10 Delicious Freeze-Ahead Dinners for Busy Fall Weeknights

Fall is the busy season in my house. School is back in session, work is in full swing, and dinners are difficult to craft quickly each evening. The solution? Freezing! I am a huge fan of freezing delicious, nutritious dinners ahead of time for quick reheating and minimal cleanup.

If you're feeling ambitious, try a bulk cooking weekend to make a month's worth of meals (or more!) at once. You'll not only save yourself some time in the long run, but you'll likely save some major money by using up all your ingredients with little waste. Our comprehensive guide linked above has you covered from start to finish. (See also: The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us)

If you'd rather dip your toe in the waters, here are some fantastic, frugal recipes to try in your kitchen this week.

1. Stuffed Acorn Squash

This Stuffed Acorn Squash is both freezable and Whole 30 approved. To make, slice squash in half and bake while you cook the carrot and beef mixture on your stovetop. Then combine the two components, place in foil baking dishes, label, and freeze.

2. Veggie Burgers

Stop buying burgers at the store and try this bulk Veggie Burger recipe at home. Just cut all ingredients into small bits and combine using your hands in a large bowl. Shape into patties and freeze on a baking sheet. Then transfer to freezer bags.

3. Chicken Taquitos

These Chicken Taquitos are bursting with flavor. Mix all the filling ingredients together and roll into your flour tortilla. Like the veggie burger recipe above, freeze flat on a baking sheet. Store in labeled freezer bags.

4. Lasagna Roll-Ups

If you love the Pioneer Woman, you'll love her Lasagna Roll-Ups. The best part? They're totally freeze-friendly. Mix together the pasta filling, simmer the sauce, and cook the pasta. Then assemble and freeze before the final baking step.

5. Pumpkin Chili

This hearty Pumpkin Chili is perfect for fall. I make a double batch and freeze each month to serve with homemade cornbread. Just make the soup following the directions — don't forget the pumpkin puree — and then pour into freezer bags or jars (leaving room for expansion).

6. Pizza Dough

Make pizza nights easy (and skip last-minute takeout) with this freezer Pizza Dough. You'll need to thaw at room temperature for at least four hours. Then bake as normal and top with whatever cheese and vegetables and proteins you need to use up.

7. Manicotti

Pasta freezes famously well, so this Best Ever Manicotti recipe is sure to please your crowd whether you eat it immediately or five months down the line. If you're really strapped for time, consider skipping the from-scratch sauce and subbing in your favorite store bought version.

8. Calzones

This step-by-step Freezer Calzones recipe looks simple enough. If you can resist eating them right away, let cool completely before wrapping each in plastic wrap and storing in a labeled freezer bag.

9. Meatballs

Heating up pasta and topping with sauce is simple enough, so why not create the meatballs ahead of time? This Easy Meatball Recipe can be doubled or tripled to make a quick protein to accompany your weeknight meals for months to come.

10. Quesadillas

Make a bunch of Freezer Quesadillas in different varieties to add a lively punch to your evenings. Try chicken, pizza, or black bean quesadillas and then freeze in wax paper to keep them from sticking. Transfer to freezer bags.

How do you manage dinner on busy fall weeknights? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

thanks so much for sharing my freezable pizza dough recipe!