The most essential tool for meal prep has been hiding in plain sight: your freezer. Making big batches of make-ahead freezer meal recipes can save you when you’re desperate for a quick dinner on a busy week. It also keeps you from having to eat the same dinner multiple days in a row because you can freeze leftovers of these dishes and know they’ll be ready for you whenever you need them.
The best easy freezer recipes are saucy or soupy — dishes that won’t dry out when they’re frozen and reheated. Pasta dishes are excellent for this, like Simple Lasagna Roll-Ups or an Easy Pizza Pasta Bake that the kids will love. Baked goods, like Savory Beef Empanadas or Barbecue Beef-Filled Biscuits, are also a good choice because you can freeze them unbaked and just add a few extra minutes to the cooking time or freeze them baked so they’re faster to heat up in a toaster oven.
And next time you’re thinking of making a hearty dish like chicken pot pie, chili, or a casserole, make extra to freeze. You can either divide individual portions into plastic containers or wrap them in tinfoil, or just freeze an entire casserole dish. If anything is stored in glass container, a step to thaw overnight in the refrigerator must be taken rather than putting the frozen dish straight into the hot oven to avoid any shattered glass from sudden temperature changes.
Now that you have this strategy for easy freezer meals, think about the dishes that you and your family love and will have random cravings for. Make a big batch next time they request it, store half of it in the freezer, and reap the rewards for months to come.