Fix it now, enjoy it later. 
Easy Freezer Meals
Stock your freezer with homemade easy freezer meals to save time on meal prep.
| Credit: Ralph Anderson

Frozen veggies and fruits come in many varieties, but there is so much more in the convenience world to keep on hand these days. To quickly put a menu together, it's helpful to store a good supply of frozen bread products (loaves, biscuits, rolls, etc.), frozen potato products (hash browns, mashed, French fried, etc.), frozen meatballs, meatless burger crumbles, frozen lemonade, and other flavored concentrates, just to name a few. Here are some more options and ideas.

1. Cheese. Lots of our recipes call for packaged pre-shredded cheeses. They are super convenient, freeze well, and are often found on sale. If you decide to grate your own, keep in mind that 1 (8-oz.) block of cheese, shredded, equals about 2 cups. Also, partially freezing the block, especially softer cheeses such as Swiss and Monterey Jack, makes grating a breeze. If properly stored, shredded cheeses can be frozen up to about three months.

2. Onions. Chopped and sliced onions show up as ingredients in lots of recipes. You can freeze them after chopping or slicing, but freeze them raw. When properly stored, chopped and sliced raw onions can be frozen up to 1 month. 1 large onion equals about 1 cup chopped and about 1½ cups sliced. If properly stored, raw whole onions can be frozen up to about one month.

3. Chicken. Chicken is definitely a hardworking ingredient, so it's no surprise that you'll find this popular food item in many ways and in lots of recipes throughout this book. We recommend that you keep plenty on hand in your freezer. One family-size rotisserie chicken will give you about 3½ to 4 cups chopped cooked chicken. If properly stored, cooked chicken can be frozen up to about two months. Finally, you may want to freeze the white and dark meat separately. You can always combine them later.

4. Soup. Freezing big batches of soups and stews is always a great idea. Just make sure you let them cool down quickly and completely before putting them in containers for the freezer. To cool down quickly, place the pot of soup in a bath of ice water in the sink. Stir soup often to help release the heat. If properly stored, soups and stews can be frozen up to about three months.

5. Storage bags. Zip-top plastic freezer bags, in pint to gallon sizes, are excellent for storing and freezing food. Also, check out the great plastic container choices, in several sizes, that go from the freezer to the microwave to the dishwasher. Whichever you choose, make sure that you purchase good-quality bags and containers that are designed for the freezer. And remember, you always need to cool food down to room temperature before freezing.

6. Remember labels. Specifically describing what you're freezing. Be sure to include the amount and about how many servings are inside. Most importantly, include the date.