Easy Make-Ahead Freezer Meals

pasta dish freezer
Image via Kelly Pugliano

When it comes to having school-aged kids — and that goes for ANY grade year k-12 — it is great to have convenient, easy-to-make meals at the ready. Sometimes I like to break out the crockpot, which is especially handy during sport seasons. Other times, I like to have easy make-ahead freezer meals that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less for after band concerts or when the day has just gotten away.

Today I'm sharing some of my favorites. These meals will keep your family happy and work with your busy schedule!

olive oil
Image via Kelly Pugliano


One of my favorite make-ahead freezer meals is ravioli, tortellini, or any fresh pasta. Pull out a bag, boil for a few minutes, and top with an easy garlic butter sauce, and you have yourself a dinner.

Here is my go-to, super simple Garlic Butter Sauce for pasta.

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic

In skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is toasted and slightly brown — about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Do NOT overcook. If garlic is dark brown or black, you have to start over again.

Pour over cooked pasta and top with a bit of grated cheese and enjoy!

kelly steak
Image via Kelly Pugliano

Marinated Meat, Chicken, or Fish

This dish may need a reminder to take out of freezer in the morning, but after a day-long defrost in the fridge, you should be set to go by the time you get home.

Cut steak, pork, or chicken into wide strips or 1-inch slices (fish can be left whole as a fillet). Place in zip-lock baggie and pour in half a bottle of your favorite marinade. I prefer Wishbone Zesty Italian Dressing — it tastes good on everything.

When ready to cook, place in preheated 350-degree oven and bake off for 30 minutes (less for steak) or until internal temperature reaches safe levels (165 degrees F).

Image via Kelly Pugliano

Make-Ahead Pot Pie Crusts

Occasionally, I will set aside some time on a given Sunday and prepare a few meals to have on hand. Turkey Tetrazzini freezes really well, as does lasagna. One comfort food that is great to have on hand is pot pie, especially if you can have a disc of dough at the ready.

This recipe I found via The Pioneer Woman, and it is lovely. You can substitute your favorite herb for the thyme or leave plain. I usually make three at a time for the freezer.

The time up front is worth having these stashed away for a busy night. It is awesome!

{ MORE: Meal Planning Tips for Surviving the Weeknight Rush }

For some more make-ahead favorites, try my

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

Make-Ahead Chicken Enchiladas

Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken

What are your favorite go-to freezer meals?

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Easy Make-Ahead Freezer Meals

Kelly Pugliano is a wife, mom to a soon-to-be-college student and one-not- far- behind, freelance writer, photographer and a lifelong foodie who shares her love of cooking and baking through photographs good enough to eat. Seeming to be a permanent fixture in her Upstate NY kitchen, you will often find her creating tried & true recipes from family archives or testing out new delights found by reading countless cooking magazines, watching Food Network or scouring Pinterest. If not behind the ... More

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