Budget-friendly freezer meals are one way that we can combat overwhelm during the dinner rush.
We have all been there. A long day at work that bleeds right into a night of shuffling kids to practices, tidying up from a chaotic morning, packing lunches and snacks for tomorrow, signing papers, and helping with homework…the list goes on and on. While all of these things can lead to stress and overwhelm, there is one thing that the majority of caretakers agree is a major source of stress. Planning, preparing and cleaning up from dinner.
Time management experts say that one sure-fire way to help is to meal plan. I agree with this wholeheartedly, but I think we need to take it a step further. After all, it’s all fine and good to “plan” to have beef stew for dinner, but if you didn’t thaw out the meat and want to cry over the thought of cleaning and peeling 5 different vegetables, that “plan” isn’t worth much now is it?
One thing I have learned is that inevitably there are going to be days when you just can’t bear the thought of cooking, so having budget-friendly freezer meals on hand is a lifesaver. Moreover, it can do your heart and mind good to have a healthy meal on the table, even when you are exhausted. So, below are a few of my favorite tips or tricks for having budget-friendly freezer meals at your fingertips.
- Cook once, eat four times. Once a month I cook a ton of ground beef and ground turkey. I am talking like 8 pounds. I typically just brown the meat in some olive oil and then drain off the excess fat. Then, I use some of the meat and make a spaghetti sauce. I use the .87 Aldi sauce, but feel free to add whatever sauce you like. Once that cooks, I let it cool and then put it in a freezer bag. I do this twice so that in the end I have two freezer bags full of sauce. Next, I add more ground meat to the pan and make my favorite taco blend. I add a small can of tomato sauce and a taco seasoning packet. Then I add about 1/4 of cup of water and let it simmer. Once it thickens, I let it cool and then put it in a freezer bag. I repeat this so that I have two bags of taco meat. I then label each bag and pop them in the freezer. And just like that, I have the better part of 4 meals ready to go. I just pop them out of the freezer when I am ready and warm them up. Cook some noodles or warm up some taco shells and you are officially a rockstar.
- Ok, you have heard me sing the praises of the Costco chicken, but friends you MUST give it a try. Typically I buy 2 or 3 Costco rotisserie chickens and pick all of the chicken into one big bowl. I pick it in small shreds because I am going to be using it soups, stews, and Mexican themed dishes. Once the chicken is picked, I separate it into freezer bags. I usually get 3 bags out of each chicken. Then I pop it in the freezer. This is such a lifesaver! We thaw out the bag and make quesadillas, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, burrito bowls, and more.
- Friends, have any of you tried the crock pot freezer meals? Literally, you add everything to a bag, freeze it, and then dump it in the crock pot in the morning on the day you plan to eat it. Above all, this has to be the BEST budget friendly freezer meal hack out there. Here are some links to some of my favorites: 25 Simple Freeze + Dump Slow Cooker Meals – Hello Glow 8 Best Crock-Pot Freezer Meals — Eat This Not That
So, there you have it. Budget-friendly freezer meals that can help even the busiest caregiver get meals on the table each night. Tell us, what are some go-to freezer meal hacks that you use?