Save time and money – Prep and freeze chicken breasts in large amounts.
This week I would like to share some of my favorite time-saving freezer kitchen tips with you. Today’s tip is how to freeze chicken.
Even though I am a good cook, I don’t really like to, so I have found lots of little ways to make prep easier by doing the work ahead of time and then just pulling things right out of the freezer ready to go. Here are ideas I use on how to freeze cooked ground beef so it’s ready for taco night. This is how I freeze green peppers and bananas so they are ready to toss in a recipe. And because I have 3 teenagers who are always hungry, any way I can find to make cooking faster and save some money by buying meat and produce in bulk is a good thing in my book!
Just like ground beef, we buy large packages of fresh chicken breasts at our wholesale store, Sam’s Club. I find that it is really cost-effective because chicken freezes really well for up to 9 months.
So, here’s how we prep and freeze chicken at my house.
First, trim off the fat.
I am picky about how much fat is on them, so I trim all the pieces when I get them home. My cat is always sitting right there, too, just hoping I’ll give him a bit. But, he is always sadly disappointed!
I usually leave the pieces whole. That way, I can thaw them and cut them up however I need to for various recipes. Even though the pieces are huge, we keep them whole when we grill them and then cut them into serving sizes when they are done grilling. I find they stay juicier that way.
Bag the chicken up for freezer storage.
After the pieces are trimmed of fat, I put them in twos in quart-sized Ziploc bags.
I squeeze out as much air as possible and leave a space between the 2 pieces so I can fold the bag in half for easier storage. (I had my husband do the demonstrating for the pictures, since he’s the one who started prepping our chicken this way in the first place. Thanks, Jim!)
I cook with chicken a lot, so I use up the bags within a month. But if yours will be frozen a longer time, write the date you packaged it up on it before you freeze it.
All that’s left to do is toss the bags of chicken in the freezer and they will be ready for use whenever I need them.
After you prep and freeze chicken, here is how to store discarded trimmings until trash day.
I live in Florida where it’s hot all the time (It’s 91° as I type this), so the whole garage would smell awful if these trimmings were in the garbage can for a few days! So, I just wrap up the trimmed off bits and roll them up in the absorbent pad from the package. The Styrofoam tray is fine because I can wash it and put in recycling. I put the rolled up pad in several plastic garbage bags and toss it in the freezer until garbage day, and then out it goes, still frozen. That way there is no smell. Yay! (See how I do a similar thing with the left-over grease when I cook ground beef here.)
As I mentioned above, one of our favorite dishes is grilled chicken, and it’s so easy.
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I just transfer as many bags as I need from freezer to fridge just before I go to bed or early in the morning I want to grill them. When I get home from work they are thawed. If not completely thawed, I put the chicken in a big mixing bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes to thaw them up more. Once thawed, I add all the pieces I will need into one of the large plastic Ziploc bags and add about a 1/2 bottle of zesty Italian dressing (so that it covers all of the pieces).
The chicken needs to marinate in the dressing for at least half an hour and then simply grill them up. We use a gas grill and my hubby is the grill master. He sears the chicken for 2 minutes on each side, then lowers the heat to medium and cooks them for another 10-12 minutes, flipping them every 3 minutes or so.
Moist and delicious chicken with just a bit of added flavor from the dressing! Yum!
So, I hope you find this chicken freezer kitchen tip helpful. Stay tuned for some more tips later this week.
I know tips like these sure save me time when I am cooking. It definitely saves money, too, since I can save a few cents per pound by buying meat and produce in bulk. And hey, when you’re feeding a family of five, every little bit helps!
Do you have any time-saving tricks of your own? I’d love to hear about them!
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