There are many different ways to freezer cook. Some people buy ingredients for a month worth of dinners, prepare the meals, and then freeze them. Others simply double the amount they make each night, and then freeze the leftovers (this works great with chili, soups, and stews). My favorite way to freezer cook is ingredient preparation.
I don’t prepare meals to freeze; I prep ingredients. I’ve tried all methods, and though I will still double some meals, I like ingredient prep the best.
Here’s a list of staples you can prepare and freeze, and a few of the easy ways you can use them. I hope this helps you stock your freezer and make your weeknights a little easier!
If you slice and chop vegetables in advance, it makes them easy to toss in your favorite recipes. We eat a lot more vegetables in dishes if they are easy to add. Toss them in omelets, fajitas, roasts, soups, stir-fries, and more.
Sliced/Chopped Bell Peppers
Jalapenos or Green Chilies
Peas and Snowpeas
Corn (kernel and on the cob)
Chopped/Diced Tomatoes – I like to buy huge cans of whole tomatoes at Sam’s Club and then run them through a food processor before I freeze them.
Both chopped raw and cooked meats are handy to have on hand. Here’s a few of my favorites.
Sliced/Chopped Grilled Chicken Breasts – Add to salads, soups, rice dishes, tacos, potpies, casseroles, soups, and more.
Sliced/Chopped Raw Chicken Breasts – Thaw and then cook fresh for stir-fries or Italian dishes.
Shredded Chicken (boil a whole chicken and then shred the meat–save the broth) – Use in enchiladas or other Mexican dishes, chicken salad, and soups.
Sliced/Chopped Raw Sirloin – Thaw and use for beef tips with rice or noodles, stir-fries, stews, chili, and more.
Shredded Beef or Pork (Simmer on the stove or in a slow cooker–save the broth) – Great for Enchiladas or Mexican dishes, hot sandwiches with gravy, and bbq sandwiches.
Chopped Ham – Toss in omelets, scallopped potatoes, casseroles (cordon bleu type casseroles are amazing), chowders, and more.
Marinated Raw Meats (chicken breast, pork chops, steak) — Sauce Ideas: Teriyaki, BBQ sauce, lemon pepper, and more. Add the meat to a gallon size freezer bag and pour the marinade in. Freeze, and then thaw before cooking. Drain off the marinade and grill, bake, or pan sear the meat.
Sausage (Italian and Cajun)- use in pastas, soups, Cajun dishes, or grill and serve on a bun.
These are ingredients you will need on hand for quick meals. Many you can make fresh and freeze, and others you will need to buy.
Broth or Stock (chicken, beef, pork, vegetable) – Use in soups, gravy, chili, stuffing, and so much more.
Spaghetti and Pizza Sauce – Use as a sauce by itself, or add to chicken Parmesan style casseroles, calzones, or lasagna.
Tomato Sauce – Use in a variety of sauces, mix in meatloaf, and more.
BBQ Sauce – Use as a dipping sauce, toss with shredded meat, bake over chicken breast, pork chops, ribs, and more.
Salsa – Serve over meat, with chips as a side, bake over chicken breast or pork, and more.
Tomatoes and Chilies (Rotel) – Flavor taco meat, use in goulash, flavor soups and chili, and more.
Noodles – (spaghetti, angel hair, penne, bowtie, macaroni, old fashioned, spiral, and lots more fun varieties) – Use in pastas, soups, pasta salads, casseroles, and more.
Rice (brown, white, wild) – Use in stirfries, soups, as side dishes, rice casseroles, and more.
Tortillas (flour and corn) – Use for quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, wraps, and more.
Cheese (Mexican blend, cheddar, mozzerella, parmesan, pepper jack, and Swiss are all good to have on hand) – Use in Mexican dishes, casseroles, grilled sandwiches, and more.
Beans (kidney, pinto, black, white, and more) – Use in taco salads, chili, minestrone soup, as a filler for taco meat, and more.
Spices and Pantry Staples
You can make your own blends or buy premixed.
Taco Seasoning (this is so easy to make – You just need chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic, and a few dashes of hot sauce in your recipe)
Garlic Powder (or fresh garlic if you prefer)
Grilling Blends (there are all kinds of wonderful blends in the spice aisle) – Sprinkle over meat before you grill or bake.
Bread Crumbs & Croutons (Italian and regular) – In meatloaves, meatballs, over casseroles, as breading, and over salads.
Vinegar (white, balsamic, red wine, and more)
Oils (coconut, olive, canola, and more)
These are foods that don’t freeze well, or they last so long there is no reason to freeze.
Salad Ingredients (romaine hearts last for several weeks in the fridge–they are amazing and you usually buy them in a three pack in the produce section)
Lemon and Lime Juice
Mushrooms – I’ve noticed these don’t freeze well. You might have better luck, but I find them rubbery after they thaw.
Potatoes – I do not have good luck with frozen potatoes.
This list should get your started, but there are so many more things you can prep and keep on hand for easy meals. I will add more as I think of them.
What ingredients do you like to keep on hand for meals, and what do you make with them? Let me know in the comments, and I will add them to the list!