Back to School Freezer Meals to Make Life Easier

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Make some meals ahead of time and freeze them to enjoy later. Make school days and school nights so much easier with these Back to School Freezer Meals.

many sandwiches being prepared with chicken and bacon on rolls

Individual Chicken Bacon Subs

It seems like the school year just ended, but here we are with school supplies and registration forms and all the busy-ness of the back to school season.

When you look at your schedule, you may think that there’s absolutely no wiggle room and absolutely no way, no how that things could be easy.

For my part, I’ve hacked out a time budget for the school year, teaching four kids at home and running a home business. I’m trying not to hyperventilate. The days seriously are packed!

But, I know (and you do, too) that a little pre-planning and freezer cooking will save our bacon when the going gets tough this fall.

That’s where back to school freezer meals come into play.

Back to School Freezer Meals to Make Life Easier

Freezer meals are what I call get-ahead meals. It helps me save money, time, and a few brain cells to know that I’ve got something on my to-do list already done. I mean, seriously, dinner already made before you even wake up. Tell me that that doesn’t make your heart sing!

Back to school freezer meals not only help me get ahead, but they also make life easier.

  • It’s easier to delegate meal prep to your spouse or a child when most of it’s already prepped and ready to go.
  • It’s easier to say yes to that back to school potluck when you’ve got a few pans of your famous enchiladas stashed in the freezer.
  • It’s easier to deal with a sick kid, a barking dog, or a late alarm clock when breakfast is ready faster than you can put on your shoes.

Yes, back to school freezer meals make life easier!

stack of whole grain blueberry pancakes

Whole Grain Blueberry Pancakes

Back to School Freezer Meals for Breakfast

Not sure where to start? Well, let’s start with the most important meal of the day: Breakfast! By having a few items all prepped and ready to go, you can have an easier morning and get the kids enjoying a wholesome meal without too much hassle.

Consider these breakfast freezer meals:

Basic Pancakes – Who doesn’t like pancakes? Make pancakes easier by prepping the dry mix ahead of time in labeled bags. Add the wet ingredients on the morning of and fry them up quick and easy. Frying pancakes is also a great task to delegate to a competent child.

Alternatively, you can cook the pancakes ahead of time, cool them on a rack, and then wrap them in stacks of three in plastic wrap. Place the stacks in a ziptop freezer bag and store in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave or toaster to serve.

Buttermilk Corn Waffles – Waffles are enjoy more freezer friendly as they crisp beautifully in the toaster. Again, you can do a mix and bake the day of serving, or prebake the waffles, cool, wrap, and freeze. Reheat in the toaster.

Instant Oatmeal Packets – Don’t waste money on those crummy packets full of preservatives. Make your own instant oatmeal packets with ingredients you approve of.

Mix and Match Muffin Mix – This muffin mix is a family favorite. You can customize the mix-ins based on what you have on hand and they always turn out.

Alternatively, bake the muffins, cool them on a rack, and package them for freezing. Thaw them on the counter before serving.

Vanilla Maple Granola – Homemade granola is so much better than store bought, plus you can decide what ingredients to include. This is particularly helpful when you’re accommodating food allergies. This Vanilla Maple Granola develops the clusters we all love in good granola.

A Smoothie Station – Make smoothie making smoother by stocking a drawer or box in your freezer with all the ingredients you’ll need. Grab a few things, blend, and go.

bowl of cheese and vegetable soup

Cheddar Cheese Soup

Back to School Freezer Meals for Lunch

Where your kids spend their lunch hour and what refrigeration/reheating options they have available will determine what kind of lunch freezer meals you prepare.

Grilled Chicken is handy to have on hand all the time, but when you cool it, slice it, and freeze it in small portions, its a ready ingredient for quick sandwiches, salads and wraps. You can include dipping sauces on the side to make things more interesting for the kids. Grilled chicken is just as good cold as it is hot, making it very versatile for lunches.

This Quickest Chili in the West comes together quickly, thus the name, making it a go-to back to school freezer meal. It takes a little time to prep and even less to serve. Voila. Send the hot chili off to school in a thermos with a bag of chips for dipping.

Ham and Cheese Foldovers are delicious hot but just as good cold. They are filling without feeling heavy. Plus they look really cute and fancy.

Cheddar Cheese Soup with Vegetables – Probably one of my favorite soups ever, this Cheddar Cheese Soup freezes and reheats beautifully. As with any soup, divide it into meal-size portions and chill completely before storing in the freezer. Reheat and place in a thermos before packing in lunches.

Frozen Burritos require a heating option for serving, so this may be best for situations when a microwave is handy. That said, frozen burritos you make yourself are the cat’s meow. It’s well worth your while to have a stash of these on hand at all times.

Chicken-Bacon Subs (indiv. size) – Quite possibly one of my most popular recipes ever, these subs are best served hot. They make for great at-home lunches when you have easy access to a toaster oven or slow cooker.

(Be sure to head on over to my post on Good Cheap Eats, Freezer Meals for Work Lunches, for more ideas on what you can brown bag.)

baking dish of noodle casserole with bowl of salad and dinner plate

Overnight Casserole

Back to School Freezer Meals for Dinner

After school pick-up. Dentists and doctor appointments. Play practice. Soccer practice. Piano recital. Head to the freezer before you make that beeline to the bathtub and the box of Calgon. Fill your freezer with these quick and easy back to school freezer meals and you’ll be sitting pretty.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas – Enchiladas are a great thing to make and freeze. Corn tortillas often come in bulk bags for cheap. As does shredded cheese. Add a rotisserie chicken and you’re in like Flynn.

Whatever that means.

Enlist the whole family to help you roll enchiladas and you’ll quickly have a healthy stash on hand.

Hamburger Patties for the Freezer – simple, yet powerful. Sure, you can pick up burgers on the way home, but making your own costs less and tastes better. Plus, if you’ve got the patties ready and waiting? You’ll have dinner ready faster than you can get through the drive-thru line.

Carnitas and other taco fillings – Taco night will come together in a flash when you’ve already got the filling cooked. Reheat and lay out the toppings. Viva la!

Consider making a taco kit by pairing a bag of filling with a bag of cheese and a bag or tortillas. Collect them all in one larger bag or tub and you’re ready to go.

Overnight Casserole – The beauty of casseroles is that they come together quickly and bring ultimate comfort after a hard day. This Overnight Casserole allows you to mix the cheese, meat, sauce, and noodles without cooking the noodles. The time saver also delivers great flavor.

plate of chocolate toffee cookies

Double Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Dessert

Don’t forget to include a little sweet treat in our back to school freezer meals. Of course, you know that this means cookies, right? Cookies are the thing for back to school.

I recommend these Double Chocolate Toffee Cookies which just may be the best cookies on the planet. Ever. Head here to learn how to make cookies for the freezer.

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Level up your meal planning and prep.

Have you considered creating a kitchen survival kit to help you WIN in the kitchen? I’d love for you to join me for the upcoming Mom’s Kitchen Survival Workshop.

You’ll create a plan to help you get dinner on the table every night, fill your freezer with wholesome snacks and breakfasts, finesse your lunch-packing skills, and even make sure you get a daily dose of MOM food.

Learn more here.

pinnable image of casserole and salad

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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Comments

  1. Susie E says:

    Grill Big or Go home….whenever I turn the grill on, I try to fill it up! When tenderloin goes on sale I have the grocery store slice it for me and cook as much as i can fit on the grill. I vacuum seal different size packets. Single piece packets are for my husband’s lunch, or my daughter’s dorm room. I use the same process for chicken breasts, too. (we discovered that a dorm refrigerator cranked down to the lowest setting is like a mini freezer. It at least will keep frozen things frozen.)
    I’ve collected large crockpots from garage sales and the thrift store. I set them up on our covered patio so I can make multiple packs of shredded chicken, ground beef, pulled pork BBQ, and shredded pork. No muss, no fuss, and the house doesn’t even smell like I’ve been cooking meat all day. Knowing that I can easily attack large quantities meat with so little prep makes it easy for me to take advantage of clearance deals and unexpected sales. The vacuum sealer really extends freezer life…no more freezer burn.
    Fast food at our house is just a few minutes in defrost and express cook. We save time, money and eat much healthier. Win-Win-Win!

  2. Great work filling the freezer!

    I have been using our extra CSA ingredients to fill up our freezer with meals. Here is how we did:

    http://www.momsplans.com/2012/07/menu-planning-for-july-31-2012/

  3. Carla says:

    Been playing around with how we want our oatmeal packets so should have those ready to go this weekend. 5 pounds of ground turkey cooked and ready to be put in meals today. Woke to 2 chickens in the crock pot–yuck but at least its done. But overcame the chicken smell with the two breakfast casseroles that I prepped last night and pulled from the oven this morning that will be frozen for quick breakfasts. Just having some meat prepped makes life a whole lot easier to make sure I cook.

  4. I love your plan. I may have to refer to it the next time I do some planning ahead! I like to “fill” my freezer for the week’s meals. Kind of like Once a Week Cooking, only I prepare each of them so that I can cook them in the crockpot. Here’s my menu so far, if anyone would like some recipes on how to do that: http://www.sidetrackedsarah.com/freezer-to-slow-cooker

  5. Stacy says:

    I am loving the container you have your flour in. I have been looking for something like that to buy larger quanities. Any clue where you got it??

    • Holly says:

      I have a similar one I got at a resturant supply store. I’ve also seen them at larger cooking/houseware stores.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I bought those buckets at Smart and Final.

  6. In my effort to eat from the pantry this month, I took two bell peppers and 1 lb ground turkey (and some other pantry items) and made 8 jars of pasta sauce! Eek! They definitely take up more room in the freezer than the turkey did, but they’re ready for future meals and easy spaghetti nights.

    I’m also trying to make double batches of the meals I’m making, one for now and one for the freezer. Hopefully I’ll get through the pantry quicker, PLUS have a full freezer to boot!

  7. Kristi says:

    The granola doesn’t last long around here either, and there aren’t 6 of us! I grilled extra chicken last night for the freezer. I have not tried this before, so I only did a little bit to see how we like it. I want to make some oatmeal packets, too, and some breakfast burritos. Your freezer cooking is an inspiration!

  8. This is my plan for the weekend – get ready for Back to School with lunches, snacks and breakfasts ready to go – thanks for some great ideas!

  9. Steak fingers, chicken strips and corn dog muffins are big school lunch items for us. I also make hams and chickens just for lunch meat and some diced up for adding to salads and what not. I also freeze rice in small portions the texture is different but my kids don’t mind. Still trying to figure out freezing macncheese and spaghetti. We are gluten free and so the pasta is rice pasta and the texture is different. Oh and freezing soup, chilli and stew is a big hit with my better half. Rather than do one huge freezer cook I find it works better for me to cook for my freezer one afternoon a week. I also cook for my pantry one day a week (granola for example) and lunch prep one day a week. (Repackaging chips cutting up carrots etc.)

  10. Thank you for this! I need to start my freezer meals for back to school too. I’m going to try some of these. I also love your big batch meatball recipe and chicken marinades for the freezer for quick dinners.
    And I’ve recently discovered pickelets made with extra sourdough starter come together faster than pancakes and are just as yummy!

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