This is my freezer. My freezer is small. My freezer does a lot of work. It's not just for fish sticks and chicken nuggets (in fact, you will find neither in there). It stores bread, berries, butter... but most importantly, it stores all the meat I could ever need.
I've talked many a time about the importance of a well-stocked freezer. Although it costs a bit upfront, it pays off in the long run, so if you are a college student just beg your mom to take you to Costco. When you tell her it's not for pizza or frozen taquitos, I'm sure she'll be thrilled. Speaking of moms, mine gets all the credit for teaching me to buy in bulk. It's saved me a lot of money and time, and it's so nice to have ingredients I need on hand at all times. Thanks, Mom!
Here are the usual culprits, all from Costco: USDA Choice steak, 90/10 ground beef, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You'll notice the "use by" dates on the meat were for about a month ago. Don't be alarmed- I took most of the photos for this post during my last restocking session, about a month ago. Usually I have salmon in my freezer, too, but I get that for free from my dad so it wouldn't really "count" in this post.
Since I originally took some of these photos I have discovered Costco's bone in, skin on chicken thighs, so I'll be including those, too. They come in gigantic packs like the chicken breasts. This is what they look like:
First, let's figure out how much we've spent. When I say meals, I'm talking about meals for two people. Remember: ignore the use by dates as I took these photos a month ago. Alrighty?
Six 2-packs of chicken thighs (12 total, at least 6 meals):
Six 2-packs of chicken breasts (12 total, at least 6 meals):
About six GIANT USDA Choice steaks (about 4 meals):
Six pounds of ground beef (at least 6 meals):
So, I spent $8.50 + $21.32 + $27.45 + $18.48 = $72.75 for the meat for about 22 meals for two or 44 meals for one. So, about $3.31 per two person meal or $1.65 per one person meal. Not too shabby if you ask me! Like I said, it pays off in the long run because it would cost you a lot more per each item at the grocery store and it saves you time when you have everything you need readily in your freezer.
Now for a tutorial on making all this meat freezer-friendly. For this, you'll need freezer-safe, gallon-sized Ziploc bags, sandwich Ziploc bags, and saran wrap.
The chicken is easy because it divides up into little two packs just by ripping the perforated edges. See? No supplies needed here.
For the ground beef, I divide it into six 1-pound portions. My life would be made much easier if I had a kitchen scale, but I don't, so I eyeball it. It seems to work out just fine. Once you have the beef divided, stuff one pound of beef into a sandwich bag. Make sure you get as much air out as possible before sealing.
To protect the ground beef from freezer burn, put all of the bags of beef into a freezer-safe, gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
For the steak, we'll need the saran wrap.
Costco puts out some gigantic freaking steaks, so I cut the big ones in half to make them go a little further. Don't tell my dad. Then, I wrap two dinner-sized steaks up in the saran wrap so they're easy to pull from the freezer for Boyfriend and I for dinner.
Then, just like the beef, transfer the steaks to a gallon-sized Ziploc to protect from freezer burn.
Now everything is ready for the freezer! Storing them can be tricky- your freezer will become a game of tetris. But it's worth it!
A few other essentials to my freezer that you can see here: back up Dave's Killer Bread, shredded cheese separated into bags that last about a week (yes, you can freeze shredded cheese!), frozen berries for smoothies every morning, flattened bags of homemade chicken broth, and butter, which you can't see here because it's in the freezer door.
Someday, I'll have two gigantic stand-alone freezers and I'll fill them with even more findings from Costco. Until then, I will continue to become a master at freezer-tetris. This freezer, when properly stocked, is truly the key to not having pizza or a grilled cheese for dinner every night.
So now that you're freezer is stocked, wondering how to defrost it? Head over here!