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Sloppy Joes Freezer Meal Recipe

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There is something very cozy about Sloppy Joes, especially when served in the winter. It’s a meal that brings me back to my childhood and I assume will someday be one that brings my kids back to theirs! This sloppy joes freezer meal recipe has that classic taste.

Old School Sloppy Joes freezer meal recipe that can also be made gluten free

There’s no reason that Sloppy Joes can’t be enjoyed by people who eat gluten free if served on gluten free buns. Of course, if you are not on a gluten free diet, you can make this the same way and use your favourite buns.

You can double, triple or quadruple this recipe and separate into freezer bags to have this recipe on hand for busy days.

Sloppy Joes Freezer Meal Recipe:

1 1/2  pounds lean ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/2 cup chili sauce
14 oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce*
2 tsp. lemon juice

*If you are making this sloppy joes recipe gluten free, be sure to use a gluten free Worcestershire sauce.

Sloppy Joes square

Brown ground beef. Mix ground beef and all other ingredients in a bowl and put into a large resealable freezer bag. Remove the excess air and seal. Lay flat and freeze.

On cooking day, thaw the bag and cook in a crock pot for 2-3 hours on low or cook on the stovetop until heated through. Serve on regular or gluten free buns, sliced in half. Our family’s preference for gluten free buns is Udi’s whole grain gluten free hamburger buns. They are a great size and consistency for Sloppy Joes.

Sloppy Joes

Other Easy Family Recipes:

This recipe is included in our Kid Friendly Freezer Meal Menu Plan. The other recipes are also kid-pleasers and the plan includes printable shopping lists, prep lists and printable labels making it easy to fill your freezer with meals your family will actually eat.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meal Menu Plan

 

Crock Pot Freezer Meal Pizza Casserole

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It’s always hard to get an appetizing picture of a crock pot supper and this was no exception but this casserole is really a kid pleaser! I often make a gluten free version of it, so will be including that in my instructions below. This is another freezer meal to crock pot so it saves time all around.

Crock Pot Freezer Meal Pizza Casserole...it's ugly but kids love it!This is one of the regular meals in my freezer meal rotation. When I make it, I make two or four of these recipes at a time. The recipe below is for one meal, but if you want to make several to freeze, then multiply the ingredients accordingly.

2 cups of cubed ham
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
10 oz. can chopped mushrooms
28 oz. tomato sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 cups small pasta

To make this into a freezer meal, mix all the ingredients except for the pasta in a large resealable freezer bag. Put 2 cups of pasta in a medium sized resealable freezer bag. Seal both and staple them together. Lay flat in the the freezer.

On the day you want to serve it, thaw, put the ingredients from the large bag into the crock pot and cook for 4 hours on low. Cook the pasta on the stovetop and stir into the casserole just before serving.

crock-pot-pizza-casserole-square

To make this gluten free…

To make this gluten free, ensure that you use gluten free ham. Much of the ham sold in stores contains fillers that include gluten so read the labels. Use gluten free pasta. This recipe is very adaptable for those on gluten free diets and we enjoy it just as much with the gluten free pasta.

slow-cooker-pizza-casserole

Other Kid Friendly Recipes…

This recipe is included in our Kid Friendly Freezer Meal Menu Plan. The other recipes are also kid-pleasers and the plan includes printable shopping lists, prep lists and printable labels making it easy to fill your freezer with meals your family will actually eat.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meal Menu Plan

Crock Pot Tortellini Soup

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

This tortellini soup recipe is so easy. It cooks in the crock pot. This soup can even be made ahead as a freezer meal. It is hearty enough for a complete dinner. You can customize and change up this recipe by adding different vegetable combinations. Start by using vegetables that you know your family likes and then change it up once they are in love with this soup!

This hearty crock pot tortellini soup can also be made ahead as a freezer meal.

Tortellini Soup Recipe:

Throw into a large crock pot:

1 chopped onion
1 900 mL tetrapak of chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
1 700 mL jar pasta sauce
3 cloves of minced garlic
3 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 cups water
3 cups frozen mixed veggies (I use an Italian blend that has carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, romano beans, lima beans, and red pepper, but any combination of mixed vegetables is fine)

Stir and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

15 minutes before you are set to serve supper, add:

4-5 cups of fresh cheese tortellini

Simmer for 15 minutes and serve. This recipe feeds our entire family of 9 people and there’s usually enough for a leftover lunch for a few of us as well.

If you want, you can add some extra red pepper flakes and grated parmesan cheese on each bowl when serving. I like things spicy, so I add a lot of red pepper flakes.

tortellini-soup-squareIf making the tortellini soup as a freezer meal, put all the ingredients except the tortellini in a large resealable bag, remove the excess air and freeze it flat. If you want to, you can add the tortellini into another resealable bag and staple the bags together so that everything you need is in one place. On the day of cooking, thaw and pour the ingredients into a crock pot. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours and stir 4-5 cups of tortellini into the crock pot 15 minutes before serving.

tortellini-soupThis tortellini soup is one of the recipes included in my Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plan which has printable shopping lists, prep list, recipes, and printable labels. You will love having the guesswork taken out of dinner!

slow-cooker-meal-plan-ad-template

Check out some of our other delicious soup recipes:

Pinto Tortilla SoupPinto Tortilla Soup

Freezer to Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup squareFreezer to Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

How Freezer Meals Make Me a Better Mom

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Freezer meals may seem to be a strange thing to be passionate about, but I am. They have made such a difference in my life by removing the stress of deciding what to make for supper everyday, saving time and actually ensuring that we sit down to eat as a family.

How Freezer Meals Make Me a Better MomLet me paint a picture for you. I was a young mom to two boys ages 5 and 3. We had just decided to become foster parents and within months, we had 5 kids ages 5 and under in our home. A 5 year old, two 3 year olds, an 8 month old and a 4 month old. I look back and still have no idea how I managed.

Back then, we only had one vehicle and often my husband needed to take it to work with him so I would walk to the store with the kids pushing a stroller and wearing a baby in a Snugli or a backpack carrier. I couldn’t fit many groceries in the stroller so I either had to go often or wait until the evening to take the van.

I was coping well with all the diapers and lack of sleep and toys everywhere, but I was having a hard time keeping up with the laundry, cooking and grocery shopping. I started to feel like I was drowning.

I had the phone number for a pizza delivery place on a magnet on the fridge and I was using it so often that the edges started to peel. There was a pasta place in town that my husband would stop and pick up supper from more and more often. And popcorn was starting to be considered a food group.

We were sitting down as a family less and less to eat supper together. I was plagued with mom guilt for the lack of nutrition my kids were getting.

I had good intentions. I would buy healthy food only to have it go mouldy in the crisper. I would make meal plans but by the end of the day, I was too tired to make the meals or I would forget what I had been planning to make with what I bought. I was feeling discouraged and quite frankly, felt like I was failing my family when it came to dinners.

Have you ever felt like that? Has your produce ever gone mouldy in the fridge waiting to be used? Have you felt like you were dropping the ball when it came to trying to juggle everything?

There was a point when two sweet brothers that we had been fostering returned to their birth mom and we were deciding whether or not to open our home to more children needing families. I felt like I had enough patience and enough love to foster more children, but I didn’t feel like I could keep up the house and the feeding if we took on more kids. I was conflicted and looking for solutions.

When I discovered freezer meals, it literally changed my life. It allowed me to continue to be a foster parent and take in more children. It allowed me to feel like I was succeeding at feeding my family healthy food. It allowed me to free up more time for other tasks that I didn’t love like laundry as well as things I did love like playing with my kids and reading.

Over the years, I found ways to become more and more efficient at making freezer meals which made feeding my family even less stressful. I’m excited to be able to share some of those tips with you.

We are no longer foster parents. We went on to adopt three of our foster children and then adopted two children from Ethiopia as well as still raising our original boys so we have our hands and hearts full, but for 8 years, we fostered 17 children (not all at the same time!). I like to think that we were able to make a difference through that. So when I say that I’m passionate about freezer meals, now you have some insight into why.

How freezer meals make me a better mom:

Patience – Without the stress of having to decide what to make each day and without the guilt of feeling like I’m doing an inadequate job of feeding my family, I have more patience with my kids. I think another reason that I have more patience is because I can devote more attention to the kids during that critical time of day just before supper when kids seem to be the grouchiest. I’ve either got a freezer meal in the crock pot or all there is to do is reheat it in the oven or on the stovetop.

Time – Simply put, I have more time with my kids and more energy to give them. I have more time to enjoy them and to play with them but I also have time to do some of the other things I love doing like reading or spending time with friends so that I can be a better mom to my kids because my battery gets charged.

Freedom – Freezer meals often give me the freedom to say yes. If we get a last minute invitation or if the kids want to stop and play at the park on the way home, I can say yes because I don’t have to rush home to make dinner. It also allows me freedom to say yes to certain things because it saves so much money.

Sanity – Having less stress means less overall anxiety which is something that I struggle with at times.

Confidence – Having adopted children who have come from backgrounds where they weren’t always able to be fed makes it even more important to meet their basic needs well. In fact, meeting their nutritional needs is critical. Well-fed kids are also more reasonable kids. Knowing that my freezer is stocked full of breakfasts, lunches and dinners give me more confidence that I am going to be able to effectively meet my kids’ needs.

You can have the same time, freedom, sanity, confidence, and patience too!

Over the years when people have heard about the way that I feed my family, they have confided that they would love to do the same but just don’t know where to start so I created Freezer Meals 101.

freezer meals 101Freezer Meals 101 is a video course to teach you how to fill your freezer quickly and effectively with food your family will love.