How to freeze celery? Storing: Leftovers with cooked meat or chicken can be stored in the freezer for 2 to 6 months. Egg-containing casseroles are best eaten within 2 to 3 months. For a more comprehensive list of cold food storage, check out this list put together by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. In some cases, your frozen food items can be used straight from the freezer. Those frozen bananas and berries can go straight into a smoothie or shake. In other cases, though, you’ll need to plan ahead and properly defrost and thaw food before working with it—especially when it comes to working with raw meat.
Assemble casseroles in freezer-safe and ovenproof dishes (glass and ceramic dishes tend to work best) and seal with several layers of plastic wrap and foil, or with an airtight lid to keep out as much air as possible. For the best defrosting results, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, then cook in the oven. Of course, if you forget to thaw and want to bake from frozen, make sure you freeze your casseroles in freezer-to-ovenproof baking dishes (such as foil, as most glass or ceramic dishes will crack). Don’t forget to remove any plastic wrap on your casseroles before baking (yes, I’ve done that!).
Rotisserie Chicken – We like to buy pre-cooked rotisserie chickens at the store (especially if they’re on clearance), debone, and freeze for later use in a casserole! Pork – We usually buy it in bulk and then freeze it in smaller, meal-sized portions. Especially if we’re talking pork chops! Fish/Seafood – This is another one that we prefer to vacuum seal when we need to freeze it. It really helps it to stay fresh! Lunch Meat – Buy it in bulk when it’s on sale and then freeze in the individual packages. Just pull them out a day or two before you need them to thaw! Hot Dogs/Sausage – Once again, we buy these on sale and throw them in the freezer as-is. Just put them in a freezer bag as an extra added layer of protection! If your family won’t eat a whole pack (or half a pack) at once, then portion them into smaller amounts before freezing. Eggs – Yes, you can freeze them! Scrambled eggs, breakfast burritos, egg muffin cups, egg sandwiches, you name it. Thaw them overnight in the fridge and you can have some easy and protein-packed breakfasts in the morning! Find more info on can you freeze butter.
Do: Pack Your Freezer Full This isn’t a food-safety tip, but your electricity bill will look better, says Wu. Using as much freezer space as possible increases your efficiency, she says — it takes more energy to keep the space at below-freezing temperatures with just a few items in there. Don’t: Use Whatever Plastic Bags Are Handy Usually, plastic zip-top bags designed for freezing may cost more than regular plastic bags, but it’s worth the investment because “freezer bags” are not a gimmick, explains Pendleton, South Carolina–based Kimberly Baker, PhD, RD, food systems and safety program director at Clemson University. “When packaging that’s not designed for the freezer is used, the food will lose quality more quickly,” she says. That’s because more air can get into the package, which can lead to freezer burn.