Freezer & Pantry Meal Inspiration

If you’re like me you can’t pass up those amazing 50% off or clearance deals you find at the grocery store!  If it’s half off and I can freeze it, it comes home with me!  Trouble is, these purchases can accumulate, and unless you actually eat that stuff it’s not necessarily saving you money.

Freezer & Pantry Meal Inspiration from!

After a holiday season complete with huge feasts and a fridge continuously full of leftovers, my collection of freezer bargains had accumulated to the point that I could not add another thing to my freezer!  So I decided that my family would have a Freezer & Pantry Meal Week, and I’m pleased to say that we have used up a lot of those bargains and they were delish!  Frankly I could probably do another few weeks on this program, but I’m having fresh produce withdrawal!

My Basic Freezer & Pantry Meal Week Strategy

1.  Scan freezer for meats to thaw and take these out in the morning.

2.  While looking for meats, poke around in the freezer to see if there are any frozen veggies in there for a side.

3.  Choose a grain as a side dish from the pantry.  I usually have on hand white & brown rice and quinoa.

4.  Use spices and seasonings that are on hand to add a bit of flavour to bland pantry staples. Some of my favourites are basil, oregano, parsley, paprika and (my favourite) aged balsamic vinegar of modena.

Freezer & Pantry Meal Inspiration!

Here’s what I ended up cooking during Freezer & Pantry Meal Week at my house:

1.  Baked Salmon, Spinach Rice & Buttered Corn

2.  Peach Pork Chops, Simple Quinoa & Broccoli

3.  Baked Chicken & Prosciutto Canelloni (I have 3 more frozen packages of this stuff!)

4. Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (I used this recipe, and adapted it to what I had on hand)

5. Organic Rigatoni with Pesto, Peas & Carrots, and Parmesan Cheese

6.  Swedish Paleo Meatballs, White Rice & Baked Acorn Squash

7.  Spaghetti Bolognese (x2)

8. Waldorf School Bread

As you can see, I didn’t manage to cook from the pantry and freezer for every single meal this past week, but I was able to put a good dent in our stock piles just by being a bit more focused.  There were no gourmet meals produced but everything was edible and for the most part pretty nutritious.  My kids even ate the majority of it, which is a miracle considering one of my children is pretty picky.  I made sure to tell my husband not to expect any gourmet meals this past week so he was prepared for things like having to eat spaghetti bolognese twice in one week.

You will be surprised what you can come up with a little creativity and commitment to getting your money’s worth out of your stock piles.  Just stay flexible about your meals & be creative with what you have on hand.  Another huge bonus was that I spent way less on groceries during the week!

How about you?  Do you ever have a pantry/freezer week?  Share with us in the comments below!

This post is linked up at: A Fresh Start, Monday Madness

  • Monica Geglio

    I really need to take advantage of building a freezer pantry for faster cooking on busy days! I always have black bananas in my freezer for banana bread too– haha. Yummy yummy! 🙂

    • Yes! I love using frozen bananas for muffins and quickbreads 🙂 Delish!!

  • Amy Kelly

    I’m totally checking out that site! Thanks Sarah. I HATE meal planning. Plus, you’ve inspired me to look at fliers more often and pick stuff that’s on sale to stock the freezer.

    • Yay Amy! You will love it! I have been collecting recipes over the course of the week. I set my shopping list range and ran out the door and I just was able to complete a whole weeks worth of grocery shopping in an hour with the baby along too! FYI Fiesta has an amazing discount produce rack at the back of the store and I get loads of organic bananas to freeze from there! Theres often a lot of other organic stuff for cheap there too. I’ve gotten cauliflower, peppers, mushrooms…

  • This is a great idea, Sarah! My husband is the king of this but I need to up my game!

    Stephanie @ Mommyzoid

  • Awesome idea!! Sometimes when I get in a meal planning rut, this will totally happen to me, so I really like this idea of taking some things from both freezer and pantry and making a good meal with it.

    • And chances are you have the components of a balanced meal in there! It really does work. So you don’t have scads of fresh produce for one week. There were no complaints at my house! In fact I was repeatedly told that I should make spaghetti every single day. lol

  • Sim @ Sim’s Life

    Some great tips! I have just started using my freezer more – definitely prefer frozen veg, especially for just myself and my daughter so easy and convenient and muchhhhh cheaper! Sim – Heading over from Turn It Up Tuesday bloghop x

  • Great tips! I need to get better about creating freezer meals to use. Thanks for the suggestions!

  • I’ve never had a freezer-pantry meal week. I like the idea though and I can see how this would totally stretch the food budget.

    You’ve shared some great tips here and I like that you shared a sample of your menu. Awesome.

    Thanks so much for sharing and for linking this post up to the #SHINEbloghop!

    Wishing you a lovely day.