Make Ahead Freezer Meals | 6 Easy Recipes For Individual Portions (2024)

Make Ahead Freezer Meal Recipes For Microwave Reheating

I love freezer meals. On busy (or unmotivated) days it’s so nice to have prepared food in the freezer ready for an easy dinner. My typical plan is to take one day and assemble multiple recipes in bulk, freezing several pans of each recipe to then throw in the oven and cook when needed.

This weekend I took a different approach to my freezer meal cooking. This time I decided to cook all of my recipes ahead and freeze them in individual portions for convenient single-serving meals. I wanted the convenience of simply thawing them the night before and heating in the microwave for dinner. This also makes it easy if my husband or myself are home alone and only need one serving to eat rather than an entire pan.

After one day of cooking on Saturday our freezer is stocked with 68 individual adult meals and 29 toddler portions!

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To prep for the big day of cooking I stocked up on food storage containers like these, and ran all of my toddler portion containers through the dishwasher. I already had a stock of these small deli containers for toddler portions that I had used to make and freeze homemade baby food in. Any container/size will work, I just made sure they were freezer, dishwasher, and microwave safe. I got my larger containers at the local bulk food wholesaler Costco (and then had to run out and get more containers mid-cooking from the local grocery store!) So you can find them pretty readily.

I also prepped both my chicken and beef ahead of time and just refrigerated them so they were ready to use in my recipes. I bought three hot rotisserie chickens from a local bulk food wholesaler Costco (since the price works out about as good as buying uncooked chicken). I pulled the chicken from the bone so that it was shredded and browned my six pounds of ground beef. (I ended up having a pound to two extra of browned beef and a little bit of chicken). This wouldn’t have to be done ahead, but it helped me feel more prepared and saved me some significant time when I started to cook and assemble the meals.

With all of this done and my husband recruited as my very patient and willing partner, the cooking day began! Below are the recipes that we used with notes.

Chicken Burritos

I pretty much followed the recipe here to make chicken burritos with re fried beans, rice, and cheese – multiplying it by 4!

I made an entire box of minute rice before mixing up the burrito filling, so it was ready for my Tex Mex recipe below as well. I threw about 4 cups of it into the burrito filling.

My husband rolled most of these, and we fit about 3 burritos in each container for freezing.

Since I am gluten intolerant, we rolled some of them in gluten free tortillas for me to have.

I did not make any toddler portions of this meal since I anticipated it to be a fairly messy one for finger-feeding, which is what my daughter primarily does at this point.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

I followed the recipe here for my twice-baked potatoes with several modifications to the potato filling mixture.

Since my goal was to freeze entire meals with each recipe, I mixed some broccoli and pre-cooked shredded chicken into the mashed mixture before filling each potato to add some protein and veggies.

I actually just used a bag of frozen broccoli florets and thawed in overnight in the fridge before mixing into the mixture.

I had HUGE russet potatoes from the local bulk food wholesaler, so I was able to fit two or sometimes three potatoes in each dish.

I made a total of about 20 potatoes.

For this one I made just a few toddler containers with the potato already cut into small pieces, but I didn’t do many also anticipating that this would be a hard finger food for my daughter to manage.

English Muffin Pizzas

This is a super delicious and super easy recipe that my mom made when we were kids.

I found a huge bag of english muffins at the bulk food wholesaler so these were a last minute addition to my cooking plans for the day.

My husband helped me to cut apart each muffin, and we laid out on four baking trays and topped each one with pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. We also put pepperoni on most of them before topping with oregano.

The muffins were then baked at 350 until the cheese melted well – about 15 minutes or so.

Because of a small oven in our previous apartment, I have a few very small baking pans and a few regular size. This ended up working great to be able to maximize the space in our current oven and I got all of the pizzas in at once by pairing small tray with a large on each rack.

Once these were cooled, I placed six in each freezer container with a folded zip-lock bag in between the layers to prevent them from sticking. (I was out of wax paper!)

For the toddler portion, I placed one pizza each into several of the 8 oz round containers – it was almost a perfect fit!

Breakfast Casserole

I used the recipe here for my egg casserole, and pretty much followed it as written.

I did not, however, use any green onions.

I did add crumbled bacon to the top of the casserole since I know my husband loves bacon.

Again, because I am gluten intolerant I also used gluten free bread cubes. When it is baked into dishes my husband rarely notices the differences, and that way we are both able to eat it without making an entirely separate gluten-free dish.

Since we were quite hungry by the end of our cooking day, my husband tested this one out for dinner. He couldn’t resist the smell of it when it came out of the oven right around that time – and he highly approved of the finished product!

I made two 9×13 pans of this one and divided it into several adult and toddler portions.

Tex-Mex Casserole

I merged together info from a few different recipes for this one, using the recipe I’ve made in the past as my base.

I also cheated slightly and didn’t bake this one ahead like most of the recipes I found call for.

Most of them say to bake just until cheese is melted. So since all ingredients are already cooked, I decided to simply mix this one up, spoon it into the containers, and freeze to be reheated and cheese melted in the microwave later.

I used the portions below (which are already for 2 9×13 pans):

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 8 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cans rotel tomatoes (and I added a cup of salsa)
  • 2 packs taco seasoning
  • 2 cans corn, drained
  • 2 cans black beans (undrained)

I also added a few cups of shredded cheddar cheese before mixing it all together in a very large bowl.

We then spooned it into the containers to freeze!

We like this recipe best when eaten with tortilla chips and sour cream after re-heated.

Baked Rotini

This is another super easy recipe that my mom made when I was younger and is now one of our go-to and favorite family recipes. You literally just mix the following ingredients together and bake in a 9×13 pan for 30 min at 350.

  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 box of rotini (cooked)
  • 1 lb. of ground beef
  • 1 bag of shredded cheese (I’ve used all different kinds and liked each one of them)
  • Top with oregano

For our freezer meals, I made 4 9×13 pans of this because I know my daughter loves it and it is easy for her to eat.

Since I am gluten intolerant, I simply make gluten free rotini to include (I love Ronzoni brand) – and my husband never knows the difference!

For cost savings, I also bought a huge jar of pasta sauce at the bulk food wholesaler and used about 3 1/2 cups in each pan to equal out to one jar.

Here was the end result for the day:

We had 68 adult meals and 29 toddler meals cooked and ready to thaw, microwave, and eat! Our freezer was full, momma was tired, but the family will be well-fed even on the busiest or laziest days.

I think one day of work was worth it!

Make Ahead Freezer Meals | 6 Easy Recipes For Individual Portions (9)

Need some new recipes for your family?

Make sure you also check out my recipe for no-bake toddler oatmeal bites!

Make Ahead Freezer Meal Recipes For Microwave Reheating

Make Ahead Freezer Meals | 6 Easy Recipes For Individual Portions (2024)


How to freeze single portion meals? ›

Individually-sized meals should be frozen in airtight lidded plastic containers to limit the amount of outside oxygen flowing into the dish. It's also wise to double-wrap your plastic containers in a layer of freezer-proof plastic wrap if you're planning on storing the dish for more than a week.

What meals can I batch cook and freeze? ›

Freezable family recipes
  • Sausage pasta bake. A star rating of 4.4 out of 5. ...
  • Meatballs in tomato, cardamom & lime sauce. A star rating of 3.8 out of 5. ...
  • Chicken & chorizo ragu. ...
  • Broccoli stem falafel bowl. ...
  • Creamy halloumi & tomato curry. ...
  • Chicken & bacon pie. ...
  • App onlyCheesy potato patchwork pie. ...
  • Peanut butter chicken.

What meals can you prep and freeze? ›

Choose from dozens of delicious freezer meals including casseroles, baked pasta dishes, gumbo, pot roast, slow-cooker soups and stews, and more. You guests will never guess that you just popped that Turkey-Noodle-Poppy Seed Casserole out of the freezer.

What is the best way to freeze portions of food? ›

Packing smaller portions will also help speed up freezing times. Let food cool down before you freeze it. Warm foods in a cold freezer will cause condensation to form, which is bad for frozen-food quality, according to Andress. For liquids, leave enough headspace.

How do you freeze individual casserole portions? ›

The casserole out of the oven is pasteurized and pathogen free. Sit it on the counter to cool (keeping it covered or covering with foil if it wasn't cooked covered) Then into the freezer. Unless you have a LOT of cookware to freeze, you'll want to portion it out into smaller containers (Ziploc, Rubbermaid etc.)

How do you freeze individual portions of meat? ›

Wrap each piece of meat tightly.

Bring the top and bottom of the freezer paper or plastic wrap together over the meat, then fold the freezer paper down towards the meat, making small folds, each 12 to 1 inch (1.3 to 2.5 cm). Push all the air out of the bag before sealing it.

What cooked foods do not freeze well? ›

Foods That Do Not Freeze Well
FoodsUsual UseCondition After Thawing
Cream or custard fillingsPies, baked goodsSeparates, watery, lumpy
Milk saucesFor casseroles or graviesMay curdle or separate
Sour creamAs topping, in saladsSeparates, watery
Cheese or crumb toppingsOn casserolesSoggy
11 more rows

Do you cook freezer meals before freezing? ›

Either cook it and then freeze it or freeze it raw. It doesn't matter which. I prefer to freeze raw, that way I'm not stuck with a specific meal when I thaw it out, and can choose what to cook when I thaw it out.

Can you freeze uncooked meals? ›

You bet. Since they're frozen without any cooking ahead of time, they cook for the first time out of the freezer. That means they taste like freshly-prepared meals and not like leftovers at all. Yippee!

What types of casseroles freeze well? ›

15 Make-and-Freeze Casseroles for Time-Saving Dinners
  • 01 of 15. Tuna Noodle Casserole I. ...
  • 02 of 15. Pesto Chicken Penne Casserole. ...
  • 03 of 15. Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups. ...
  • 04 of 15. Baked Ziti IV. ...
  • 05 of 15. Ham, Potato and Broccoli Casserole. ...
  • 06 of 15. Hot Tamale Pie. ...
  • 07 of 15. Spaghetti Pie II. ...
  • 08 of 15. Crunchy Eggplant Parmesan.
Jan 29, 2021

Can you freeze scrambled eggs? ›

You can also freeze scrambled eggs after they have been cooked. This is a good way to meal prep for the week and to use in dishes like ham fried rice, or for a quick breakfast. They freeze well and taste really good. Let the cooked scrambled eggs cool completely.

How to make freezer meals for seniors? ›

10 easy make-ahead freezer meals for elder family and friends
  1. Chicken and Vegetable Hand Pies. These pot pies filled with chicken and vegetables and whole-grain dough make for a hearty meal. ...
  2. Turkey Chili. ...
  3. Chicken Strips. ...
  4. Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup. ...
  5. Baked Oatmeal Cups. ...
  6. Ham & Bean Soup. ...
  7. Lasagna Cups. ...
  8. Vegetable Beef Soup.
Feb 7, 2019

Is freezing food in plastic bags safe? ›

Food grade materials, such as aluminum foil, heavy freezer-weight plastic bags, heavy plastic wrap and parchment or freezer paper are excellent choices. It is safe to freeze meat or poultry directly in its supermarket wrapping, but this type of wrap is thin and lets air in.

How do you freeze small batches? ›

Simply find a small tray that fits into one of your freezer drawers, line the tray with baking parchment, then put whatever needs to be frozen on the tray in individual portions, making sure they have space around them.

How do you freeze small portions of baby food? ›

Freeze purees in ice cube trays or on a cookie sheet

Sanitize or thoroughly clean standard ice cube trays before spooning the puree directly into each cubed section. You could also cover a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper and spoon small 'mounds' of puree onto the sheet to freeze.

Why can't you freeze some ready meals? ›

'Not suitable for freezing' means the quality may be affected but it won't be harmful if you do freeze it. It might have been previously frozen, or it might just be a quality issue.

Can you freeze meal simple meals? ›

Q: Can I freeze Meal Simple meals? A: HEB does not recommend freezing these meals, stating that it will affect the texture and taste of the product, however, some buyers have expressed success with vacuum sealing them or using a double freezer ziplock bag.


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