How to Stock & Organize Your Freezer
With a smartly stocked and organized freezer you can make dinner faster, avoid extra supermarket trips and save money. Now that's cool.
From storage and labeling tips to a frozen food timeline, here's everything you need to know about properly stocking your freezer.
Rack 'Em Up
Problem: Odd-shaped containers of soup and sauces are hogging space.
Solution: Turn 1-gallon resealable freezer bags into skinny storage. Fill the bags, lay them flat on a baking sheet and freeze, then store vertically in magazine files.
Enjoy a Cold One
Problem: You're short on ice.
Solution: Store liquor in the freezer, and the supercold, slightly thickened alcohol will keep ice in drinks from melting too quickly.
Stay in Shape
Problem: Your kids love meatballs -- but not if they aren't round!
Solution: Stop your meatballs from getting squished by freezing them first in a single layer on a baking sheet. Then pile them into a resealable freezer bag.
Spare Your Pans
Problem: Your favorite baking pan is stuck in the freezer with a lasagna.
Solution: Put that pan back in heavy rotation. Next time you make lasagna, or any casserole, line the baking dish with foil, leaving a 4-inch overhang, before filling and baking. Once the lasagna is cool, freeze it, then use the foil flaps to remove it from the pan; tightly wrap with freezer paper and pop it back in the freezer. Later, unwrap it, put it back in the pan and heat it up.
Put Up Produce
Problem: Where are the peas? Unwieldy bags of vegetables are crammed into every empty crevice.
Solution: Keep the bags out of the way and all in one place by storing them on the top tier of a desktop in-box. Place heavier frozen meat in the bottom trays.
Problem: That T-bone you pulled out for dinner is dry and leathery and tastes a little funny.
Solution: Lose the foam trays and plastic wrap your meat came home in. Rewrap roasts and meats in freezer paper to keep them moist and flavorful.
Be Crystal Clear
Problem: Your ice cream is covered with a thin layer of ice shards.
Solution: Press a piece of plastic wrap flat against the ice cream surface to keep it creamy and smooth.
Pack Like a Pro
Want to keep freezer burn at bay? We've got tones of tips for wrapping your food up safe.
Frozen foods don't last forever. Eliminate waste with the following freezer timeline.
Milk, ice cream, hot dogs and bacon.
Casseroles, stews, bread, cooked pork and beef.
Grated cheese, raw shrimp and cooked chicken.
Muffins, cookies, fresh vegetables and raw chicken parts.
Raw whole chicken, steaks, butter, egg whites, breadcrumbs and fishsticks.
Thaw it Out
Want to learn how to take food from frozen solid to family dinner?
Stock Your Freezer Pantry
Make extras of the following items to keep on hand for quick use.
Reheat them in the microwave or toaster oven.
Bake one for a snack or a few in a casserole.
Stir into soup or toss with salads.
Breaded or Battered Cooked Chicken Cutlets
Now get cookin!
We've shared our top 20 freezer-friendly recipes to whip up for dinner, tonight!