I love meal planning. It is one of my favorite ways to feel prepared for each week and reduce my daily stress. But meal prep? The final step in meal planning where you chop veggies, make dressings, maybe even cook some meals? I'm really bad at it.
Finding time — even just a few hours — over the weekend to cook is probably as hard for you as it is for me. Lately, I've been relying on the freezer aisle to help me prep parts of our meal plans to save me time during the week. Here are a few of my favorite freezer staples that help me skip meal prepping on the weekends.
Cauliflower rice isn't hard to make at home, and you can even buy it fresh, but frozen cauliflower rice is a bit more flexible. If you need to move a meal around, frozen cauliflower rice won't go bad if you eat it later in the week. And because of its small size, it's easy to heat quickly if you need dinner on the fly!
Read more: Easy Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowls
Frozen hash browns are your meal prep BFF. Not only can you quickly warm them up for breakfast skillets, but you can also turn them into soups, casseroles, and burrito bowls throughout the week. These potatoes are peeled, cubed, and par-cooked for you.
My favorite hash brown recipe: 5-Ingredient Family-Friendly Baked Potato Soup
In my fantasy life, I have long weekend afternoons to roll my own meatballs and freeze them for future use. And sometimes I actually do! But for every busy weeknight, a bag of frozen meatballs can be a savior. You can put them on skewers, serve them over bowls of grains, turn them into subs, and even add them to stir-fries. And then you can always eat them with noodles!
Get a recipe: Grilled Meatball Kebabs
Frozen Vegetable Medley is one of my go-tos for quick weeknight soups and an easy kid-friendly side, but I recently discovered a stir-fry mix that I love even more. Obviously it can be the base of many stir-fries, but you can also wrap this hearty vegetable mix into wraps or tortillas or add it to soups or casseroles. P.S.: Did you know you can grab a mirepoix vegetable blend from the freezer too?
A lot of meal prep conversations center around dinner and lunch, but lately I've been trying to improve my breakfast game, and pre-chopped frozen fruit really helps with that. Our editors are big fans of the cherry-berry blend from Dole, while I often reach for a mango-berry blend for my kids.