Our goal is to help others save money and eat healthier by sharing recipes and meat tips that are easy to prepare, taste great, and can be made in bulk to last all month. Our recipes include tips on how to save money at the grocery store, how to plan ahead, cost per serving calculations and more!
Food For Freezer
Afull freezer is only useful if it’s stocked with foods that can help you put dinner on the table quickly on a busy weeknight — unfortunately, ice cream doesn’t fit the bill. Over the years, I’ve learned through trial and error what to always keep in my freezer so that I can, with the help of a few pantry and fridge staples, throw a variety of dishes together quickly with little effort. Here’s a list of my top!
Bacon is always in my freezer and I get anxious when we start to run low. The slices don’t take up very much room, and bacon defrosts quickly (or I even cook it frozen) so I can toss it with pasta, throw it on a salad, or make a BLT that’s satisfying and hearty. It’s a great way to add just a little meat and savory flavor to whatever you’re cooking.
2. Cooked Rice, Grains, or Beans
The next time you make rice, grains, or beans, make a double batch and freeze what you don’t eat, especially since these things can take a while to cook and might not be practical for a weeknight dinner. Now you have a heat-and-eat side dish or the foundation of a fried rice or grain salad ready to go! It’s a great, inexpensive way to always have something nutritious and filling around without resorting to buying instant mixes or other convenience versions.
Having homemade frozen stock in the freezer means that a soup can come together in minutes if you just add some noodles, dumplings, vegetables, or pasta. Homemade stock can also make a flavorful cooking liquid for rice and grains.
I love dumplings because they’re hearty and easy to cook in just a few minutes. They’re great just steamed or pan-fried and served with some vegetables for a light dinner, or added to broth and noodles to make a hearty soup. Homemade dumplings freeze very well, but I’ve also found great versions at ethnic grocery stores and even Trader Joe’s that are staples in my freezer.
If you find yourself with leftover bread, throw it in the freezer — it actually keeps better in there than the refrigerator — and don’t worry, sliced bread won’t stick together. Frozen bread defrosts in just a few minutes, and toasting it or grilling it into a sandwich will bring it to life again. Freeze chunks of leftover rustic breads and use in panzanella salads.
Having a few pre-cooked or smoked sausages in the freezer means a flavorful dinner is just around the corner. They defrost quickly and add salty, smoky goodness to a simple pasta or soup. One of my favorite quick weeknight dinners is to sauté sliced sausages with greens and serve it over couscous or polenta.
Did you know that most shrimp is frozen immediately after being caught and very little of it is sold fresh? Stock up on a bag of frozen shrimp for the best flavor and quality — they’ll defrost under cold running water in the time it takes for your oven or pan to preheat, or they can be roasted or sautéed quickly for a main course.
Storing food in the freezer
Knowing how to get the best out your freezer helps with meal planning and avoiding food waste. t
Freezing is a great way to store food. It will help you save money by planning ahead. And it will help you to cut the amount of food you waste if you get it in the freezer before it goes off.
If food is properly frozen it will stay safe to eat indefinitely, although after a time the taste and texture may suffer.
Whether you have a chest freezer or upright freezer, the principles of good freezing are the same.
What is the correct storage time and temperature for foods in my freezer?
Storage times for frozen foods differs depending on the type of food and type of freezer you have. Freezers have a star rating to let you know how long the food can safely be stored. You should check the star rating, as well as the instructions on packaged frozen food. This will allow you to work out how long you can store the packaged frozen food in your freezer. Also, be aware that freezers should ideally run at -18°C.
|* Frozen food compartment||Runs at – 6° C and should only store food for up to one week|
|** Frozen food compartment||Runs at -12° C and should only store food for up to one month|
|*** Frozen food compartment||Runs at -18° C and should only store food for up to three months|
|**** Freezer||Runs at -18° C and is suitable for long-term storage (three months or longer)|
Food you can freeze
Please note freezer storage times are for quality only. Frozen food will remain safe indefinitely if frozen properly.
|Food type||Recommended freezing time frames (if your freezer runs at -18oC)|
|Uncooked meat (roasts, steaks, chops etc)||4-12 months|
|Uncooked mince meat||3-4 months|
|Cooked meat||2-3 months|
|Cured meats (ham & bacon )||1-2 months|
|Uncooked poultry (chicken, turkey etc)||9-12 months|
|Cooked poultry||4 months|
|Fish-raw & cooked||2-4 months|
|Frozen dinners ( e.g. lasagne, pizza, shepherd’s pie)||3-4 months|
|Soups, stews and casseroles||2-3 months|
|Milk||Up to 1 month|
|Butter||Up to 3 months|
|Grated cheese||Up to 4 months|
|Vegetables||Up to 12 months|
|Fruit||Up to 6 months|
|Eggs – either separate the yolk and white, or beat the eggs before freezing||Up to 6 months|
|Cakes and baked goods without icing||6-8 months|
|Bread||Up to 3 months|
|Raw pastry||6 months|