A Well-Stocked Freezer, Part 3

After sharing with you WHY I like to keep my freezer full and WHAT I like to put in it, today I thought I’d share a couple tips to make your freezer stocking easier.

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.

  1. Peel the foil off while it’s still frozen, then place back in your favorite dish. (preferred method if you get points for presentation!)
  2. 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.

6 Responses

  1. I’m JUST getting started with freezing meals, so these tips were super helpful! Thanks 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing! I shared your post with another friend who is just starting out doing the freezer food storage. : )

    Along with keeping the freezer organized, I keep a running inventory of what I have in my freezer in a notebook on my kitchen counter so I know what is there and what needs restocked. : )

    I have an upright freezer so I have assigned the door and shelves for certain foods. For instance, all bread is one shelf and all meat is on another and the door is for small boxed items while the basket is for small bag items. Doing it this way helps knowing what I have and I am able to send someone else out to get an item if necessary. : )

  3. Great tips! I hadn’t thought to line the pan with foil and then once frozen remove it. I will have to try that next time I do a freezer meal.

    Also, I like the crate idea. I have a big chest freezer as well. I did just purchase some of those really big ziploc bags and I put all my frozen fruits in one and all my frozen veggies in another. It makes finding things much easier.

  4. I am guilty of using the flimsy pans, and of cleaning and reusing them. Just last night, when I almost dumped the whole pan of enchiladas I was cooking because the pan was folding in half, I thought, I have really got to find a better way. I’m definitely going to try your method next time.

  5. That foil idea is brilliant! I don’t usually make casseroles to put in the freezer because I don’t have enough baking pans to do so… but now I don’t need to worry about that! Thanks for the idea =D

  6. I never thought of crates! My deep freezer in my basement is so big, I think you could fit people in there! It only has two slightly raised “shelves” but other than that, just one huge space. My feet actually come off the floor when I reach to get something.

    I am going to buy crates this weekend! Great idea.

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