This post is a re-run from last summer, but it bears repeating – it’s perfect for the theme of  ‘Short Cuts’. About once a month or so, I do a few prepping techniques to stock my freezer with proteins that I can use to make mealtime go a bit smoother. I went to Costco yesterday and stocked up on a few proteins. While the kids were napping, I went to work.

Here are the proteins that I purchased –  two rotisserie chickens, chicken tenderloins (6 pounds), and 3 pounds of ground beef. ($38.41 total)

Here’s my start time:
And my end time ( I did field 3 phone calls during this time, so it could have been a bit quicker).
First I started by browning up all the hamburger in a big pan.
While the hamburger was browning up, I mixed up my favorite chicken marinade, substituting dried herbs for fresh because it’s going to be frozen anyway. Here’s a printable of this recipe – it is so good. Did you know you can put raw meat in a marinade and freeze it? When you are ready to use it, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight and you have a meal ready to be cooked.
I split the 6 pounds of chicken tenderloins into 3 large zip top freezer bags.
I poured the marinade over the chicken and sealed the bags, squeezing out any air in the bag.
After the marinated chicken was done and in the freezer, I cut up the chicken from the rotisserie chickens and put it into zip top bags – I saved out about a cup for our chicken salad tonight.
By this time, the ground beef was done and cooled slightly, I added salt and pepper to taste and portioned it into three freezer containers.
So in a little over an hour, here’s what I prepped for the freezer:
3 bags of marinated chicken = 6 meals
4 bags of rotisserie chicken = 4 + meals
3 pounds of browned beef = 6 meals
  • marinated chicken for eating plain as grilled chicken or in chicken fajitas
  • rotisserie chicken for quesadillas, tacos, salads
  • browned beef for pasta sauces, tacos, taco salads
So about an hour in the kitchen and at least 16 meal starters ($2.40 a meal for 4 people).
What’s your favorite prep-ahead freezer food?