Once the school year starts, it doesn’t slow down again until…well, when do the kids go to summer camp for a week again? Prepare yourself by stocking your freezer with hearty, easy meals that you can rely on on those busy nights when you’re juggling work events and school recitals with no time for cooking in between. Whether your family is happily carnivorous, vegetarian or keto, there’s a make-ahead freezer recipe here for everyone.
1. Baked spaghetti casserole
Pretty much every kid loves spaghetti, and you’ll love that you can make this dish ahead of time and pop it in the freezer until you need it on a busy night.
2. Bisquick chicken pot pie
If you really want to get ahead of the game you can make this entire biscuit-topped chicken pot pie and then stash it in the freezer. There are instructions for making it from scratch, or making things a little easier with cream of chicken soup…and we wouldn’t turn our noses up at using canned refrigerated biscuits on top if you want to save even more time.
3. Vegetarian enchiladas
This easily customizable, freezer-friendly enchilada recipe might just become a staple in your house.
4. Chicken empanadas
Flaky empanada dough encases a chicken enchilada-inspired filling to make these freezer-friendly dinner pastries.
5. Cauliflower fried rice casserole
Satisfy the family’s cravings for Chinese take out with a nutritious fried “rice” casserole. Make it ahead of time and freeze, then cracka few eggs on top when you reheat it in the oven. By the time it’s warmed through, the eggs on top will be cooked.
6. Chicken parmesan lasagna
If you’ve got a large or extra-hungry family, this hearty chicken parm lasagna can save the day. Freeze the unbaked lasagna and save it for a night when making dinner from scratch just isn’t an option.
7. Taco tater tot casserole
Leave off the fresh toppings, and you can freeze this entire taco tater tot casserole once it’s assembled. Add some sour cream and salsa before serving for extra flavor.
8. Easy meat and bean chili
A big pot of chili is a versatile dinnertime MVP. Make a large batch and freeze in smaller portions, then use it as the base for taco night, sloppy joes, or, you know, just a big bowl of chili.
9. Mini mozzarella make-ahead muffins
A big batch of individual meatloaf muffins stashed in the freezer make it easy to make a quick weeknight dinner for one or more diners in your house.
10. Ham and cheese sliders with garlic butter
Hot ham and cheese sliders for dinner are just plain fun, especially when you don’t have to assemble and grill each one to order.
11. Sweet and sour meatballs
A tray of sweet and sour meatballs is a tasty dinner, especially for kids who are put off by the usual tomato-y marinara. Serve them with a quick-cooking rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, or a fresh green salad to complete the meal.
12. Crispy freezer chicken tenders
Eat them on their own or use them to top a salad – either way, these frozen chicken tenders stay crispy when you cook them thanks to a coating of corn flakes.
13. Freezer honey balsamic chicken
Freeze your chicken in its marinade, and as it thaws it’ll get infused with flavor. Buy your meat in bulk and you can make a few batches of this recipe to see you through the start of the school year.
14. Easy keto meatballs
These make-ahead freezer-friendly meatballs are keto, but you can serve them with a side of pasta or mashed potatoes if your family doesn’t eat low-carb.