As the nights grow colder and darker and we all start to hunker down a bit more, making dinner plans can seem like even more of a drag. Keeping a well-stocked freezer can help make weeknight dinners even easier, cut down on your grocery shopping, reduce food waste, and even help save you money as you’re able to stock up on items when they’re on sale. Use our guide to help you create a stocked freezer that works well for your family’s needs.
Easy Meal Items:
Keep your freezer packed with these items that can be grabbed and combined with what you have on hand for quick and easy dinner items.
Because bread can go stale so quickly, it’s a great item to have in your freezer for when you need some fresh bread to go alongside a pasta dinner or to grab a bun to go with your burger. If you bake your own bread, it’s great to freeze it as it can last for 3 to 6 months in your freezer. We also recommend keeping a loaf of bread on your freezer door for easy thawing for sandwiches and toast.
The next time you roast a chicken, make sure to save your bones to make bone broth, which is an incredibly nutrient-rich broth that can be sipped on its own, or stashed in the freezer to be used in soups or for cooking grains. You can also grab our Organic Grass-Fed Beef Bones which are perfect to use to make your own Beef Bone Broth.
Cheese is a great way to add plenty of extra flavor and healthy fats to your meals. Shredding your cheese at home is the perfect way to store it in the freezer and makes a quick and easy addition to homemade pizza or topping lasagna or enchiladas.
Ground beef is an easy storage essential that can easily be thawed for nutritious dinners. Use our Organic Grass-Fed Ground Beef to create Perfect Meatballs Every Time, which combines protein-packed ground beef with breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian parsley, onion, and garlic to create flavorful meatballs.
Herbs and Garlic
Although they aren’t items we often think about freezing, herbs and garlic add a ton of flavor to your food and freeze easily so you can grab them when needed. Softer herbs like mint, parsley, and cilantro can even be frozen in ice cube trays to make them easy to grab for adding to recipes.
Because it’s so versatile, chicken is an essential protein to keep in the freezer. You can easily pop out what you need for dinner and use one of our favorite Organic Chicken Breast Marinades to pair with your favorite sides. Or, if you’re looking for a more complete meal try our Hummus Crusted Chicken Breasts, Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas, or Sweet & Sour Organic Chicken.
Fruits and Vegetables
Whether you’re popping them in a smoothie or needing a quick vegetable side dish, stashing fresh veggies in your freezer is a great way to ensure that you have fresh produce at the ready. Just be sure to reseal the bag well to keep your produce fresh and prevent freezer burn.
Because shrimp can be cooked in only 4-6 minutes it’s a great protein to keep stocked in the freezer for quick dinners or lunches.
Any whole grain can be cooked and then frozen to make a quick side that is high in fiber. We like quinoa, brown rice, barley, and farro.
Pork chops are another great lean protein to freeze for a nutritious dinner, and pair well with veggies for a complete meal. Try Garlic and Rosemary Boneless Pork Chops with Arugula Salad or Boneless Pork Chops with Bok Choy.
DIYing your own freezer meals makes it super easy to enjoy something nutritious and homemade even if you’re in a pinch.
Pesto and Pasta Sauces
The next time you’re prepping a pasta sauce for dinner, try making a double batch so that you can freeze half of it. Then, when you need a quick meal, all you need to do is thaw the sauce and cook some pasta. Try this satisfying Turkey Spaghetti Bolognese, which is high in protein from our Organic Ground Turkey and can easily be loaded with veggies for extra nutrition.
Chilies, Curries, Soups, and Stews
When you need a comforting and nutritious meal, all of these work well and freeze beautifully. One of our favorites is Turkey Chili which has plenty of lean protein from turkey and kidney beans and can be easily dressed up with fresh sour cream, cheese, cilantro, and green onion.
Casseroles are other great family-friendly meals that freeze well to keep your freezer stocked for winter. Try super cheesy Easy Baked Ziti which is made with smoked mozzarella cheese for extra flavor or Beef Ragu, which is cooked in a slow cooker to save you even more time.
Once your freezer is well-stocked, you want to ensure that you’re making the most out of it. Here are some tips to do just that:
- Wrap your food in plastic wrap and then foil or in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.
- Label your items with the date frozen and the contents to make it easy to find what you need.
- Utilize a first-in-first-out system so you are using the oldest items first for the freshest foods.
- Create an inventory system (either a list on your freezer door or on your phone) to help keep track of what’s in your freezer.
How Long Does Meat Last in the Freezer?
- Bacon and Sausage: 1 month
- Fatty Fishes like Salmon: 2 months
- Sea Scallops: 3 months
- Ground Meat (Beef and Turkey): 3-4 months
- Lean Fishes like Halibut: 6 months
- Bison: 4-9 months
- Steaks: 4-12 months
- Pork Chops: 4-12 months
- Whole Chicken or Turkey: 12 months