Phenomenal Freezer Meals

By Anne Hytrek, MSEd, RD, LD, CDE

September is National Family Meals month, and Anne Hytrek, registered dietitian, Ankeny Prairie Trail Hy-Vee, discusses how freezer meals are a convenient way to have more meals together at home. Plus, details about upcoming freezer meal workshops and find a recipe for Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

Each September, our country celebrates National Family Meals Month™ – a nationwide event designed to support families in enjoying more meals together using items purchased at the grocery store and, as a result, reap the many health and social benefits of doing so. The aim is simple: commit to staying strong with family meals. You can do this by pledging to have one more meal together, at home, per week. 

Life's hectic, and making a nutritious family meal last-minute can be especially challenging. You've probably thought about meal prepping or batch cooking before, but without any accountability or guidance, it's likely to not stick in your weekly routine. Or maybe you find yourself meal prepping the same meals week after week. Refresh your meal routine with help from Hy-Vee’s Virtual Freezer Meal Prep Workshops. These one-hour workshops automatically free up time in your week and stock your freezer with more wholesome meals.

Everything you need to shop and prep five meals in just one hour is included, plus instructions on making the meals. How it works is as simple as:

  • Shop the provided grocery list and use the recipe cards in class to prep and package all 5 of your meals.
  • Label all your packaged meals and freeze for later.
  • Thaw meals for 24-48 hours before you want to eat. Follow your recipe cards to make your meals and enjoy!

5 Reasons to Participate in a Virtual Freezer Meal Prep Workshop

  1. Simple and healthy meal prep. A nutrition expert provides general meal prep tips, and a class for Spanish speakers is offered quarterly. 

  2. Time-saving. You can prepare five balanced freezer meals in just one hour, with each recipe serving four to six people.

  3. Organization. Registration includes a link to Hy-Vee Aisles Online with all the ingredients grouped, so you can easily shop for everything you need.

  4. Convenient. Miss a class or can’t attend live? No problem! Every monthly workshop is recorded and available On Demand for you to watch and participate at a time that works best in your schedule.

  5. Food allergy friendly. Choose from various freezer meal workshops that will keep you feeling your best!

Details for upcoming freezer meal workshops are available online or by visiting with your local Hy-Vee dietitian. Claim a FREE workshop today by applying the following promo code at checkout: FAMILYMEALS2022.

Curious about our menu items? Check out this dietitian favorite; the following recipe not only tastes phenomenal but freezes easily. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pork is a freezer meal that quickly transformed into a quick and delicious family meal.

Recipe (below) and photo credit: Hy-Vee

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Serves 8

  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • ¼ cup Bragg coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups 100% pineapple juice
  • 1 package bakery wheat buns (cooking day)
  • Shredded red cabbage, for garnish (cooking day)
  • Hy-Vee Short Cuts cored pineapple, sliced into 1-inch rings, for garnish (cooking day)

To freeze: In a large freezer bag, add pork tenderloin, coconut aminos, brown sugar, garlic, sriracha sauce, ginger, sesame oil and pineapple juice. Seal tightly. Place inside labeled freezer bag. Freeze.

To cook: Remove from freezer and thaw in refrigerator for 24-48 hours.

Add all ingredients except buns to slow cooker. Cook on low 8 hours or high 4-5 hours (until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F).

Remove the pork from slow cooker and carefully trim any fat. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking juices; discard remaining juices. Shred pork and return to slow cooker. Add the reserved cooking juices.

Using a slotted spoon, spoon pork mixture on top of bakery bun. If desired, garnish with red cabbage and a pineapple ring.

Serve with steamed broccoli, mixed veggies or sweet potato fries for a complete meal.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.