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Cooking directly from the freezer

If you forgot to defrost a certain (or particular) meat, poultry or fish item for dinner, don’t fret.
Here’s a few ideas for creating meals directly from the freezer in 45 minutes-or less!

frozen shrimp by getty images


Choose wraps, containers and bags that are labeled and designed for freezer use.

To avoid freezer burn, seal airtight packaging securely (cold air can dry food surfaces).

Label all freezer storage items; include a use-by date as well as the number of servings.

Pork chops

They can be tenderized and defrosted when simmering in a liquid (almost any; thin chops about ¼ -inch thick are best for this).

For Freezing-Start by removing the pork chops from the original package. Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet until firm, then transfer to a freezer container or bag.

Freezing for Several Months? Wrap each individual piece in moisture and vapor-proof plastic wrap, heavy-duty foil or freezer paper before transferring to the freezer bag or container. Store up to 6 months.


The quality of frozen shrimp is actually often better than the “fresh” version.
Frozen shrimp can be instantly tossed into soups, stir-fries and soups; they’ll cook in just minutes.

To Freeze-You’ll find frozen peeled and deveined shrimp in the freezer section. Try to get the large sizes when they’re on sale; divide into portions for easy use. Store up to 6 months.

Chicken Tenders and Boneless Chicken Breast Halves

Frozen chicken tenders can brown on the stove and can be finished with a quick oven braise.
Prefer boneless chicken breast halves? Slice horizontally and freeze; a thinner cut will cook more evenly.

For Freezing, consider chicken tenders in bulk sold in a bag in the freezer section.
Freezing fresh tenders? Start by removing them from their original packaging. Spread in a single layer on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or container. Store up to 9 months.


This particular fish can go straight from the freezer to the oven with no ill effects. For even cooking, the fillets should be of similar shape and thickness.

To Freeze-Fish that is flash-frozen is processed and frozen immediately after it’s caught.
Look for deals on bags of individually vacuum-sealed salmon fillets.
Got Fresh Fish? It should be frozen within 2 days of purchase. Wrap tightly in moisture and vapor-proof wrap like heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper. Store in a freezer bag or container for up to 3 months.

Source: “Freezer to Dinner (no thawing necessary!)” by Maggie Meyer-Better Homes and Gardens, Feb. 2013

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