Freezer Cooking: $0.24 Microwavable Pasta Lunch Packets

I’m a fan of easy freezer cooking recipes, convenience and inexpensive meals. So I combined all of these qualities and turned them into a metaphorical super soldier of sorts and came up with this:

Make your own pasta lunch packets to store in the freezer. The cost is just $0.24 per packet. Definitely one of the cheapest freezer cooking recipes ever!

Yep, the price you see is indeed accurate. These freezable pasta lunches come in at just $0.24 per serving. Not only are they insanely inexpensive (can you even buy a pack of gum for $0.25?), they offer convenience and endless possibilities for variety to spice up your work lunches.

Do the work once and you’ll be able to fill your freezer with over three weeks worth of tasty lunches to bring to work.This was music to my husband’s ears, since he was getting pretty tired of taking leftovers or sandwiches to work every day. My husband takes these to work a few times per week, and since writing this post, I’ve also used this as a side for dinner. Super versatile.

Here’s how to make your own: 

Cook the pasta in a salted pot of boiling water until al dente. I cooked up two boxes of pasta, so I needed two pots. Or you can just skip the extra effort and use a large stock pot. Then drain.

Stir drained pasta with olive oil to prevent sticking. I used a little over 1 tsp. of Olive Oil for each box of pasta.

Freezer Cooking Recipes: $0.24 Microwavable Pasta Lunches

Place pasta in an even layer on a cookie sheet. I used one cookie sheet per box of cooked pasta. My pasta overlapped a bit, so I had to snap a handful of pieces apart once frozen.

Place in the freezer for two hours. If you have a small freezer like me, use a small wire shelf from the dollar store to be able to freeze two sheets at once.

small kitchen hack

While the pasta is freezing, mix together your sauce and let it cool completely before packaging up. You’ll see two types of sauce in this post, but since I way over estimated how much I needed, I’m only accounting for the cost of one sauce – the broccoli alfredo sauce.

Recipe to come soon for the broccoli alfredo sauce.

UPDATE: The broccoli alfredo sauce recipe has been posted. 

Remove the frozen pasta from the freezer and transfer to a large bowl. If some of your pieces are frozen together, gently snap them apart. I opted to mix my pastas together even though they were different varieties.

Freezer Cooking Recipes: $0.24 Microwavable Pasta Lunches

Tip: Larger pastas are easier to freeze and less likely to stick together. If some of them do stick together, it’s a lot easier to snap them apart than a smaller pasta.

I used zippable sandwich bags and small 2-oz. cups w/lids like these to package up my pasta lunches. If you prefer not to use the cups, you can freeze your sauce in ice cube trays. Since most ice cube trays hold 1-oz. per cube, you’ll need to use two ice cubes for each bag of pasta.

It’s important to work quickly when packaging up your pasta so it doesn’t thaw.Place one cup of pasta into each bag. Try to remove as much air as possible from each bag, fold over once if your bags are large enough and seal. Place them into the freezer immediately.

Freezer Cooking Recipes: $0.24 Microwavable Pasta Lunches

Then package up your sauce cups. Each cup holds two ounces. I just used a regular spoon to scoop in my sauce. Place lids on cups and transfer to the freezer.

Freezer Cooking Recipes: $0.24 Microwavable Pasta Lunches

** if you’re using an ice cube tray for your sauce, you’ll have to add the frozen cubes to the bags of pasta later.

I’m storing my pasta in a basket on the top shelf of my freezer and just sliding in the cups in the leftover space on the side. Super easy to grab and go!

Freezer Cooking Recipes: $0.24 Microwavable Pasta Lunches

Now, About the Sauce

I know I touched on it above, but I’ll explain a bit more about my choice for the sauce. The reason I chose the the little cups to store the sauce was because I wanted my husband to have some variety with his lunch each day.

Keeping the sauce separate from the pasta allows me to save leftover sauce from our dinners in the cups and add it to our sauce stash. This allows for a much greater variety than if the sauce was packaged together with the pasta. He can just choose the sauce he’s in the mood for, grab the pasta, and go.

This is just an easy way to break up the monotony of essentially eating the same thing for lunch a few times each week.

Freezer Cooking Recipes: $0.24 Microwavable Pasta Lunches

Heating Instructions:

Straight from the freezer:

Lightly massage bag of pasta to break apart any pieces that are frozen together. Place pasta in microwave safe bowl. Remove frozen sauce from cup and place directly over the pasta (if you’re using sauce from ice cube trays, use 2 cubes of sauce). Microwave for 90 seconds. Then mix thoroughly, ensuring all pasta is covered in the sauce. Place back in microwave for 30 seconds. Let sit for one minute before removing from microwave.

*Microwave times may vary according to your microwave’s wattage.

When thawed:

Place pasta in microwavable bowl, mix sauce and pasta together and microwave for one minute or until thoroughly heated through.

Cost Breakdown

*this makes 17 frozen pasta lunches
  • (2) boxes of pasta: $2
  • Broccoli Alfredo Sauce: $2
  • Olive oil: $0.11
  • Total cost: $4.11
  • Cost per packet: $0.24

I knew they were going to be inexpensive, but I was happily surprised to see that the cost per serving is just $0.24. To date, this is probably one of the cheapest freezer meal recipes I’ve posted. Though, my $0.59 freezer smoothie packets do come pretty close. 

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Comments

  1. says

    My head is spinning around. I’m going to try this! I’ve been wanting to try freezer cooking, but I have limited time. This seems easy enough.

    Erica
    We Three Crabs

  2. says

    I love this! I follow your Pinterest boards and this caught my eye. I think I’m going to do the same and add a cup of frozen veggies to mine. It’ll up the cost a little, but at 24 cents plus veggies it’s still pretty affordable I’d say! I like switching up the sauces, you’re right – it breaks up the monotony.

  3. Anonymous says

    Love this idea. Going to package up my leftover sauce and pasta this way. Also I plan to make a few double batches this week when I make meat sauce for goulash and pesto. Brilliant and so practical!

  4. says

    Hi Jazmin! What a clever idea! Thank you for sharing! I always thought pasta would be soggy if frozen. Now where’d I get that idea? Have a great week! Blessings from Bama!

  5. says

    Wow! Hubby takes lunch every day to work and I’d love to eat these for lunch at home myself. All my leftover pasta and sauces will be frozen like this from now on. Thank you for sharing this at the HomeAcre Hop; I hope you’ll join us again this Thursday.
    Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

  6. Elaina says

    Fantastic idea. You can even throw in some frozen meatballs or chicken strips although that would raise the cost a bit.

    • Jazmin Rode says

      So funny you mention that today! Just tonight we had some extra chicken left over from dinner and I diced them up and added them to the packs he’ll take tomorrow. 🙂

    • Jazmin Rode says

      We’ve kept it in there for up to a month and it still tastes just as fresh. I do recommend keeping it covered, either in the little cups I mentioned in the post or in a ziplock bag.

    • Jazmin Rode says

      I’m happy you’re going to try the pasta packets, Rosemarie! I also super appreciate your wanting to show your support for the site, however, clicking on the ads just as a show of support is actually against the TOS for the ad networks I am a part of. Just your reading my content and commenting on posts that interest you is more than enough and I am so grateful for your genuine interactions!

  7. says

    Wow I really love the idea of freezing the sauce in those little cups! Thats a good idea! Usually I just freeze all together and get super bored after a week! I may just go home and do this, this weekend!

  8. Nate says

    Thanks for this post. Im a young lad who just scored a great job, Ive been attempting to be financially conscious and this is such a smart way to make lunches available ahead of time. Since i work 7am to 8pm time is precious. one batch of this opens up my nights to relax. So with that said, thank you 🙂

  9. Lynne Rose says

    Love it, should be a lifesaver with gluten free pasta for my Celiac husband! Thanks.

    P.S. You did not factor in the cost of the containers and bags. Seems trivial, but adds up FAST.

    • Jazmin Rode says

      I have frozen rice in the past and it has worked out well. 🙂 And if you will be adding chicken, I would go ahead and add it in with the pasta (but be sure to flash freeze first) so long as there is no sauce.

  10. Anna says

    Why is it necessary to freeze the noodles on the pans first? If I just throw in a handful of pasta or rice into a container, it will stick together but will be fine once heated. Does it not freeze consistently?

  11. Jill says

    This is so helpful for hubs lunches. I’m wondering if I go the ice cube route can I freeze pasta and sauce then stick frozen cube sauce in with pasta when I pack it in morning for him? Or do they have to stay separate till heating? Thanks again!

  12. says

    First of all this is an incredible idea!
    I just love this!
    However I struggle with the pasta to sauce ratio…EVERY TIME. I always end up with to much pasta and not enough sauce. lol
    I was wanting to know how much pasta you added to your baggies for 2 cups of sauce.
    Thanks for the super awesome idea!

      • Jazmin Rode says

        Each Baggie was about 1 cup of pasta. If that ratio isn’t saucy enough, maybe try adding 1.5 cups of pasta to a baggie and using 2 containers or sauce. Or just add a tiny amount of water to the bowl before heating if you’re in a pinch. 🙂

  13. polly says

    Is there a printer-friendly copy of this recipe/system?I can’t wait to try it for my mom, who is 85 and I make and freeze food for her every few days.

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