A post from Kelli–
I’ve said it a million times, but I really need to get more organized. Currently, I work either 2 or 3 12 hour shifts from Thursday to Wednesday (some days, some nights). I also then work at the nursing home Mondays for sure, usually in our locked unit (8 hours). I then work Thursday or Friday (I always have one off at the hospital) to run a few reports and do some follow up things in regards to the reports (3-4 hours). Then, during the month from the 10th to the 15th, I make the schedule for the Nurses and CNAs at the nursing home (usually about 10 hours). I also have a few things I have to do periodically as the Antibiotic Stewardship officer. I also coordinate and review the medication exchange for all of our residents at the end of the month. I end up getting the medications for the upcoming month and have to check them all over and set them up to be switched over on the last overnight of the month (about 10 hours). Needless to say, I often feel like my life is a whirl wind. I always joke that when I ask people at the hospital what the date is as an orientation question, I have to look at the computer or the calendar to know myself!
I’ve always thought that preparing freezer meals in advance would be something that might help make things a bit easier. I usually have either a weekend day or two or Tuesday/Wednesday off if I work the weekend. If I could get stuff together for freezer meals, that would be a few less kitchen messes and a few less days cooking. I know that it would be a big undertaking for one day, but then I’d be done for a while. And I’d have more time to do the fun things like hang out with Mom, sew, or even go on a walk now that the weather is becoming more bearable.
If you don’t know, the premise of freezer meals is that you spend one big day cooking and then freeze the meals in baggies or containers to be thawed and warmed up or completed at a later date. I’ve kind of tried this before, but since it’s something that I do so rarely, I forgot about the lasagna that I made and by the time I went to pull it out the top had come off and it was horribly freezer burnt.
The other problem that I’ve run into is that often times, the recipes are for soup. I love soup, however Jason is definitely not a fan. He’s a fan of the traditional meat and potatoes and maybe a vegetable (if it has cheese) with a big glass of milk. Soup just doesn’t do it for him. I know that I can say that I’m making what I’m making for super and leave him to just eat it or make himself something else, but I enjoy being the wife that makes a nice supper for him, so I don’t really want to do that.
Another thing that sometimes hinders me is that everything needs chicken. We are lucky enough to pretty much always have a freezer full, or atleast partway full, of beef. Ground beef, steak, roast, you name it, it’s likely in my freezer. I’d love recipes that used beef more than chicken.
So here’s where I need help! I need suggestions on the following–
- Have you made freezer meals before? What kind of containers worked best?
- I need recipes that make things other than soup! We always joke that Jason eats like a picky 8-year old, but he really does! If an 8-year old would like it, he does.
- Do you have any recipes that use beef? Like I said, we have lots. Not as much steak, but ground beef and roasts are quite plentiful!
So if you would be so kind as to share your insight, tips, tricks, or recipes, I would so greatly appreciate it. You can leave a note in the comments if you want–And feel free to include links! I love those!
Thanks in advance! I love that I can count on you all to help me out!
I have a recipe for meatloaf that I got from a souvenir cookbook. For us, the recipe makes about two meals. When I mix up the meatloaf, I make two batches up to the point where I put it in the oven to bake. One batch goes in the oven and one goes into a large freezer bag, spread flat so I can get as much air out as possible. Freeze this flat, then when you want to cook it, the meatloaf doesn’t take as long to thaw. I often freeze the second meal from the first batch as well. Four meals, one messy day.
Beth over at the Budget Bytes website has a printable list where you can write what you froze, along with the number of servings, and post it on you freezer. When you take something out, you deduct it from the list.
Hope this helps.
Anything you make that you like, you can just double or triple the recipe and freeze some for later, of course, I guess you know that! When we grill hamburgers, I make a bunch, then wrap them individually and freeze, so a quick minute in the microwave and it tastes like you just grilled! My other favorite freezer meal is *healthy* mac and cheese. I cook a whole pound of macaroni and portion it out in small foil loaf pans. I find casseroles and such freeze well in disposable foil pans which I find cheap at discount grocery stores. You can shove them in the oven when you get home or while you shower and boom, supper’s ready! Here’s the recipe I use for Mac and cheese…
When I make a pot roast with potatoes, onions and carrots and there are leftovers I shred the meat with a fork cut the potatoes , carrots and onions up small and pour any left over gravy over it. I freeze this in a Ziploc freezer bags When I pull it out of the freezer I just heat it up and serve over noodles or rice. If there’s no potatoes left to put in it I serve it over mashed potatoes. That and I green salad makes a meal.
Also if I have mashed potatoes left over I freeze them in a freezer proof container. When I’m ready to heat them up I add crispy bacon or leftover chicken and cheese and serve with sour cream and butter. Again a salad or another vegetable like green beans makes a meal. It’s just another quickie when I’ve had a busy day
You can freeze just about any leftovers if it’s wrapped good.
If you would spend one day a week you could: Fry up a couple of pounds of hamburger…add onions and celery and freeze (for chili, tacos, casseroles etc.)..prep your vegetables so that you have large baggies of cut up carrots, celery, onions etc….my daughter-in-law spends one day a week making 4-5 meals…she utilizes slow cookers when she can, makes 2 chicken, 2 beef or pork etc…then she has food available for her family when they want it…her husband works in farming too and gets home late in summer months…if you freeze things stock up on freezer containers in different sizes but all one dimension so they stack easily…mark them well with contents and date…good luck!
I use a food sealer to keep things from getting freezer burn. The one I use is Food Saver. I also freeze most things for a few hours before I seal then so that they hold shape better. I freeze unbaked meatloaf in muffin tins, seal separately, then just take out what I need for either a meal just for myself, or more if I am feeding my husband. I also do spaghetti sauce, chili, etc, freezing them first in one serving size containers, then sealing. I also freeze cooked ground beef with onions and seasoning in them, then can quickly make tacos, baked beans with ground beef, etc. To thaw quickly, I place the sealed food in a bowl of cold water and in no time it is thawed and ready to cook. Prepping veggies ahead of time makes quick work of putting a salad together.
Stuffed peppers freeze good and can be filled with all sorts of stuffing, hamburg and rice, mac and cheese, cheeseburger macaroni. I am not fond of peppers so I make extra stuffing and load up the casserole dish. You could make meatballs, freeze on cookie sheet (raw) then add frozen to crockpot of sauce and dinner when you get home. Or make homemade cream of mushroom soup simmer meatballs in it serve over noodles, cook extra noodle freeze some for next time. We like hamburg and gravy over rice, mashed potatoes, noodles so I save leftover gravy and just adjust. Shredded beef like shredded pork on rolls. Make a list of what you put in the freezer, try keeping it together so you just grab.
Kelli, you need a maid and a cook to take care of you!! I like to fry up hamburger and ground pork and put them in freezer containers (add some onion to them too) then you can make a quick qoulash, pizza, spaghetti or anything that takes browned hamburger or pork. Buy some convenience side dishes to add to your main dish. Honestly, you need to slow down girl!!
Do you have an instant pot? Good for fast meal and I like mine even better for reheating leftovers. Or if you freeze meals make sure they will fit in your instant pot to cook or reheat.
Lots of great ideas here for you Kelli! One that is missing… STEW… stew is always so good after it’s been in the fridge/freezer for a bit :) Hamburger mac is easy to home make, and should freeze well. You can also cook a roast, let cool, slice and put into freezer bags. Pull some out with some mashed tators and make some gravy. Have fun!
What a great topic Kelli! I love the tip of freezing the meatloaf flat so that it thaws faster. And cooking up your hamburger with onions ( and maybe even celery ) so it is ready to start a meal is another great tip that I will start using.
Freezing things flat in freezer bags saves space. If you use containers, get the square ones as they waste less space in your freezer. My DH isn’t a huge fan of soup for dinner either, but if I make it really hearty and add salad and garlic bread he’s pretty happy. So maybe it’s partly a matter of filling Jason up. Spaghetti sauces freeze really welll, chili does too. If chili is too much “soup” (I cook mine until it’s pretty thick) serve it over hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta and top with cheese, or make nachos. Smitten Kitchen has a delicious Southwestern Brisket that we use for tacos, burritos and even nachos. I do sub chuck roast, and in my 7 quart slow cooker, I can double the recipe. If y’all don’t like spicy, then omit or limit the chipotle in the recipe, and we like to increase the molasses by about 50%.
I make a chuck roast or brisket with lots of onions, some garlic and some red wine for braising, but beef stock works. Part of that gets eaten as roast, but part of it goes in a container with more beef stock and mixed frozen veggies. Reheat that on low in the oven or crock pot with some peeled, halved potatoes and you’ve got a delicious stew.
Also, a lot of leftover bits and bobs like vegetables with cheese or chili are delicious over a baked potato.
If you manage medications for a facility, you clearly know how to manage inventory. Figure out if you want a written or digital list of your freezer contents and use it to keep things from going bad. I have a friend that works like you do and she has a written list. If she puts in 4 packages of “chili, 2 cups”, she puts “chili, 2 cups” on the list as four separate entries. Then, when she uses one all she has to do is cross it off the list that is on her freezer.
We call them “Planned-Overs” – like leftovers except planned to yield more than one meal. Good non-chicken options are Red Beans & Rice with Sausage, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, and Congri. We use gallon zipper bags to portion out and freeze a meal’s worth for the two of us.
I have tried freezing beef stew or pot roast, but the texture of the gravy is not good after it’s been frozen, so I don’t recommend these options.
You might consider keeping portions of cooked, ready to use ground beef in the freezer. They would thaw quickly and would be a quick way to get tacos, sloppy joes, casserole, spaghetti (with bottled sauce) etc. on the table.
When I make a hot dish I make lots and then freeze portions in small containers. I also fry up hamburger and use my Food Saver and vac um pack it…can then be used to make spaghetti or with fried potatoes or bean and hamburger hot dish. I like to make meatballs and vacuum pack. I’ll cook up a chicken and then pack into small containers…I can use this to make stir fry or cream chicken or chicken hot dishes or chicken salad sandwiches. All these are like money in the bank! So much easier to put a meal together when part of the work is already done.
I am the queen of precooked meat in the freezer. I take 1 Saturday per quarter and do the following:
beef roast in the oven-slow roasted and then I shred it. I do 6- 8 pounds. I roast each covered with 1c brown gravy and then enough water to cover the meat. (375 1hour then 275 for 3hour.) I freeze this “beef stock” in 3c portions. It’s a great starter for beef stew or what I call stoup. Hubby doesn’t love soup either but if I make it hearty with lots of veg, potato or barley, he’s happy. The shredded beef can go in soft tacos, on a taco salad, into a beef stew/stoup, or heated with gravy and potato/veggie. Any of these meals can come together in 15-45 minutes.
I’ll make a pot of stew that equals 2-3 meals for us. Spread it every other day so that takes care of 3 meals out of 5 days and it’s fresh. We do NOT like potatoes out of the freezer and stew requires potatoes for hubby.
I cook up: 2# ground beef/2# ground turkey/2# hot Italian sausage. After cooking I let it drain in a strainer and then freeze. i break off what I want for a spaghetti type meal.
Here is where you can make your favorite spaghetti sauce, add the meat, and freeze in 2-3c portions for instant sauce over pasta for dinner. 20minutes to table.
I cook up 3# of bacon (mixing pork/turkey bacon). Mince it and freeze. Ready for salad, omelettes, we love broccoli salad with bacon/raisins.
Hubby will smoke pork butts and then we shred them. Ready for salads, burritos, burrito bowls etc.
Rice and quinoa freeze very well. (ready for burrito bowls).
Black beans freeze well (I always cook from scratch).
A favorite: Black Bean bake. Equal black beans/ rice, shredded beef, shredded cheese and salsa. mix together and bake 375 for 40 minutes. YUM! Freeze in portions if it lasts.
Chili and cornbread freeze well. (I used ground beef in my chili and lots of pinto beans). If you don’t use beans, it’s great over pasta-topped with cheddar cheese.
We love my lasagna. I’ll make a double batch and freeze 4inch squares for future meals. Lasts an easy 3 months in the freezer and tastes fresh.
Grill a bunch of large burger patties-I’ll make them 6-8 ounces. Freeze single layer in gallon ziptop bags. Thaw as needed (I take them out in the am). Microwave 60seconds. Then top with cheese and microwave another 45seconds to thoroughly heat the meat and melt the cheese.
We eat a lot of fresh roasted veggies. I’ll roast enough one evening for a few meals. I’ll also roast a tray of potato chunks. Both keeps in the fridge fine for 3-4 days. Easy reheat in the microwave and a great side for a grilled burger patty.
IE: Friday I roasted: 1/2inch eggplant slabs, sweet/bell peppers cut in half, zucchini cut in half. Brush with olive oil. I finished those for dinner today. I roast at 425-450. 20minutes for soft veggie and 40minutes for roots.
So, not everything is freezer meals but many items do well in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and “feels fresh” to me when reheated. If I read your “schedule” correctly, you could do an hour of cooking twice a week most weeks so some of this bulk ‘fresh’ cooking could work for you.
As you can see, I’m not one for doing the freezer cooking meals in a bag routine. I precook/freeze the stuff that takes time to cook and then that ingredient is ready to go for quick meals I can get on the table in 45min or less.
My farmer hubby isn’t a soup man either. I usually divide it & add rice or macaroni to his to soak up some of the juice. His is basically hotdish by the time it’s done. We’re in the same boat with pork & beef in the freezer. I never buy chicken. I’ve tried substituting beef for chicken in some recipes & it works. Sometimes other ingredients have to be adjusted a bit. I love my Instant Pot for hotdishes. Pinterest has a ton. A lot include cheese so they’ll probably be Jason approved ;)
Lots of good ideas above! When I make spaghetti sauce, I double my recipe. Meal 1 with spaghetti noodles. Freeze the leftover or use later that week for Meal 2 with macaroni noodles or other – with later meal I might add a can of diced tomatoes (to stretch or to make chunky) and sometimes a block of cream cheese ( think lasagna hamburger helper). Extra chili or Tex-Mex (a think taco soup) can go over baked potatoes later that week or freeze and use another time. Hope this helps. Browning my ground beef is my least favorite thing to do, so yes – brown and freeze, but if you know what you are going to do with it, I think that freezing with a sauce helps the taste and texture.
Happy moneysaver.com has quite a few good freezer meals.
I know Jason doesn’t like soup, but I’ve got a Taco Soup recipe that uses 2# of ground beef that’s really hearty. Serve it over Fritos and shredded cheese and call it Frito Pie and he’ll never know the difference. It’s great in the crock pot and leftovers freeze well. We ranch so I know about having a freezer full of beef. Like others have mentioned, I cook a lot of ground beef at once and freeze it. It’s one of my favorite shortcuts. I often cook big roasts and shred them for burritos, or add barbecue sauce and use it for barbecue sandwiches, and I leave some out to make a roast spread for sandwiches.
I always cook extra chicken pieces and then debone the meat and freeze it to use in salads, sandwiches or casseroles. Sometimes I buy rotisserie chicken when it is on sale and freeze that. I also buy pork loin on sale and cook up several and freeze the meat to use for barbeque. Burritos made with ground beef freeze well as does spaghetti. Instant pot mac and cheese also freezes well. I double a recipe so I can have an extra meal to put in the freezer. I purchase plastic containers with lids at Costco and also plastic freezer bags work well.
Go to stockpilingmoms.com and check out 20 slow cooker freezer meals. They have chicken, beef and pork. When I make meatloaf, I always mix up enough to bake one and put the other in the freezer. I also do that with hamburger casseroles.
If you find that our forgotten future dinners are getting freezer burned, try Christy Jordan’s idea (southernplate.com) of bags to dishes: https://www.southernplate.com/category/main-course/bagmeals/ She has many ideas of how to make meal prep fast and easy and every recipe of hers I have tried as been wonderful.
I like to buy 5# ground beef and cook it in my crockpot. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Drain fat and freeze in 1 or 2# increments. Great for chili, tacos, spaghetti, baked beans, etc.
I cook my meatloaf in muffin tins lined with paper liners. Easy to freeze the leftovers and pull out a couple and heat in microwave.
I had a freezer meal cookbook years ago that called for making something and then planning different meals from it to be frozen. I recall one was for make a large beef roast, freezing the meat, and then using it for French dip sandwiches later in the week. I don’t have the cookbook anymore because I found that I didn’t like spending an entire day cooking. I hope you get some good recipes.
Oh my, Kelli, lots of good ideas here! A beef roast or sirloin steak cut thin makes great meat for fajitas packaged with slivered peppers and onions. When we process a beef I have 15-20 lbs. of ground beef left raw by the locker plant and then brown it up, adding seasonings for chili, tacos, barbecued hamburger, spaghetti or lasagna…you get the picture. I then freeze in 1-2 lb quantities in bags and presto…quick meals…or when the local big box has ground beef marked down I’ll buy up what I can and do the same…quality isn’t the same as home grown, but it’s not bad! I also freeze bags of peeled and quartered tomatoes and use those for chili, spaghetti sauce, soup…and get the fresh taste of tomatoes in the middle of winter!
When our kids were growing up I spent my Sunday afternoon making meals for the week and either popping them in the freezer, or into containers in the fridge for meals for the week…It helped with their crazy schedules, and mine, too! Any day off would work the same if you don’t want to go the freezer route for long term storage. A list on the freezer door makes managing the prepackaged meals a whole lot easier…as long as you remember to cross off what you used…my downfall for sure! Good luck!
This is just my opinion now, I think you need to shift from using your freezer to using your crockpot. I am a grandma too, with 3,000 years of cooking experience, and have tried many times to prep freezer meals only to waste most of it. The truth is, we don’t like many of the freezer meals we try. I have much more success using my crockpot, and making large meals for 4 to 6 and eating the leftovers for a day or two afterwards. Or, in my case, my kids and grandkids usually take a lot of the leftovers to their house! I also use an Instant Pot, but they really are not all that ‘instant’. They take as much time as cooking on the stovetop or baking in the oven, for the most part. At least for me!
Before I retired, I spent most weekends baking and cooking several large meals so we could eat leftovers most of the week. If your husband will eat leftovers, which mine does, this is the way to go.
Also, don’t forget breakfast for dinner! It’s pretty quick to scramble some eggs and bake your bacon in the oven while you’re scrambling and cooking. I also make a large bowl of tuna or chicken salad for sandwiches during the week.
I put my weekly breakfast and dinner menus on my blog, so feel free to stop by and take a look now and then to see if anything works for you. It helps me tremendously to have a weekly menu plan. Here’s the link: https://thespiritedlifeofgrammy.blogspot.com/
I hope it helps you a little bit! Sometimes just thinking of what to eat and having the ingredients on hand is all you need.
In any case, I love your blog and can’t believe you have time do anything besides work, with the work schedule you have! You’re an inspiration!
I used to do the meals at our local hyvee but have since moved, but I have the whole list of recipes if you’d like me to email them on! Whenever I make a casserole or lasagna I think will freeze well, I just double it and eat one fresh while freezing the other! I also keep a running list of what’s made in the deep freeze so that when I meal plan I can pull from there when needed!
Hi Kelli. My husband and I will make big batches to freeze every few months. I think my experiences are like a lot of other commenters. We portion out the prepared food and freeze overnight, then we vacuum seal with a Food Saver. A lot of the time we will pop the frozen food out of the container before we put in the pouch to seal. We like making individual portions of different things and we’ll put them in small foil loaf pans, which are a good one-person size for us. We’ll do lasagna like this, and also Shepherd’s Pie and Chicken Pot pies. We’ll also do a big pot of pulled pork in the slow cooker and portion out single servings and vacuum pack. It works great for two people with full time jobs!
Haven’t used any of these but have this link saved for Freezer to Slow cooker meals
There’s also this site
Hope this helps
We like to make meatballs in a huge batch, bake them and freeze them. They go over pasta and sauce or into sandwiches made with french bread and grilled onions and peppers, cheese optional. The chili is a good suggestion. Serving it over baked potatoes is another option. We slice leftover beef roasts and freeze for sandwiches same as the meatball ones above. I like fajitas so we cook huge batches and freeze. My mom has a recipe for hamburger soup that is a favorite. Good with sandwiches on the side. We also get free beef because my family raises it, so I understand using that over chicken. :)
Great ideas here!
Here’s a link to the Freezer Leftovers Chart that Tina in NJ mentioned:
We freeze our meatloaf in slices. For a change thaw some slices, lay them on half of a crescent roll (the sheet style works best) fold the other half over, crimp the edges and bake til golden brown. If you separate them enough you can crimp the edges on all 4 sides and have separate pocket sandwiches. You can also add cheese, bbq sauce, etc. to jazz them up.
But our favorite is put a roast in a pan, slice a stick of butter and place it on top of the roast. Sprinkle with a package of dry brown gravy mix. Cover tightly, bake low and slow (or a crockpot). Meat will fall apart, works well to use in beef & noodles, hot beef sandwiches, or add sauce to spice up for sandwiches or tacos.
In addition to using a Seal a Meal for freezer packaging, if you have the ‘jar tops’ attachments, you can vac seal dry goods in mason jars. Keeps rice, pasta, etc from going stale.
I am like you. I buy my beef and pork ‘on the hoof’ from local ranchers. And my son usually fills at least one deer tag. I’m not a fan of fish, so I eat a lot of meat.
Lasagna and other pasta casseroles (slightly undercook the noodles), beans of all kinds, and rice (add a bit of water when reheating) all freeze well.
Try a search on Pinterest and you’ll find a lot of blogs that have plan ahead meals. Ideas I’ve used through the years have been to cook or prep (crock pot) 6 meals on Sunday after church, one for Sunday and the next 5 crazy days. When the kids were little and I was home I made double meals and froze one for later and still used the crock pot at least weekly. I tried the “once a month cooking” thing following a book. We loved the recipes but I did not like being on my feet in the kitchen that long. And the book suggested going out to dinner the day you cook which was not possible. I still use several recipes from the book but make double or triple the amounts and freeze the extra. I use plastic freezer bags or Tupperware make special for the freezer. Use quality products for storage to help cut down on freezer burn. My favorite beef freezer meal is:
I made this for my daughter and her family when I was helping for the birth of her second child. I use the McCormick mesquite seasoning packet and and add quartered potatoes. So good! I shredded the leftover meat, added some bbq sauce, heated it up, and placed the warm meat mixture on hamburger buns for a “pulled meat” style sandwich. I add cheese or coleslaw to the sandwich and a pickle spear on the side. Yummy!
Some other sites are:
I found that I had to change the way I thought to plan and save meals. Even little things like peeling enough potatoes for mashed today and extra for the crock pot stew tomorrow can be a time saver. I’m looking forward to hearing what you do and how this works for you.
Ugh, my long comment disappeared when I pressed “Post Comment.” I’ll try again.
Try searching Pinterest as several bloggers have freezer ideas. Some open the cans and jars and add everything to the bag and freeze. Some cook first and then freeze. I left my daughter several dinners in the freezer when I left after the birth of her babies. Her husband thought we were crazy but it worked out great and he appreciated it. I used their favorite recipes and threw in a couple of her childhood favorites so they were sure to like them.
I’ve tried a variety of things through the years to make dinner easier to plan for. I cooked, or prepped for the crock pot, 6 meals on Sunday after church. I stayed home when my kids were little and I cooked double, freezing the extra. This worked great for certain casseroles like lasagna. I tried the once a month cooking and everything was frozen. We loved the recipes but I hated being on my feet in the kitchen all day, alone. I still make several of the recipes but I double or triple them freezing the excess for another day. This has always worked best for me. Or I pick a morning to prep and freeze hamburger meals and another day to prep and freeze chicken meals. I still look at my work/evening activities for the week and plan out what days I have to cook and when I’ll need planned leftovers.
I know you’re looking for freezer meals but I have to say my favorite beef crock pot meal is:
You can make it up ahead and freeze but I find it is so fast to put together I do it in the morning. I’ve used my Instant Pot to pressure cook it after work, releasing pressure and adding the vegetables near the end. I made this for my daughter and her family while caring for her after the birth of her child and left one in a freezer bag for her to cook later. I used the McCormick mesquite seasoning and included potatoes. Yummy. The next day I shredded the leftover beef, added bbq sauce, heated it up and served it on hamburger buns with cheese or coleslaw for a “pulled beef” style sandwich with a pickle spear on the side.
Some other sites for freezer meals are:
I use freezer Ziploc bags or Tupperware freezer containers. Use the best to help prevent freezer burn. After everything is frozen place all the containers/bags on one shelf so you can easily find it to use.
I’m looking forward to hearing what you do and how this works for you.
My go-to ground beef idea for when I froze meals I would buy a whole family pack of ground beef and cut it into three sections. I would take two thirds of it and brown them (you can put them in one pan or two, depending on your mood and size of pan). While it was browning, I would take the last one third section and make meatloaf. Mix it up and put it into the oven.
By that time the browning beef would be browned. Drain. With those two sections, I would decide what to make. I could make a curry or chill or spaghetti sauce. I usually only made a total of three things, but sometimes I could eek out some spaghetti sauce for today’s meal.
By the way, I usually made the rice, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, etc. accompaniment, and when it was done, I would put them in individual serving size containers. That way I had a complete frozen meal anytime I was hungry.
You asked about containers. I buy a ziplock plastic boxes – all the same size so they are easy to store, and you can mix and match the lids and containers in case one gets broken. Since they are all the same size, they stack well in the freezer / refrigerator too and don’t take up much room, and you can eat them out of the container if you are taking it for lunch.
Kelli I have a vacuum sealer as well. I freeze the casserole in the container I will cook it in, if you line it with plastic wrap, you can pop it out after it is frozen and seal it with the vacuum sealer. Your lasagna will last much longer and you can open it, place it back in the cooking container and bake.
I hope you make a blog post with all of the suggestions for all of us that would love to have these idea’s too. I read a couple that are posted and the first was about making two meatloaves at once and leaving one raw to freeze. I myself make two to three meatloaves at a time and go ahead and cook all of them. I freeze the extra meatloaves already cooked and they come out of the freezer fine just as if I had just cooked them that day. So, make it easier by cooking both meatloaves at the same time, drain the grease, let cool and put in a freezer bag. I make 2 pound meatloaves so mine have to go into a gallon size freezer bag.