Have you ever been in a situation when all you want is to make a home-cooked meal for your family and loved ones, but unfortunately there’s nothing in your refrigerator to put a decent dinner together with? This is when having a well-stocked and organized freezer comes in handy.
Cooking a dish made from ingredients that all come from your freezer isn’t the easiest of tasks, but nonetheless, it can be done — and it can be delicious. There are certain freezer-friendly proteins, such as ground meats, sausages, and shrimp that are always good to have on hand and can be quickly transformed into dinner on the fly. Other ingredients that should constantly be in your freezer, such as chicken stock, tortillas, corn, and broccoli, are all so versatile that they can be used in many capacities and will be sure not to go unused.
We have rounded up our favorite dishes that you can make (almost) completely out of your freezer. Full disclosure though: We thought it was OK to include the use of some canned goods, common condiments found in most refrigerators, and a few other ingredients that most home cooks already own. Most of these recipes don’t require frozen components; however, they all taste just as good made with frozen foods as they do made with fresh meat, fish, and produce. So make some room in your ice box and be sure to check out these 20 quick dinner dishes you can make completely out of the freezer.
This modern version of the retro dish has the perfect cheese-to-broccoli ratio. Substitute a bag of frozen broccoli florets, for fresh, and add 10 minutes to the cook time in order to get the top of the gratin nice and crispy. Serve alongside some tasty chicken thighs for a quick, easy, and wholesome dinner option.
This regional recipe is like no other chili. Cincy’s signature dish is spiked with cinnamon, and this spice adds a pleasant surprise. Frozen ground beef works prefect for this recipe, but make sure thaw it out before cooking. The chili is traditionally enjoyed over spaghetti to soak up the delicious sauce.
Everyone should know how to make fried rice. This is quick and easy to prepare and yields a tasty dish better than takeout. Pre-cooked rice can usually be found in the freezer aisle of the grocery store and is quick and easy to heat up. Don’t like shrimp? That’s OK, think of this recipe as a guide and feel free to use whatever your favorite freezer-friendly ingredients may be.
This humble dish is a Sothern staple. Cooking this recipe in a slow cooker makes for easy cooking and speeds things up a bit. All the ingredients can be added frozen but make sure to add 30 minutes of cooking time. If you don’t have ham in your freezer, just use a salty or cured piece of meat, such as bacon or smoked turkey wings, to add some extra depth of flavor.
With only five ingredients, this warm-weather rendition of the classic shrimp cocktail is simply delicious. Pro tip: Always have a bag of good quality frozen shrimp in your freezer. They’re easy and fast to defrost, and they take no time at all to cook up.
This childhood favorite has never gone out of style. Made with frozen ground beef, this recipe is easy on your wallet, but packs big flavor. Pro tip: Always a have package of burger buns or Kaiser Rolls in your freezer for those impromptu dinners.
A Southwestern spin on chowder, this delicious dish is as easy to prepare as it is to enjoy. Frozen corn gives this recipe great body, and the hatch chilies add a little kick that brings the whole soup together.
This recipe is not only quick and stress-free to prepare, but is also easy on your wallet. This dish can be made with frozen ground beef and is extremely versatile, but tastes great served with tortillas for a DIY taco night. Pro tip: Pick up a bag of the frozen Trader Joe's peppers and onions to make things easier on yourself.
With all the delicious tastes of meatballs, but delivered as sliders, this recipe is perfect for both kids and adults alike. Rather than traditional beef, these meatballs can be made with frozen turkey sausages. Just thaw out the meat and formed into patties before grilling.
Healthy and hearty, this soup recipe is perfect for any time for the year. Frozen kale works perfectly here instead of fresh. Also, if you don’t have vegetable stock in your freezer, no problem — you can just use any sort of stock or broth that you have available.
Do you love the comforting flavors of chicken enchiladas? Well, this dish is for you. Made with just a few simple ingredients that can usually be found in your freezer, this recipe is a great weeknight staple.
Don’t let the name of this recipe discourage you from trying it. Inexpensive, healthy, and flavorful, this soup is perfect for those unplanned nights when your refrigerator is empty, but you just want the comfort of a home-cooked meal. Use both frozen beef and mixed vegetables to make this delicious soup.
Sausages are usually inexpensive, delicious, and they have the ability to freeze wonderfully. Baking them is a great technique because it cooks them low and slow, allowing them to retain all their juices. Make sure to completely thaw out the sausages before cooking though.
Nothing says a home-cooked meal like a simple roast chicken. It is always useful to have a frozen chicken in the freezer, but make sure to transfer it to the refrigerator the night before, so it completely thaws before cooking. Serve this with some slow-roasted potatoes for a complete weeknight meal.
These kebabs are so easy to prepare that they make for a great weeknight dinner, but can also be served as a tasty appetizer to any outdoor party. Frozen shrimp are ideal for this recipe. You can even substitute mixed frozen vegetables for fresh ones. Just make sure everything is properly thawed and cut to the same size so they all cook at the same rate.
Perfect for a stress-free weeknight dinner, this chili recipe is fantastic. Frozen ground chicken works best for this dish, but you can use any preferred ground meat that you like.
You will be amazed how fast this stir-fry recipe comes together. Snow peas add a crunchy texture to this dish, and the flavor is enhanced with a Thai peanut sauce. The majority of the ingredients found in this recipe are usually found in most freezers, making this a great last minute meal. Don’t have steak in your freezer? That’s OK, you can use just about any frozen protein available.
Perfect for meatless Mondays, or any other night when you just want some clean veggies, these fajitas are fantastic. Pro tip: Always keep a package of your favorite tortillas and mixed vegtables in the freezer. Frozen vegetables store well and can be used in so many dishes, like these 25 one-pan recipes you can freeze, heat, and eat.
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