How to cook 12 meals in 48 minutes.

th-1I figured that might get your attention. The headline is semi-disingenuous: What you’ll be doing is preparing 10 to 12 meals in an hour or less, but not actually cooking them until you need them.

Specifically, you’ll be turning 48 to 60 minutes’ worth of kitchen work into a dozen future dinners by using Erin Chase’s new FreezEasy meal plans.

Recently I wrote about her Grocery Budget Makeover plan. Chase is the founder of $5 Dinners and a series of cookbooks, and also the co-founder of “The $5 Meal Plan.” This time around she’s created a series of meal plans, shopping lists, kitchen prep tips and videos to churn-and-burn future meals (both meat-based and vegetarian).

Since I know her in real life, I can attest that she dreams up recipes in both the exotic and everyday realms. (Hint: She has four kids.) However, her recipes share several attributes: They are affordable and they are simple to prepare.

Beta testers report that Chase’s plans takes “the overwhelm” out of the equation. You know, that feeling of “What are we (or what am I) going to eat today, tomorrow, next week…?” that can ruin your day – and, maybe, your budget. It can also create an unhealthy relationship with food.


Too tired to plan a shopping trip, let alone start a meal when you get home from work? Eating a bowl of cereal or takeout now and then won’t kill you. But a steady diet of Cheerios and delivered pizzas suffocates the notion that food should is supposed to be delicious and nourishing. Putting good meals into your body, or into your loved ones, is an important way of caring for yourself/for them.


Your health and well-being

Yet sometimes you just can’t face the kitchen. Chase gets that. That’s why her FreezEasy concept is so simple: You spend an hour or less putting together bags or trays of ingredients that then go into the freezer.

When you want to cook, you either put the tray into the oven or thaw a bag overnight (or in a bowl of very warm water) and then empty it into the slow cooker in the morning.

Think of it this way: One hour out of your weekend (or a weeknight) means a couple of weeks’ worth of entrees ready to go. You’ll know what’s for dinner ahead of time. No need to stress about food, or to stop at the market/the Thai place.  (Also no need to eat yet another package of ramen.)

Having food ready to go isn’t just a convenience and a budget-booster. Walking into a home that smells like supper is a tremendous mood-lifter.

It’s also a question of health. Sure, you can always open a can of Campbell’s. But a bowl of homemade beef-vegetable soup (one of the recipes in Chase’s arsenal) has less salt and no preservatives or additives.


What’s for dinner?

Here are some recipes from the plans:

Slow Cooker Caribbean Chicken, Classic Spaghetti, Slow Cooker Taco Soup, Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwiches, Cranberry Mustard Pork Chops, Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, Thai Chicken Bake, Beef and Black Bean Nachos, Hawaiian Meatloaf, Lightened-Up Chicken Parmesan, Beef and Vegetable Soup.

You can pick a single protein or a mix:

All Chicken Recipes Plan: Just what it sounds like

All Ground Beef Recipes Plan: Ditto

All Pork Chops Recipes Plan: Mmmmm…pork chops

Combo #1 Plan: Chicken, beef, salmon and vegetarian

Trio of Meats Plan: Chicken, beef and pork chops

Each plan costs $7. Or choose the “Plan Bundle” – all five recipe plans for $25. (This offer will last for the next two to three weeks.)

One or more of these plans would be a good gift for the young person in your life who’s getting an apartment after graduation. Know someone who’s getting married or about to have a baby? Package the Plan Bundle along with cookware and/or a supermarket gift card.

Note: Should you purchase any of these items using the above links, I will receive an affiliate fee (which helps me maintain this website).

Bon appetit.

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  1. Or just head down your local library and check out the selection of freezer meal recipe books! Saves you spending $25 on something you could do anyway.

    • Donna Freedman

      This is true. There’s a lot of things we could do for ourselves but sometimes we choose to pay others to do for us/teach us how to do.

      Erin is offering recipes she developed, a very specific set of instructions (designed to get the most done in the least amount of time) and video demonstrations. To some, that would be worth $7. Whether or not someone buys is a personal decision.

      • I get it. A friend has been doing the freezer meal thing for eons because she has a herd of kids and it made life easier. Since she now has an empty nest, she started offering a class on how to. Cheap at $15 for a packet of recipes, lunch, and a ton of insider tips.It has been a big hit. It seems many people are willing to pay to make their lives easier.
        This just isn’t one of those things I am willing to pay someone else to do. If I had a large family I would probably think otherwise.

        • Donna Freedman

          Good for your friend! She’s got knowledge worth buying. I look at it this way: Some people would never buy a cookbook, preferring to use family recipes and experiment (or look for free instructions online). Others buy a couple of basic food tomes like the Better Homes and Gardens and The Joy of Cooking; true foodies might have entire bookcases full of the things.

          People are willing to “pay to make their lives easier” in other ways, too — hiring a housecleaner, dropping their clothes off to be laundered, engaging a dog-walker, having a personal trainer vs. just hitting the gym blindly, etc. etc. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

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