One of the easiest things that I pull together for freezer cooking is chicken bagged in marinades. Not only is it quick to prepare for freezing, but it’s also a quick meal on the other side of thawing. Just hand the bag of thawed, marinating chicken to my husband to cook on the grill while I make a few sides dishes. And even some side dishes, like mashed potatoes and garlic bread, can be made ahead of time and frozen.
Last night I prepped six meals for the freezer this way. You’ll be amazed at how easy this is!
1. Prepare the marinades. Many marinades contain similar ingredients. This is where you save time. You’re pulling out all these items at one time and cleaning up once instead of six times.
Here are three of our favorite marinades, enough for about 6 chicken pieces:
Marinades for Chicken
6 Tablespoons rice vinegar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
Spicy Southwest (Blend in food processor or blender):
1 tomato, quartered
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
1/4 jalapeno pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup oil
I mix the marinades inside gallon size ziploc freezer bags. If you place the bags inside bowls that will help prevent spillage. Don’t forget to label the bags first, though. You don’t want to try to write on a full bag.
2. Trim the chicken. Trimming meats is not a pleasant job for me, but I don’t mind doing it if I can get a lot done at one time. I also cut the boneless, skinless chicken breasts into cutlets by slicing them horizontally through the middle. The portion is still enough for one person, but seems to stretch the meat a little farther.
3. Add chicken to marinades. Squeeze out as much air as possible and massage the box to distribute the marinade evenly. Lay flat to freeze. About a day or two before serving, pull the bag from the freezer and place on a tray or dish to thaw in the refrigerator.
Preparing marinated chicken for 6 dinners took me about an hour total, demonstrating how freezer cooking maximizes on your kitchen time. If I were prepping for one of these meals on any given night, I could easily have spent thirty minutes.
What could have been three hours was reduced to one by making double batches and preparing items with like ingredients.
You can prepare any of your favorite cuts of meat or chicken this way.