In Your Freezer and Ready to Go

Figuring out what to have for dinner is not a new dilemma. We’ve been talking about it for a long time. Food magazines, food companies and cookbook authors have been on the subject for years. Rosie wrote about it last week.
It helps a lot to have a weekly routine so you know what to buy, and how to cook it and get it on the table pretty fast. If some of the ingredients are ready-to-go, it’s even easier.

One of my own dinnertime solutions is to chop lots of garlic etc and freeze it in batches on plastic wrap so chunks can easily be broken off. See photos below. Many ingredients that would take an extra 10+ minutes to clean, peel and chop, now take 30 seconds to pull from the freezer.
          Garlic and fresh ginger are ideal to pre-chop and freeze. I make a quickie stir-fry once a week that would not be so speedy if I had to mince each one. I’m more inclined to actually make my stir-fry because the garlic and ginger are ready-to-go. Besides, I don’t always have a piece of ginger in the fridge.
          So next time you’re in the grocery store, buy a big, firm piece of ginger and one of those refrigerated packs or jars of already-peeled garlic. Then get out the mini-chopper and get going!  A half hour spent now, saves you time and thinking in the weeks ahead. If you are really ambitious, do monster batches of each in your food processor.
          A collection of routine meals and using your freezer can help address the dinnertime dilemma. For more inspiration, take a look at two cookbooks: The Best Freezer Cookbook by Jan Main and There’s a Chef in Your Freezer by Richard Azzolini.
Finely chop, then spread a thin layer 5-6″ wide on plastic wrap.  Fold wrap over securely.  To keep it flat, use a spatula to move to a plate or a piece of cardboard as I’ve done here.  Freeze, then store in an air-tight freezer bag.
    minced ginger





ready to freezeOther foods to freeze:
– fresh breadcrumbs
– lemon & orange zest
– chopped toasted nuts
– shredded toasted coconut
– ripe bananas broken in chunks for smoothies
– small batches of pesto, salsa
– leftover sauces, gravy
– diced ham, linguica, chorizo
– 3-4 oz patties of ground beef & pork
   for pasta sauce, one-pot stovetop meals…

  I even make double batches
of frosting and freeze the extra!



10 thoughts on “In Your Freezer and Ready to Go”

  • What a great idea! I freeze a bunch of stuff on your list, but haven’t done garlic or garlic. And making a double batch of frosting and freezing half is genius. I don’t know why I haven’t done that!

    • Susan, there are so many ingredients that can be frozen for quick mealtime use. Remember to use a bit extra frozen garlic than the more robust-flavored fresh garlic called for in a recipe. Personally, I am not real careful about the amount of garlic I use, unless it’s in a salad dressing, topping or spread that will not be cooked. “The Best Freezer Cookbook” I mentioned, is quite good.

  • I got lots of beautiful red onions in my CSA box this week. Freezing some of them chopped will be perfect!

  • I’m glad to learn that I’m in good company with frozen chopped onions. I’d probably use onoin powder if I couldn’t grab a handful from my freezer when cooking, I’m that lazy.

  • I even commented on this when you posted it and forgot all about it. I’m doing this today. I love this idea. I used minced garlic in particular in so, so many things and hate to take to time when I’m in a rush (and when am I not in a rush??). Thanks for the reminder!!

    • Yea! I chop and freeze a lot of garlic perhaps only once/year. Seems to keep well for that long. It may not have the pungent aromatic kick, but is perfect for how I use it — stir fry, pasta sauce… I still use fresh garlic for salad dressings etc, but use a garlic press instead of a knife and cutting board (less to clean :o)

  • This is a brilliant time saving tip. Food tastes better with the right condiments and spices. I am inspired. You can freeze cleaned and cut bell peppers by laying pieces flat in the freezer first then bagging them.

  • A little off topic but related to freezing food.

    I recently bought fish I wanted to freeze. I followed an internet idea and froze each filet in its own bag of water.

    What do you think?

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