Buying meat in bulk and then prepping it into actual meals within a couple of hours is now part of my regular routine.
I do this about once a month where I am either prepping freezer meal starters, or Instant Pot Freezer meals. Spending the time to do this for a couple of hours once a month saves me from having to prep 2 dinners a week on meal prep Sunday - for at least a month.
On this prep day, you will see that I also prepped some garlic rosemary steaks for Sous Vide ... but that topic is for a whole different post.
Depending on where you live, and how big you need to make your portions, the money you spend, and the meals you get out of that will differ. I am feeding 2 adults and one kid who doesn’t eat meat… so my dinner portions are going to be smaller than a family of 6.
If this is something you are going to do regularly, I highly suggest investing in a Food Saver System. They are so easy to use, they prevent a ton of leaks, and they allow your meals to stay freezer burn free for much longer.
Here is how I do this - in 3 steps:
STEP 1- Set up a bowl and mix up the sauces or dry rubs for each recipe and chop all of the ingredients that require chopping (ex. garlic). When you go to assemble the recipe, everything just gets dumped in. I set mine up like a bit on an assembly line. I should have taken a picture!
STEP 2 – Combine the dry rub or the sauce with the meat and seal the bags. If it is a saucy recipe, I find it less messy to add the meat to the bag, and then pour the sauce overtop.
For make ahead instant pot recipes, if it is a dry recipe (no sauce) then I leave the liquid out until cook day and seal the meat with just spices and herbs. For this chicken for example, I will add the 1 cup of broth (to get the pot to pressure) on the day of cooking.
If the recipe is a saucy recipe, I will add the meat and the sauce together like this pulled pork recipe.
STEP 3 – Label your packages and freeze. I always label what the food is, how long to cook in the Instant Pot and, if I need to add anything. This way I don’t need to haul the recipe out on the weeknight.
EXPERT TIP- Before you get super excited and get started, make sure you have enough freezer space to handle all of what you are making!
For this prep day, I bought Pork Tenderloin, Pork Shoulders, whole chickens, and pork back ribs for $75 CDN.
Here are the recipes I used, and how I turned them into make ahead:
- Honey Apple Pork Tenderloin – Put the pork tenderloins in the bag, add all of the ingredients EXCEPT the broth.
- Weeknight Ribs.. In your Instant Pot – For make ahead, make the rub, coat the ribs, and seal the bag. You will add the broth (to get the pot to pressure)the day of cooking.
- Pulled Pork – I cut the shoulder into 4 pieces as I cook this on a weeknight and want it to cook quickly. Add the 4 pork cubes to a bag, pour sauce overtop, and seal.
- Pork Carnitas- Again, I cut the shoulder into 4 pieces, and add the remaining ingredients with the exception of the broth.
- Whole Chickens – I use whichever seasonings and herbs I have on hand, season the bird, and then seal. Rosemary, garlic, and lemon is my favourite combination. I cook whole chickens for 25 minutes and natural pressure release. I put the chicken on the trivet as it is much easier to take out when done!
For some of these recipes (ie. the pulled pork) the portions are quite large, so I will often split them into 2 dinners instead of 1. You can customize for what makes sense for your family size.
FINAL NOTE: you will see I omit the broth in the preparation of these freezer packs. You can add it. I find it less messy and troublesome to use the foodsaver with drier foods so this is just my preference as it is pretty easy to just pour in broth when you see it is required on your label. If you want truly fully prepped out of your freezer, add it.
So, there you have it, how I spent $75 and 2 hours to prep 10 freezer Instant Pot dinners for *my family.
* remember, number of final dinners will vary depending on the size of your family, and portions required.
Ready to get started?
Interested in learning more about Instant Pot Freezer Meals - check out this post on How to Prep and Freeze Instant Pot Meals.
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