How to make stir fry freezer meals
A few years ago when I was still single, I ate stir fry meals almost every day. I hardly ever felt the need to make a proper meal. Living alone never gives you the motivation to cook every day. Stir fry freezer meals were the real deal for me back then.
They were so easy to throw together and pretty tasty too. Besides, they helped me avoid junk food. After a few years, I felt the need to learn how to make stir fry freezer meals.
I no longer eat stir fry freezer meals as much as I used to, but once in a while the cravings kick in and all I want is a tasty stir fry freezer meal. For this reason, I decided to make my own stir fry freezer meals and stock them in my freezer for when the cravings kick in.
Let’s face it, I am not really an expert in making stir fry freezer meals, and neither do I have the luxury of expensive machines like chillers and vacuum sealers. I also don’t have the perfect recipes that food companies have. However, I am a firm believer that nothing is impossible.
My stir fry freezer meals may not have the perfect texture or flavor, but I am pretty sure they are quite tasty.
You don’t need to do everything that food companies do to make a tasty stir fry freezer meal. For instance, your freezer will work just fine. No need for that powerful chiller that freezes food instantly. No vacuum sealers? No problem. Freezer containers will work just fine. You just need to be patient, and you will absolutely love the results.
I particularly love this recipe because it has so much flavor. It also has chicken, and I am a great fan of tasty, tender chicken in literally any form. The stir fry freezer meal comes together in a really short time. It is perfect for dinner when you have had a long day at work and you don’t feel like cooking. All you have to do is warm it up.
This recipe is really easy. Anyone can follow it. The key is making sure that everything freezes individually. This will make cooking the stir fry freezer meal easy. When you are done prepping everything, store them in small freezer bags and then place them in one large freezer bag. This way you can just grab one large freezer bag from the freezer when you want to make a meal.
Why make stir fry freezer meals?
You may wonder if making stir fry freezer meals is really worth it. It takes a lot of work and patience to prep stir fry freezer meals.
I make stir fry freezer meals when I have very busy schedules coming up. It is a lot of work, but at the end of the day, it is worth all the effort. When I am done with a busy, tiring day and I get home I am happy that I don’t have to spend so much time in the kitchen fixing something to eat.
I love stir fry freezer meals because they are healthier than the junk food I order in when I am too tired to cook or I just don’t feel like cooking. They are also super tasty. You don’t need to be a chef to warm up a stir fry freezer meal. Anyone can do it.
Can you freeze raw stir fry? Yes, you can, as long as you put it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Is all that packaging necessary?
Yes, all that packaging is necessary. You can’t mix everything together and expect it to turn out okay. Even the stir fry freezer meals that you buy at the grocery store has every component packed separately.
Normally, you can’t reheat everything at the same time because some components cook faster than others and they may overcook. You have to heat them in a specific order. This way, everything will be ready at the same time and nothing will overcook or undercook.
Packaging everything separately makes your stir fry freezer meals turn out perfect. I always use freezer bags because they don’t take up too much space in my freezer. I pack all components in small freezer bags and then place them in one large freezer bag.
Each large freeze bag has components for one meal, so whenever I want a stir fry freezer meal I just grab one large freezer bag from the freezer.
I normally re-use my freezer bags until I can’t use them anymore, so I don’t feel guilty about using plastic bags.
If you have lots of space in your freezer, you can use freezer containers that are made of glass or plastic. You can then tie them together or store them in a larger container.
Can you put stir fry in the fridge and can you eat stir fry the next day? You totally can! There is no need to freeze it if you plan on eating it the next day.
Can I Replace the Chicken/Peppers/Peas/Sauce with Something Else?
Yes you can!
I believe that making stir fry freezer meals is all about technique. Once you master the technique, you can replace the ingredients with whatever you like as long as you have some proteins and vegetables. The other ingredients can be replaced with whatever you want depending on your preference.
You can use this recipe to make beef, pork, tofu, or even seafood. You might have to adjust the time of cooking the meat but that’s just about it. All meats should be pre-cooked but they should be barely done, otherwise you will end up overcooking. However, if you are using tofu there is no need to pre-cook it.
I recommend that you use veggies that cook quickly for stir fry freezer meals. You can use snap peas, peppers, beans, and the like.
If you really want to use veggies like carrots and asparagus, you should blanch them before freezing. This is because they take longer to cook. Blanching will give them a head start when you are preparing your stir fry freezer meal.
How do you make a good stir fry? Here is how you can prepare your delicious stir fry freezer meals. This recipe makes one stir fry freezer meal that serves two people. Simply multiply the ingredients for the number of meals you intend on making.
Ingredients for the stir fry base
- ½ cup of uncooked white rice
- 1 pound of chicken breasts or chicken thighs (alternatively use pork, beef or tofu)
- 2 cloves of smashed garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bell pepper ( or 1 cup of any other vegetable, chopped)
- 1 cup of snap peas (or 1 cup of any other vegetable, chopped)
Ingredients for the stir fry sauce
1 tsp. of sesame oil
2 tbsp. of soy sauce
1 tsp. of cornstarch (optional)
2 tbsp. of dry sherry
2 tbsp. of chicken broth or water
1 tbsp. of rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. of brown sugar
To prepare the frozen meal
2-4 quart pot
Freezer bags or containers
- Cook the rice
Cook your rice on the stovetop the way you always do. Once cooked, allow it to cool. When cold, transfer the rice to a freezer bag or freezer container.
Refrigerate the rice until you are ready to freeze it.
- Poach the chicken
In a large pot, place the chicken and add garlic and the bay leaf. Pour some water into the pot and let it cover the chicken by a few inches. Bring the chicken to boil over medium heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer until it is cooked all through.
Beef and pork can be poached in the same manner.
- Slice the chicken
Cut the chicken into slices. The pieces should be of similar shape and thickness.
- Place the chicken on the baking sheet
Place parchment on the baking sheet and then lay the chicken in a single layer. Some of the chicken can overlap. Ensure you leave some room for the vegetables.
If the chicken is a lot, lay a second sheet of parchment and put the remaining chicken on top.
- Prepare your vegetables
Prepare the vegetables you are using by cutting or chopping them. If you are using snap peas, trim their ends.
- Place the vegetables on the baking sheet
Lay the vegetables in a single layer on the remaining space on the baking sheet. Some of the vegetables may overlap.
If they do not fit, lay a second sheet of parchment and place the remaining vegetables on top.
- Freeze the vegetables and chicken
Place the baking sheet in your freezer and let the chicken and vegetables freeze until they are solid. Let them freeze for at least four hours.
- Package in freezer bags
Place the chicken in one freezer bag and the vegetables in another freezer bag. Press as much air as you can out of the freezer bags. If you have a vacuum sealer, simply vacuum seal the bags.
The best way to get most air out of a freezer bag is by partially closing the bag and sucking out the air using a straw.
- Prepare the stir fry sauce
In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients of the stir fry sauce. Once ready, pour it into a freezer bag. Make sure the bag does not have any holes so that the sauce does not leak.
Press out any air left in the bag.
- Package the stir fry meal together
In a large freezer bag, place the bags of rice, chicken, vegetables and sauce. Press out as much air as you can from the bag before sealing it.
- Freeze the stir fry meals
Stir fry meals can be frozen for up to 3 months. However, with time the ingredients start to develop freezer burn. I recommend that you eat them within 2 months unless you have vacuum sealed them.
- Heat it up for dinner
Assembling the final dish together will take approximately15 minutes. Just follow the instructions below to heat up your stir fry meal.
Heating up the stir fry meal
Heating up stir fry meals only takes a couple of minutes. Here is how to heat up your stir fry meal and serve it for dinner
- First, remove the meal from the freezer. Place the bag containing the stir fry sauce in a bowl of hot water to thaw.
- Place the rice in a microwave safe container and heat it for two minutes. If the rice is not warmed throughout, continue heating it until it is warm. Cover it and place it aside.
- In a large skillet, warm 2 teaspoons of oil. Once warm, place the frozen chicken in the skillet. Spread it to form a single layer and cook it. Stir the chicken occasionally and cook for approximately 6 minutes or until it develops golden spots.
- Add frozen vegetables to the skillet that has the chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables become crisp-tender.
- Pour the stir fry sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Stir the sauce until it coats all the ingredients and thickens. Turn off the heat after one minute.
- Serve the stir fry sauce over a bed of rice. Refrigerate leftovers for up to one week.
What do you serve with stir fry? I mostly serve my stir fry with white or brown rice because it is the obvious side dish.
I served it with potatoes once and it tasted great as well.
Does stir fry freeze well?
Stir fry freezes well. All you have to do is store it in air tight containers or a freezer bags before placing them in the freezer. The air tight containers or bags ensure that the stir fry maintains its freshness. If you freeze stir fry for too long it loses taste so eat them within two months of prepping.
Here are some tips to ensure your stir fry freezes well and tastes great
- Do not overcook the stir fry. If you overcook it, it will be sloppy and it might not freeze well.
- Let the stir fry cool down before placing it inside the freezer. Placing it in the freezer while it is still hot might interfere with the freezing process.
- Eat the stir fry within two months.
- Thaw the stir fry properly before heating.
- Use a frying pan to heat it up.
Can I use frozen vegetables for stir fry?
Frozen vegetables can be used for stir fry. Frozen vegetables are usually pre-cooked, so they actually make your work easier. With frozen vegetables, all you need to do is reheat since they are already cooked.
You can use any frozen vegetables of your choice for the stir fry meals. I like using a mixture of baby corn, broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans, red peppers, and water chestnuts. Do not buy frozen vegetables that have sauce on them because you’ll make your own stir fry sauce.
To use frozen vegetables for stir fry, first cook your protein. It could be chicken, beef or even shrimp, whatever you prefer. Once cooked, pour some oil onto a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour in your frozen vegetables and stir repeatedly until the vegetable are cooked through.
Once the vegetables are cooked, toss all the ingredients together and cook for approximately 2 minutes before serving.
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Can I freeze cooked beef stir fry?
Yes, you can freeze cooked beef stir fry in a way that will ensure it stays bright and fresh. Here is how to freeze cooked beef stir fry.
- Blanch your veggies. Do this by placing the vegetables in boiling water. Blanching is essential because it helps the vegetable retain their flavor while in the freezer. Additionally, blanching makes the veggies tenderize quickly while reheating
- Spread out the cooked beef and veggies on a baking sheet and freeze them overnight before placing them in freezer bags. This will ensure they all freeze individually rather than in a solid block. Consequently, heating them up will be very easy.
- When you place the beef and veggies in freezer bags, make sure you press air as out of the bag. This will ensure that the food stays fresh.
- Place all the bags into a larger freezer bag to make it easier to grab the meal.
- Use up your stir fry beef within 2 months for the best taste. You may store it for longer if you vacuum sealed the bags. You can still eat your beef stir fry after two months of prepping. The stir fry may however lose its flavor or the beef will become tough.
Can you reheat beef stir fry? Yes, you can reheat beef stir fry in a pan the same way you reheat any other stir fry.
How do you defrost stir fry?
For the stir fry sauce, simply place it in a bowl of hot water to thaw. For the vegetables and protein, remove them from the freezer and place them in the fridge.
Allow them to thaw in the fridge overnight. If you forget to do it, place the bags in a bowl filled with cold water. The veggies and beef will defrost in a few minutes.
How do you keep stir fry from getting soggy?
When I started making stir fry, I kept wondering; why does my stir fry get watery? Why is my stir fry soggy?
There are certain mistakes that people make while making stir fry meals and they eventually end up with soggy stir fry. Here are a few of those mistakes. Avoid them so that you don’t end up with soggy stir fry.
- Using the wrong pan while stir-frying. As weird as it may seem, using the wrong pan may actually make your stir fry soggy. Most recipes recommend that you use a wok. However, if you do not have a wok, a large stainless steel skillet should work just fine. Use one that has a large surface area.
- Crowding the pan. When you add too many ingredients in the pan at once, the ingredients will steam rather than sauté. This will make your stir fry soggy. Cook each ingredient separately so that they do not crowd the pan. Cooking them separately will ensure each ingredient cooks well and you do not end up with soggy stir fry.
- Seasoning the meat and veggies too early. Doing this will make your veggies soggy and your meat will overcook.
- Using the wrong oil or using butter. Olive oil becomes rancid quickly. Use oils like canola, vegetable, avocado, and grapeseed.
- Not using enough heat may make your stir fry soggy. When it comes to stir fry, do not be shy with the heat. Use a lot of it.
Avoiding these 5 mistakes will ensure that your stir fry does not become soggy.
Should you thaw frozen vegetables before cooking?
No. You should not thaw frozen vegetables. Thawing will make them lose their texture and they will become too soft and mushy.
Do you need to thaw frozen vegetables for stir fry? No, there is absolutely no need to thaw frozen vegetables in advance before cooking your stir fry. Frozen vegetables thaw very quickly as you cook them. Cooking them as they give you the best texture possible.
However, there are some exceptions. Leafy vegetables cook more evenly when they are thawed partially before you cook them. For corn on the cob, the cob needs to be heated by the time the corn is cooked. For this reason, it will cook best if it is partially thawed.
Thawing these vegetables is essential if you want your recipe to turn out great. You should also drain them properly before cooking. The thawing process has an impact on how your stir fry meal will turn out.