Consider this part two of the series…. this time I’ll focus on foods that I have to keep in the freezer at all times to make weeknight meal prep a breeze. (Click here for part one – pantry foods for short cuts).
Keepin’ it real for you guys…. I do have some processed-ish foods that I always have on hand (**Gasp!**). I won’t add them to this list because they aren’t what I’d consider essential for food prep. For example, our Wednesday nights are crazy in our house. So, nearly every Wednesday we have Trader Joe’s black bean taquitos. Everyone likes them, they are tasty and fairly healthy. So, there you go.
Here are 10 freezer foods that I keep on hand at all times…
- Lemon Juice – Okay, I admit, this is an easy one for me. We have a lemon tree that produces about 200-pounds of lemons every year. Yes, 200-pounds. We give them away to anyone who will take them! But, we are fortunate to have lemon juice on hand all year round. Freezing it in ice cube trays and then dumping the cubes into a large gallon freezer bag works great. Always ready for sauces, recipes and lemonade!
- Frozen Berries – If there is a killer sale, I buy a ton of berries and freeze them. If I am running low on frozen berries, I buy them to have on hand. Delicious in smoothies, for baking, or a cold side dish in the summertime.
- Sliced or Chopped Onions – It’s no secret that I hate onions. I hate them cooked, raw, fried, and any other form you can fathom. BUT, it is indeed true that they are necessary in certain recipes, and my husband loves them. So, I buy about 5-6 at a time, slice or chop them in the food processor, and freeze them in quart-size bags. Problems solved. And, my fingers stink and eyes drip only once, instead of frequently.
- Grated Zucchini – When friends’ gardens are at their peak, or there is a great sale on zucchini, or there’s a huge offering at Produce on Wheels Without Waste (POW-WOW) here in southern Arizona, I stock up on zucchini. Whatever we can’t eat right away gets grated in the food processor and stored in the freezer. Perfect for baking or stir fry later on.
- Shredded Cheese – My family goes through tons of cheese. Too much, truthfully. So, I commonly stock up on the 2-cup bags of shredded cheddar, colby-jack, monterey jack, and parmesan cheeses when there is a bargain. Always ready for quesadillas!
- Peas – Frozen peas are SO much more flavorful than canned. I mean, it’s like night and day. They are a great addition to pasta, soup, salads…. nice to have those sweet babies ready to go. My favorite new recipe uses them as a base for pesto. Yum….
- Hash Brown Potatoes – Frying these may not be the healthiest way to eat them, but if you get the minimally processed variety (with just potatoes and salt listed as ingredients), these are super to have ready for soups or breakfast-for-dinner.
- Homemade Wheat Pancakes – If we are having a yummy pancake breakfast on the weekend, I always make more than we need. They freeze great and make hearty breakfasts for a busy morning. Whole wheat pumpkin spice pancakes is my favorite variety, but my daughter prefers chocolate chip pancakes!
- Veggie or Black Bean Burgers – Yes, I love these. No one else in my house is as crazy about them, so this is basically all about me. I eat them often on days I’m working from home. They are also tasty atop a salad/veggie bowl. The black bean burgers from Costco are my new favorite kind. Economical, nutritious and delicious.
- Freezer-to-Crockpot Meals – As I said in a previous posting, my girlfriends and I like to get together to make these meals as a group/party. They have saved me many a busy weeknight! Chili works best, but other favorites are beef-barley soup, beef and broccoli, and red lentil soup.
There you have it! What is your go-to freezer staple?