How to Keep a Well-Stocked Freezer with Meal Prep
Why You Want to keep a Well-Stocked Freezer
The main reason I do this (and I think you want to do this) is to reduce stress in my life. Being able to have something to eat no matter what can be reassuring. In case of the unexpected, you know that you are covered. I have found comfort and confidence in not having an empty freezer.
It’s convenient to have nice and fast dinners ready to go. Many frozen dinners are off our table because of allergies. This method is a great way to recapture those easy dinners without compromising your health. It’s also an easy way to ensure you keep putting healthy food on the table.
Another reason is that you just want to buy a large amount of something delicious because it’s on sale or you found yourself inside Costco. Whatever the reason, you have extra, and you can now keep it in your freezer.
Types of Things to Keep in the Freezer
I generally put freezer foods into two main categories around one central idea. This idea is that once something has been frozen, you shouldn’t refreeze it. Like if I have frozen ground beef and meal prep it, I should not re-freeze the same ground beef in Bolognese form. So I like to think about my frozen foods, in ways that I won’t be tempted to re-freeze anything.
My first category is ingredients. These are generally raw, but can sometimes be a bit processed, like butter. I mostly buy these because they are cheaper in bulk. But I try to be careful, and not buy anything I will need to re-freeze again. If I’m going to freeze ground turkey, I already have a plan for that ground turkey to become tacos and not meatballs.
My second category is cooked. Some of these are store-bought, like soy-free bread. But it’s mostly extra batches of my favorite meal preps. Buy cooking and freezing it myself, I know it’s going to be healthy and easy for later.
Some examples in my freezer right now are butter, salmon filets, and burgers. Butter is fairly self-explanatory. We take out sticks as needed to keep restocking the butter supply in the fridge. Salmon and burgers I unfreeze as needed and cook that day. They are also fast to cook, under 10 min once thawed, which is what I’m looking for from freezer food.
We freeze soy-free bread my husband likes when we can find it. Otherwise, there is one brand of sourdough he’s fond of and my misadventures trying to make whole wheat bread in our bread machine. You can freeze many other precooked things, but we tend to stay away because of our need to eat home-cooked food.
Meal prepping for your freezer is where all the exciting things in our freezer come from. I strongly recommend making extra of your favorite recipes and freezing it. For breakfast, we like waffles and French toast. Then for dinners, two of our favorites are meatballs and pizza dough.
Premade dump recipes are also pretty good. There is nothing like dumping a beef stew into the crockpot in the morning and coming home to it after a long day of work.
My secret to keeping my freezer stock with delicious meal-prepped foods is just to do a little every week. Some people will prep a week’s or even a month’s worth of freezer meals in a day. I do not have this skill, though I have tried. It’s time-consuming and a bit beyond my humble cooking skills.
But I meal prep every week as part of my meal planning. So, all I need to do is make a little extra and put it in the freezer. Make sure to label the bag every time. You don’t want to be staring down potentially mouthwatering meatballs months from now even though you have no idea if they are still safe to eat.
The best part is that it doesn’t take much additional time to double a recipe but saves so much time when you’re hungry. Breakfast is a time to hurry in our apartment, so anything that takes time to cook and clean isn’t weekday breakfast friendly. Having pre-made adds variety to our mornings.
My 3 Favorites
I haven’t found frozen that I like waffles to buy, but they are easy to make. We just make a huge batch of waffles and freeze them. My husband loves them for breakfast. He just pops one in the toaster oven and 5 minutes later he has a hot waffle.
When ground turkey goes on sale, this is one of my favorites to prep. Due to limited oven space and cookie sheet availability making a double recipe adds a whole 20 mins to our prep, which is like nothing compared to how much time it saves.
This food is another that we can’t eat store-bought, so we make it instead. Making dough from scratch can sound intimidating, but it’s fairly simple. Pizza dough also freezes pretty well.
Over just a few months you will magically have a fully stocked freezer to enjoy eating through, filled with foods just the way you like them.
What I recommend having in your freezer:
- A few bulk goods
- 1-2 things you just can’t pass up on
- 1-2 things you just can’t run out of
- A few raw ingredients
- 1-2 things you can cook fast
- Meal prepped
- 4-6 fully prepped foods
- 2-3 premade frozen foods that you like. (I refuse to regret any ice cream in my possession, and neither should you.)
What do you keep in your freezer? Do you have a few favorites that you couldn’t live without in there? I would love to hear in the comments below.