Easy Freezer Meals: 3 Beef Dinners to Stock Your Freezer

Three of my favorite, protein and veggie-loaded freezer meals to stock your freezer. Whether you’re gearing up for the arrival of a new baby {like me}, or just looking to meal prep easy weeknight dinners, these easy dinner recipes are family favorites.

*If you’re having trouble seeing the video above, try turning off or pausing your ad-blocker. If you prefer, you can also view this ‘3 Easy Beef Freezer Meals’ how-to video on YouTube here

The countdown to baby girl’s arrival is on, and I’m officially in major meal prep mode!

In an attempt to make those first newborn weeks a little easier, I’m stocking our freezer with nutritious, family-friendly, EASY freezer meals. 

This post, ‘Easy Freezer Meals: 3 Beef Dinners to Stock Your Freezer’ is the first of a 3-post, freezer meal prep series that will be coming to the blog this Fall. I’m excited to share how I’m personally stocking my freezer to prepare for baby #2.

FIRST UP: 3 Freezer-Friendly Dinner Recipes! I’m partnering with my friends at the Minnesota Beef Council to share three different dinner recipes using lean, high-protein beef cuts, whole grains and fresh veggies that hold up in the freezer, and don’t lose texture or flavor when reheating!

Easy Freezer Meals Dinner

My requirements for freezer meals?

  1. HEALTHY. I want recipes with real-food ingredients that are packed with protein and veggies. Especially during this season of life we are about to enter where we’ll be demanding a lot of our bodies; like producing milk and feeding a tiny human on limited sleep. Fueling with nutrient dense foods is important.
  2. EASY. I’m talking ‘throw everything in the casserole dish and freeze’ kind of easy. One recipe includes browning the beef before freezing, and the other two recipes are no-cook prep {throw everything in raw}. Once you’re ready to eat, you have options to bake from frozen or to let ingredients thaw overnight in the fridge. It’s that easy!
  3. DELICIOUS. These aren’t stereotypical boring casseroles with no flavor or color! My meal prep list includes Italian Beef Quinoa Bake, Szechuan Beef Stir Fry and a Veggie-Loaded Crockpot Beef Stew {always heavy on the veggies and flavor}. 

Easy freezer meal prep for maternity leave

Freezer Meals: 3 Easy Beef Dinners to Stock Your Freezer

Quick Links Within This Post {jump directly to the recipe you’d like by clicking the link below}:

Italian Beef Quinoa Bake

Szechuan Beef Stir Fry

Crockpot Veggie-Loaded Beef Stew

easy freezer meals

Italian Beef Quinoa Bake

Comfort food flavor with a feel-good veggie base! Bell peppers and zucchini make up the colorful veggie base. While both quinoa and lean ground beef add a protein-packed punch to this Italian Beef Quinoa Bake recipe.

I know traditional Italian Bakes use a noodle base, but I love using quinoa for freezer meals because it’s super absorbent and prevents the dish from becoming soggy; which is a common freezer meal complaint.  

This recipe does require a bit more meal prep time on the front end as you need to brown the ground beef before freezing the casserole dish. But you’ll be glad you put in the extra time, because you can literally grab this frozen casserole straight from the freezer, throw it in the oven, and dinner is served. My bet is you’ll even have leftovers!

Freezer-Friendly Italian Beef Quinoa Bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Comfort food flavor with a feel-good veggie base! This easy freezer-friendly recipe comes together quickly and lasts up to 3 months in the freezer.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Ground Beef (93% lean or leaner)
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce (any kind of spaghetti sauce will work)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese
  • Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat large nonstick over medium heat until hot. Add Ground Beef and garlic; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into ¾-inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon; pour off drippings and return beef to skillet.
  2. Stir in salt, pepper, and oregano; mix well.
  3. Remove from heat to cool, completely.
  4. Prep veggies by washing and dicing (green pepper, red pepper, zucchini).
  5. Spray casserole dish {I used 3 quart Pyrex, you also could use a 9x13inch baking dish}, with avocado oil or olive oil cooking spray.
  6. Rinse 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and place on the bottom of your casserole dish and then layer on veggies.
  7. Add completely cooled cooked beef to casserole dish.
  8. Add 3 cups of marinara sauce and 1 cup of chicken broth to the casserole dish and mix everything together.
  9. Top with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Add additional salt, pepper, and oregano if desired.
  10. Cover casserole dish with airtight lid and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  11. When ready to cook, Preheat oven to 375ºF and remove from freezer {no need to thaw!}.
  12. Cover dish with aluminum foil and cook at 375ºF for 40 minutes.
  13. Uncover dish and bake for an additional 20 minutes, uncovered, or until quinoa is fully cooked.
Notes
Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Freezer Meal Prep Tips

  • Supplies: I used a 3-quart Pyrex dish {I personally love this set on Amazon} but you can use any 9×13 inch baking dish. Just make sure the baking dish is safe to go from freezer directly to the oven.
  • Recipe Notes + Pro Tips: Make sure the ground beef is completely cooled before adding it to the casserole dish. You don’t want any large variations in temperature before putting the dish in the freezer.
  • Storage + Reheating: This Italian Beef Quinoa Bake keeps in the freezer for up to 3 months. I simply use the lid that came with my Pyrex container to prevent freezer burn. But you want to make sure your container lid has a good seal. For example, if I’m making this for a friend and using disposable bakeware, I’ll wrap the dish a couple times in aluminum foil before sealing with the plastic lid that comes with disposable bakeware. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy the dish you can simply go directly from freezer to oven, no thawing necessary.
  • Video Tutorial: See exactly how I meal prep and pack this meal to store in my freezer by watching the video at the top of this post.

Italian Beef Quinoa Bake

Szechuan Beef Stir Fry

A classic Beef Stir Fry, packed with lean protein in the form of sirloin steaks and colorful vegetables.

I love that this is a no-cook, minimal prep freezer recipe.

Simply combine all the ingredients, raw and uncooked, in a glass dish or freezer storage gallon bag. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw the prepped stir fry in the fridge overnight. Then you have an easy weeknight dinner that simply needs to be thrown in a large wok or pan on the stove.

This Szechuan Beef Stir Fry was inspired by this recipe from the MN Beef Council website {see my slight modifications in the full recipe below}. 

Beef Stir Fry Freezer Meal INGREDIENTS TO ADD TO FREEZER BAG:

  • 2 Beef Sirloin Steaks (cut 3/4 inch thick) or Steak Tips 
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • ½ cup sliced carrots
  • 1-2 cups broccoli 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sesame-ginger stir-fry sauce, I personally use Primal Kitchen’s No-Soy Teriyaki Sauce
    *Yes, you add the sauce to the freezer meal so it marinades the steak and the meal is full ready to be throw on the stove. 
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I often omit to make this meal more toddler-friendly and less spicy)

*Short Cut Option: Purchase pre-chopped stir fry vegetables, but I would avoid using frozen stir fry vegetables as those tend to leave you with a ‘soggy’ freezer meal. 

THAWING INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw for 6-8 hours in fridge before cooking stovetop.

AT TIME OF COOKING:

  • Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add thawed Szechuan Beef Stir Fry to the pan. Cook for 8-12 minutes or until beef is fully cooked through and veggies reach desired tenderness.
  • Serve with: 2 cups cooked white or brown rice (I use steam in a bag brown rice for simplicity). Additional option to top with 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts.

Freezer Meal Prep Tips

  • Supplies: I used a gallon freezer storage plastic bag to store this recipe in my freezer. You can always use a glass Tupperware instead. I personally use freezer bags because I have limited freezer space and this is the most efficient way to store meals in my small freezer.
  • Recipe Notes + Pro Tips: Since this recipe is super simple to prep, I suggest doubling the recipe and batch prepping a couple meals to stock your freezer. As I mentioned, above you can also use a pre-chopped, stir fry vegetable mix to save time.
  • Storage + Reheating: This meal keeps in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure your freezer storage bags or glass dish are tightly sealed, to avoid freezer burn. Additionally because you add the liquid sauce to the mix BEFORE freezing, you don’t want a mess in your freezer, so seal tightly. I like to lay the freezer bag flat in the freezer so that it freezes in a thin, even layer; allowing me to fit more meals in my freezer. Then when you’re ready to enjoy, pull the stir fry from the freezer, thaw for 6-8 hours in fridge. Then cook stovetop, add rice and enjoy!
  • Video Tutorial: See exactly how I meal prep and pack this meal to store in my freezer by watching the video at the top of this post.

beef stir fry ingredients

Crockpot Veggie Loaded Beef Stew

Crock pot freezer meals: the ultimate make-ahead meal prep combo.

Again, I love how easy it is to prep this crockpot freezer meal. 

Simply combine most of the raw ingredients in a glass dish or freezer storage gallon bag. Again, for freezer storage purposes, I personally use freezer storage gallon bags. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy this stew, thaw the prepped stew in the fridge overnight. Add the thawed ingredients to a slow cooker with beef broth and you can feed a large family or crowd.

This recipe is my personal spin on traditional beef stew. I just add more veggies and flavor!

This Crockpot Veggie Loaded Beef Stew was inspired by this recipe from the MN Beef Council website {see my slight modifications in the full recipe below}. 

crockpot freezer meals: beef stewADD TO FREEZER BAG:

  • 2 lbs Beef Chuck Boneless Shoulder Roast (cut into 1-inch pieces) OR 2 lbs Stew Meat
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • 6 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • 6 carrots, sliced diagonally
  • 2 small zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 pound new potatoes, baby red potatoes, squash or sweet potatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 can (14-15 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained 

THAWING INSTRUCTIONS: Thaw for 6-8 hours in fridge before adding to slow cooker or crockpot.

AT TIME OF COOKING, ALSO ADD THESE INGREDIENTS TO SLOW COOKER:

  • Thawed freezer bag of Beef Stew ingredients
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Last 30 minutes of cooking: 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or 2 tablespoons cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water (to thicken stew)

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Cook on ‘high’ for 5-6 hours. Note, add flour or cornstarch mixture for last 30 minutes.

Freezer Meal Prep Tips

  • Supplies: Again, I used a gallon freezer storage bags to store this healthy meal in my freezer and save on space. But you can always use glass Tupperware instead.
  • Recipe Notes + Pro Tips: Another no-cook recipe prep! So again, I suggest doubling this stew recipe and batch prepping a couple meals to stock your freezer. Note, you can use pre-chopped stew meat and/or a store-bought mirepoix mix (consisting or pre-chopped onion, celery and carrots) to save time.
  • Storage + Reheating: This beef stew keeps in the freezer for up to 3 months. Again, make sure your freezer storage bag or glass dish is tightly sealed, because you add tomato sauce BEFORE freezing and you don’t want a mess in your freezer or freezer burn. Again, I like to freeze lay the freezer bag flat in the freezer so that it freezes in a thin, even layer, before moving to its more permanent place in my freezer once the shape is frozen.
  • Video Tutorial: See exactly how I meal prep and pack this meal to store in my freezer by watching the video at the top of this post.

crockpot freezer meals

Stock Your Freezer Meal Prep

These are three freezer meals I’m personally making to stock my freezer to prepare for the arrival of baby number two. I’m hoping this allows me to feed my family healthy protein and veggie packed meals with little hassle.

I hope you found this freezer meal prep post and video helpful; and a special thanks to my friends at the Minnesota Beef Council for making this post possible. 

Looking for more easy, weeknight dinner ideas?

Check out my Weeknight Dinner Meal Plan: featuring 5 Easy Beef Recipes or head over to mnbeef.org

Minnesota Beef Council

The Minnesota Beef Council is dedicated to strengthening beef demand by responsibly providing a safe, wholesome, healthy and delicious eating experience.

The Minnesota Beef Council is funded and managed by beef farmers and ranchers. The Council provides beef promotion, marketing, research and education programs for beef and beef products.

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the Minnesota Beef Council. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love, making the content you see on this blog possible.

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2 comments
    • Hi Kristin! Great, question — for non-frozen quinoa bake — Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes. Then, uncover the baking dish and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is fully cooked (so cooking at 350 vs 375 for a shorter time). I hope that helps! Lindsey