Use this shopping list to fill your freezer for the pandemic fall and winter

By Stacey Ballis
Updated October 02, 2020
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Winter is coming. So, let’s talk meat and chest freezers! Maybe you have had a chest freezer for ages, and maybe you have recently invested in one as a great way to prepare for the coming season. But now that you have loaded yours with frozen summer fruits and vegetables, and homemade stock, and maybe a couple pints of your favorite ice cream for the really dark days, you might be thinking about how to properly stock up on proteins. And I am here for you, and so is Costco.

Because when it comes to smart buying of meats and seafood for the deep freeze, you won’t do better than Costco for price and convenience. And while investing in your favorite cuts of steaks, chops, and chicken parts is always a good idea, they have some treasures you might not have thought of that are ideal for loading up your chest freezer. So, check out some of these amazing items that will set you up for chest freezer success all winter long!

Credit: slobo/Getty Images

slobo/Getty Images

Chuck short ribs

Boneless chuck short ribs are a wonderful cut to have in your freezer. You can prepare them with any short rib recipe or cut into smaller chunks for a great beef stew or even small cubes for a wonderful take on chili.

Buy it here: Boneless Chuck Short Ribs ($56.68), Instacart.com

Ground beef

Ground beef is one of those meats that is endlessly useful to have around. From hearty pasta sauces to burgers, meatloaf, and chili, ground beef is a go-to for so many great meals. Repackage in one-pound chunks for ease.

Buy it here: Ground Beef ($34.23), Instacart.com

Flank steak

Flank steak is a terrific lean protein that cooks super-fast and holds up wonderfully to intense seasoning and marinades. You can cook whole and slice to put in tacos or over salads, slice up thin for stir-fries, or even serve like steaks. The package you buy will likely have 2-4 whole flank steaks; depending on how many people you’re cooking for, you may want to cut them the steaks in half before you freeze. (I always cook a whole one to have leftovers for sandwiches.)

Buy it here: Flank Steak ($41.21), Instacart.com

Boneless pork shoulder ribs

Boneless pork shoulder country style ribs are the same general cut as the boneless chuck short ribs, only pork! Again, you can cook short-rib style, cut into chunks for stews, or braise for easy pulled pork.

Buy it here: Boneless Pork Shoulder Country Style Ribs ($19.53), Instacart.com

Pork belly

Pork belly is a cut of meat you should get to know. It is the raw cut that bacon is made from, with no cure, smoke, or seasoning. A rich cut of meat, it is terrific sliced thin in stir fries, can hold up to braising, and is maybe best slow roasted and then seared crispy. It is a wonderful cut of meat to use in vegetable-forward dishes like beans or slow-braised greens where it adds richness and a meaty undertone without bringing the salt or smoke of bacon.

Buy it here: Pork Belly ($37.27), Instacart.com

Pork tenderloin

If you love beef tenderloin or filet mignon, you’ll love pork tenderloin. These small roasts are great on the grill, in the oven, or on the stovetop. And for the best pork schnitzel you ever had, cut in half, butterfly the two halves and pound out, bread, and pan fry.

Buy it here: Pork Tenderloin ($18.60), Instacart.com

Frozen chicken breasts

There is nothing easier to toss in your freezer than these already frozen, individually wrapped boneless skinless chicken breasts. Grab and go, fast to thaw, they are a great thing to keep on hand.

Buy it here: Frozen Chicken Breasts ($20.79), Instacart.com

Boneless skinless chicken thigh

The most versatile cut of poultry is the boneless skinless chicken thigh. You can grill them, roast them, pan fry them, braise them. You can also cut them up for stir fry or sautés. Best yet? These three packs are already perfectly portioned for the freezer.

Buy it here: Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs ($26.75), Instacart.com

Lamb loin chops

You might only think of lamb as a restaurant treat or special occasion cooking, but these are wildly affordable, and are a great thing to have in the freezer for some at-home date nights, or if there are some birthday or anniversary celebrations coming down the pike for you this winter.

Buy it here: Lamb Loin Chops ($42.85), Instacart.com

Frozen shrimp

In the freezer case you’ll find these wonderful large shrimps, which are a great thing to stash in your chest freezer. Sometimes in the middle of winter, after a lot of heavy rich meals, you want something lighter and fresher. The beauty of shrimp is that they thaw so fast you don’t have to remember to take them out to thaw the night before, which is a perfect option for last-minute dinners.

Buy it here: U15 Frozen Shrimp ($46.39), Instacart.com

Tilapia filets

Tilapia is a great, kid-friendly, flaky white fish that is super affordable and can be used for all sorts of easy meals including fish tacos, fish sandwiches, pan frying or even baked fish dishes. Repackage in smaller portion sizes for great easy fish dishes all winter long.

Buy it here: Tilapia Filets ($23.20), Instacart.com