5 Crazy Easy Ways to Fill Your Freezer With Meals

5 Crazy Easy Ways to Fill Your Freezer With Meals

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5 Crazy Easy Ways to Fill Your Freezer With Meals

 

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.

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 methods to fill up my freezer with easy-to-prepare meals.

Crazy easy meal prep ideas for beginners

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 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.

Crazy easy meal prep ideas for beginners

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.

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.

4) Muffins

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 won’t be the wiser.

You can then just pop them out of the freezer, one-by-one and stick ‘em in the microwave for 30 seconds. And BOOM, you’ve got an instant breakfast or snack.

These Healthy Pumpkin Muffins from Cookie & Kate are our current family favorite.  Need some more healthy muffin ideas? Check out these easy recipes that simplify our mornings.

5) Waffles

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. 

A stocked freezer, a few minutes at a time

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!

 

 

 

 

 

7 Healthy & Delicious Make-Ahead Breakfasts That Will Change Your Morning

7 Healthy & Delicious Make-Ahead Breakfasts That Will Change Your Morning

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

7 Healthy & Delicious Meal Prep Breakfasts

No matter how you slice it, mornings are crazy if you have a young family. With kids and babies demanding to be fed, it’s all too easy to turn to processed foods like eggo waffles, sugar-laden cereals, or perhaps slip through a drive thru before you head to the school drop off line.

If you want healthy, simple, budget friendly alternatives then these make-ahead breakfasts will absolutely change your life.

These can be prepared in bulk and will alleviate much of the stress of crazy mornings by providing healthy, filling, food for the whole family.

These recipes literally save my life. Daily. 

Honestly, I couldn’t survive 4 kids 5 and under without preparing breakfasts in advance. 

Once they wake up, I’ve got to get food in their little bodies or we are barrelling full-speed down the road to disaster.

However, it’s really important to me that my family eats healthy food. So I try to avoid the processed junk, but there is no way I could make a nice healthy breakfast every morning without completely losing my mind.

So these recipes literally start my day off on the right foot. We get to start the day will fantastic healthy breakfasts that have been prepared ahead of time.

These recipes can all be prepared quickly in bulk, and frozen or stored in the fridge. 

 7 healthy & delicious breakfast meal prep recipes

7 Healthy and Simple Make Ahead Meals

 

1) Protein Banana muffins — A Sassy Spoon

Holy smokes, we love these guys. Not only does every member of my family love them, they always disappear very quickly at potlucks. I quadruple the recipe and put them in gallon freezer bags. In the morning, it just takes 30 seconds in the microwave and–boom–delicious breakfast! 

Since I legit make breakfast muffins A LOT, I started using these amazing silicone muffin tins and no more scrubbing metal baking pans. Wahoo!!!

Tip: Prepare the muffins according to directions, but don’t add the choco chips. Instead sprinkly a few on the top before baking. This limits the chocolate and really helps with equal choco distribution (I found that they tend to pool in the bottom) 

From A Sassy Spoon

 

2) Green smoothie prep packs — Clean Food Crush  

Green smoothies are a great way to start your day with a blast of plant-based vitamins. This is a fantastic recipe to start you out with freezer smoothie packs. And you can take the concept and literally put in any smoothie ingredients that you want. Before blending, I also love to add various seeds and nuts to add a bit of protein. 

3) Whole Wheat Freezer waffles — Real Mom Nutrition

As easy to prep as eggs waffles, but sooo much healthier! I pop them in the toaster and top with PB and a little bit of maple syrup. Kids love them!

From Real Mom Nutrition

 

4) Blueberry Coconut Almond Overnight Oats — Organize Yourself Skinny

Oh my gosh, these oats in mason jars are genius. She has loads of different recipes at her site (I also seriously love her mason jar salad recipes) and I’ve yet to try one I didn’t like.

We love this particular recipe and it’s just so stinkin’ easy. Just throw some ingredients into a mason jar, mix, and stick in the fridge overnight. You eat these oats cold and they last for up to 5 days.  I love to add chia seeds and substitute steel cut oats (I just add a bit more almond milk).

From Organize Yourself Skinny

 

5) Healthy Veggie Egg Muffins — Eat Yourself Skinny

Oh my gosh, I love these! These are great veggie-filled egg muffins. Protein and fiber for the win! I like to use spinach (since that is a staple I always have) and sharp cheddar cheese along with plenty of zucchini. Again, these silicone muffin trays are heaven sent–scrubbing eggs off metal pans is no fun. 

From Eat Yourself Skinny

 

6) Protein blueberry muffins — Thriving Home Blog

Another muffin favorite at our house. These blueberry muffins are packed with fiber and flavor! Freeze in gallon freezer bags. Microwave for 30 seconds and you’re good to go! I also love them as quick snacks during the day.

7) Whole Wheat Pumpkin Freezer pancakes — Thriving Home Blog

My kids are obsessed with these pancakes right now. They are so tasty! The pumpkin adds a tasty alternative to plain pancakes. I freeze them in gallon bags between small sheets of parchment paper so they separate easily.  

Microwave or toast for a quick breakfast! We top ours with PB and maple syrup. So yummy.

from Thriving Home Blog

 

Which recipes look best to you?

These recipes will make your mornings so much easier and healthier. You can prepare them in bulk when you have time and pull them out for delicious and guick breakfasts for you and your family.

Let me know which ones you try!

 

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The Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Started With Meal Prep

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Started With Meal Prep

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Getting Started With Meal Prep

You want more time, less cleaning, healthier meals, and to spend less money. SO meal prep is basically your golden ticket.

But it can get overwhelming trying to figure out how exactly to start prepping meals ahead of time, especially if you haven’t done much of it in the past. Well, sit tight and stop worrying because meal prep is EASY and will save you so much time and hassle while helping you eat healthier.

Want to start prepping meals in advance, but not quite sure how to start? Here's a simple meal prep guide that will help you start saving time right away.

Why Meal Prep?

Meal prep is amazing:

  • it saves so much time because you only have one time for chopping and preparing all the food and one time cleaning up the mess.
  • It’s healthier than takeout.
  • It will save you money. On busy days, you can simply pop something out of the freezer instead of sliding through a drive through. Y
  • It can be incredibly simple and just take minutes.

Meal prep can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Some people will spend hours making dozens of meals at once while others do it on a much smaller scale.

I’m all about maximum efficiency so I like quick and simple. You can prep your lunches for the week and have them in containers in the fridge (these mason jar salads are a personal favorite). Or you can make a dozen lasagnas and have them in the freezer. If you are busy, you don’t have time NOT to do meal prep.

Easy meal prep for beginners

GETTING STARTED WITH MEAL PREP

1) Pick out a couple meals that you you want to prep in advance.

The sky is the limit with which meals you can start with, but it’s best to start with meals you already make and you know your family likes.

If you are at a loss, 2 super easy places to start are spaghetti sauce and marinated chicken breasts in quart bags to go in the freezer (these marinades are amazing–I have made them all). Both are easy and you you can make a ton without too much effort.

Here are some amazing (and super easy) make-ahead breakfast recipes that my family lives on.

2) Pick out a day of the week to do your meal prep

Depending on what you want to do, it’s good to pick a day when you can block out a couple hours for meal prep and clean up.

3) Make list of the ingredients you need & do the shopping

This is crucial. There is nothing worse than settling in for a nice meal prep session and realizing that you are 1 or 2 items short.

Take the recipes that you want to make and decide how many meals you are looking to have on hand. If you want to a 5 meals, make sure you multiply all your ingredients by 5.

Only buy as much as you need (to eliminate food waste).

4) Be sure you have the appropriate containers

You’ll pick your containers depending on what you are trying to do.

  • If I’m prepping lunches to go in the fridge, I love these glass containers. They store well, and you can heat them right up in the microwave without worrying about BPA and all that nasty stuff. .
  • Freezer bags are perfect for spaghetti sauce and chicken in marinades.
  • These little guys are amazing for helping fill the freezer bags without awkward spills.
  • I use these aluminum foil dishes for lasagna and enchiladas and I used to use these smaller foil dishes with lids when our family was smaller. Make sure you label everything–preferably before you fill it with food.

5) Prep your meal

It’s magic time! Stick on some great music, a podcast, or whatever strikes your fancy and follow your recipes.

For food safety, be sure to let everything cool before going in the fridge or freezer.

6) Put meals in freezer

If using quart freezer bags for sauces, soups, or chicken, be sure to lay them flat when you put them in the freezer. Otherwise, they can get stuck to things as they freeze and it’s super annoying.  If you have the space, don’t stack them until after they’re frozen.

When making something in individual pieces (like muffins or meatballs), you can flash freeze them on cookies sheets. When you put them in gallon freezer bags, they won’t stick together.

7) Clean up

I try to clean up as I go along. The great beauty of meal prep is that you have just one clean up session for all the meals you make. This is probably my favorite aspect of meal prep!

And now, CELEBRATE because you are on top of it mama!

There is something so satisfying about seeing a bunch of meals on your counter or in your freezer. With just a little planning and prepartaion, you can save time, money, and clean up by getting started with meal prep.

Good luck!