A few months ago I shared my ten pantry essentials that I keep on hand at all times. It’s time to move our gaze to the freezer and see what must-have items are stored there.
1. Chopped Onions. You won’t catch me chopping onions. If I couldn’t buy fresh frozen chopped onions, I would use dehydrated. Otherwise, I’d be cooking without them.
2. Pepper Blend. I buy a three-pepper blend at Trader Joe’s that has green, yellow and red bell peppers chopped and use them in all kinds of recipes.
3. Ground Meat. Both ground beef and turkey are staples at our house. I try to limit our intake of red meat so use turkey wherever I can. No one (except me) likes the meatloaf made with all ground turkey so that dish gets a mix of both.
4. Berries. When they’re not in season, we stock strawberries and blueberries to mix in yogurt and pancakes.
5. Vegetables. Strangely my family seems to prefer canned vegetables to frozen. I buy frozen vegetables that they won’t eat just for me or to include in soups and stews such as spinach or mixed vegetables.
6. Chicken. My husband thinks I could eat chicken every day. Don’t tell him but he’s probably right. There are so many ways to prepare my favorite protein. I keep packages of boneless skinless tights and breasts on hand.
7. Meatballs. Before I started buying turkey meatballs I put Italian sausages in the spaghetti sauce. These are lower in calories and fat as well as price. Plus, they taste great.
8. Brown Rice. Did you know it takes almost twice as long to cook brown rice as white? That’s why I buy frozen brown rice that only takes 3 minutes in the microwave to prepare. We eat healthier and at home.
9. Meals. Sometimes I get home too late to cook or am just worn out. For those occasions, we keep a few frozen entrees on hand. We’re not picky and buy whatever is on sale.
10. Desserts. We do seem to always have at least on carton of ice cream but I also have low-calorie options such as Vita-tops or Weight Watchers treats.
Keeping these essentials in the freezer makes it easy to create a meal plan for the week. What would you add?