20 Staples for your Freezer

20 Staples for your Freezer

20 Staples for your Freezer

Freezer staples with allow you to always make a healthy meal. Keeping some key ingredients in your freezer will facilitate making a quick, nutritious dinner or lunch. You’ll reduce food waste by only thawing what you need and save money if you buy extra items while they’re on sale or buy them in bulk from a warehouse store and freeze them. Here are 20 freezer staples to get you started.

20 Staples for your Freezer
20 Staples for your Freezer
  1. Cooked rice, quinoa or wild rice– Keep bags of leftovers cooked rice, quinoa or wild rice in the freezer for up to 6 months. To reheat, add 2 tablespoons of water for each cup; microwave frozen for 3 minutes in high
  2. Cooked Beans– Cook a big pot of beans and freeze in small quantities in freezer bags. Frozen beans will keep for up to 3 months. To defrost, place the bag in hot water for 5 minutes or thaw in the microwave oven
  3. Cauliflower Rice– Cauliflower rice is a good substitute for brown rice if you are reducing your carbohydrate intake. It can be used in basically any meal that would call for regular rice. Make a healthy fried “rice” by adding veggies, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. You can also eat it with a stir-fry, make cauliflower pizza crust, use is for the base of a “grain” bowl, or add it to homemade veggie burgers. To reheat, add 3 tablespoons of water and microwave for 4 minutes.
  4. Bread Crumbs- Bread going stale? Pulse the bread slices in a food processor to make soft crumbs. Store for up to 2 months in a freezer bag. Defrost at room temperature and than add salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 3 tablespoons dried parsley, 3 tablespoons combinations of Italian seasoning and oregano and 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese. This recipe is based on 3 cups of bread crumbs.
  5. Cooked bacon– Cook strip of bacon, drain on paper towel, and then store in freezer bags up to 1 month. Remove strips as needed, and use
  6. Chicken and Beef stock– You can make homemade stock from the bones of a roast chicken or beef roast in water with vegetables and seasonings about 1 hour. Strain and cool before storing in freezer container. They last up to 3 months. They are great base for soups and sauces.
  7. Fresh bell peppers, mushrooms and cabbage– Stock up on these veggies and use them year round. Cut up uncooked veggies and store in freezer bags. Grab as much as want and use in recipes like chili, casseroles and sauces.
  8. Fresh Herbs– Grab those fresh herbs and savor the flavor year round. Rinse the herbs and then mince in a food processor with a few tablespoons olive oil. Spoon the herbs into ice cubes trays, cover and freeze. When frozen, pop the herb cubes into a freezer bag and retrieve a cube to add to your recipes. Fresh chives are just cut and put into a freezer bag. To preserve basil, make a pesto is an ideal way.
  9. Stir-Fry blend– Always keep some frozen vegetables in your freezer. They’re perfect for making quick meals. Stir-fry blends generally contain some mix of frozen carrots, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, green beans, or mushrooms. In addition to making a stir-fry, you can use them to make a vegetable soup or heat them up to add to a grain bowl. Another advantage is that frozen vegetables are generally cheaper than buying fresh.
  10. Frozen veggies- frozen bagged vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, edamame, cauliflower, peas, carrots, corn, onions, zucchini, etc. So many and easy to stock up.
  11. Berries– They are highly nutrient-dense and relatively low in sugar for fruit. I always have several bags of frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries in my freezer. I use them every day in smoothies or to sweeten plain Greek yogurt.  You can also freeze grapes, mangos and bananas too up to 6 months.
  12. Cooked chicken– Chicken is one of the most versatile protein sources that can easily be incorporated into almost any type of cuisine. Keep some cooked chicken thighs, breasts or roaster chicken in the freezer to always have the base for a weeknight dinner.
  13. Cooked ground beef– Cooked ground beef is easily be incorporated into many dishes like tacos. A great to meal under 30 minutes and everyone will enjoy it.
  14. Burgers (ground chicken, turkey, meat or veggie)– Create your own hamburgers and wrap each one in a clear wrap than put them in a large freezer bag. When you are in the mood for hamburgers, pull how many you want and let them defrost for bit. Under 40 minutes, you will yummy hamburger for your you and your family. You save and you don’t have to wait for a whole package to defrost. The hamburgers can be in the freezer up to 4 months.
  15. Homemade freezer Meals– Sometimes you truly don’t have the time to cook and just need something that’s ready to go. That’s where freezer meals are valuable, however, many pre-made frozen meals in the grocery store are not the healthiest options due to excess sodium and sugar. To create a stash of healthier freezer meals, make extra servings of a dish while you meal prep and freeze them for later use.  
  16. Seafood– Keep some fish, shrimp, or scallops in the freezer. Fresh seafood needs to be used right away, but frozen seafood can be thawed to make baked salmon or sauteed shrimp for dinner without needing to make a trip to the store. To defrost, thaw it in the fridge for several hours or run under cold water.
  17. Grated Cheese- I buy cheese in blocks since it’s cheaper than buying to pre-shredded or sliced. However, I usually can’t use up the whole block before it goes bad. To prevent food waste, I will grate the cheese I have leftover and freeze it. Frozen grated cheese works well mixed into scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, or really any dish that calls for melted cheese
  18. Soups and Chili- When you make soup or chili, make an extra batch to freeze. Taking that small effort to make a few extra servings can supply you with healthy meals later. On a night when you don’t have time to cook, you can heat up the extra soup that you froze.
  19. Homemade croutons– Such a easy way to dress tossed salads, Cube dry bread slices; drizzle with olive oil and seasonings, and toast in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until crispy. Store in freezer bags for up to 2 months.
  20. Miscellaneous Ingredients– When you’re cooking and have that random leftover cup or two of vegetable stock, pasta sauce, or pumpkin puree, freeze it. This will save you from wasting food when you’re making something that doesn’t call for the entire can or carton of an ingredient. Portion the ingredients out in one or two cup servings in freezer bags before freezing it. You can use these smaller portions later for recipes that may only call for a cup of something.

BENEFITS OF STOCKING YOUR FREEZER

  • Less Stress. Once you’ve stocked your freezer with the essentials, it’s less stressful when it comes to time to make a meal for the family. You’ll be more prepared for emergencies and times when you’ve got an unexpected crowded house.
  • Meal Prep Made Easy. You can make and store meals ahead of time to grab and go for easier meals in the future.
  • Budget-Friendly Leftovers. Have some tasty leftovers but don’t plan to eat them over the next couple of days? Store them properly in the right kind of container or bag and you’ll have meals ready to go in the future.

DO YOU KNOW!

Keep in mind that bagged frozen vegetables are flash-frozen at the height of their freshness and most nutritious. Many people steer away from frozen veggies in fear of them losing their nutritional value. It’s a healthier choice to grab those frozen veggies for that recipe instead of those canned ones that have all those preservatives to help keep them shelf-stable.

Now your freezer is full of options to eat simple and nutritious meals at home, even if you’re pressed for time. Make it a habit to try to always have some freezer staples handy and you’re on your way to maintaining a healthy diet.   

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