Free Up Some Time with These Freezer Hacks

Cool tips for fighting freezer burn and achieving meal prep success.

Episode: Weeknight Wins

Geoffrey Zakarian shows how to DIY vacuum seal meat to prevent freezer burn, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

DIY Vacuum-Seal Hack

  1. Place meat in a zip-top freezer bag.
  2. Seal the bag almost all the way, leaving about 1 inch open.
  3. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the zip-top bag.
  4. Lower the bag into the water on a diagonal with the open corner of the bag sticking out of the water. The water pressure will push all the air out of the bag.
  5. Continue to lower the bag all the way until the open corner of the bag is the only part that is not submerged, then seal the bag off completely. Dry off the bag, date and label it and put it into the freezer.

Jeff Mauro shares how to freeze chicken in marinades to save prep time, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

Freeze in Marinade

Freezing proteins like steak and chicken breast right in a marinade is a genius way to get ahead on weeknight cooking. Proteins will gain flavor and tenderness as they freeze and as they thaw, making it easy to pull together a delicious dinner in a flash. Be sure to use a low-sodium, low-sugar marinade or dressing, since too much salt can break down the protein and too much sugar can prevent it from fully freezing. Always remember to seal the bag so that it is completely airtight, moving the protein around in the bag to coat it with the marinade. Don't forget to date and label it!

Katie Lee shows how to pre-portion grains to prevent freezing in clumps, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

Pre-Portioned Grain Packs

Freezing grains like rice or quinoa properly is one key to meal-prep success. When done incorrectly, the grains can freeze in clumps, making it hard to thaw the right amount. Instead, defrost the perfect amount every time by freezing grains in pre-portioned packs. First, cool grains completely on a sheet tray. This releases steam and helps prevent clumping and freezer burn. Then, use a measuring cup to scoop 1-cup portions, an amount that is good for 1 to 2 servings. Place in small zip-top freezer bags, then date and label.

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