I have a few freezer meals that I love and I will fill my freezer with, but I find it SUPER challenging to make freezer meals that are ALSO healthy. So, instead of filling my freezer with a ton of fully prepped meals, I typically fill my freezer with meal starters.
What’s the difference?
Freezer meals are full complete meals that you typically thaw, heat, and eat. I find that these are usually starchy carb based – think casseroles, pot pies, or pasta based.
Freezer meal starters are a component (usually the most time intensive) part of a full meal that can be thawed and added to fridge ingredients to make a quick dinner. Typically, you add a fresh component to these to make a complete meal – in a fraction of the time.
Having meal starters on hand, PLUS my one hour, once a week meal prep (on Sundays), I have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes from when I walk in the door from work. Every.Single.Time.
There is a place in my life… and freezer… for both of these type of freezer preps, but I favour meal starters for a few reasons:
- They are typically quick to prep and easy to double or triple the recipe at one time and don’t require a lot of ingredients or chopping time.
- Making a meal starter recipe once usually leaves me with at least 4-5 dinners. Cook once – eat 5 times, yes please!
- Variation – when you batch make lasagna, you end up with lots of the same thing. With dinner starters, your taco meat can easily be make into many different dinners.
I did make a month of fully prepped freezer meals – once. It was a lot of work and I was so tired. But more importantly, I learned that I don’t like a lot of things frozen, and not everything in the world should be frozen. This was done in my early meal prep days.
So, I have adopted freezer meal starter prepping.
Here are my 10 freezer friendly meal starters – and the hundreds of dinners ideas for you can make with them.
 Taco Meat – ground beef/chicken/turkey plus taco seasoning. Doesn’t get any easier. I personally have 5 go to things I do with taco meat – and here are a whole lot more ideas for your freezer taco meat.
[2 ]Sneaky Sauce – this sauce makes it onto pasta, into lasagna, stuffed shells, and spiralized noodles (rutabaga is my favourite).
 Marinara – the possibilities with marinara are so endless. I have a whole post dedicated to marinara sauce and what you can do with it.
 Thai Curry Sauce – I often use this sauce for weekly hot pot meals – each time I make it I use a different combination of veggies and end up with something a little different than the last. I have a whole post dedicated to this sauce too.
 Rice – There is definitely a camp of people that hate frozen rice. It does get a bit drier on freezing, but since I am usually putting a sauce on it, or putting it in a soup, I don’t mind. Rice is time consuming in the evening and having it in the freezer in dinner sized portions gets dinner on the table a bit faster. Here are 20 ways to make rice into a meal!
 Meatballs – I cannot keep these in my freezer. They go so so fast. They go on rice, on zucchini noodles with marinara, into soups, or stand alone. I fully cook mine, freeze on a sheet pan, and then transfer to a freezer ziplock. My go to are these Firecracker Chicken Meatballs! . Here are 25 cool ways to make meatballs a dinner!
 Pulled Pork – put a pork shoulder (or 2) in a slow cooker on a weekend and you will have pulled pork for tacos, enchiladas, to put on pizza, or pulled pork sandwiches – ready to go. Here are 20 ideas for what you can do with your freezer pulled pork!
 Chicken Stock – Since I have discovered the Instant Pot, I am going through a ton of broth. Every recipe for instant pot cooking needs a minimum of one cup of liquid (to get the pot to pressure) and since I am now using my pot at least twice a week, none of my broth goes to waste. It is also great for a quick soup. Here are 25 ways to turn chicken broth into a meal!
 Shredded Chicken – I have been known to put an entire package of Costco chicken breasts into a slow cooker to get more than a few servings of shredded chicken that is ready to go on a salad, on top of a weeknight pita pizza, into mason jar instant soups , onto salads… or any of these 50 recipes.
[10[ Pork Tenderloin – I pick up a 4 pack of these from Costco, and use my foodsaver system to prep one recipe per tenderloin (I only have 2 meat eaters to feed at dinner). With these, I simply toss all of the ingredients in with the tenderloin and freeze. For a weeknight dinner it is thawed and either goes in the oven, or into the instant pot. Here are 20 ideas for making pork tenderloin freezer meal starters.
Freezer cooking had never been so easy and versatile using meal starters!
So, there you have it – frozen meal starters that can be turned into hundreds of dinners that can be on your table in 20 minutes during the weekday! Bye Bye endless slow cooker meals and casseroles!