Frugal Friday: Freezer Meals 2.0

A few years ago I wrote about some of our favorite freezer meals to make in bulk. In preparation to being back in rehearsals almost every night we made a whole bunch of freezer meals and in honor of that, I thought I’d write about a few more in anticipation of Frugal Friday tomorrow…

While we still love the burritos I mentioned in my first post on this subject, we’ve learned to diversify, which has come in handy for all the busy seasons that come our way. Here are our top five go to freezer meals aside from our trusty burritos (if you want more information on those, click on the link up top to my original post on favorite freezer meals)

*Lentil Sloppy Joes:It seems like most freezer meals are not vegetarian friendly. Especially when it comes to crock pot or instagram meals almost all of them include frozen chicken or frozen beef and are kind of weird to modify with another protein. But THIS lentil sloppy Joe recipe is AMAZING and always a favorite in our house.

*English Muffin Pizzas: So we had made these English Muffin Pizzas years ago, but it wasn’t until we were in rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing last year that we decided to try them as freezer meals. They are a big hit and something we know everyone will love for dinner if time gets away from us. They are really easy to make a big batch with a little bit of variety so you don’t get sick of them too- my husband throws meet on some of his, I throw olives on some and jalapeños on others, my kids enjoy straight up cheese or some bell peppers. Her idea to use a salad bar recipe is great, but we usually have veggies laying around for other recipes and so we just hold some to the side if we know we are going to cook a bulk batch of these.

*Tomato Sauce: We have become tomato sauce snobs. Store bought tomato sauce just doesn’t taste good to us anymore since we started making our own at home without any added sugars. However, it can be time consuming and not a practical thing to make on week nights (even when we opt for canned tomatoes instead of blanching and peeling our own!) so we try to make enough for several meals and then freeze it. Then we can throw it over everything from pasta to gnocchi to polenta to zucchini meatballs! We use THIS as our basic recipe, but we mix it up all the time with extra garlic, butter, red wine, different spice combos, etc. the important thing for us is no sugar. It really tastes SO much better it keeps us looking forward to the simple meal of spaghetti which is great when we are at the end of the month and trying to stretch the grocery budget. (We usually add a salad or some sort of veggie from the garden so it’s not JUST a carb a ton!)

*Soup… all the soup… or even just broth! We make our own vegetable stock if we know we’ll have a lot of vegetable odds and ends from bulk cooking the other recipes (otherwise we buy the boxed kind… but it’s so easy to make your own when you are stuck in the kitchen with the other ingredients already!) And then we use the stock for all sorts of easy crock pot or one pot soups. WE also make the whole soup and freeze smaller portions (freeze in an ice cube tray and then pop them out and store in a ziplock bag, reheat a few cubes at a time and you have single servings!)

*Enchiladas: We love THIS RECIPE only we substitute in chickpeas for chicken to make it vegetarian. The cream cheese makes it a little tricky to freeze but if you don’t mind a slightly soupy consistency when you reheat, it still tastes AMAZING. If you do, then maybe just stick to traditional enchiladas or else just use that recipe as a meal prep (and if you eat meat I hear the chicken version is really good too.)

So that’s my update! Any other frugal freezer meals I should try during my next busy season? I’m thankful that we try to stay more low key in the summer when I spend as little time in the kitchen as possible! Salads and popsicles and ready to grab fruit and veggies for everyone!

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