15 Budget Friendly Real Food Freezer Meals

September 7, 2018

211 Shares

This is a guest post by Erin Chase, founder of 5DollarDinners.com and MyFreezEasy, as well as author of The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook series, and mother of four boys.


For most families, the third largest monthly expense in the budget is food. I’ve learned that make-ahead freezer meals are a great way to cut your food costs and still feed your family filling and scrumptious meals!

Before we jump in, let me introduce myself. I’m Erin Chase, a mother of four boys on a mission to help you spend less money on groceries! I started $5 Dinners almost 10 years ago (and met Lisa through our blogs not long after) and have inspired millions to eat well for less. As my family has grown and our schedule has become more harried, I realized the need for integrating make-ahead freezer meals into my life. I wanted a solution for “fast to prepare meals” and “you pick your own recipes for your meal plan,” so we created a freezer friendly meal planning service called MyFreezEasy!

Today I’m going to share some budget-friendly tips, plus how to turn your favorite recipes into your own real food, make-ahead meals!

Before we get to the recipes, let’s break down why freezer meals are so essential for the busy home chef, and how they can save you big grocery dollars.

How Freezer Meals Save Money

  • Shop the Sales
    If you learn one thing from me today, let it be this: Buy extras of your favorite meat cuts that are on sale, and transform them into a freezer meal. Don’t just toss the extra packages of meat into the freezer, add the meat into baggies or containers with some sauce and veggies and freeze it “ready to cook.” Meat is usually the most expensive part of any meal, so buying it on sale helps you save! Most meals last about 6 months in the freezer, so you have plenty of time to eat them.

    If you plan to make a bunch of meals, you can also buy in bulk without being scared it will go to waste. Buying in bulk is always less expensive than smaller portions.

    Buy meat on sale & prep meals —> huge grocery savings in the long run!
  • Eating out Is Expensive
    Do you ever come home from an evening of running the kids around, errands, or meetings and have no idea what to eat for dinner? Oftentimes, that leads to taking the family out to dinner, and that can really add up!

    Drive-thru —> food budget disaster!

    Eating at home is the best way to save on food. Having an easy dinner ready to go in your freezer dramatically reduces the temptation of takeout or drive-thru!
  • Less Waste
    Let’s face it—sometimes we forget what ingredients we have in our fridge. And then they go to waste, which is like throwing money in the trash! If you have a plan for all of your ingredients before you buy them, you are much more likely to use up everything—and save money.

    After you get in the habit of freezer meals, it will become second nature to freeze food before it spoils. Vegetables can be cooked and frozen and later used in soups, condiments can be used for sauces, and cheese can top lasagna.

    Food waste —> major guilt for the loss of food and the wasted money!
  • Slow Cooker Meals
    Slow cooker freezer meals are a lifesaver for a busy family. You can put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker frozen so there is no prep on the day you eat the meal. Since everything is being cooked for the first time, you don’t have to worry about family members that don’t like leftovers – the food is fresh! You can save so much time (and, as we know, time is valuable) when you chop, prepare, and clean up all at once.

    Start the slow cooker in the morning —> peace of mind all day!

How to Turn 100 Days of Real Food Recipes into Freezer Meals

Recipe: Slow Cooker Green Salsa Chicken

To Freeze: Add the chicken, spices, beans, corn, and salsa to a freezer-friendly baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed.

Recipe: Bolognese Sauce

To Freeze: Brown the ground beef and chop the veggies, then add to container or baggie with tomato sauce and spices. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and reheat in a skillet, and serve with pasta.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

To Freeze: Add the chicken, onion, chickpeas, broth, and spices to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed.

Recipes: Slow Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas

To Freeze: Add the flank steak, peppers, onion, garlic, jalapeno, spices, and soy sauce to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed. Assemble fajitas on whole wheat tortillas, and add favorite toppings.

Recipe: Best Slow Cooker Pulled Pork 

To Freeze: Add the pork roast, onion, honey, vinegar, and spices to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed. Shred and strain meat, and serve with favorite BBQ side dishes.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Steak Chili

To Freeze: Add stew beef, tomatoes, beans, onion, and spices to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed, and then add preferred toppings.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce

To Freeze: Brown sausage and saute meatballs. Add pork ribs, sausage, meatballs, onion, garlic, and tomatoes into baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed.

Recipes from MyFreezEasy

Recipe: Baked Lemon Dill Salmon

To Freeze: Add salmon, lemon juice, dill, and a touch of salt and pepper to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and bake as directed.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

To Freeze: Add sliced onions and bell peppers with the tomatoes, seasonings, and chicken into baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed.

Recipe: Flank Steak with Chimichurri

To Freeze: Add the steak and marinade to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and grill as directed. Add chimichurri sauce just before serving.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Ropa Vieja

To Freeze: Add the chicken, sliced onions and peppers, olives, and other spices to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed. Shred the chicken and strain off excess liquid. Serve over rice with a side salad or favorite veggies.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Red Curry with Cod

To Freeze: Add cod, curry powder and paste with coconut milk and other ingredients to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed. Break apart the cod into bite-size pieces, and serve over brown rice.

Recipe: Four Bean Chili

To Freeze: Add beans, tomato sauce, and spices to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and simmer as directed.

Recipe: New Mexican Chicken Lettuce Wraps

To Freeze: Add the chicken, salsa and green chilies with other ingredients to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and slow cook as directed. Shred and spoon into lettuce cups with preferred “taco toppings.”

Recipe: Coconut Curried Salmon

To Freeze: Add the salmon with the curry paste to baggie or container. Seal and freeze in fridge freezer up to 6 months, or in deep freezer up to 12 months. Thaw and poach in coconut milk as directed.

More about MyFreezEasy

Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired to try out some freezer meals! A quick note about the MyFreezEasy program. We offer monthly themed meal plans for “All Chicken Recipes,” “All Ground Beef Recipes,” and “All Pork Recipes” so that you can make meals for your freezer with the meat that’s on sale at your grocery store.

We also have a “Clean Eats” meal plan and other dietary preference categories such as Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Gluten Free, and more. And we, of course, have freezer to slow cooker (and Instant Pot) meals as well.

We offer the recipes, shopping lists, instructions, and even instructional videos and tips/tricks videos to help you along. Watch our free freezer cooking workshop online to learn more. It’s just a few minutes long and perfect for beginners and newbies! And be sure to check out my MyFreezEasy program.

Happy (freezer) cooking to you!

211 Shares

We invite you to read along and hopefully join in as our family seeks out the real food in a processed food world. Our hope is since our family (that does not live on a farm, has two young children,…

About MeContinue Reading  →

I’m so excited to share all the info with you about the three cookbooks in my 100 Days of Real Food series. Each cookbook is unique, and features its own content – from breaking down the science behind grains, to…

My CookbooksContinue Reading  →



Source: 100daysofrealfood.com