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Don't waste useful space in your freezer on freezer-burned Popsicles. Instead, fill it with these staples that will last for months and help feed your family in a pinch.

Frozen food aisle

1Yogurt

Yogurt is a healthy and inexpensive treat, so it tends to build up in refrigerators. Unfortunately, it doesn't last very long. Instead of throwing it away, stash your nearly expired yogurts in the freezer. Pull one out for a tasty, single-serving treat when your sweet tooth acts up. You can also throw them in the blender with fresh or frozen fruit and skim milk for a healthy fruit smoothie.

Homemade yogurt made easy >>

2Cheese

Cheese makes everything better. A sprinkle of cheese can liven up any boring dinner, tired taco or sad sandwich. Keep your freezer stocked with your favorite varieties. You can pull it out of the freezer and have it thawed in about an hour -- just enough time to add a bit at the end of your recipe.

Pay attention to the sale cycles at your local grocery store. Only stock up on enough to last until the next sale, so you'll have room for other things in your freezer.

3Peas

A good freezer stash of any vegetable is helpful, but peas are especially so. Their light taste and texture, along with their small size, make them the perfect way to add vegetables to a meal.

Stir them into nearly any casserole or pasta dish, or serve them on the side of your entrée. If your kids hate waiting for their macaroni and cheese to cool down, throw a handful of frozen peas into each bowl and stir. The mac and cheese will cool, and the peas will heat up, making the perfect cheesy dish -- complete with a green vegetable.

4Chicken

No idea what to make tonight? Keep a stash of chicken in your freezer and you'll never have that problem again.

Chicken goes with just about anything, and there are tons of ways to cook it: Fry, bake, bread, roast, boil or grill it. Top it with your favorite marinade, or slow-cook it in your favorite salad dressing. Cut it up and add it to pasta, or throw it in a salad to make it a little more filling. Throw together shredded chicken sandwiches or chicken salad. The possibilities with chicken are nearly endless, so keep a few pounds on hand at all times.

Cheap chicken thigh recipes >>

5Baked goods

Sometimes, you just need something sweet. If you don't keep bags of cookies on hand and you don't always have time to bake, keep your freezer stocked with yummy treats so you'll always have something delicious ready to thaw.

Every time you get bit by the baking bug, make extra of whatever it is you're whipping up and store the extras in your freezer. Cookies, muffins, pies, breads and and other baked goods will be just as good as when you made them, as long as they're stored properly.

6Fruit

The fruit at the farmers market looked too good to pass up -- but now that you've got it home, you're not sure what to do with it all. Cut it up and freeze it, so you'll have fresh fruit at the ready all year long. Once you thaw it out, use it for baking, or keep it frozen and add it to the blender for a delicious smoothie or slushy.

Fun ways to make fruit kid-friendly >>

More freezer tips

How to freeze meat without freezer burn
Make-ahead meals to fix & freeze
How to freeze anything

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Comments

Comments on "6 Freezer staples the family will love"

Andrea September 08, 2011 | 8:46 AM

One of the best purchases I ever made was a giant freezer for my basement. So much easier to keep what I need on hand!

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