Food For The Fridge

0

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 Fridge

A full fridge 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!

1. Bacon

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.

3. Homemade Stock

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.

4. Dumplings

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.

5. Bread

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.

6. Sausages

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.

7. Shrimp

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 compartmentRuns at -12° C and should only store food for up to one month
*** Frozen food compartmentRuns at -18° C and should only store food for up to three months
**** FreezerRuns 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 typeRecommended freezing time frames (if your freezer runs at -18oC)
Uncooked meat  (roasts, steaks, chops etc)4-12 months
Uncooked mince meat3-4 months
Cooked meat2-3 months
Cured meats (ham & bacon )1-2 months
Uncooked poultry (chicken, turkey etc)9-12 months
Cooked poultry4 months
Fish-raw & cooked2-4 months
Frozen dinners ( e.g. lasagne, pizza, shepherd’s pie)3-4 months
Soups, stews and casseroles2-3 months
MilkUp to 1 month  
ButterUp to 3 months
Grated cheeseUp to 4 months
VegetablesUp to 12 months
FruitUp to 6 months
Eggs – either separate the yolk and white, or beat the eggs before freezingUp to 6 months
Cakes and baked goods without icing6-8 months
BreadUp to 3 months
Raw pastry6 months

Foods You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Fridge

Pro tip: It is very important to keep you refrigerator organized and clean. Items that have expiration dates coming up or are highly perishable should be kept closer to the front of the shelf — easily accessible to you. That way you remember to use it and not be wasteful by throwing out perfectly good food.

Milk Or Other Dairy Products

Milk, yogurt, and cheese are what life is all about. You will constantly be using these items and buying more. Make sure not to store milk on the fridge door — at least not if you have roommates. My milk has gone bad quicker because the fridge door was constantly being opened and closed.

Eggs

Breakfast, lunch, or (PLOT TWIST) dinner. Eggs are a super food. Always keep them above any heavy items and make sure to check the box before buying them for expiration dates and broken shells before purchasing.

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Once opened you can keep them for quite a while in your fridge, so stock up and save.

Baking Soda

This will be your lifesaver when it comes to stinky food items. Baking soda sucks up the odors that sometime penetrate your cheeses and butters. No one wants a fishy smelling cheese. Arm and Hammer sells convenient boxes that you replace every 30 days. (I tend to replace mine less because I’m cheap and broke at the moment.)

Sauces On Sauces on Sauces

Always have a variety of sauces on hand. Even badly prepared food can get a dose of goodness out of a bottle. Soy, teriyaki, salad dressing, ketchup, and mustard will last a long time and really pull their weight, especially jazzing up meals on a budget.

Coffee

Storing this in the fridge will keep it delicious for you.

Bread

I’ve found that I can keep my bread from going stale for an extra two weeks by keeping it in the fridge instead of the counter.

Snacks

Pickles, olives, and other things in jars can keep for a long time, and serve as a munchie saver.

Fruits and Vegetables

Yes, they’re expensive, but they’re a surefire way to avoid scurvy! If you want them to last longer, consider buying whatever happens to be on sale that week and then moving it to the freezer.

Butter

… Is everything to me. It keeps for a long time, and even if you’re not a butter person, you’ll always have some random butter-related baking emergency, I guarantee.

Leftovers or Precooked Meals

If you live with other people and have limited fridge space, I suggest pre-cooking all of your meals for the week. That way you leave room for the perishables you haven’t used and know exactly what you need to buy.

Instant Dough

Biscuits or pizza. No matter what your choice, it will be fast and easily accessible.

Freezer

You should defrost your freezer every once in a while to keep it working well. Remember to move things around and away from the back wall where it is the coldest to keep your items from getting freezer burn.

Chicken/Fish/Meat

Any extra meat or fish that you do not end up using should be put into plastic bags and placed in the freezer. That can delay your next shopping trip by a few days and save you money.

Frozen Meals

Sometimes you don’t want to cook, and that’s OK. Sometimes your friends come over and you need to entertain. Either way, frozen meals are nothing to be ashamed of. Stores usually have good deals so you can stock up and just keep them in the freezer for a long time.

Frozen Snacks

Ice-cream is a gift, so keep it in the freezer at all times.

Grapes

Put frozen grapes in your alcoholic drinks to avoid diluting them — TRUST me.

Ice

This is (hopefully) a given, but you never know when an ice-mergency will arise.

Onions

Keeping them in the freezer an hour or two before using them helps curtail the tears when you cut into them.

Pantry

You can do whatever you want with this part of the kitchen. It’s not as sensitive as the fridge, so use it as a creative outlet.

Clear Plastic Containers + Labels

Keeping everything in these will make it super easy to find in a pinch.

Salt and Pepper

Obviously a staple of every dish (what is blood pressure?).

Cereal

For a quick breakfast fix (or dinner, nobody’s here to judge).

Canned Soups

These babies never go bad. A nuclear incident could occur and you will be fed forever. Plus, these are really great to have ready to go when you’re sick and don’t feel like leaving the house.

Canned Tomato Sauce

Yes, they’re great on noodles, but they can also provide some heft or a base for a ton of other delicious dishes.

Canned Beans

These will also last forever. They are a go to when you are out of food (or non-zombie stricken relative post-apocalypse).

Rice/Quinoa/Risotto/Other Less Perishable Grain Products

Mixing one of these with a protein every night is easy and creates variety. That way you feel like a master chef without shelling out the big bucks.

Pasta

Because nothing is better than a hot plate of spaghetti. (And the fact that it takes eight minutes to make is also a big selling point for me.)

Potatoes

MASHED POTATOES. ENOUGH SAID. But seriously, these are so versatile and so, SO cheap.

Canned Tuna

This protein will keep longer than meat, won’t take up space in the fridge, and is great in salads.

Garlic

Garlic makes everything taste good, helps your immunity system, AND makes people think you spent a lot of money on the meal.

Bananas

Similar to potatoes — hella cheap.

Avocados

Because you never know when they will be ripe. I put a few out to ripen while the rest sit in the fridge.

Ramen

It take it all back. You can ignore everything on this list and just have a pantry stock full of this stuff.

Cooking Spray

If you don’t want to waste your precious butter on nonstick baking misadventures, this is the solution you need in your life.

And that’s all, folks! With these supplies you will triumph in the art of adulting.

Images: Aleksandr Zubkov/Moment/Getty Images; Giphy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Like
Close
TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.
Close