Go-To Instant Pot/Slow Cooker Freezer Meals Boot Camp

This set of 5 Instant Pot (pressure cooker) or Crock Pot (slow cooker) freezer meals is so easy to make ahead for busy weeknight dinners! Includes kid friendly and healthy options.

This set of 5 Instant Pot (pressure cooker) or Crock Pot (slow cooker) meals is so easy to make ahead for busy weeknight dinners! Includes kid friendly and healthy options.

After an 8 month hiatus, Freezer Meal Boot Camps are coming back to the blog! And, this time around, the name of the game is easy.

This set of 5 Instant Pot (pressure cooker) or Crock Pot (slow cooker) meals is so easy to make ahead for busy weeknight dinners! Includes kid friendly and healthy options.

After the year we've all had, I think we all need a set of go-to, easy, crowd-pleasing dinners that require very little thought. I wanted to make the absolute easiest boot camp I've ever done this time around. The goal here was to create something that you could look up when meal planning on a Sunday, whip together in an hour or so, and easily prep dinner for the entire next week. That's when the Go-To Freezer Meal Boot Camp was born.

Let's go on and put it out there - this Boot Camp is not the pinnacle of my recipe creativity. 🙂 I purposely put basic meals in this set because I a) wanted tried-and-true meals that everyone would love and b) wanted to use mostly ingredients everyone would be familiar with and might even have on hand. There are very few "weird" ingredients in this pack - if you're looking for more adventurous meals, I've got plenty - but this one is full of basic meals that every family knows and loves.

And, as an added bonus, I'm doing something I've never done in this Boot Camp. In the full pack, you'll get instructions for both Instant Pot (pressure cooker) and slow cooker freezer meals preparation! I wanted to make this one as easy and as accessible as possible...I hope adding in 2 sets of serve day instructions does just that.

This set of 5 Instant Pot (pressure cooker) or Crock Pot (slow cooker) meals is so easy to make ahead for busy weeknight dinners! Includes kid friendly and healthy options.

Without further ado - let's get going with the easy freezer meal preparation steps! If you're a frequent boot camper, the rest of this post is going to look pretty familiar. I try to keep the instructions pretty similar so the process is as easy as possible.

Affiliate links used in this post. Read more about my link usage here.

Step 1: Prep the ingredients and supplies for your Instant Pot/Slow Cooker freezer meals.

Pre-prepping everything you need is the key to making this process as simple as possible. You don’t need a ton of supplies for this (besides your Instant Pot or a slow cooker, obviously…this is a link to my Instant Pot model that I use for both slow cooking and pressure cooking).

The main purchase I’d urge you to make is a set of storage containers that fit into your Instant Pot (if using an Instant Pot for this). This is probably the most important accessory I use for freezer meal prep. With these, you can freeze your meals right in the containers, thaw them just enough to pop them out of the container when you're ready to use, and drop the frozen meal in the Instant Pot to prep!

This set from the Dollar Tree is perfect. These are occasionally available in store, but they are available on the website for shipping to your home or local store if you can't find them. I bought one set of 24 about a year ago and most of them are still going strong. If you don't want to buy these, you can set gallon freezer bags in the containers to kind of shape your meals to fit in the pot while freezing them. If you’re an Amazon shopper that would rather put that Prime membership to good use, this is a similar set that a lot of boot campers love.

If you're not using an Instant Pot, gallon freezer bags work too. I love this set of bag openers for prep day - they're so convenient! 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. There’s also a specialty Freezer Tape that’s made for sticking labels onto freezer dishes and has incredible reviews.

One note about freezer space…you need a lot for this. I have a smaller chest freezer (similar size here) that is solely for my freezer meals. It has more than paid for itself over the years! It is totally possible to cut down on the amount of meals you make if you’re short on space. I also just about always do a big freezer clean-out for a week or two before I make these meals to make sure I have enough room for everything.

Summary: Make sure you have:

  1. Instant Pot-shaped containers or gallon bags
  2. Bag openers
  3. Labels (scroll down for printables)
  4. Packing Tape or Freezer Tape
  5. Freezer space

You might also need…

  1. 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).
  2. An inner pot lid (helps you use your inner pot as storage after dinner)
  3. 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!)

Step 2: Make your grocery run.

It is absolutely crucial that, before you start your freezer meal prep session, you make sure that every ingredient needed for the freezer meals is in your home. I've had days where I didn't have every ingredient and had to make notes of what to add on the meal. It becomes a big mess and isn't recommended.

screenshot of top of grocery list printable.

Luckily, I've made that easy for you! The entire grocery list (in its pretty printable form) is available in the printable collection that's just for my newsletter subscribers. It's free to join my newsletter - all I need is your email and name. Sign up with the form below (or click here if that form isn't showing). Once you sign up, check your email inbox for the access info...the full pack of printables and instructions for this boot camp is just a few spaces down on that page (titled Go-To).

I am a big fan of using Walmart’s Grocery Pickup service for my bigger trips like this…just order your items online using the grocery list I have in the printable collection and pickup from your local store at no extra charge! It’s incredibly convenient and a great way to organize your groceries to ensure you get everything - my Type A self loves seeing everything in order and in my cart. Click here to get a $10 off coupon for trying it out!

I usually don't have fridge space for all of this, so most of it is organized on my counter. You’re about to prep all of it, so as long as you act somewhat quickly, it shouldn’t go bad. I make a section for non-perishable items, a section for produce, and a section for meats (I did stick those in my fridge while I prepped everything else).

Step 3: Print and cut your labels.

I've also got these printables covered for you! These labels will go on your freezer containers and have every bit of info you'll need for serve day - recommended side item, prep instructions for your Instant Pot or slow cooker, ingredients needed for serve day, and serving size.

freezer meal labels.

You can click here to download your labels for this prep session!

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. Don't make the mistake of waiting until after they were frozen to try to attach the labels…it doesn’t work (ask me how I know). The frost makes the tape fall right off.

Step 4: Prep your veggies/meats.

Let's start the actual food prep! This was such a short and easy prep session that I was able to combine the veggie and meat prep steps into one easy section.

Something like this Vidalia Chop Wizard (c/o) will make your life so much easier when chopping the veggies. I've had one for years and have used it in almost every meal prep session I've done. It's perfect for making onion/pepper prep easier. I highly recommend it!

Before you start assembling your meals, here's the prep you need to do:

  • cook and drain 1lb Italian sausage (without casings)
  • cook and drain 2.5lbs ground beef
  • chop 1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • chop and cook 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (optional for meal #3)
  • chop 3 onions

As I finish ingredient prep, I put it out buffet-style on a kitchen counter. This makes meal assembly a breeze.

Step 6: Assemble your Instant Pot/slow cooker freezer meals.

Let's finally put those meals together! I usually try to put measurements for these in terms of tablespoons, teaspoons, cups, etc., but I've also added the amount of your prepped meat/veggie in the instructions as well. I recommend having your measuring spoons and cups ready though...they help a lot.

Meal 1: Spaghetti

In your freezer container:

  • 1lb Italian sausage, cooked and drained (all of the cooked Italian sausage)
  • 1lb ground beef, cooked and drained (a little less than half of the cooked ground beef)
  • 1 onion, chopped (⅓ of the chopped onion)
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6oz tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Chicken Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 bay leaves

Meal 2: Chicken Tacos

In your freezer container:

  • 1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
  • 1 pack ranch dressing mix
  • 2 teaspoon salt

Meal 3: Veggie Stir Fry

In your freezer container:

  • 2 20oz bags frozen veggie stir fry mix
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • (optional - 1lb chopped and cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

Meal 4: Sloppy Joes

In your freezer container:

  • 1.5lbs ground beef, cooked and drained (all of the remaining cooked ground beef)
  • 1 onion, chopped (half of the remaining chopped onion)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Meal 5: Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

In your freezer container:

  • 1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped (all of the chopped chicken breasts)
  • 2 12oz bags frozen broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon Chicken Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 onion, chopped (all of the remaining chopped onion)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Your Instant Pot/slow cooker freezer meals prep session is done! You now have 5 incredibly easy meals prepped and ready to go for a busy week. These meals can all be prepped in your Instant Pot or slow cooker following the instructions on the freezer labels.

freezer meal recipe cards.

The recipe cards I make for these meals are always popular...they have every bit of info you need to know about each meal on them. They can definitely be used in place of the labels if needed - they have all of the info from the labels, as well as the ingredients in each meal. Some like the simplicity and ease of reading the labels, some like to have all of the info on each meal with the recipe card - so I like to include both in each pack! You can find those recipe cards in that printable set that I've included in the printable collection - sign up for that here and get access information in your email.


A couple of people have asked about the serving sizes of each of these meals.  There isn’t a cut-and-dry number for each one (it really just depends on your family and how big your servings are),but I have tried to estimate the serving size for each meal on both the labels and recipe cards in the printable pack. I've estimated all of the meals in this pack at 4-6 servings. My family (2 adults, 2 young kids) usually has at least a meal or two leftover for the next day.

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 about 10-15 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 (for about 10 minutes) after the pot beeps when that 100 minute cycle is over.

You will set the same time on your Instant Pot for frozen and non-frozen meals.  So, let’s say there’s a meal or two you decide not to freeze and just store in the fridge for a day or two. Don’t adjust your cooking time! I know that seems kind of weird, but the pressurizing process thaws your frozen meal. The time that it takes your pot to come to pressure will be much longer for frozen meals (I found it to be around 20-25 minutes for a frozen meal, depending on the size of what’s frozen, as opposed to 5-10 minutes usually for a non-frozen dish).

Thawing time is estimated into the cook time if you're using the slow cooker freezer meals option. The meal will thaw and cook within the time allowance I've given.

Make sure to stir the ingredients in the freezer container before freezing.  If meats or other dense ingredients are frozen together, they tend to be more difficult to thaw in the pressurizing process, making that process longer and potentially leading to undercooked meat. Nobody wants that!

freezer meal printables on a purple background.

And good news friends - there are three additional premium Freezer Meal Boot Camp packs available as of today! I have two brand new 5-meal packs and a 20-meal pack available over in the shop.

freezer meal boot camp covers.

FMBC packs 11, 12, and 13 have a total of 40 meals that are perfect for busy weeknights. These can be prepped in an Instant Pot (or any other pressure cooker). All FMBC Packs include a full grocery list, freezer meal prep instructions for your meals, printable labels, and even recipe cards to save for later use. Meal planning doesn't get much easier than this!

 Happy prepping, everyone!

xo, Leslie - signature at the end of blog post.

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  1. Sandy Goodson says:

    What if you only want 1/2 recipe (there are only 2 of us)? Do you change the cooking time? Do you have 2 person freezer meals?

    1. I don't currently have any 2-person plans - but you can easily just half the ingredients for each one, since most of these meals have 4-6 servings! For Instant Pot cooking, cook times typically remain the same. I can't speak to slow cooker times on halving recipes, but in my experience you will usually take an hour or two off of cook time if you half the recipe. (Definitely check meat temps for safety if you choose to do that, though.)

  2. Great recipes! We will be trying the vegetable stir fry this weekend! And I can't wait to try out the Sloppy Joe's!

  3. Keith Nagel says:

    Looking for 11,12, & 13 in the lifetime member section and cant seem to find it. What are the file names to look for?

    1. Hi Keith! When you download the folder, they're about halfway down (I'm hoping that doesn't rearrange after downloading, that's how it shows on mine) - they're FMBC_PC11, FMBC_PC12, and FMBC_PC13. Let me know if you still have any trouble!

      1. Keith Nagel says:

        Got it, I was looking at the old lifetime site. Shop account setup and plans downloaded! Thanks!

  4. Can we print these meals. If so how.

    1. Absolutely! The full printable pack is available by signing up through that link above - you'll get an email with instructions on how to get your printable pack once you sign up.