life so much easier and reduce your stress level. With these simple strategies, no matter how busy you are, you can create a regular routine of meal prep. With a few minutes here and there, you can create a freezer meal stash that will save you time, money, and fill you with deep satisfaction.
You’ve got this!