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It is always nice during a busy time to know that my freezer holds the basic components for a wonderful meal. I love being able to pull a few things out of the freezer in the morning and then in the evening spend a couple of minutes on assembly and Voila! We have a wonderful dinner ready.
Here are a few things that I like to keep on hand:
Broth– I make broth most weeks. Sometimes I’ll even make two different kinds. I try to keep a half gallon or more in the fridge for immediate use and at least that much in the freezer. Making it ahead assures that I’ll have it on hand when I need it. I use broth as the liquid for cooking my beans, in stews and soups, gravies, for cooking rice, etc.
Meat– When I cook a whole chicken or a roast I try to put at least 1 cup of the meat aside and freeze it. This gives me a great start for a skillet meal, casserole or soup. Same idea with ground beef. Many of the meals I make that use ground beef are terrific with just 1/2 pound of beef in it. I’ll brown the entire pound (my grass fed beef comes in 1 pound packages) along with an onion but half will go in the freezer for a future meal. Some of my favorite ways to use up this bit of ground beef is chili or a casserole.
Tortillas– I make a batch of sourdough tortillas using this recipe and it is enough for three meals for my family. We’ll have them fresh the first night and the rest get put in the freezer to use in future meals. I do find that they are more pliable before being frozen but still work great as a Tostado or to be cut and fried to make ‘chips’.
Rice– We almost always make a double batch of rice. If I do not have plans for using all the rice in meals (have you tried this yummy breakfast using leftover rice?) then I’ll put some in the freezer. We love rice in our burritos and to make a quick fried rice so it is always a welcome addition to our freezer.
Beans– I like to make a big pot of beans to have for a meal or two. Often times, I’ll puree pinto or black beans to use as ‘re-fried’ beans in burritos, tostados or nachos (I use my frozen tortillas for this for a super quick meal). I heat them on the stove top and add a nice size dollop of coconut oil while they are heating. I’ll also add seasoning such as cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper to them along with salt and pepper (I usually do not season my beans prior to freezing). A little shredded cheese, sour cream and some salsa makes a wonderful meal.
Whole beans are great to keep in the freezer too as an addition to soups or chili. Frozen garbanzo beans give me a head start on this yummy curry.
Cheese– I like to pre-shred my cheese (in the food processor) and then put it in the freezer for future use. This is nice in two ways. First I have the ‘work’ of shredding the cheese completed. Second I make sure I have shredded cheese when I need it. I’ve had too many times of thinking I had cheese on hand to discover that I was mistaken.
Winter Squashes– I love to make a quick and easy Savory Custard. This is from an idea that Jenny at Nourished Kitchen posted during her food stamp challenge series last year (scroll down here to Acorn Squash Custard) and I loved. I make it with whatever squash type item I have so keeping leftover mashed sweet potatoes or winter squash in the freezer is great for this recipe. I also like to have frozen winter squashes for creamy squash soups or muffins.
I have a few other things that I’m looking to try freezing to see if it will work such as homemade pasta and crepes. The crepes I’m fairly certain will work well, the pasta I’m not as certain.
What would you suggest I add to my freezer to help with meal prep?
This post is a contribution to this weeks Preparation Day Linky. This weeks theme is Things Made Earlier in the Week hosted by