Episode 45 – Beyond Freezer Meals- What Do You Keep in Your Freezer for Dinner Success?
Did you clean out your freezer? If you did, I bet you are like me and smile every time you open it. If not, no worries. I understand how crazy life is this time of year.
Today we are talking about how to stock your freezer for weeknight dinner success. It is important to note that this is going to look different in all our homes. I have a large deep freeze and a. freezer attached to my refrigerator. You may only have a little freezer with your refrigerator so the amount and types of things we keep in our freezers will be very different. We will go through the categories of things I keep in my freezer and I’ll help you adapt them to your situation.
Note- I am not a big “freezer meal” person. If you are looking for pinterest pretty meals 100% prepped and ready to go into the oven or crockpot, then this episode isn’t for you. I like to prep parts of the meal, but my family isn’t fond of casseroles and most crock pot meals. But I will help you get proteins pre-cooked and have lots meal components prepped so you can get a quick dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes.
Frozen Meats (Raw)
My large freezer is full of frozen meat. I get my beef in bulk from a local farmer and I buy chicken in bulk when it is on sale. I had a listener ask if I kept an inventory of my freezer and, alas, I do not. She bought her meat from an online meat store and I suggested that she just attach the packing slip to the outside of her freezer and mark off the cuts of meat as she uses them so she can easily see what she has left.
When I buy boneless, skinless, chicken breasts I get them in bulk. I open up the packages and cut the meat into chunks or single serving portions and wrap it in zip bags or plastic wrap. I freeze it flat on a cookie sheet and then transfer it to gallon zip bags. If you are single or there is just 2 of you in your home, you can do this with a single “family size” package of chicken. Use what you need the first day and freeze what is left in single serving portions for quick meals later.
I live in Kansas and any fish that we get this far inland has been frozen at some point. I find it less expensive and more convenient to buy fish already frozen. Same goes for shrimp. If you family likes shrimp, I highly recommend keeping a bag of frozen shrimp on hand. It thaws quickly in a bowl of water and cooks in minutes making it perfect for quick suppers.
I also keep homemade turkey sausage, bacon, and turkey bacon on hand for easy breakfasts.
I always have cooked taco meat and chicken taco meat in my freezer. In the fall I will have BBQ beef and roast chicken meat too. When I have roast chicken, I will also have chicken broth ready for quick and easy soups.
I like to keep bags of frozen veggies for quick side dishes. This podcast talks about my favorite way to cook frozen veggies. I also keep the leaves and inside pieces of celery on hand to add to my chicken broth. Some people like to keep a “broth bag” of little bits and ends of all their veggies to add to the stock pot when they make broth.
I like to keep frozen berries and 2 kinds of frozen bananas on hand. If your family is fond of smoothies then this is a must in your home. The two kinds of bananas are ripe bananas that I slice and freeze on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for smoothies and my favorite banana ice cream. The second kind is overripe bananas. These bananas are completely black. I peel them and freeze them in zip bags for banana bread and breakfast cookies.
Other things I Freeze
Baking supplies like gluten, yeast, and specialty flours
Special “project foods” like pot stickers and stuffed grape leaves that I make no more than once or twice a year.
Cookie Dough – Look at this post to see how I freeze cookie dough.