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With life being so busy, it’s super nice to have bulk freezer meals for a month made ahead. I do this every month for our family. Which means that I do the vast majority of my cooking over a period of 2 days and then I’m done for the month.
Not only does this save me time and money, but it is also great way to have healthy freezer meals ready and waiting when life gets really busy.
I also freeze them into individual servings, so I may choose pizza casserole but the family may want something else entirely.
What meals Can You Precook and Freeze?
This is a question I get often since anyone who knows me knows that I do this each and every month.
Since our diet is Keto, make-ahead casseroles are our go to. I’ll be honest, I don’t make a lot of crock pot freezer meals, but I’m not against doing this either. I just find batch cooking casserole recipes for freezing much faster than a crock pot.
If you ask 3 different people this question, I’m pretty sure you would get three different answers. As I said, I prefer to freeze ahead casseroles.
Others may tell you crock pot freezer meals, but these are normally not cooked ahead. They are prepped and packaged and then cooked when you need them.
We much rather prefer to have meals precooked and ready to heat and eat when we need them.
Here is how to do it each month….
Prepping Bulk Freezer Meals for A month
I keep a homemade recipe binder with dividers on the shelf. The dividers are labeled breakfast, mains, sides, desserts, appetizers and condiments.
Here is some of our favorites:
- Make Ahead Low Carb Egg Muffins
- Italian Meatball Casserole
- Kielbasa & Peppers in Spaghetti Sauce
- Tuscan Chicken
Each month, take a bit of time, maybe a half-hour, and look through your recipes to decide what you want to make and store in the freezer for the next month.
Make a meal list you’ll be cooking and tape it to the cabinet door so that you can see it for planning cooking day. Trust me, this may sound silly, but it works so well! Don’t trust your memory, write it down! Life gets busy.
Shop your pantry to see what you have on hand. And then make a list of what items you will need from the grocery. Be sure to make a note on your list if more than one recipe calls for a particular item.
For example, since we eat strictly keto, a lot of my recipes call for almond flour and cheese. So I make a note of how much I need on my list- so I’m sure to have enough.
There is nothing worse than having the day planned for cooking for a month and realize you don’t have enough cheese. I know from experience.
TIP: To save extra money, we buy cheese in BIG blocks and shred our own. I use this kitchen cutter, but I need to warn you… home-shredded cheese will not keep. It doesn’t contain the cellulose to keep if from sticking together like pre-packaged shredded cheese. So don’t shred more than you’ll use.
Next, I will take an early morning and make a trip into town to pick up the grocery items I need to cook and freeze meals for the month. I also do all my other errands while out. Though the town is only about 15 minutes away, I only go about 2 times a month.
We grow and can a lot of our own food, and I cook from scratch all the time, but there are still things I have to buy from the grocery. Such as cheese, almond flour and pepperoni’s.
TIP: Don’t try to do your shopping on the same day you will be cooking. Shopping in itself is tough, especially with the kiddos.
Don’t forget your baggies or what ever container you will be freezing your meals in. Since I freeze them in freezer meals for one or two, I use a my FoodSaver and put them into bags. More on this a bit later.
The water molecules in the food turn into ice crystals and work their way to the surface and then when these are exposed to air, you get freezer burn. So keeping food air-tight in the freezer is best.
The night before, since we kill our own beef, I lay out the meat I will need. But if you purchased yours from the grocery, it may already be thawed. Just put it in the refrigerator – it will keep for about 3 days.
And put all your other ingredients into an easy to access place. Mine are all on the counter by the coffee pot when I’m cooking freezer meals.
STEP 5 – Cooking Day
Pull the recipes you will be making ahead out of your recipe binder and lay them aside. And then begin working on 1 recipe at a time.
I’ve found that trying to mass-prep ahead doesn’t work well for me. Especially with freshly shredded cheese and minced garlic. So I recommend working on recipe at time.
This doesn’t mean you can’t be browning 2 lbs of ground beef in two different skillets at the same time. I do this.
Follow each casserole recipe and bake it for the time it calls for. Most of my casseroles bake for 30-45 minutes, so while one is baking, I am mixing up and getting another ready for the oven.
TIP: I save the easiest recipes for last. Go ahead and get the harder ones over with. So when you are in your marathon of cooking for a month in 1 day and begin to get tired, the hardest part is already over!
Is it ok to freezer hot foods? This step in the process of making healthy meals to freeze and eat later is CRITICAL.
When your casserole has finished cooking, take it out of the oven and set it aside on the counter. Allow it to cool completely! Don’t attempt freezing hot foods – it is not safe.
Remember the water molecules but also hot foods do not freeze evenly. The outer edges will freeze faster than the inside. It will also interfere with the foods that already frozen in your freezer.
Learn all you need to know about freezing foods safely with my Quick Start Guide to Freezing Foods at Home.
Once your casserole has cooled, using a sharp knife, cut it into single size servings. For us, a typical casserole in a 9×13 casserole dish will make 8-10 servings.
STEP 6 – Getting It All Ready For The Freezer
What is the best container to freezer food in?
You may laugh, but this is what I do. Again, since I freezer meals for one or two servings – I use these Rubbermaid bowls, line them with either freezer paper or wax paper and the put a serving into each bowl.
Wrap it tightly, inside the bowl, label the freezer paper with a sharpie and put this in the freezer overnight.
Why do I do this? This is a multi-answer.
- The freezer paper is plastic coated and acts as an additional barrier to protect the food from freezer burn.
- The bowl keeps the shape of the single serve in a really easy to serve manner.
- When I take the serving from the freezer and put it into the microwave, I can do it frozen because the freezer paper (butcher paper) keeps it protected and helps it to thaw and re-heat evenly.
Once it has frozen overnight, I take the bowls out of the freezer, remove the serving and place them into my FoodSaver Machine and vacuum seal them to remove all the air.
The bags for the FoodSaver are clear, the food is nicely wrapped and labeled. So we can easily reach into the freezer, grab a meal and have a healthy dinner in a hurry.
TIP: I store each casserole separately in the freezer. This helps to know how many servings we have of each left when I’m cooking next month.
And that’s it. With careful planning, I can bake 5-7 casseroles in a day. When I freeze them in individual servings, I can make 40+ fully cooked and ready to eat meals in one day.
And then the next day, I spend a about an hour taking them out of the Rubbermaid bowls and vacuum sealing them with the FoodSaver. Put them into grocery bags and put them back into the freezer.
So there you have it. How to make 40+ bulk freezer meals for a month in one day.
Side dishes to go with bulk freezer meals:
Healthy Desserts To Have On Hand
Questions, feel free to ask. Have I said something that doesn’t quite make sense? Or do you have additional tips I should add?
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Dianne Hadorn is the owner of Hidden Springs Homestead nestled in the hills of East Tennessee. She is a Master Gardener and enjoys helping others learn how to grow and preserve their own food and sharing tips for living a more self-sufficient lifestyle.