Foil-Wrapped Freezer Meals: A Guest Post

The following is a guest post from one of my favorite foodies, Katie from GoodLife {eats}. I’ve successfully won her over to freezer cooking, an accomplishment I’m quite proud of. Here Katie demonstrates the last method of freezer cooking storage that I mentioned earlier. I’m looking forward to the day when I can meet her in person and eat her cooking instead of just looking at it! Don’t those enchiladas look good? And they’re freezer-friendly!

I know there are many different methods and preferences for packing freezer meals and no one method is right or wrong. Allow me to begin by giving you a bit of background on why I package my freezer meals by lining my baking pans first with foil and then removing the foil-wrapped meal to store in a ziptop bag.

1. Taking the food out of the container and placing it in the ziplock bag gives you added space. Compare the two wrapped meals in the photo. Which one looks bigger? The less space each meal takes up, the more you’ll be able to stash.

2. You’ll also free up pans that you may need another day by not having them stashed in the freezer. Personally, I only have 2 9×9 and 1 9×13 glass pans. If they’re in the freezer full of casserole then I won’t be able to use them for other recipes – like brownies!

3. When time comes for cooking, your pan is lined in foil which makes clean up a breeze! Especially for meals like enchiladas and lasagna where there is a lot of cheese and potential for the pan to get really yucky.

4. It saves money. You won’t have to go out and buy disposable pans to use so that you aren’t putting your glass pans in the freezer. You’re reducing your purchases which is good for your pocketbook and the environment!

How to Foil Wrap Your Freezer Meals

First, line your pan of choice with heavy duty foil, leaving foil overlapping the edges of the pan so that you can fold them in and cover the dish completely.

Then, assemble your recipe – don’t cook it because you’ll be cooking it before you eat it. Once you’ve assembled the dish inside the foiled pan, fold the extra flaps of foil in so the food is completely covered.

Then, place the entire pan in the freezer. Freeze until your recipe is completely frozen.


After it is frozen, you can lift the foil out of the pan. Wrap it again with foil and then slip it into a freezer bag, whatever size you need. Gallon sized freezer bags are perfect for 8×8 or 9×9 pans. If your recipe is for a 9×13 sized pan, you can split it into two smaller pans, such as 8×8, as I’ve done here.

Remove the air from the bag using Jessica’s straw method and zip the bag. Be sure to label the bag with any remaining instructions and the name of the food. It is also a good idea to include the source for the recipe for occasions when someone other than you will be preparing the meal and might need to look up clarification.

If the notes you would like to include with the recipe are too long to write on the bag itself, you can print off the recipe and place it inside the zip top bag for easy accessibility.

I prepared some of our favorite Chicken, Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas to freeze. I decided not to sauce them first. When the time comes to cook my enchiladas: I remove them from the bag, unwrap the top (so it looks like it did in the beginning when you assembled the dish in the foil lined pan. I’ll add the tomatillo sauce (which I made ahead of time and froze in a smaller bag and then thawed), quickly make the sour cream sauce and add that as well. Then, I’ll continue with the original cooking instructions of the recipe.

This method of freezer meal storage really works for me and my family. Don’t forget to check out the other methods of packaging freezer meals to see what will best suit you and your kitchen.

How do you wrap your meals?

–Katie Goodman believes that part of the goodness in life is sharing good food with friends and family. She’s a SAHM determined to make family meal time a priority while providing a variety of healthy and delicious food choices. Katie blogs at Good Life Eats, where she shares what she finds good in the kitchen and in life. Katie also contributes to Paula Deen Online and Craftzine.

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Comments

  1. Great tips! I freeze a lot of meals and always just stick whole pans in the freezer, I’m going to try it this way, thanks!

  2. Great tutorial! That’s how I do mine too. But I also put a layer of plastic wrap between the glass dish and the tin foil just to be sure the tin foil doesn’t “leak”, but it’s probably not a necessary step. And I wondered about the “sauce” on the enchiladas. That’s a great idea. I just made some yesterday for OAMC and I did pour the sauce over it. Next time I’ll try this method.

  3. Deborah K says:

    Question: Do you ever have a problem with the food sticking to the foil when you’re serving it? Like little pieces of foil in your lasagna?

  4. What a great idea. I only have a small freezer. I wonder if I would force it to hold a little more if I did it this way.

  5. I also wondered about food sticking to the foil if you cook it with the foil under it. I know sometimes if I try to do french fries on foil for less clean up they tend to stick to the foil. I’d love to know your experience.

  6. Katie @ goodLife {eats} says:

    If you are worried about the foil sticking when you cook, you can peel it off before returning the recipe to the pan. I haven’t had problems with it sticking though.

  7. This is such a smart idea! I’m doing this tonight with lasagna. Thanks for sharing!

  8. so when we are ready to bake we just pop it in a dish with foil still on it?

  9. I must admit… I’m caught up on the Graeter’s container in your freezer… yum!!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. If I’m making something that has a dough or bread that I’m worried about the foil sticking to, I just coat it lightly with cooking spray and that usually takes care of it.

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