Freezer cooking on a budget: My September freezer plan

In March, I joined a freezer swap group. I had wanted to do freezer cooking for awhile before that and that was the push I needed to get me going. The group was kind of put on hold during the summer months and hasn’t picked back up, but I’ve had fun continuing to freeze meals for my family.

I choose mainly meals that are easy to put together and it’s so nice to be able to pull something on the freezer to help ease my load during the week.

Here are the freezer meals that I made this month (all of them are super easy if you’re a beginner!):

Beef, broccoli, and onions: This originally came from 30 Day Gourmet. It was the first recipe I ever made for a freezer swap (it’s easy to make if you’re just making a few servings, but I was making it for 8 people the first time I made it which was pretty time consuming!). (This recipe makes 6 servings)

– 1 1/2 lbs. round or sirloin steak, trimmed
– 1 1/4 c. water
– 2 T. dried onion flakes
– 1 1/2 t. onion powder
– 1 T. beef bouillon granules
– 1 1/2 t. dried parsley
– 1 T. packed brown sugar
– 2 T. soy sauce
– 16 oz. frozen broccoli

On Hand:
– 1/4 c. water
– 2 T. cornstarch
– 12 oz. linguine (we had ours over brown rice)

Assembly Directions:
-Slice beef into thin strips. Spray pan with cooking spray. Brown the steak in batches until all steak has been cooked. Remove from pan and cool. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Freezing Directions:
-Place steak in a freezer bag or rigid freezer container. Pour sauce over steak. Seal, label and freeze. (we put the broccoli in the bag too…it was originally an on hand item)

Serving Directions: (write on bag)
-Thaw in refrigerator. Make pasta (or rice) according to package directions. Drain sauce off steak into a frying pan. Heat on med-high until boiling. Mix water and cornstarch in a separate bowl or cup. Pour mixture into sauce. Return to boiling and reduce heat. Mixture will thicken. Add the meat and broccoli to the sauce and mix to coat. Heat until warm. Serve over pasta (or rice).

Country ham and macaroni casserole: – This recipe was originally posted by Sandy (Bettyinthekitchen) on the BBC Cooking for Your Family board. It has since become a favorite for my family and it’s super easy to make!

1 lb country ham slices or regular smoked ham in one piece
1 large onion, diced (we omit this)
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, melted
1 cup dry plain bread crumbs

1. Heat oven to 400º.
2. Bring 4 quarts water and ham to boiling in large pot. Once water begins to boil,
remove ham to a plate. Add onion and macaroni to pot. Return water to boiling; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Coarsely chop ham, discarding any fat and bones.
4. Drain macaroni and onion and return to pot. Add ham, cheese, sour cream and soup. Scrape into a 13x9x2 baking dish. Pour melted margarine over top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
5. Bake in heated 400º oven 30 minutes or until heated through and top is golden brown.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Note: Prepare in two 8×8 casserole dishes, bake one and freeze one (unbaked) for another day. If freezing, top with crumbs and margarine right before baking.

Parsley parmesan chicken: This has become one of our favorite recipes. I made it for my parents and my sister in law this month, and they agreed that it was delicious. It will probably end up in our freezer rotation every month because we all love it so much. I believe it originally came from Freezer Chicks.

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 chicken breasts)
1/3 bottle of Italian salad dressing
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 c dry bread crumbs (used Seasoned Italian bread crumbs)
1 1/2 T parsley flakes
1/2 T paprika
Salt & Pepper

Assembly Directions:
Marinate chicken in dressing overnight.
Mix the remaining ingredients and bread each breast with coating.

To Freeze: Lay chicken breasts side by side on baking sheets and place in freezer for 1 to 2 hours to firm up. Place chicken in labeled gallon size Freezer Bag and freeze.

Steak stroganoff: I took several stroganoff recipes a few years ago and adapted them to come up with this one. It has since become a family favorite. This was my first time making it as a freezer meal. A lot of freezer recipe sites recommending leaving sour cream out of freezer recipes because it has a tendency to not freeze well. I made sure mine was well mixed into the mixture before freezing and we ate it within a week or two of making it and it reconstituted fine, but you may want to leave the sour cream out and just add it after you thaw and reheat it.

2T flour
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 3/4 lb. boneless round steak
2 cans 10 3/4 oz cream of mushroom soup (I use 98% FF)
2 c. water (or 1 can 100% FF beef broth for more flavor)
1 envelope beef stew mix
4 oz can mushrooms, sliced and drained
1/2 c. sour cream
1 T minced parsley

Combine flour, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika in slow cooker. Cut meat into 1 1/2 inch strips. Place in flour mixture and toss until meat is well coated. Add soup, water, and stew mix. Stir until well blended. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours. Stir in mushrooms, sour cream, and parsley and then cook on high 10-15 minutes until heated through. Serve over egg noodles. (Depending on the consistency of the sauce, you may need to add cornstarch to thicken or add more water/broth to thin)

To freeze: Pour into gallon freezer bags (I used Ziploc containers for this one). Allow to cool before freezing.

To reheat: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Warm on stove and serve over rice or egg noodles. (Add sour cream when warming if you left it out of the initial recipe)

Taco rice: This has become another family favorite and is SOOOO yummy! I am posting the original recipe first and then my variations below.
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 cups Chicken broth
8 oz. Tomato sauce
1 pkg. Taco seasoning mix
1-1/2 Brown rice, uncooked
1/2 cup Red or Green Pepper
1 can of corn

On Hand:
Shredded cheddar cheese

Optional Ingredients:
Tortilla chips, flour tortillas, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, etc.

Assembly Directions:
Mix everything in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is done (about 40-50 minutes). Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Freezing Directions:
Allow rice mixture to cool. Place in appropriate sized containers. Seal, label and freeze.

Serving Directions:
Thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat in microwave until warm. You can also reheat it in a saucepan if you add a little bit of water before heating. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve with tortilla chips.

This is a great after school snack. Use it to make quick nachos or a filling for tacos.

My variations: When I make this, I put the chicken breasts and a can of red enchilada sauce in the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Then, I shred the chicken breasts and put it in a saucepan with the broth, taco seasoning, corn, tomato sauce, peppers, and rice.

Three cheese baked spaghetti:

Yield: 6 servings

Pasta Ingredients:

8 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese*
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese, optional

Sauce Ingredients:

8 ounces ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese, optional

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions (al dente). Drain and return to pan (remove from heat though!). Add butter and stir until butter is melted. Add remaining pasta ingredients, stirring to combine. Spread pasta-cheese mixture in the bottom of a greased 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Brown ground beef with the garlic and onion. Drain grease and return to pan. Add pepper, spaghetti sauce, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Stir well and then pour over the pasta, spreading evenly. Sprinkle cheese on top if desired.

3. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until top cheese is browned and spaghetti is bubbly.

Additional Notes:

*If desired, substitute part of the mozzarella cheese with shredded cheddar cheese.

Preparation Time:
30-40 minutes

Cooking Time:
35 minutes

If you are freezing, freeze it uncooked. When you are ready to serve, defrost in refrigerator overnight and then follow the directions baking.

Teriyaki chicken: If you are wanting to get started with freezer cooking, this is seriously the EASIEST freezer meal to put together and a great one to start with!

1 cup sugar
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup pineapple juice
4 chicken breasts

Mix marinade ingredients together and throw in a freezer bag with the chicken breasts. If you use it as a freezer meal, just defrost and cook as you please when ready to eat!

If you’re looking for more menu inspiration, check out hundreds of weekly menu plans here at


  1. I also do lots of freezer cooking and I love your recipes. I am going to have to try a few of them.

    Thank you!

  2. Queen of the Misfits says:

    I just printed these! I think my crew will LOVE the taco rice! Thanks!

  3. Rona's Home Page says:

    How does a freezer swap club work? Are you making several meals and then exchanging them?
    Thank you for including the recipes.
    You have so many yummy recipes planned for this week's menu.
    I love participating in MPM. I get such inspiration from visiting.

  4. Great freezer meal recipe collection! I don't do a lot of freezer meal cooking, but this post really made me think about doing it again!

  5. I will have to try the Three cheese baked spaghetti.

  6. Hooray for freezer meals! They've been an absolute life saver for me since I started making freezer meals early this year.

    Love the recipes. I'll have to keep them in mind when I plan my menu for October. 🙂