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You Can Freeze Almost Anything!

Freezer Meals

Click here to see a pictorial index of recipes that freeze well.

A Few Tips for Safety and Quality

  • Foods should never, ever be hot when put into the freezer. Always cool it completely! If it takes too long to freeze, it can grow deadly bacteria.
  • Remove as much air from the container as possible. This will help keep the Freezer Mealsfood fresh, as well as take up less space in your freezer.
  • Don’t put huge amounts of unfrozen food in your freezer at once. It may take too long to freeze and grow bacteria. It is also hard on your freezer’s motor.
  • Frost-free feezers have a defrost cycle that partially thaws the food. That’s why ice cubes will disappear after a time. This thawing and re-freezing reduces the quality of the foods, so either (1) don’t keep food in a frost-free freezer for longer than a month, or (2) use a freezer that is not frost-free.
  • Label your containers. I know, you think you’ll remember what’s in that mystery bag, but trust me, you won’t. I’ve defrosted many a mystery meal and have learned the hard way.

So, here’s what I know…

  • Chunks of potatoes get mealy, so I don’t freeze them except in soups. Scalloped potatoes, however, freeze fine…don’t ask me why.
  • Leftover meats and poultry can be frozen in chunks, slices or cut up small for salads, casseroles, or sandwiches.
  • Raw meats and poultry can be frozen in a marinade for faster preparation later.
  • Even pasta and pasta dishes can be frozen. Cook it al dente (barely done) and if it is separate (not in a dish), just empty it out of the freezer container, or ziplock bag, into boiling water. It will refresh and be ready to eat just as soon as it heats through…just a few seconds.
  • I try to keep cooked rice and quinoa in the freezer. When they have been frozen, they make better pilaf, or you can add them to a salad or reheat them plain.
  • Breads and pastries both freeze well and the sweet ones can often be sliced while still frozen. Cookies also freeze well.
  • Avocados freeze well. Simply mash them and package them in appropriate sizes.  You can mix the flesh with a little lime juice to keep them from turning brown.
  • Pesto, too, is a great thing to have on hand in the freezer. Freeze it in small amounts, like 1/4 cups, for easy access later.
  • Casseroles , such as lasagna, scalloped potatoes, or even tuna noodle casserole are freezer friendly. You can freeze the entire dish, or divide it into serving portions.
  • Some dishes with dairy in them, like baked egg dishes, will separate and look curdled when frozen and thawed, but they will still taste fine…just look weird.
  • Don’t freeze whole eggs in the shell – they will explode! You can freeze them out of the shell, if for some reason you want to do that.
  • Milk can be frozen. Pour out the top couple of inches to leave room for expansion or your container may break.
  • I like to buy grocery items at Costco to save money and I have found I can divide the large containers and freeze the contents in smaller amounts, such as olives, salsa, tortillas, etc.

The bottom line is, try it. Most things freeze very well, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

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