Stocking your freezer with the right kind of meat, means you can be a little more of a flexible cook on the spur of the moment. But if you can’t really do much in 30 minutes with an iceberg. The trick is to think thin and small when it comes to freezer cooking. Don’t freeze more in portions than your family will eat in one night’s meal. This will work if you’ve forgotten to take something out of the freezer for dinner. Here are some ideas:
- Buy several packages of 1- to 1 1/2-pound packages of extra-lean ground beef or turkey meat. (This is only if you don’t plan on bulk cooking several meals at once.) Wrap the entire package of meat (still wrapped in store package) with aluminum foil. Use a permanent marker to label the contents and date right on the foil. When you’re ready to cook, take off the foil and run the frozen meat (wrapper and all) under hot tap water for 30 seconds. Remove the plastic wrap, pry off the plastic or styrofoam tray, put the icy block of meat on a microwavable safe plate, and pop it into the microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes. (Some of you might have a defrost setting on your microwave. Adjust the settings to the portion you are trying to defrost.) This thaws the meat just enough so you can brown it quickly for dinner and you can get your meal on the table in under 30 minutes.
- The same technique will work for boneless chicken breasts, steaks, and chops-as long as they are thinly sliced, about 1/4 to 3/8 inch.
- When it comes to chicken, if you can’t find it on sale to buy in bulk, I recommend buying “individually quick-frozen” boneless chicken breast halves. You’ll usually find them in the meat section at your grocery store in the frozen area in the middle aisles. The breast pieces are glazed with ice, which means they won’t stick together and can be used conveniently one or two at a time. The breasts are usually sold in a 4-pound, resealable bag.