plus the 3 you absolutely can’t live without

Mealtime – especially dinner – can be a stressful, panic-stricken time of day. Usually preceded by “crap, what’s for dinner?”

You want, no need, meal time to run smoothly, right? Since you’re here, I know you understand the key is being prepared, especially at dinnertime. Whether it’s meal planning or just freezer meals (or a combination of the two), mastering mealtime will tremendously help save your sanity. And these freezer cooking tools are the best of the best.

So.

Let me ask you something. What’s keeping you from making freezer meals?

Do you think it’s too hard or too time consuming to plan (#1 myth of freezer meals, right there)?

Do you think you have to buy lots of containers, and supplies, and super fancy stuff? You definitely don’t.

And you’re in the right place because I’m about to show you exactly what you need, and some fancy-shmancy stuff you don’t (but you might like because it’s pretty cool)!

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Did you know?

The main reason people start making freezer meals is to save time, but they are extremely (like, extremely) helpful in saving you money. Feeding your family is typically your #2 biggest expense. Freezer meals will help with that!


Without further ado, here are the 8 BEST freezer cooking tools:

ERASABLE FOOD LABELS

Now these bad boys are pretty awesome. They’re like half label and half ninja-material. You can write on them with a sharpie and then erase it with the included eraser or with some rubbing alcohol. The label also says they’ll live long on your container from freezer to fridge to dishwasher as long as you give it some time to ninja-stick before getting it wet (I haven’t tried this yet but I can’t wait to!). There are three sizes in the package that are perfect for all different containers.

HANDS-FREE BAG HOLDERS

Genius. I mean, who ever thought of these seriously deserves a medal. No more lining up all my mixing bowls on my counter, still holding the bag since I really don’t trust it not to fall over, hoping that I pour all the contents into said bag without making a giant mess. If you’ve met me, you know this is probably not gonna happen. Enter stage left, these handy-dandy hands-free bag holders that do all the handy work for you. (how many times can I say hand, hands, or handy in this write-up???). Anyhoo, I really love these, do yourself a favor and get 6 of them so you can make almost a week’s worth of dinner with your hands behind your back. (had to throw that last one in) 😉

FREEZER BINS

When I changed my freezer from a free-for-all to labeled, organized bins it was such a relief! I could quickly find what I was looking for, I could easily see if we were low on something (Outshine Creamy Coconut fruit bars, perhaps), aaaaaand I saved money by not letting things go to die in the back. Just measure your freezer sections and head to Target or the Container Store (vertical bins on top shelf), or even the dollar store. You don’t have to do fancy labels, you could even write on the baskets with a sharpie before putting them in the freezer. My categories were meat, seafood, snacks, premade dinners, and misc, but you could also do breakfast, lunches, snacks, freezer dinners, and dessert. Whatever works for your family!

SILICONE ICE CUBE TRAYS

Oh, how I love to see some bright colors in my freezer, and these do the trick! Silicone ice cube trays make it nice and easy for whatever you happen to freeze to slide right out without wanting to smash it because that last ice cube wont.come.out. Ya know? And they clean up nice which means you can freeze pesto, then tomato paste, then herbs in olive oil, then cookie dough, and you won’t have cookies that taste like an italian pasta dish. They come in all different sizes but my favorite is the 8-square one.

SLOW COOKER WITH A TIMER

I’m not even going to tell you how many slow cookers I own. For some reason, I hoard all different sized slow cookers. But I will say that this one is the top dog, my main squeeze, my numero uno, my…okay you get the idea. The six-quart size is perfect for a family of 4 (or more) and the timer is a necessity when you want to let it cook while you head to work.
And don’t forget the Slow Cooker liners – they’re a HUGE time saver!

DOUBLE BURNER GRILL PAN

Man, I can’t even explain how much I love having an large indoor grill pan. I had mine packed away for a bit when I moved and I literally missed it. Like, how can you miss a pan? It’s just one of those useful things that you never knew you needed and then once you have it you don’t know how you ever survived before, you know what I mean? This is the perfect size for making a double batch of anything – chicken fajitas, burgers, grilled vegetables, fancy grilled cheese – and freezing the rest, of course!

THE ROCKCROK

You probably have never heard of these babies before, huh? In one of my former lives, I was a Pampered Chef consultant and there are a few tools of theirs that I still use and love. This Rockcrok family is one of them. They’re made of a special glazed clay which makes it able to go on the stove, in the oven, in the microwave, on the grill, in the freezer, and (most importantly) in the dishwasher. That means you can make a french onion soup on the stove, put the bread and cheese on top and throw it under the broiler, then put the rest in the fridge. One pot = less dishes. I’m all for less dishes, if you didn’t know. Ok, but the real reason it’s on this list for freezer meals is because if you get home from work and realize you forgot to thaw a freezer meal that goes in the crockpot (oh, it’ll happen!), you could thaw it out a little and then cook it in the microwave. I make a pork roast in mine and you’d never know it cooked in the microwave, pinky swear. And it’s all because of that specially patented clay mix. Amazing.

3 freezer cooking tools you can’t live without

PLASTIC FREEZER BAGS

A box or two of both gallon and quart size bags are all you need to hold some freezer meals! Make sure you get a good name brand and ones made for the freezer because the thicker the plastic, the better your food is protected from freezer burn. Kinda like sunblock for your, uh, freezing cold food.

SHARPIES IN RAINBOW COLORS

Do you need every color sharpie imaginable? Well, no, not really. Basic black will do. But what if you want to color-code your packages?
  • meat = red
  • chicken = blue
  • vegetarian = green
  • soup = pink
  • breakfast = aqua
…oh, trust me, I could go on. Do me a favor? If you actually do this, please, please, pretty please send me a picture and a friend request. Because we obviously need to be besties.

EXTRA ALUMINUM FOIL + PLASTIC WRAP

An extra roll on hand is always a good idea, especially if you’re wrapping up individual breakfast burritos or covering a pan of lasagna.
TIP: when covering a pan of anything, add a layer of plastic wrap before the foil because it adds some extra protection.

REAL LIFE (don’t do what I did) TIP:
make sure you write a warning about the plastic wrap on the foil or you’ll end up with a lasagna topped with gooey plastic-ness.


Well, there you have it, folks.

Everything you need, and some things you don’t neeeeeed but are pretty awesome, to get started with making your own freezer meals. Download the Freezer Meal Planner and head to my Pinterest board to get those wheels a’ turning…
Elisa wants to live in a world filled with every color sharpie at her disposal, a magic broom that follows around small sticky fingers, and where the beach is right outside her window. As a blogger, organizer, and expert meal-planner, she’s helped thousands of moms learn how to simplify their lives. When she’s not writing or creating courses to help mamas get organized, you can find her whipping up some spinach artichoke dip, reading at least 3 books at any given time, or explaining why it’s not a good idea to stick markers up your nose — for the eleventy-hundreth time.
Follow her on social media and get practical tips (with a touch of sarcasm) on how to get everyone back to the dinner table without losing your mind!