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Cook from Your Freezer

Everyday Food, March 2010

The freezer isn't just for meat and giant casseroles. These recipes can be prepped in advance and frozen for quick, easy dishes any night.

Freezer Rules of Thumb

Pack It Right

Freezing is a great way to store foods, but it's essential to protect them from exposure to air before stashing them away, to avoid freezer burn and ice crystals. Be sure to wrap foods tightly and press air out of bags before sealing.

What You Need

Keep stacked items separate by layering them between waxed or parchment paper. Freezer paper, plastic wrap, and foil are great for wrapping around food, while resealable freezer bags provide another layer of protection. Use a baking sheet to freeze items flat so they take up less space and maintain their shape.

Portion Out a Big Batch

For maximum payoff, double your recipe. Before freezing, divide foods according to how many portions you typically serve. That way, you can remove just what you need for dinner.

Mark It Up

Use labels and a permanent marker to date packages and note their contents. For items like ground meat, it's also useful to specify the weight of the food.

Freezing Times

Avoid freezing food longer than six months. Food that has been portioned generally won't keep as long as anything frozen in a big block.

Recipes

Breaded Porkchops
Chicken Cutlets with White Wine and Garlic
Fruit Turnovers
Shrimp in Spiced Tomato Sauce
Swiss Chard Pie