The Secret to Fitting All Your Meal Prep in The Freezer

Don’t let Sunday’s work go to waste.

May 18, 2020

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Food Network Kitchen’s Freezer Bag Chicken Fajita Stir-Fry, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

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Meal prepping is all well and good – until you can’t fit all your hard work in the freezer. Or until you find yourself sifting through piles of misshapen frozen meals just to grab the one bag of marinated beef you were craving.

When I watched Arlyn Osborne teach a class on Freezer Bag Chicken Fajita Stir-Fry, available on the Food Network Kitchen app, I realized I had been storing my prepped meals all wrong.

In the class, Arlyn takes us through a Tex-Mex inspired dish that’s literally designed to be meal-prepped and frozen – hence the name. Marinated sliced bell peppers and onions are cooked – in a microwave! – and then shaken in a freezer-safe bag with diced raw chicken breast until uniform.

But before Arlyn closes the bag and puts it in the freezer, there are a few things she’s careful to do. First, she squeezes all the air out of the bag to help preserve the food and prevent freezer burn. Then – yes, it’s not quite done yet – she flattens the closed bag and the mixture out on a countertop until it’s evenly distributed, instead of just letting the food naturally settle to the bag’s bottom. “It really is the best way to make sure it freezes nice and evenly,” she says. And this makes sure the dish doesn’t take up more space in the freezer than it needs to so you can “stack up all your freezer meals.”

But the secret to ensuring that the mixture maintains its flattened shape? “Throwing it onto a sheet tray” when you pop it into the freezer, according to Arlyn.

Yep, genius.

For more kitchen tips and tricks, check out the Food Network Kitchen app. And if you spend your next Sunday meal prepping the day away, show us your hard – and satisfying – work on Instagram with the hashtag #WeCook. You might just see it on our Instagram page!

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