Now is about the time when people start falling off the healthy eating bandwagon. But have no fear, I am here to help. One way my family and I maintain healthy eating habits is by keeping some essentials stocked in the freezer. An added bonus to this approach is that it also helps you stay on budget.
Although we all strive for “fresh,” the reality is that due to outside factors, like the season or a particularly hectic schedule, many days we are required to rely on our freezer to help out. Therefore, I wanted to share my essential freezer staples in hopes that I can provide some valuable ideas to help you through a busy week.
On to the freezer essentials:
• I keep strawberries and blueberries stocked as the season here in New England is so short. Toss them into smoothies and muffins or when thawed, toss them onto salads, cereal and pancakes.
• Frozen peas, corn, edamame and green beans are the top four I reach for during the week.
• Peppers and onions: I enjoy buying these in bulk from the farmer’s market. I then prepare them for freezing by chopping and julienning them and placing them in Ziploc Brand Freezer Bags. Talk about a time saver!
• I buy a two pound bag of raw shrimp – they are quick to thaw and cook while adding protein to a dish.
• Make sure to stock up on your family’s favorites when they are on sale. The meats we keep are: ground bison, pork chops and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. We separate them into one pound increments and freeze them.
• I am going to let you in on a little secret: It is the best tip ever for freezing meat! Place the meat in the bag, place the bag on the counter, press down on the meat to flatten it out, remove excess air and zip it closed – it will now thaw much quicker than it would if you froze it as a large ball.
• Wild Alaskan Salmon and Tilapia
• Phyllo dough and puff pastry. I enjoy taking leftovers and creating pockets with the phyllo. They look elegant and you feel like you are having a treat.
• Breads: We make a trip to our local bakery every weekend and toss rolls and our favorite breads into the freezer. However, the sleeves the bread comes in are not freezer-friendly so package the loaf in a Ziploc Brand Freezer Bag.
• Whether you grate your own Parmesan or buy a pre-grated bag at the store, you can extend the life of it by keeping it in the freezer. Cheddar cheese also freezes well.
• You can easily crush the herbs in your hand and toss them into the simmering pot of goodies.
My personal favorite for freezer bags and containers are from Ziploc Brand as I have found them extremely reliable. The containers are perfect to store my soups and sauces, and the lids come off easily (thank goodness!). They come in handy to freeze some of my favorite recipes, which are bison meatballs and marinara sauce . With these two items alone I can make grinders, spaghetti and meatballs, and also use the sauce in many different pasta dishes.
Be sure to spend some time on theZiploc Facebook Fan Page as they have great tips, coupons and recipes. In fact, share your freezer essentials on their Facebook page!
What are some items that you cannot live without in your freezer and what meals do you make from them?
Would you like to test them out yourself? Now you can win your own set of Ziploc Brand Bags and Containers! I’m giving one reader a YEAR’S SUPPLY of Ziploc Products!
All you have to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite way to use Ziploc Brand products. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.
Good luck! It’s super easy to enter and you can enter up to four times!
1) Go to the Ziploc Facebook Page and click the “Like” button to become a fan.
2) Leave a comment on the Ziploc Facebook Page wall.
3) Join my Community on Facebook and leave a comment on the wall that you have entered the Ziploc giveaway.
4) Tweet this giveaway, “Win a YEAR’S supply of Ziploc Brand products from @savorthethyme “http://su.pr/5kNXEC”
On February 28, we will draw one winner via Random.org to win a set of Ziploc Brand Bags and Containers.
Open to U.S. Residents. Ziploc is providing one Savor the Thyme reader a year’s supply of products (12 products total).
* This post is sponsored by Ziploc®, but my thoughts, statements, recipes and opinions are my own.