There are so many times that I need a dessert on the fly, only to find that I have a) zero ingredients and b) zero time to make it. Whether it's having unexpected dinner guests over, or a time that I just have a sweet tooth, sometimes whipping up a dessert with no warning can be tough. I don't keep a ton of sweets in the house (on purpose – I'll eat them if they're there! 😉 ), so most of the time, needing a dessert requires a run to the grocery store for me. But, by using this freezer dessert pack, I have a great collection of desserts that can be made anytime I need them!
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Before we begin, a little background: if you've read here for the past few months, you know I am absolutely obsessed with my Instant Pot. I've written numerous posts on how versatile it is…it has completely changed the way I cook! In short, this is a kitchen appliance that is a:
- pressure cooker
- slow cooker
- yogurt maker
- saute pot
- rice cooker
I haven't found much that can't be cooked (dessert or otherwise) using the Instant Pot! The one drawback I have found is that it's not great at getting dishes browned or crispy. This is usually easily resolved by popping your dish under a broiler for a few minutes.
I have absolutely come to rely on my Instant Pot for cooking…it's so nice to have a nice stash of freezer meals that you just take out of the freezer and cook (with minimal prep work) each night. Once you go to freezer cooking, you'll never go back…it totally spoils you! Plus, it's less expensive than traditional cooking (you can buy bulk ingredients for prep days and you'll waste less food since it's waiting for you in the freezer). Click the links below to see my other boot camp packs:
For now, let's get to the dessert prep! I have five desserts in this pack: Apple Crisp, Blueberry Bread Pudding, Chocolate Fondue, Peach Cobbler, and Pina Colada Rice Pudding.
Step 1: Prep your supplies.
This is the key to making this process as easy as possible. You don't need a ton of supplies for this (besides your Instant Pot, obviously…this is a link to my model, and FYI – it's in stock right now, so it's a great time to grab one if you haven't already!). The main purchase I'd urge you to make is a set of storage containers that fit into your Instant Pot. That way, you can freeze your desserts in the containers, thaw them just enough to pop them out of the container, and drop the frozen meal in the Instant Pot to prep (this way, it will fit in the pot without thawing)!
This set from the Dollar Tree is perfect. I couldn't find these in store, but they are available on the website for shipping to your home or local store. I only bought one set of 24, but you might want to go on and buy 2 sets (since we'll be making 33 total meals). If you choose to buy just one, you can set gallon freezer bags in the containers to kind of shape your meals to fit in the pot while freezing them…I'll show more on that later! And, if you're an Amazon shopper that would rather put that Prime membership to good use, this is a similar set.
If you choose to buy only one set, gallon freezer bags are essential. I would also make sure I had my bag/container labels printed (scroll down for those printables) and cut…be ready to label those as soon as you finish making the meals (before they go in the freezer). I recommend sticking the labels on with packing tape, so make sure there's a roll of that handy.
I also recommend having a big freezer clean-out for a week or two before I make these to make sure I had enough room for everything.
Summary: Make sure you have:
- Instant Pot-shaped containers (1 or 2 sets)
- Labels (scroll down for printables)
- Packing Tape
- Gallon Freezer Bags (at least 1 box if you don't purchase 2 sets of containers)
- Freezer space
You might also need…
- An extra Instant Pot inner pot insert (so you can still prep dinners even when your other pot is dirty/in the fridge storing something else).
- An inner pot lid (helps you use your inner pot as storage after dinner!)
- An extra Instant Pot sealing ring (food flavors can really soak into the silicone sealing ring that's tucked in your lid of your pot. I have two rings…one for savory foods and one for sweet. That way, my sweet foods don't end up tasting funky!)
- A small pot for Pot In Pot cooking (see more on that in the notes section below)…I use a cake pan that is the same size as this one and it works great!
Step 2: Make your grocery run.
No need to go through each recipe and make your own grocery list…I have one for you that's ready to go!
You can get access to this grocery list in the printable collection, a password-protected area of my blog that's only available to newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for the newsletter (with absolutely no charge) here or through the sign-up form below!
Step 3: Prep your labels and containers.
The printables you'll find linked below include the labels and recipe cards for all five of the desserts you're going to prep for the freezer. The cards with the pink background are your freezer dessert labels; you'll put those on your freezer containers as you're prepping your dishes. They contain everything you'll need to know for serve day.
I've found that a lot of my boot campers like to also keep a recipe card if they want to prep the desserts individually at a later date. Those are the cards you'll see in the file linked below that have the green background. They're not really necessary for prep day as long as you have this page pulled up, but they're nice to have for later!
After the labels are printed, just cut them out (I love this paper cutter for making the process easier) and have them ready to attach to your containers with packing tape or painter's tape before you freeze. I've made the mistake of waiting until after they were frozen to try to attach the labels…doesn't work. The frost made the tape fall right off. So make sure they're labeled before they ever go in the freezer.
Step 4: Prep your desserts.
Now that supplies and containers are all ready, let's start with the actual food prep work! Of course, make sure you're working with clean utensils, containers, and hands before we start this part.
- Cut 1/3 of the loaf of French bread into 1-2” pieces. Place on a cookie sheet in the oven set to 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes, just to dry the bread out. Cool.
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1-2” pieces.
Dish 1: Apple Crisp
- Mix together cut apples, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp ground ginger, 1/3 cup sugar, juice of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp flour.
- In a separate bowl, mix together 1 stick melted butter, ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup brown sugar, pinch of salt, and 1 cup old fashioned oats. Pour into the botttom of your freezer container.
- Layer apples on top of the oat mixture and freeze.
Dish 2: Blueberry Bread Pudding
- Mix cooled bread and (still frozen) blueberries together in a gallon freezer bag.
- In a large bowl, mix together 1 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup of sugar.
- Pour over bread/blueberry mixture and freeze bag inside of your PIP container.
Dish 3: Chocolate Fondue
- Mix together 8oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, ½ cup heavy cream, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract in a gallon-sized freezer bag.
- Freeze bag inside of your PIP container.
Dish 4: Peach Cobbler
- In a large bowl, mix together 2 cans of peaches in heavy syrup (not drained), juice of 1 lemon, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp nutmeg, and 2 tbsp corn starch.
- In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup baking mix, ¼ cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract, ¼ cup milk, and ¼ cup melted butter until a thick batter forms. Spoon into the bottom of your freezer container.
- Pour peach mixture over dough and freeze.
Dish 5: Pina Colada Rice Pudding
- Mix together 1 20oz can pineapple tidbits (not drained), 1 14oz can coconut milk, 1 pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup of sugar and freeze.
And just like that, you're done…you now have 5 desserts ready to go in the freezer!
I have the cooking instructions for serve days in the recipe cards (the cards with the green background). Click here to see the recipe labels and cards file. This should have all of the info you need to finish your desserts off on serve day!
Notes (PLEASE READ):
NPR stands for natural pressure release. That means, instead of immediately releasing the pressure from your Instant Pot after the cooking time is up, give it 5-10 minutes to release on its own. Then, flip the nozzle and release the pressure (careful though…that's pressurized steam coming out!)
QR stands for quick release. That means you release the pressure and open the pot as soon as the cooking time is over.
So, if you're reading my cooking labels, you'll often see that the directions look like this: “manual, high pressure, 100 minutes, NPR.” That means you'll use the manual setting on your pot to put in 100 minutes yourself, then let the pot have a natural pressure release (I prefer about 5 minutes) after the pot beeps when that 100 minute cycle is over.
Unless otherwise noted, desserts are to be cooked on manual setting, high pressure.
PIP stands for Pot in Pot cooking. That means you're cooking two dishes at the same time by stacking a separate pot on top of a trivet in the inner pot.
It's a great way to cook desserts that might not need extra water or don't come to pressure on their own!
Here's how I do it: insert the trivet that comes with your pressure cooker, putting the legs on either side of whatever you're cooking in the bottom of the pot. Then, put your pot-in-pot dish (I use a 6” cake pan and it works great for the recipes I've listed) on top of the trivet and add whatever you're cooking. Seal the lid and cook away! The cook times for the PIP cooking are all included in the dessert instructions.
Two of the desserts in this pack (blueberry bread pudding and chocolate fondue) require PIP cooking. Therefore, I recommend freezing those two desserts in a gallon-sized freezer bag and placing the bag inside your PIP cooking dish while freezing. This ensures that your frozen dessert will fit in the PIP dish with no thawing required. The other desserts can be frozen in the IP-shaped containers I discussed above.
And, one more note: if you've wanted to see what my premium boot camp packs are like but were a little hesitant to buy one, I have a surprise for you! I have a version of this dessert boot camp that's formatted like my premium packs in the printable collection. It's a 14-page file that has all of the lists, printables, and instructions you'll need to prep these desserts! You can access it in the printable collection…sign up here or with the form below for your free password to this content! (If you're a subscriber who needs your password, check your last newsletter…it's at the bottom!)
This newsletter-exclusive pack is formatted in a very similar way to my Premium Boot Camp packs. These have all of the info and printables you need to make your own set of freezer meals! I have 2 packs currently available and will be releasing two more packs next week. Click here for more info!