The Ultimate Guide of Foods You Can Freeze

Coupons, Save Money, Frugal Living, How To Coupon, Ways to Coupon, Freeze Food, DIY Food

Freezing foods is one of the fastest ways to grow your stockpile and lowering your out of pocket grocery costs. I am not talking about frozen pizzas, fries or ice cream (yes, those are great too), but I am focusing on the main foods.

Think of items like:

  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • and more.

These are items that are bought frequently (if not weekly) and can really add to your grocery budget if not planned accordingly.

One of the key ways that I have been able to reduce my weekly budget is to stock up on essential items like meat & cheeses at low prices and freeze until they are needed. It does require some planning as you will have to wait for the specific food to thaw but it will save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.

 Fruit:

The thing to remember about frozen fruit is they are great in smoothies or for baking, but not so great if you are looking for “fresh” fruit by itself. If you do a lot of baking or smoothie making then this is a great option for you.

The key is to freeze them on a baking sheet or pan before transferring over to an airtight bag. This keeps the berries from sticking to each other.

Berries – Berries are great in breads, pies and smoothies.

Bananas – I love to dip bananas in peanut butter or dark chocolate and freeze for an afternoon snack.  You do not know what you are missing if you have never tried these before!

Grapes – Grapes are another easy and healthy snack when frozen.

Vegetables:

Almost all vegetables can be frozen. Most vegetables will lose their consistency and crispness once frozen, but frozen vegetables are great when adding to soups & broths, crockpot recipes and casseroles.

Celery

Zucchini & squash

Peppers

Carrots

Corn

Mushrooms

Spinach

Tomatoes

Dairy:

Butter– Butter is one of those items that I typically can get for free. When I run across a sale for butter I stock up because I know I can store in the freezer for later.

Milk– Many people do not know that you can freeze milk. This only applies to regular diary milk and not diary-free options.

Cheese– Hard cheeses (cheddar, swiss, etc…) can be frozen and maintain the same texture once thawed. This applies to block cheese and shredded cheese.  I would avoid freezing soft cheese such as cream cheese or cottage cheese since they do not maintain their fluffy texture once frozen.

Condiments & Spices:

Jams & Jellies– Jams and jellies can be stored in the freezer as an alternative to canning.

Herbs– Freezing is a great alternative to drying herbs!

Pasta sauce– Pasta Sauce will normally have a long shelf life, but you can also preserve by freezing. I would suggest that if your sauce is in a glass container that you only freeze in a plastic bag or container.

Baked goods:

Muffins– Have leftover muffins? Store them in a freezer bag and eat later! Often, I will bake a larger batch and freeze to have a quick and easy breakfast later.

Breads– Baked breads & sandwich breads can all be frozen to use later.

Cakes– I am sure you have heard that it is a tradition to freeze your wedding cake to eat on your anniversary? Cake holds its texture and consistency very well in the freezer.

Pies– Have leftover pie from Thanksgiving or another holiday? Freeze it!

Rolls & biscuits– Rolls and biscuits can be frozen and popped in the microwave for easy prep.

Other foods:

Casseroles– Casseroles are great for freezing. You can make casseroles to freeze and use later or freeze any leftover casseroles. These are quick and easy dinners that you can pop in the oven when you need a quick dinner.

Soups/broths– Any time I make soups and broths, I always make a large batch and freeze the remaining to eat later. I love rainy days when I can grab some soup or chili from the freeze and thaw on the stove without having to do any cooking 😉

Nuts– Nuts normally have a long shelf life, but you can freeze nuts to keep them from going rancid.

Beans– Cooked beans are great to freeze and use later as a side or main dish.

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Easter Sunday Recipes

Easter is a fun holiday around our house. Easter is filled with home cooked food, family and festive fun! It is almost like a “Spring Thanksgiving”. Easter is not Easter without a delicious ham, rolls, deviled eggs and yummy desserts.  I am getting hungry just typing this! I get the pleasure to host Easter this year for our family so I wanted to share with you some of the yummy foods that we will be having and some extras ;). I will be making the traditional ham, but I am going to try this new crock pot recipe that I posted below.

Last year my daughter had the best time helping make the Easter Bark recipe below.  And by help I mean eating all the sprinkles, M&Ms and Oreos! It is such a fun and easy recipe for the kiddos to take part in.

If you follow me, you know that no holiday morning is complete without festive pancakes at our house. How cute is this bunny butt pancake?!?

Okay, on to the deliciousness that is Easter food. Like I said above, I will be making crockpot ham (below), my potato salad recipe (I should share!), Easter fluff (below), Peeps cake (below), rolls & a carrot cheese ball (below). So excited to try some of these new recipes!

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I would love to hear/see your Easter recipes below!

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Chicken Taco Soup Recipe

I am a huge fan of using yesterday’s dinner to recycle for the next day’s meal, if there are leftovers of course. When I am in Costco and want a quick and cheap meal then I will pick up one of their rotisserie chickens. At $4.99 for a whole cooked chicken, who can beat that? My family loves rotisserie chicken and I have found that Costco tends to have the largest rotisserie chickens at the cheapest price!

We had leftover chicken last week and I wanted a quick and easy recipe for our leftovers. I went to my handy-dandy Pinterest and typed in leftover rotisserie chicken recipes (what did we do before Pinterest?!?) and viola! I tweaked this recipe from the original I ran across and I had all the ingredients on hand in my stock pile.

Ingredients:

3 cups rotisserie chicken (or cooked chicken)

2 cans of black beans (or pinto, whichever you prefer)

1 can of rotel (or diced tomatoes)

1 can of whole kernel corn (or frozen)

5 cups chicken broth

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 packet of ranch seasoning

Optional:

Cheese

Sour Cream

Tortilla chips

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a dutch oven (or pot) and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Serve with cheese, sour cream or chips if you like.

 

How easy is that? I love an easy and budget friendly meal! Our $4.99 chicken lasted two dinners and I still had soup leftovers for the next days lunch 😉

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8 simple ways to save money on meat

1.) Stock up price

Before you try and get the best prices on meat, you must know your stock up price for each type of meat. This can vary for each person depending on what meat you typically use and buy more often.

For my family, we eat chicken for most meals. Chicken is usually a cheaper meat option; therefore, I am able to stock up on different cuts of chicken for fairly cheap. For example, my stock up price for chicken leg quarters (leg and thigh) is .39 cents per pound.  That equals out to about $2.00 per every 7 pounds of chicken!

If your family tends to eat more red meat then you may pay a little more, but you can still find low stock up prices! A good rule of thumb is to look for the normal price per pound and to aim to pay half that price.  For example, if you currently pay $3.99 per pound of ground chuck, aim to stock up when the price is $1.99 per pound.

 

2.) Buy discounted

Many stores will discount their meat when it is getting close to the “use by” date. Stores will generally put a sticker on the discounted meat.  Look for red, yellow and brightly colored stickers when searching. I have been able to find meat prices marked as low as 80 percent off.  Sometimes I get lucky enough to get meat for free.

Target always has excellent mark downs on their meat selection. Target will have red stickers with a certain dollar amount of the price.  For instance, $3.00 off, instead of putting a discount price.  Sometimes you can find meat that is already on sale, plus the discounted dollar amount, plus Targets free 5% off! I know Target is not a common place to think of when buying meat, but the next time you are browsing around the store stopover in the meat section!

 

3.) Shop meat sales

Meat sales are more common at smaller grocery stores such as Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods and Food Lion than larger stores like Walmart and Target. Common meat sales are buy one get one free (half price) or lowering the price per pound for that sales week. Pot roasts, stew meat and cubed steaks go on sale for buy one get one free every couple of weeks at my local grocery stores.

 

4.) Use leftovers

Use leftover meat from the night before to create a new meal the next day.  Whenever we have leftover meat, I alter my dinner menu to incorporate the leftovers so that they don’t go to waste.  This is also a great way to save money as you are using the same meat for multiple meals.

For example, when we have leftover chicken, I will normally make tacos, quesadillas or a casserole that uses chicken. When I am not able to come up with meal ideas with our leftover meat (hello, mom brain!) then I pull up Pinterest or Google and type “leftover _____ recipes” and voila!  Minimal thinking involved…

 

5.) Buy in bulk

You can save a lot of money by buying larger portions of meat and cutting them yourself.  The other day I purchased a 10 lb. pork shoulder on sale for $1.27 per pound and was able to cut the meat to last 7-8 meals!  That is less than $2.00 per meal.

You can also buy bulk meat from places such as Zaycon and your local butcher.  These will typically have a higher up front cost due to the amount of meat you will purchase (40 pounds and up). A great idea is to team up with a friend or family member to split the upfront cost.

 

6.) Coupons

Yes, there are coupons for meat! It is a common misconception that coupons are only for snack foods.  You can find coupons for produce, diary and MEAT!

These can be found in the Sunday paper, online (check out the page for printable coupons) and through cashback apps (Ibotta, SavingStar & Checkout 51).

 

7.) Eat less meat

Every meal does not have to include meat.  I repeat, every meal does not have to include meat. There are many easy to follow and delicious recipes that do not include meat. If you and you are willing, try incorporating “meatless Mondays” (or any other day of the week). I am not saying that every meal needs to be “vegetarian”, but try to have one meal be meatless.  If you are currently spending $6.00-7.00 per meal on meat, then that saves you $24-$28 per month on meat. Simply by cutting out meat from one meal per week!

If you are like my husband and refuse to eat a meal without meat, then try to cut back on the portion used in the meal. You can also supplement some meat with beans, lentils and rice to make the meal more filling.

 

8.) Check the fresh meat

If your store has a fresh meat section (where the meat is cut) check to see the prices of the cuts per pound for their un-packaged meats. At Harris Teeter, the price per pound for chicken breasts is $1.99/lb.  If you look at the price for the SAME chicken breasts that is packaged it is $3-$4 per pound! Often meat and seafood in the fresh meat section will also be on a weekly sale or a manager special. A manager special simply means that the product is being reduced. Often to help with sales.

 

Take advantage couponers!

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