I think the freezer is one of the best inventions ever. Due to having freezers, we have come a long way from food shortages and seasonal starvation of the past, and we can safely store food for a long time which is both time and money-saving. Here are 10 items I always freeze:
- Pancakes and waffles. Whenever I make pancakes or waffles for breakfast I always make a double batch and freeze whatever we don't eat. This makes a super speedy breakfast for days when I don't have time to make pancakes and waffles from scratch and they are quick to heat up in the toaster.
- Bread. I like to make bread from scratch but I don't do it often. Usually we buy bread at Costco and we also hit the day-old-bread sale rack when we go to the local grocery store (see photo above) and buy sale bread (10 sandwich rolls for 99 cents today!). Since we don't eat bread very quickly, we freeze it then defrost as needed.
- Fruit in season. We get lots of great deals on fruit (strawberries, blueberries, apples, bananas, peaches, etc) in season, maybe because we are so close to Mexico and California? No matter the reason, I tend to buy as much as I can, then clean it and freeze it for future use in smoothies, pies, etc.
- Steel cut oats. I love steel cut oats for breakfast but don't have time to cook these every day since, unlike oatmeal, steel cut oats take a long time to cook. For that reason, I dump an entire bag of steel cut oats into the Instapot, cook it in record time, then put single serving-size containers of the steel cut oats into the freezer. Heating these up for a quick breakfast takes about a minute and a half in the microwave.
- Beans. Beans are another item that take quite a long time to cook so, again, I dump a bag of beans into the Instapot, cook them, then put the beans in serving-sized containers and put them in the freezer to be used in future recipes ranging from soups and chili to hummus and desserts.
- Filipino food. Hubby loves Filipino food, of course, since he is Filipino, but making classic Filipino food which usually consists of meats in sauces that are braised for a long time, doesn't make for a quick dinner. So every time we cook Filipino food, we make extra to put in serving-sized containers in the freezer. For those nights when I don't feel like cooking, pulling out this sort of "fancy food" and reheating it is always a hit. Note, we also give an assortment of these frozen, single-serving food items to the cousins when they come over to visit which they like to keep in their freezers until they are ready to eat it.
- Party food. We go to and host several parties throughout the year and we always tend to cook at least some of the dishes for these parties. If we find a pork roast really cheap, we will pick it up, throw it in the freezer, then cook it and take it to a party with us. Ditto lumpia and eggrolls (labor-intensive to make but a favorite at parties), whole chickens, and other items to make food to feed dozens of people. Note, this really saved us when the daughter decided at the last minute to get married here in Vegas and bring 30 people with her. Since we ended up cooking most meals for everyone, because we had stockpiled a range of food in the freezer over the past many months, we were able to cook great food but not break the bank by having to shop at the last minute to buy all of the ingredients for what we cooked.
- Meat and fish. Hubby is in no way going to be vegan or vegetarian any time soon (much as I would like him to!) because he does like his meat. So when we buy anything from a roast to a whole chicken to a whole salmon (all on sale of course!), he cuts it up into single-serving portions then freezes these little packets of meat or fish which makes it really easy to add some sort of meat dish to his dinners.
- Vegetables. Like fruit, anytime we find vegetables on sale, we will freeze them if at all possible. Frozen corn, beans, peas, etc. are all great addition to soups, stews, Indian dishes and more.
- Pies and cakes. I tend to make something for dessert a few times during the week. I usually make cakes and brownies in small pans so we eat one portion for dessert then freeze the rest to use for future desserts. Same with pies which we like to eat for maybe one day but we can't eat an entire pie very fast.
Using a freezer is really a great way to preserve food, in bulk, which is bought on sale or made from scratch. Not only does this save money, but it also cuts down the number of times we need to go to the store and in a pinch, we can unload the freezer and cook for dozens of people at once!