March is national frozen food month. You will find excellent deals on frozen foods at grocery stores no matter where you shop in the month of March.
It is also a great time to think about stockpiling your freezer. One way I love to fill my freezer, is by freezing meals. This comes in so handy on busy work weeks, or as warm spring days start approaching and you want to stay outside instead of coming in to make dinner!
12 Things You Should Be Freezing
To Save You Time and Money
As you grocery shop, watch for good prices on items that you buy regularly. It will save you time and money to buy extra of these items and freeze them. You won’t have to go grocery shopping as often, and you aren’t paying full price for anything.
Buy meat on sale or in bulk to buy it at the best price. Most of my meat I buy for less than $3 per pound, depending on the type of meat and the cut. And that’s because I only buy it when it is on sale.
2. Cooked Meat
When I buy ground beef on sale and in bulk, I often brown most of it with a little water in a large stock pot. I can then rinse the meat as I drain it and remove a lot of the fat. I usually divide the beef into freezer bags so I can use it for taco meat, sloppy jo’s, chili or casseroles.
When I buy chicken on sale or in bulk, I will fill a crock pot with the chicken and some water and let it cook. It shreds SO EASILY after it cooks in the crock pot. I divide it into freezer bags and can then use it quickly in pot pies, soups and casseroles.
As I am making dinner, I am known to regularly double or triple my recipe and freeze an extra meal or two. This is one of my favorite things to freeze! I feel so efficient when I do this, knowing that I just saved a lot of prep time and cleanup for the frozen meals and I have quick homemade meals in the freezer to use in the next few weeks.
As a very rare occasion my son slept in this morning so I only had one child for awhile since my other one was off at school already. I had a bunch of meat I had bought in bulk (one of my favorite ways to save money) so what did I do? I made three pans of meatloaf, browned two bags of beef and froze three bags of chicken. All before 8:30am!!! Do you ever have productive mornings like this? Aren't they such a motivation booster??! #freezermeals #motivation #buyinbulk #budgetgroceries #budgetmeals
This is the same idea as doubling your meals. Every time I make soup, I make a huge pot and then freeze the leftovers. We can then eat it once a week for a few weeks, or its a quick easy meal to take a family who might be hurting. Incredible time-saver!
When I cook a chicken, turkey or ham in the crock pot, I always freeze the broth. You could also can it, but for our family, that’s too time-consuming. Whether you freeze your broth in small amounts (like in ice cube trays), or in larger family size containers, you will be sure to save time and money, as well as be keeping your family healthy.
Consuming broth on a regular basis during the winter months is one of the ways our family fights the flu!
Buy fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mangoes, peaches, and even bananas, when you find great prices on them. In the summer when most fruits are in season, you’ll likely buy them in bulk at your local farm market to get the best price. This may sound crazy, but we even started freezing cantaloupe—a perfect remedy for winter soar throats.
I most commonly think of freezing vegetables when they are in season during the summer months, but be sure to think outside the box too. I often buy a bag of onions, chop them and freeze them so I only need to buy and prep onions once a month! I do the same thing with peppers for stir fry’s, chili and casseroles.
If you shop at discount grocery stores or do the Giant Gas Deals, you might find bread at an excellent price. When I find organic whole wheat, or any other variety for a great deal, I buy enough loaves to last me for the month and freeze them.
9. Breakfast Items
At my house it feels like breakfast takes the most time and effort to make and clean up—especially if I am making a hearty meal with eggs, pancakes or waffles and a meat. To save myself some time, I’ll make a double or triple batch of pancakes or waffles and freeze the rest. We also like to make egg burritos, and sometimes I’ll even freeze pre-cooked sausage and bacon to speed up our mornings.
10. Shredded Cheese
We used to LOVE cheese at our house—literally I think it was in every meal I made! We still enjoy cheese, but we have minimized the use of it considerably. Since we like to shred our own cheese—and that’s a time-consuming process in itself!—it is a given that we prefer to shred our cheese as infrequently as possible. By shredding the cheese all at once and then freezing it in one pound bags, we save a lot of clean up time!
(Even if you don’t shred your own cheese, buying a large bag of shredded cheese in bulk and freezing it, is still a great time-saving solution.)
I love having fresh cilantro in my recipes, but you have to buy so much at a time and I usually only use a little bit. Since I prefer fresh herbs, when I found out freezing them was an easy option, I was ecstatic! (I freeze mine fresh and chopped, but some like to puree in the food processor with a little olive oil and freeze in ice cube trays.)
12. Cookie Dough
You know that smell of fresh baked cookies? And the taste of them served hot with some ice cream? Mmmmm, I can just taste it thinking about it! It is nice to have fresh homemade cookies, but you don’t always have the time to make them or do the cleanup. Freezing cookie dough in balls is an awesome trick. I typically freeze chocolate chip cookies, but there are many varieties of dough that freeze well. Whether you freeze them so you can get out two and bake them fresh for you and your husband, or freeze a whole bag to make fresh for your family, you will love this trick. I often let them bake in the oven while we ate our dinner, so we have hot cookies with ice cream ready for dessert!
If you are new at filling your freezer with these foods, start small. Next time you make a batch of cookies, freeze and few extra cookie dough balls and see how you like it. Remember not to be hard on yourself if you forget to freeze your extra herbs before they go bad. This is a learning process and everything good takes time!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below how you are doing with freezing foods, or if you’ve been freezing foods for awhile, what foods you find helpful to freeze. Let us know!