Freezer meals made easy series: 3 budget conscious freezer meals

With the holidays approaching I start to become a little more budget conscious than normal. Between the gift-giving, party costs, and travel expenses, our family budget can really take a hit. Although there are some expenses such as your house and car payment that can’t be changed to free up some extra cash, there are a few expenses that are more fluid. One of the biggest variable expenses is the grocery bill.

Freezer meals have saved my budget more than once during the holiday season and it’s a double bonus that it saves me time to focus on other things. Instead of making a trip to the grocery store, I make a trip to my freezer.

budget conscious freezer meals

How to get the best bang for your buck when choosing budget conscious
freezer meals

If you go to Pinterest and type in “freezer meals” you will be totally overwhelmed with all of the options out there. It is easy to get carried away and spend a fortune trying them all. Not all freezer meals are created equal, however, and some hit your budget harder than others. Here are a few tips that will help you be budget conscious when choosing your freezer meals.

  1. Focus on cheaper cuts of meat. 

    Most people know that chicken is usually cheaper than beef and ground beef is definitely cheaper than chuck roast. Consider this when making your freezer meal selections.

  2. Choose freezer meals with similar ingredients. 

    When making multiple meals, try to choose meals that use similar spices, canned goods, and pantry items. Example: Instead of buying a bag of rice for one meal, plan on making 3 meals that include rice to utilize the entire bag.

  3. Go protein and plan on leftovers.

    All of the freezer meals I make for my family contain at least 1-2 pounds of meat. However, there are some that go a little further, leaving leftovers. This is usually because I add extra proteins to those meals such as beans, cheese, and eggs. These recipes are naturally more filling and can make for a nice lunch the next day. The other great news is that these ingredients are a relatively inexpensive filler too!

If you are still unsure what freezer meal recipes to make, try these 3 budget-conscious recipes below that I have specifically grouped together with these tips in mind. After making these meals you will be well on your way to saving up for that “hot toy” that your child is sure to want this Christmas. If you love these, check out the other posts in this series: fall-friendly freezer meals and kid approved freezer meals.

Sausage, black beans, and rice

A twist on the traditional red beans and rice that is packed with veggies and has a little kick to it.  The black beans and rice make it a super filling meal. We always end up with leftovers to enjoy the next day.

Course dinner
Keyword Crockpot, Freezer meal
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6

Ingredients

Combine in gallon freezer bag

  • 12 oz Andouille Sausage or Polska Kielbasa sliced
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 can tomato paste (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion can use already frozen
  • 2 cups frozen sliced carrots
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Add before cooking

  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 box (32 oz) chicken broth

Add during last hour if using crockpot or 30 minutes if using stove

  • 1.5 cups instant brown rice

Instructions

Crockpot Instructions

  1. Add freezer bag (completely frozen if desired), can of tomatoes, and chicken broth to crockpot. Cook on high 6 hours or low 8-10 hours. Turn crockpot on high and add rice during the last hour of cooking. Cook until juices are absorbed and rice is tender.  

Stovetop instructions

  1. Thaw overnight. Place bag contents, tomatoes, and chicken broth in a large pot on the stove. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, add the rice, and simmer an additional 30-60 minutes until rice is tender and juices are absorbed. 

Taco Casserole

A super versatile Mexican dish that can be served with rice, chips, on a salad, or in a tortilla. Using ground turkey instead of beef saves you on your budget and your waistline. Pairs well with sour cream, salsa, or homemade guacamole.

Course dinner, Main Course
Keyword Freezer meal
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients

Freezer bag #1

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced (can use already frozen)
  • 1/2 zucchini, shredded (about 1 cup)

Freezer bag #2

  • 1 cup frozen
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with creen chilis
  • 3 Tbs taco seasoning

Add before cooking

  • 2 cups shredded mexican cheese blend

Instructions

Casserole instructions

  1. Cook 1 cup rice. Scoop into bottom of 9x13 pan. Top with meat mixture and shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Skillet instructions

  1. Thaw bag #1 and brown in skillet. Add bag #2 and heat until warm. Serve on a salad, in a tortilla, or on chips.

 

Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki

This easy teriyaki comes together super quick and can be done in a matter of hours in the crockpot. By using chicken thighs instead of breasts it comes out moist and juicy. Thighs are typically cheaper too, which makes it a win-win for everyone. 

Course dinner, Main Course
Keyword Crockpot, Freezer meal
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings 6

Ingredients

Put into gallon freezer bag

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (can use already frozen)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 Tbs cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Add after cooking

  • 1.5 Tbs Corn starch
  • 1.5 Tbs cold water

Instructions

Crockpot instructions

  1. Place chicken bag with sauce in the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours until chicken is tender. Remove sauce from crockpot and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Mix cornstarch and water together and add to sauce to thicken. Shred chicken and add back into the crockpot with the thickened sauce. Serve over rice. 

Pressure cooker instructions

  1. Place chicken bag with sauce in the pressure cooker. Close lid and cook on "meat/poultry" setting for 25 minutes on high. Natural release 10 minutes then quick release. Remove chicken from pot and shred. Turn pressure cooker to "saute" setting. Mix cornstarch and water together and add to sauce to thicken. Add shredded chicken back into the thickened sauce. Serve over rice. 

 

 

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MyMommyStyle Meet Camille

Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!

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