When all you have time for is a quick reheat in the oven, these delicious meals will be on the table in a flash with minimal effort. Freezer meals save the day in our house at least once a week- sometimes more. When you haven’t had time to get to the store or think about making dinner after a long day of work- it’s always a relief to realize you have a delicious meal in the freezer.

There are so many reasons to make meals ahead of time. Sometimes it’s nice to make something for friends or family that they can keep in the freezer until they need it. Sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy. 

These are fully “make ahead” freezer meals rather than “prep ahead” meals. So you completely cook the meal before freezing.

Weekend Recipes

Some of these meals only take 30 minutes to make, like the Chickpea Curry Soup, Lentil Quinoa Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon Soup, and Best Canned Black Beans Recipe, but many of the take longer.

The deep and rich flavors of the Moroccan Chicken Thighs Braised with Preserved Lemons, Olives, and Chickpeas, Garlic Braised Chicken with Prunes and Capers, and Shepherd’s Pie for a Crowd, all take some time to develop. I think of these recipes as my weekend recipes. They take a little longer but they make the house smell amazing. We usually make a large batch of a soup or stew or make two dishes in the case of the Lazy Quiche with Sausage, Onions, and Peppers or Shepherd’s Pie for a Crowd. That way we can enjoy the meal the day I make it and I love to know that we will be banking some delicious meals for the future. 

How to store make-ahead freezer meals? 

Tupperware is the easiest and most effective way to sore most of their meals. You want a contractor that has a good lid to make it airtight. 

The exceptions are the Shepherd’s pie and Quiches. For these, you will just wrap them in aluminum foil. 

Why not use plastic bags to store the meals? 

I love the idea of having a perfectly organized freezer with all the meals stored in flat plastic bags stacked to save space. If you store food in a plastic bag it is best to thaw it out slowly over 24 hours in the refrigerator. 

But it turns out that the night I really need a dinner solution life is a total tire fire and I didn’t have the forethought to thaw the meal- so I put the container in a bowl in the sink and run hot what over it until it’s soft enough to transfer to the saucepan. 

I have found the plastic storage bag does not hole up to this abuse and leaks. With all that said if your life is less of a hot mess- go for it.

Tips for making ahead freezer meals: 

  • Freeze meals in individual portions. If you are preparing large portions for one or two people, portion out your food before freezing. This makes it easy to reheat food as needed. You don’t want to continuously reheat and refreeze food.
  • Don’t freeze foods while they’re still hot. Let them cool to room temperature, and/or place them in the fridge overnight before moving to the freezer.
  • Fill the containers so there is as little air as possible. If you have extra space, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface for the food before putting the lid on the container. This prevents freezer burn and helps food last longer.
  • Label your containers so you can easily identify the food you want to reheat. Use a permanent marker and freezer tape to write recipe names on bags and containers.

If you’ve tried this Make Ahead Freezer Meals recipes or any other recipe on BalancingBowls, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more tasty meals.

Make Ahead Freezer Meals:

Best Canned Black Beans Recipe

Best Canned Black Beans Recipe
We make this black bean recipe multiple times a month. My kids absolutely love it. We pack it for school lunch all the time and we frequently use it as part of dinner. This is also a very easy recipe to make at volume and freeze portions of it for the weeks to come.
Check out this recipe

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup
This creamy and delicious butternut squash soup is one of my favorite healthy cold weather comfort foods. The squash is the primary ingredient, with a few supporting players: onion, apple, stock and some spices. It has a rich and creamy texture without having cream or butter in it. Butternut squash soup will round out your fall and winter meals. Serve with a warm winter salad or sandwich for a healthy and satisfying meal.
Check out this recipe

Lazy Quiche with Sausage, Onions, and Peppers

Quiche with Sausage, Onions, and Peppers with eggs
Lazy Quiche with Sausage, Onions, and Peppers
Quiche is a super easy dish that is great for brunch and is also satisfying for lunch or dinner. It is freezer-friendly and super versatile. For that reason, it’s become one of my go-to meals to drop off at a friend’s house when they have just had a baby or someone is sick. It’s tasty warmed with a salad for a fuss-free brunch with friends, or cold as a snack in the middle of a sleepless night.
Check out this recipe

Baharat Spiced Braised Chicken Thighs

Baharat Spiced Braised Chicken Thighs
Baharat Spiced Braised Chicken Thighs is delicious and pack with flavor. Baharat is a middle easteren spiced blend made with cumin, coriander, black peppercorn, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, clove, nutmeg and bay leaf. You can make your own blend but its also easy to see find in the grocery stores. The chicken is juicy and the sauce is aromatic and so delicious. Serve it with bread or rice, anything that will soak up all the scrumptious flavors.
Check out this recipe

Chickpea Curry Soup

Chickpea Curry Soup
This chickpea curry soup is so fragrant, creamy, and is absolutely delicious. It’s one of my favorite go to comfort dishes for a quick weeknight dinner. It’s made from pantry staples which makes it easy to whip up when you have nothing else in your refrigerator.
Check out this recipe
Chickpea Curry Soup with rice and cashews

Pea Preserved Lemon Spread on Toast

Pea and Preserved Lemon Spread on Toast
Pea and Preserved Lemon Spread on Toast
Pea Preserved Lemon Spread on Toast
This Pea Spread with Preserved Lemon served on toast is one of my absolute favorite lunches. It takes no time at all to whip up and is absolutely delicious. A couple of years ago, I’m not sure I would’ve said I even liked peas. We ended up growing them in our garden last year and we all fell in love with them.  I ended up ordering a toast with smashed peas topped with radishes at a local brewery, Trillium. It was so delicious I had to try to recreate it. 
Check out this recipe
Pea preserved lemon spread on toast with marinated feta

Shepherd’s Pie for a Crowd

Shepherd’s Pie for a Crowd
Shepherd’s Pie is a crowd-pleasing comfort food that is great for gatherings with friends and family. This dish has a few steps and takes a little while to cook, but one of the huge benefits of this meal is you can prepare it the day before. It might even be tastier that way.
Check out this recipe

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup
Black bean soup is one of my favorite “go to” healthy meals made of pantry staples. This soup is packed with protein and filled with delicious flavors that leave you happy and satisfied. With with a southwestern inspired combination of herbs and spices, this soup hits all of those “naughty nacho” cravings with significantly less fat and carbs, and with much more fiber.
Check out this recipe

Bolognese

Bolognese
Bolognese
If you’re looking for a hearty Italian comfort food, this easy Bolognese sauce is the recipe for you. Traditional Bolognese takes many hours of slow cooking but this one comes together in less than an hour and will satisfy the heartiest of appetites.
Check out this recipe
Bolognese

Braised Chicken with Shallots Tomatoes and Tarragon

Braised Chicken with Shallots Tomatoes and Tarragon
Braised Chicken with Shallots, Tomatoes and Tarragon is a crowd-pleaser that looks impressive enough for special occasions and easy enough to make on a busy weeknight. The chicken is juicy and the sauce is aromatic and so delicious. Serve it with bread or rice, anything that will soak up all the scrumptious flavors.
Check out this recipe

Lazy Quiche with Artichokes, Olives, and Feta

Lazy Quiche with Artichokes, Olives, and Feta
Quiche is a super easy dish that is great for brunch and is also satisfying for lunch or dinner. It is freezer-friendly and super versatile. For that reason, it’s become one of my go-to meals to drop off at a friend’s house when they have just had a baby or someone is sick. It’s tasty warmed with a salad for a fuss-free brunch with friends, or cold as a snack in the middle of a sleepless night.
Check out this recipe
whole Quiche with Artichokes, Olives and Feta on napkin with eggs around it

Mushroom and Turkey Soup (Thanksgiving Leftovers)

Mushroom and Turkey Soup (Thanksgiving Leftovers)
Packed with vegetables, beans, and leftover turkey meat this soup is delicious and a “cleaner” way to use leftovers. While the soup is not particularly hard to make, it does take some time to make the turkey stock and the soup itself.
Check out this recipe
turkey mushroom soup

Garlic Braised Chicken with Prunes and Capers

braised chicken thighs prunes capers
braised chicken thighs prunes capers
Garlic Braised Chicken with Prunes and Capers
Garlic Braised Chicken Thighs with Prunes and Capers is a deliciously savory meal for any night of the week. The recipe below was developed during a New England blizzard. We had skin-on and bone-in chicken thighs in the refrigerator and braising them seemed like the thing to do when the weather outside was so epically cold. The ingredients were what we had in the pantry and turned out to be a delicious combination.
Check out this recipe
braised chicken thighs prunes capers

Lentil Quinoa Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon Soup

Lentil Quinoa Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon Soup
Lentil Quinoa Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon Soup
Lentil Quinoa Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon Soup
Lentil and Quinoa Soup with Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon is a flavorful and hearty soup that will keep you satisfied. You only need 30 minutes to mix up a batch of this freezer-friendly meal. With Moroccan-inspired spices and preserved lemons, this soup has a depth of flavor with a bright finish.
Check out this recipe
Lentil Quinoa Jalapeño and Preserved Lemon Soup

Winter Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce in bowls
Winter Tomato Sauce
My husband has developed this recipe over the years and it makes his Italian grandmother proud. The most important element of this recipe, after the tomatoes, is time. We have found that the more patient we are with each step the better the flavor. While most of my recipes are made for a quick turn around I make time for this winter tomato sauce. We make a large batch of it when we know we will be hanging out at the house for a few hours. Then we freeze a few batches for a quick no-fuss meal in the future. 
Check out this recipe
tomato sauce in bowls

Moroccan Chicken Thighs Braised with Preserved Lemons, Olives and Chickpeas

Moroccan Chicken Thighs Braised with Preserved Lemons, Olives and Chickpeas
Moroccan chicken thighs, braised with preserved lemons, olives, and chickpeas is one of my favorite winter dishes. Packed with spices, it is aromatic and the preserved lemon gives it a delicious brightness making it the perfect solution to cold, dark days. 
Check out this recipe
Moroccan chicken thighs braised with preserved lemons, olives and chickpeas

Chicken & Roasted Tomato Stew

Chicken & Roasted Tomato Stew
This chicken and roasted tomato stew was developed by my father. It comes together quickly and is packed with flavor. You can use the leftovers from a roasting chicken or from a store bought rotisserie chicken. For this recipe I’ve used both homemade chicken stock and store-bought. While I love a rich homemade chicken stock, this is not a recipe that needs it. The few pieces of bacon, garlic, and roasted tomatoes bring such a rich flavor that it’s perfectly delicious with store-bought stock.
Check out this recipe
Chicken & Roasted Tomato Stew in small bowl with spoon

Vegetarian Tikka Masala

vegetarian tikka masala
vegetarian tikka masala
Vegetarian Tikka Masala
This Vegetarian Tikka Masala recipe is super easy and one of my favorite freezer-friendly meals. Creamy, aromatic, and super satisfying it makes for a crave-worthy dinner.  
Check out this recipe
Vegetarian Tikka Masala
Chicken Tikka Masala
This tikka masala recipe is super easy and one of my favorite freezer-friendly meals. Creamy aromatic and super satisfying it makes for a crave-worthy dinner.
Check out this recipe
Chicken tikka masala recipe

If you’ve tried this Make Ahead Freezer Meals recipe or any other recipe on BalancingBowls, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more tasty meals.