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A Quick Way to Get Dinner to the Table

I’m not the best at remembering to take meat and chicken out of the freezer to thaw. I’ve tried a bunch of tricks like taking it out the night before, leaving my self a note on the kitchen table and even asking my husband to remind me, but sometimes I still manage to forget.

If I get home from work at a reasonable hour I can pull the food out of the freezer and thaw it in a big bowl of cold water, but if I get home long past dinnertime I simply don’t have enough time to thaw a thick chunk of ground beef or a slab of chicken breasts.

Not so long ago those nights resorted in a call to Ledo’s Pizza or a night of grilled cheese and turkey sandwiches. Now I have a new solution.

As soon as I get home from the grocery store I take a bunch of chicken breasts out of their containers and chop them into bite sized pieces. I place them in a big Ziploc bag and lay them out as flat as I can, so that no two pieces are stacked on top of one another. If I don’t have time to do this right away I leave the chicken in the fridge overnight and set aside a small chunk of time to do this the very next day. Once the chicken is bagged I lay it flat in the freezer.

Similarly, when I buy ground beef I take it out of it’s original container, wrap it in freezer paper and smoosh it down just as flat as possible. Keeping everything in one single layer provides more surface area and thus helps it defrost faster.

Now on those nights that I forget to defrost dinner I pull the bag out of the freezer, soak it in a bowl of water, and in no time it’s thawed and ready for cooking. Even better, since the chicken is already chopped, I can throw it directly into the pan once it’s finished thawing and make a quick stir fry, tacos or gorditas. Since I’ve been using this technique we’ve drastically cut down on the number of calls to local pizza joints as well as the number of grilled cheese and turkey sandwich dinners.

Stef

Friday 10th of July 2009

I too cook ground beef first then freeze it in 2 cup portions. You can also add a package of taco seasoning to the cooked beef before freezing. I like to take the raw chicken breasts and add seasonings, broth, etc. to the freezer bag before freezing. (Salsa and taco seasoning, chicken broth and lemon pepper seasoning, cream of mushroom soup and dry onion soup mix) If you remember to defrost, then the chicken will marinade all day. If you forget, you can still put it all frozen in the crock pot to cook.

Anonymous

Wednesday 8th of July 2009

As an owner of a Ledo Pizza, I'll miss your business One Frugal Girl, but as a busy wife, I love your suggestion. Here's another idea. When you cook one package of chicken with a sauce, cook the second package with a totally different sauce to serve 2 days later and serve one over rice or noodles or mashed potatoes. Diana

bluntmoney

Tuesday 7th of July 2009

That is a great idea, I'll have to give it a try. I'm forever forgetting to defrost things in time.

Coupon Kim

Tuesday 7th of July 2009

GREAT idea!!

Jessica

Tuesday 7th of July 2009

It's a little more work up front, but I cook the ground beef and chicken before freezing it and divide it into meal-sized portions. Since I usually add ground beef to sauce, chili, tacos, etc., this works very well. Chicken I will toss in a crock pot on low for the day, and then shred the meat for BBQ sandwiches, tacos, etc. Saves some defrosting and cooking time when I get home late and need to get something on the table!