Freezer staples: not meals
I'm trying to come up with a decent list of freezer staples...things that are a pain to make on the fly, but useful to have ready to roll from the freezer. I'm not looking for full meals to be frozen, more like recipe additives. My ideas thus far are stock of various make and model, roasted garlic, Carmelized onions....and what else?
Frozen beans (limas etc.) and field peas, baby peas, okra, roasted/shredded poblanos, hash browns. I also keep some vegetarian pot-stickers handy (and maybe some non-veggie ones for me), because we like to steam those to have with scrambled eggs for weekend breakfasts.
Since I'm the cook as well as the sole omnivore in the household, some of the dishes I make for myself when she's off elsewhere are designed with leftovers that can be bagged and frozen: braised meats, casseroles, things like that.
Chopped/minced veggies- especially onions, garlic, garlic, celery, carrots
Unbaked loaves of bread, rolls
Stock-beef, chicken, veggie
Baggies full of roasted bones that I keep adding too-chicken, beef, etc
Bacon fat, chicken schmaltz
Bags of various veggies stems-broccoli stalks, onion stems, woodie ends of asparagus etc. good for stocks and soups.
Sauces and spice pastes are useful - I like to freeze them flat in a plastic ziplock bag, so I can cut off small amounts as needed. Pesto, romesco, harissa, Thai curry pastes, etc.
Stock in small quantities, when you just need a bit for a sauce. Ditto for wine. Leftover coconut milk for curries freezes well this way too.
Roasted red and yellow peppers. Baked squash.
Pureed vegetable soup bases. Roast or simmer squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, onions, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, etc, with onion if you like. If simmering, use the minimum amount of liquid required. Puree, and package. You can then take them out, add stock, season and have a quick, hearty, tasty soup.
Braised or roasted meat - beef or lamb shanks, pork shoulder roast, pot roast, baked ham, roast beef etc. Cook them, slice them, drizzle a bit of stock or or gravy or pan juices over them, wrap and freeze. The bit of extra liquid will keep them nice and juicy when you thaw them out. Something like braised beef shanks can seriously cut down on cooking time for a stew or curry.
Cooked beans of various sorts - chickpeas, lentils, beans. Use dried beans and cook a big batch.
Various tomato sauces - a simple pureed one, a hearty bolognese meat sauce, a thick mushroom/tomato/basil sauce.
Pizza dough rolled out ready to go, and some pizza sauce to go on it.
Besides various cuts of meats, fish & poultry, and snacks for my kids, here's my list:
Puff pastry dough
Vegs to steam or add to soups
And my most current addition : fresh, roasted & seeded Hatch chiles
*Potstickers from Dominicks/Safeway (chicken & pork delicious)
*cooked breakfast-type sausage such as Bob Evans, to top pizza or throw into pasta sauce
*Dorot herb cubes: garlic, ginger, cilantro, basil0 i get them at Trader Joes, Costco, sometimes Target
*leftover cooked chicken, usually from Costco to throw in casseroles, soups, tortillas
*frozen soups- I always make a double or triple batch,
*frozen homemade lasagnas in single or double serve sizes, for kids coming in from sports at staggered times,
*leftover broth or stock from a larger container
*fresh herbs ground in mini chopper with a bit of olive oil, pressed flat in freezer bags- break off a bit as needed- for herbs that Dorot doesn't make or that need cutting back in my pots
*flank steak frozen in marinade mix, so when they thaw they are already marinated and ready to grill
* when my kids were younger and we ate more of this, I would pre-cook ground beef, onions, garlic, and green or red pepper, place in freezer bags and add to chili, soup, pasta, sloppy joes to get dinner ready in a flash
* citrus zests and juice
Different kinds of home made pesto
left over tomato paste
cooked beans and chickpeas
veg trimmins for stock
herbs in olive oil
lemon juice and zest
meat: cut up,chicken, sausages etc
right now I'm freezing corn and kale to use in winter
I need a bigger freezer.... :-)
Oops, posted in the wrong spot. Sorry.
Chicken, pork, beef and corn stocks
Bags of roasted tomatoes
Chopped red and green peppers, onions, celery and celery leaves in separate vacuum sealed bags
Grated ginger root
Fresh corn cut off the cob and frozen in the vacu-sealed bags
Sauteed mushrooms (when a large container was just starting to go bad, sliced and sautéed and frozen for later use)
Fresh CSA kale chopped and vacu-sealed for later use in soups
stock--chicken or beef
nuts, seeds, or their flours
wheat and rye flours
a chicken carcass
cheeses--grated mozz in sq. containers, hard cheeses, parm rinds
leftover almond paste
bags of vegetables
Chipotle peppers in adobo - frozen in ice cube trays then transferred to ziplock bag. They are easy to cut up when frozen.
Homemade biscuits and scones - cook from frozen at same temp as recipe suggests
Ziplock bag for vegetable trimmings, etc to make stock
Frozen balls of cookie dough - cook at same temp as recipe suggests
Pizza dough - defrost in fridge
Slow roasted tomatoes