7 Brilliant Ideas for Freezer Meals and Snacks

posted: 08/06/15
by: Blythe Copeland
freezer frozen meals

Make-ahead freezer meals are a busy parent's lifesaver: They help you save money by allowing you to buy ingredients when they're on sale, drastically cut prep time (it's so much easier to chop double than start from scratch another day), and lower your stress levels on busy nights when getting dinner on the table feels impossible. But if you've only been using your freezer for winter casseroles and soups, then you're missing out on some of the most ingenious ways to make frozen meals for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner.

1. Frozen pizza
This seems obvious, right? Your supermarket probably has most of an aisle devoted to frozen pizza--and yet you've likely never tried to make your own. The Kitchn gives you the secret to a perfect pre-made pie: Bake the crust slightly before you add toppings it so it doesn't get soggy, and double wrap for freshness.

2. Breakfast burritos
Freezer breakfasts don't have to mean smoothies or muffins: You can have a hot meal, too. Iowa Girl Eats breakfast burritos are an easy way to do it--just layer cooked bacon, scrambled eggs, and cheese (or your own favorite combinations) in large tortillas, wrap and freeze, and microwave for two minutes before eating. (English muffin egg sandwiches are a simple and filling option, too.)

3. Waffles
If pulling out the waffle iron on a Wednesday morning just isn't your style, do your prep work over the weekend: Make a double batch of waffles on Saturday morning and freeze the extras. Then your family can toast one at a time for the convenience of a store-bought waffle and the taste of your grandmother's go-to recipe.

4. Ham and cheese pockets
For a healthier version of Hot Pockets, make your own with homemade bread dough, ham, and cheese -- or any other fillings you like (think pepperoni, cheese, and tomato sauce; chicken, broccoli, and cheese; or sauteed vegetables). Since you're baking them in advance and just reheating, you could also swap homemade bread dough for refrigerated dough or crescent rolls; it might not be as tasty, but it will save some time.

5. Single-serving pasta
Don't need an entire casserole thawed at once? Freeze plain cooked pasta in small plastic bags so you can pull out just what you need for a quick lunch or late dinner. You can even freeze the sauce on the side in small containers, so your picky daughter can grab her favorite red sauce, your toddler can have his just-as-good-as-boxed cheese sauce, and you can take a more grown-up alfredo or vodka sauce to the office. (Another idea: Toss the thawed pasta with dressing, chopped veggies, and ham, chicken, or pepperoni for a quick pasta salad.)

6. Chicken quesadillas
These super-versatile chicken quesadillas work as dinner for the whole family--just pair with a side of black beans, rice, or salad--or, when individually wrapped, as lunch for the office or a snack for post-football practice teenagers.

7. Cookies.
Prevent those "I just wanted one cookie but I had to make a whole batch" binges by freezing homemade dough in single-serving sizes. Then just pull out as many as you need to satisfy your sweet tooth and bake them (and if your sweet tooth still wants most of the batch, we'll never tell).