Frozen Meal Gifts How-to

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Frozen meal gifts are some of the best you could give! Not only are you telling someone you love them by feeding them, you’re also buying them free time.

frozen meal gifts in freezer

Food is my love language. Take me out to eat, buy me some fun groceries, bring me dinner: you’ve got my love and devotion.

It should come as no surprise that some of my favorite memories, therefore, are food related. What I find interesting is that they also often happen to involve food that was given as a gift.

In fact, these super food memories often involve new babies and good friends who understood that when Mama’s hungry, everybody will suffer.

I filter through my memory bank and visions of deliciousness dance in my head: The Cheese Enchiladas my landlady made when we brought home our first baby. The Chicken Enchilada Casseroles my sister filled my freezer with before FishBoy16 arrived. The Chicken Pot Pie a friend brought after FishBoy14 was born.

baked chicken pot pie on red checked cloth with serving fork

Even during hard times, the yummy meals that folks brought to cushion us, those spoke louder than words.

The pot roast, similar to this one, that a friend dropped over at my first miscarriage or the chicken noodle soup, like this one, when I miscarried (again) hold a special place in my heart.

These are memories of love, comfort, and plenty. Clearly, many of these food gifts inspired my own recipe development.

Giving a freezer meal gift is a way to show someone you care as well as free them up: to love on a new baby, to grieve, or to survive whatever crazy season they’re in while still eating well.

Want to give friends and family a great gift? Consider giving them a freezer meal!

How to Make Frozen Meal Gifts

Follow these tips to make sure your freezer meal gifts are a delight to the recipient.

cheese enchiladas in single serving dishes

1. Choose great freezer recipes.

Not everyone has a great impression of frozen food. Wow your friends by choosing recipes you know are tasty and reliable.

My first cookbook, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook, is chock-full of more than 200 freezer-friendly recipes made from limited processed ingredients. Here on Good Cheap Eats, I’ve got a lot of freezer-friendly recipes

Chances are you already have a favorite recipe that your family loves. Share it with your friends! Some that rank high on our gift list include:

Check out this freezer cooking plan that’s perfect for divvying up into gift giving.

chicken enchilada casserole ready for freezer

2. Use quality packaging.

How you package the gift totally matters, particularly in this case. You don’t want the gift recipient to have to fuss with leaking or unstable packaging and you want them to be able to easily reheat their meal. I have a variety of favorite packaging.

Freezer-safe single serve dishes

I bought several packages of these freezer-safe microwaveable dishes for my husband’s lunches. They are great for me to make individual portions of different recipes that he can cook in the microwave at work. If you prepare your freezer meal gifts in this type of dish, be sure to let them know it’s not oven-safe.

Freezer- and oven-safe reusable dishes

My favorite oven-safe pans are the baking dishes made by Pyrex that come with plastic lids. If you go this route, plan to gift the dish as well. It’s a small extra investment, but they are so handy to have on hand.

Disposable, freezer- and oven-safe dishes

If you’re looking for a disposable option, I highly caution against the aluminum pans with clear plastic lids. The pans themselves are pretty thin and flimsy aluminum that bend under the weight of the food. The lids crack or pop off, and the food isn’t as well insulated. No go.

If you’re going to go with disposable/aluminum, I recommend catering-quality steam pans that come with fitted lids. These are durable and insulate food well. I’ve only found these at Smart and Final and online — in beautiful colors! — they’ve been so handy, they’re worth the trip across town.

tamales stacked in steaming pot with maseca and corn husks nearby

3. Be sure to label and include serving directions.

It’s super duper important that you label freezer meals for your own house. Even more so if you’re giving a freezer meal gift.

Your friends need to know what’s inside it in case of food allergies and they need to know how to reheat it. Dating it will also help them know how soon to use it up.

So be sure to label your freezer meal gifts to make it extra easy for your friends.

Do you ever make frozen meal gifts to friends and family?

What are YOUR favorite freezer meal gifts?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Leigh says

    Black bean and sweet potato enchiladas and a pan of brownies are my go to freezer gift. I also loved when people brought me something from the Trader Joe’s freezer section. The though and the help are the gift too.

  2. I had never thought about giving a freezer meal as a gift before. What a great idea! I love to make them for myself, and how easy would it be just to make another one while I’m at it! Thanks for sharing.

    • I had a neighbor bring me a lasagna one day out of the blue. I think she’d been challenged at church to serve someone else cuz I know she felt awkward, but it was the best day ever, knowing dinner was already made.

  3. Thanks to your great book, we recently had a “freezer cooking baby shower” for our dear friend who was pregnant with child #6. What an incredible thing it was to give her the gift of a stocked freezer! Thank you for writing your books and sharing your wisdom.

  4. Tammy says

    Jessica, you are so clever;) I have just gotten into freezer cooking… I just bought on amazon your 1st freezer cookbook I believe…. It is so awesome and I am excited about freezer cooking… It is only my husband and I here at home now and I am medically disabled so I am at home after 35 years of fulltime work…. so my husband and I are beginning to get into the kitchen together and we have been doing some of the recipes so for those days I am not well enough to cook. It just makes things alot easier for me and we have really good food to eat! PLUs, plus we have 7 grandchildren who visit often and are always ready to eat 6 boys 15, 14, 12, 11,10, 8 and our youngest 5yr old granddaughter. They love the taco meat they can get out of the freezer and make so many things with it… thank you Jessica for sharing your wonderful gift of writing.. I am asking hubby for your newest freezer cookbook for Christmas… I know I will love… I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! sorry this is so long

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Tammy! I’m so glad that the book is helpful to you! The two Good Cheap Eats books are not entirely “freezer” but they do have freezer-friendly recipes in them. And they are all easy. Best wishes to you and your brood!

  5. Sarah says

    Hello again!

    Just wanted to stop in and extend my thanks again for your amazing recipes and all of the hard work and investment that you’ve put into your websites, cookbooks, and recipe development. I’ve totally changed the way I cook, prep and plan my meals, and a lot of that credit goes to the time I’ve spent on your websites and in your cookbooks (I’ve bought both of them now – love them both!) and the very thorough information and explanations that you provide for your readers.

    I live just over an hour’s commute from home, and I work a very, very busy and demanding job, and I was finding that coming home at the end of a long day, I had nothing left to offer my kitchen to get meals on the table! Having a full freezer and a meal plan has helped me so much in committing to eating out less, and eating from home more. So, thank you, sincerely, for being such an inspiration, providing such clear, easy-to-follow information, tips and tutorials, and for sharing your successes, struggles, and passion with the rest of us. It is truly, truly appreciated, and the inspiration that I received from reading through your websites and books has saved my budget, revived my love of cooking, and renewed my desire to provide my family delicious, home-cooked meals that are so much better than take-out!

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