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Kelly McNelis, creator of The Family Freezer blog, cooking classes and eBooks, shares three of her favorite freezer meals: this Lemon Pepper Chicken, which she serves with rice and a green veg or salad, Salsa Verde Chicken and Cranberry Pork Roast. All of them require only five ingredients or less that you combine and freeze in a gallon-size bag and then cook from frozen in a Crockpot or Instant Pot anytime within three months. (The frozen raw lemon pepper chicken can also be grilled or baked after thawing.) Just as noteworthy: "These recipes are healthy and delicious," Kelly says, "and are approved by my family of seven—with five young children!"
Note: You need a one-gallon freezer bag to make each recipe. You can also cook the meal without freezing the ingredients first.
Pro Tip from Kelly: If you don't have a lot of extra freezer space, start by throwing out everything that is expired. Next, create a meal plan for the following week based on the frozen meat and vegetables that you have left, supplementing as needed. That should clear enough space for at least a couple of meals.
To Freeze and Cook Later: Label your 1-gallon freezer bag with the name of the recipe, cooking instructions and "use-by" date (3 months from when you prepped the meal). Add all ingredients to your freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible, then seal, toss to combine and freeze for up to 3 months.
To Cook in Crockpot: Remove frozen meal from bag, add to Crockpot and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Slice or shred chicken.
To Cook in Instant Pot: Remove frozen meal from bag, add to Instant Pot with ¼ cup water and pressure cook on high with the valve sealed for 25 minutes. Natural release. Slice or shred chicken.
To Cook on Grill: Thaw meal in the refrigerator overnight. (You can also defrost it more quickly in a pan of water on the counter.) Grill chicken for 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Slice or shred chicken.
To Cook in Oven: Thaw meal in the refrigerator overnight. (You can also defrost it more quickly in a pan of water on the counter.) Preheat the oven to 400°F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Remove from meal from bag and add to the sheet pan. Bake chicken for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Slice or shred chicken.