As some of you know, I’m married to an amazing chef. So that means gourmet meals beautifully prepared on the table every single night, right? Not so much. The reality is that he is usually working and the dinner time dilemma is up to me. Hate is such a strong word, but it is safe to say that I don’t enjoy cooking. Dinner time at our house usually consists of whatever I can get on the table quickly that is simple to make and reasonably healthy. Fast, easy, delicious, and healthy are my pre-requisites to anything that makes it to my dinner table.
I tiptoed into the world of freezer cooking a few years ago. After my first big batch, I was hooked. I love that I can make a bunch of meals all at once – especially on a day when my chef husband is home and can help me with all of the dicing, chopping, and prep work! It is so easy to spend a few hours and put together a ton of delicious meals we can freeze and then heat or cook for dinner during the week. This has fast, healthy, delicious and easy written all over it! We did a huge batch of freezer meals just before my youngest child was born and it was one of the best things I did to prepare for a new baby!
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Before You Start
We made two investments when we first started making freezer meals. I have been so happy with both of them. The first was a small deep freezer. While this isn’t necessary and I successfully made freezer meals for a year before we bought one, having one has meant that we can really stock up on meals for each prep we do. This was especially fantastic when I was stocking up before the birth of my youngest son.
The second investment we made was in one of these. In my opinion, this item is a must and frankly, ours has paid for itself many times over. Gallon freezer bags can work, however, they don’t truly seal out all of the air. This means unfortunately, I have ended up having to throw out a meal or two that succumbed to freezer burn. I couldn’t recommend one highly enough! If you do get one, I also recommend stocking up on these bags. They are so much less expensive than the ones you can buy in the store and last a really long time.
My middle son has always had some texture issues when it has come to soft food. So even though I have some awesome crockpot recipes, he is not usually a fan. Not wanting to give up on the whole concept of freezer meals, I have adapted the recipes I cook. Our recent favorites have become spaghetti sauce, lasagna, and baked manicotti. The BEST part is that all three of these recipes use the same base sauce.
The first time I made this recipe, I started out making the sauce for a lasagna and ended up with some leftover sauce and decided to portion it and freeze it for spaghetti sauce. It was a huge hit! So much so that we’ve started having “Spaghetti Saturdays” in our house and it’s on our menu nearly every week. We ran out of spaghetti sauce a few weeks ago, so this week I decided to make a double batch of the sauce and split it for spaghetti, lasagna, and manicotti.
25 Meals Ready to Be Enjoyed!
With the double batch of sauce, we ended up making a grand total of 25 meals! It was enough for 13 portions of spaghetti sauce (about 2 cups each), 8 pans of lasagna and 4 pans of manicotti. I am so excited because that translates into 25 nights in which I will not need to stress about what I’m going to make for dinner. There is no worry about having all of the ingredients I need in the pantry. I don’t have to stress if I will have enough time (and sanity) to make it! We typically shop at Target for pantry items and Sprouts Farmer’s market for good quality meats and produce. With enough on our shopping list to make 25 freezer meals, the total came out to $87.61. This breaks down to only $3.50 per meal!
Here is how I did it:
Well, I suppose I should mention that I did already give away 3 of these meals. The truth is that they make awesome gifts to bless your friends with! I brought one over to our neighbor that comes over once a week to watch my sleeping boys while I run to pick up my daughter from dance. I gave one to each of my kid’s teachers in a basket I made for them for teacher appreciation week this year (they LOVED them!) So to me, these were great reasons to share a few of my delicious meals.
Get the Recipes and Shopping List
Let me know if you would like the recipe for this awesome, versatile sauce. Just enter your email below and I’ll email you the shopping list and recipe so you can make all of this delicious food for yourself!
I hope you are as excited about how fast, healthy, delicious and easy this recipe is and have enjoyed this post! Be sure to stay connected to all of the great ideas from The Crafty Organized Mom by signing up for updates. When you do, you’ll also grab a free copy of our Family Meeting Guide + Meeting Printable!