What began as a one-time event with our first grandchild’s arrival exploded into a tradition of 11 cook-days in 7 years, as our grandchildren arrived quickly. With our oldest daughter’s first pregnancy, I thought that she needed freezer meals more than another baby outfit, and I invited our two daughters-in-law to join us for our first “cook-day.” Everyone agreed this was the best gift ever, and 11 cook days later, we’ve narrowed it down to our favourite recipes through trial and error.  They love the practice so much that we’re continuing it even if no more babies arrive, and they’ll just share the meals.  

Imagine the chaos of five toddlers, four cooks and a heap of ingredients as we measure, chop, stir, rinse and repeat our way to a trunk full of meals. I prepare lunch ahead of time, someone brings fancy coffees, baby naps are coordinated to accommodate two at a time, and it’s go-time. By now, we all have our assigned recipes. Megan’s the baker, so she works on muffins and bars, Carrie knows Chef Michael’s pepperoni pizza casserole by memory, and no one can roll a breakfast burrito like Kacey. 

Some tips from my daughters:  

  1. If you’re having a C-section, homemade chicken bone broth is a soothing post-surgery drink and freezes well.  
  2. It’s best to thaw the casseroles before baking, so take the casseroles out of the freezer early in the day. They can be reheated from frozen but use a lower heat and a longer cooking time. It’s best to place the casserole dish on a cookie sheet, so they reheat evenly.
  3. Include some frozen pizza dough and sauce in the freezer.  
  4. Make sure to have a few pints of Banter ice cream on the top shelf!  

May the recipes inspire you to gift someone in need a meal or some baking, as nothing says love louder than a tinfoil casserole! We’ve even shared all of our preparation & cooking day tips to help the day go as smoothly as possible. 


You just can’t go wrong with a creamy casserole, whether for your own family or to bring to a friend who needs some hearty comfort food.

Perfect for the cold, blustery days, this comfort food recipe is super easy to make and can feed plenty.

Made with ground turkey, this chili is light and flavourful. Turn it into a perfect family dinner by serving it over a short pasta.

You can’t go wrong with this hearty creamy pasta dish as you can adapt this recipe to suit any flavour of Lepp’s fresh sausages.

You may eat it and wonder what all the hype is about, but for our family, it’s a special food memory. Prepare and freeze the sloppy joes, thaw, reheat & serve over a freshly toast bun or sliced sourdough with cheese.

This 1980’s throwback recipe is still always a favorite whenever it’s served.

A creamy, cheesy, taco-flavoured pasta,  a dish any child (or adult) will love!

This recipe can be adapted to suit everyone’s favorite pizza flavor, super easy to put together, freezes and reheats amazingly well, and only dirties one dish!

This recipe is very loose and easy to adapt to your liking.

Perfect for a simple breakfast or a snack, these hearty bran muffins are great for the whole family.

This has always been, and still is, our boys’ favorite muffin, great for school lunches, snacking on or as an afternoon treat.


The #1, we always make this recipe! As orzo can get mushy if overcooked, we only pre-cook the orzo for a few minutes. You want some good bite to it as it will finish cooking when you reheat it.

Herby, garlicky Thai meatballs simmered in a creamy red curry sauce are the “fusion” flavor bomb you didn’t know you needed.

Loaded with chicken, cheesy pasta, fresh veggies, and a wonderfully spicy, creamy sauce.

We double this recipe and make it in a 9 x 13-inch pan. I never have rye flakes in the house so we use more rolled oats as mentioned in the recipe comments. My girls report they love having individually wrapped treats in the freezer to nibble on while they’re nursing so we cut it into bars and then wrap each piece in cling wrap. 


  • Read each recipe carefully, and make a master shopping list. Check ALL your supplies at home, including spices. You don’t want to be in the middle of cooking and realize you’re out of cumin. I divide my list into four sections: meat, produce, grocery and dairy so I can tell at a glance whether I’ve missed something.
  • Make room in your freezer, and create as many flat surfaces as possible to stack the cooked dishes. As most of the recipes have some sort of sauce, you don’t want the dish tipping sideways and dripping out as it freezes.
  • You’re going to need a number of measuring cups/spoons and big mixing bowls. Borrow from a friend, or invest in some. The local restaurant supply store is a great resource.
  • Invest in disposable tin foil containers in a variety of shapes and sizes so you have options. Purchase a roll of heavy-duty BBQ tin foil. Discard the plastic lids that come with them and use the foil to seal the containers.


  • Your kitchen is going to get very messy so start with an empty dishwasher, a sink full of clean, soapy water, and a few containers for garbage on your counter (compost, recycle and garbage). I always have a container next to me for discarding food scraps as I go (thank you, Rachel Ray, for that tip!) Clear off the counter space; you’re going to need every inch.
  • Do any baking before you start with meat to avoid the risk of cross-contamination. Alternatively, create a “meat-free zone” that includes a cutting board and knife.  
  • Most of the recipes generally have the same steps, so do as much at one time as you can. Chopping veggies can be done the day before; seal the veggies in ziplock bags and refrigerate (especially the onions, it’s incredible how much they can smell up your fridge!)
  • Chop all the veggies first and put them in bowls, and then measure as needed. One regular onion equals one heaping cup of chopped. One bell pepper equals 1 ¼ cups chopped. I’ve tried using a food processor, but it chops things into unequal sizes, and often you’re left with an uneven mixture of almost-pureed veggies and bigger chunks. Put on the onion goggles and a super-sharp knife, and just go for it.
  • Cook all the meat at one time. Brown the ground beef for all the recipes at once. Instead of chopping the chicken breast and frying it in pieces, bake them whole, seasoning as needed, and then chop them after they’re cooked (350 degrees for about 20 minutes on a parchment paper-lined sheet).
  • Grate all the cheeses; if you’re not using pre-shredded.
  • Don’t overfill the containers, as they’ll expand during freezing and will leak over the sides as it freezes if it’s too full. Leave a little room in the dish for expansion.
  • If the dish is quite full and you’re putting a topping like grated cheese on it, spray the foil with non-stick spray beforehand, so you don’t lose the topping when you take the foil off.
  • Wrap things individually, like muffins and breakfast burritos. That way, you can just take out one at a time for a quick grab-and-go snack.
  • Label EVERYTHING that goes in the freezer.
    • Date and name of the dish.
    • Cooking time and temperature.
    • Do you need to thaw it first?
    • Cook it covered or uncovered?
    • Do you need to add anything, like grated cheese, before baking?
    • Any serving suggestions? Is there a sauce that’s supposed to go with a dish?
    • If you’re giving the meals to someone, remember to include possible allergens.
    • As the foil containers are thin and flimsy, and can sometimes burn on the bottom, here’s a great tip to have on the label: “Place tin foil dish on a cookie sheet to bake” This makes it much easier to take out of the oven.
  • Place finished dishes on cookie sheets to freeze, and try and keep them as level as possible. Try not to stack them on top of each other, especially if the dishes are covered with a topping like grated cheese, as the topping can then stick to the foil. If necessary, place one layer in your freezer, put the rest in the fridge overnight and then the following day, you can stack them on top of the frozen ones.
  • If the dish includes pasta, it’s best to cook the pasta only until al dente stage, which means to undercook it by a few minutes. This way it won’t be over cooked after reheating.
  • For any recipe that calls for a baking time to finish, it’s best to do that right before serving. Cool prepared dish, cover with foil, label and freeze. To serve, thaw, remove cover, and bake as directed.


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