The holiday season can be hectic and expensive, but you can save both time and money by hosting a cooking party. Invite your friends to join you and cook up a week’s worth of freezer meals. A cooking party also saves you money since you’re buying your groceries in bulk, and you’ll even discover new meals as you share recipes with your friends. By having pre-made freezer meals prepared, you’ll also save time during one of the busiest times of the year.
You’ll find many versions of freezer meals, but I’ve had the best success with no-cook freezer meals. These are meals that you can prep and freeze without cooking. This makes it easier to create and freeze lots of meals in a short amount of time.
Recently I invited my friends over and we prepared five different no-cook freezer meals together. Here’s my guide, along with helpful tips, for how you can host a cooking party of your own!
Check out Cheri’s 6 recipes below, then try out some of our 10 easy Crock Pot freezer meals and 9 freezer-ready casseroles. If you prefer a vacuum sealer over freezer bags, check out our 8 helpful tips for freezing food with your vacuum sealer!
Step #1: Plan your cooking party
Before you get to cooking, be sure you have a plan in place to keep things organized. You’ll need to plan for the following ahead of time:
- A menu of dinners — my party had five, but you can cook as many as you like
- Assign a recipe to each guest so they can shop for bulk ingredients to share with everyone
- Make a list of what equipment you’ll need
- Make up labels ahead of time
What your guests should bring with them
- A cooler with ice packs to transport their freezer meals home
- Their favorite kitchen knife
- An apron
- A cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Ingredients for the recipe you assigned them — enough ingredients for five meals!
Tips for a successful cooking party
- Label everything so you know what’s in the container and the date you put in your freezer
- Print all cooking instructions on one sheet for easy reference
- Save all your recipes on a shared Google doc for guests to reference later
Here are six freezer meal recipes to help you get your party started!
- Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast: Place your chopped onions, dried cranberries, jam, spices, and stock in a freezer bag and mix well. Add the pork roast, seal, and freeze. Thaw overnight, then place in your slow cooker and cook according to the directions.
- Brown Sugar Meatloaf: This recipe is freezer-friendly, and you’ll love the savory-sweet taste.
- Stir Fry: While you will need to keep each set of ingredients frozen separately for your stir fry, you’ll love the fresh taste that beats the store-bought variety every time.
- Lemon Garlic Chicken: This zesty recipe can be cooked three different ways: In a baking dish, in a skillet or on a grill, and in the Crock Pot. You get to decide which you prefer!
- Asian Flank Steak: You’ll need to marinade this flank steak for a minimum of 10 hours, making it the perfect candidate for a freezer meal.
- Apricot Ginger Chicken: This easy freezer meal only needs six ingredients, including your green bean side! The combo of apricot, ginger, and soy sauce makes it a flavor-packed treat your family will enjoy.
Step #2: Shop for ingredients
Shop at stores where you can buy in bulk and save money. Use coupons where you can to maximize your savings. Along with your ingredients, be sure to stock up on gallon-size freezer bags and mason jars for any sauces.
Quick tip: Buy peeled garlic to save time!
Step #3: Clean out your freezers
When you send out your invite, make sure to remind your guests to clean out their freezer so they have room to store all their new freezer meals.
Share these refrigerator and freezer organization tips with your guests to help them maximize their fridge space!
Step #4: Set up your cooking party
Before your guests arrive, set up a prep area for each person.
- Set out snacks and drinks for everyone to munch on while you cook
- Clear off your kitchen counters and dining room table — you can put up an extra folding table if you need more space
- Place a laminated copy of the recipe at each guests’ prep station
- Place Sharpies and labels at each station — be sure to have extras on hand!
- Provide mixing bowls and smaller bowls for ingredients
- Turn on some tunes!
Keep your counters clutter-free with these great kitchen organizing tips!
Step #5: Prep & assemble your meals
Now it’s time to get down to business! Have each of your guests prep their meal by trimming meat, chopping veggies, and gathering spices. They should get each ingredient ready and neatly laid out in bowls or on trays.
Next, each person will go around to each prep station and assemble their freezer meals. As they measure the ingredients and add them to their freezer bags, they can customize or eliminate ingredients based on their families’ preferences and needs.