The more hectic life gets with work, friends, and family, the more grateful I am that freezers were invented. A well-stocked freezer full of fruits, vegetables, and homemade meals has enabled me to eat better and not spend money on takeout.
The downside of a lot of frozen foods, however, is that they usually need to be thawed in order to cook or reheat well. But did you know there are still plenty of foods out there that you can cook straight from the freezer, no thawing necessary? Here are our seven favorites.
Whether you want to fry up a big batch of bacon for a leisurely weekend morning or just need a slice or two to flavor a dish, there's so much fat in bacon that it can thaw and start cooking in a pan in just a few minutes. Make sure you freeze the bacon in individual slices first so that it's not frozen into one big block.
Read More: Quick Tip: Freezing Bacon
We all know that frozen fruit is a great way to add texture and keep smoothies cold, but if you bake with frozen fruit, there's no need to defrost it — just mix it straight into batter or dough. If you're making a compote or fruit syrup, just throw it straight into the pot and start simmering.
Because frozen vegetables are usually frozen at the peak of freshness, they're a great, healthy choice to always have a stash of. Small vegetables like peas and corn can quickly cook and cool down in soup, and you can even throw mixed frozen vegetables straight into a skillet pasta.
Since Asian dumplings can be a bit time-consuming to make, make a big batch and then freeze them for a quick and satisfying snack or weeknight meal. Dumplings cook best straight from the freezer since thawing them will make the wrappers sticky and cook up soggy.
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Similar to Asian dumplings, fresh uncooked pastas and filled pastas like ravioli and agnolotti freeze extremely well. Don't thaw them or the pasta will start to stick together. Frozen pasta only takes a minute or two longer to cook than fresh before it's ready to be tossed in your favorite sauce.
6. Cooked Rice
Did you know that day-old rice makes the best fried rice? It's a great way to use up leftover steamed rice, but if you're not ready to fry up the rice just yet, stash it in the freezer. If frozen properly, the rice freezes into individual grains that you can just toss right into the wok or frying pan when the fried rice craving hits.
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Don't thaw frozen fish — all you have to do is rinse the fillets off, pat them dry, and get cooking. It'll take a few more minutes to cook than a piece of fresh fish, but now you have no excuse not to have fish for dinner on a weeknight!
Read More: Cook Frozen Fish Straight from the Freezer