I am fortunate to have lots of freezer space, including two refrigerator/freezers and one deep freezer, therefore my freezers are never truly full. The deep freezer can still create organizational issues with its cavernous space, but we’ve found a solution that prevents me from digging through three feet of steak and roasts looking for the last package of hamburger.
Four of these inexpensive crates have saved us! We organize our beef in them (hamburger in one, roasts and round steak in another, steaks for the grill in the third), and put lightweight extras on top. The fourth (not shown) is used for other meat I have on hand (chicken, turkey, sausage). They are easy to lift, and it’s easy to find what I need.
Another way to use the crates (if you don’t keep quite as much beef as we do!) is to purchase multi-colored crates for different items. Veggies in one, meat in another, maybe fruit or baked goods in another crate. The options are limitless!
This next tip is my all-time favorite freezer cooking tip, and I must credit my high school home ec. teacher for the advice. See Mrs. R, I was listening! Just don’t ask me a thing about what I remember from the sewing project… which I never even completed…
Line your baking dishes with foil (I recommend heavy duty) before you freeze the meal! No more flimsy aluminum pans (and for those of you frugal enough to reuse them, no more cleaning those nasty ridged corners!), and… you can still have your lovely baking dishes handy for other meals, not hiding away in the freezer! Yea! Oh, and this method takes up a little less space for those of you with a freezer space crunch.
I line the pans with foil, making sure to leave enough around the edge to fold over the food.
Then I place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top (mostly so my cheese doesn’t stick to the foil), fold the foil over the top, and freeze the dish.
After it’s frozen, I pop the foil lined food out of the dish and put it in a freezer bag for storage. I don’t freeze many things in a 9×13 dish because my family would be eating lots of leftovers, and we prefer to just freeze half of the meal to fix another week instead of eating the same thing all week (9×9 pans are perfect for gallon freezer bags). For those of you with larger families, you could just wrap your frozen food in extra foil before freezing.
When you’re ready to bake, you have two options.
- Peel the foil off while it’s still frozen, then place back in your favorite dish. (preferred method if you get points for presentation!)
- Stick the frozen foiled food in the dish and bake as is (preferred method for very little clean up!) BUT don’t forget the plastic wrap that might be protecting your cheese!
Do you have any helpful hints for organizing your freezer or freezing lots of food? I’d love to hear them.
Oh, and the casserole that’s pictured up above? To die for Cavatini. Come back tomorrow. I’ll share the recipe!
Happy freezing, everyone!
Check out more kitchen tips at Tammy’s Recipes.