Freezer Cooking: Cilantro Shrimp

As moms, we are busy all the time. Whether it’s working to provide inside or outside the homewriting notes for lunch boxes or even taking time to care for ourselves, we are always thinking two or three steps ahead.

That’s one of the reasons moms love slow cooker meals – we can set it and (pretty much) forget it. A meal scores even more points if it’s a freezer meal we can make ahead of time and put straight in the slow cooker.

Oops, I forgot!

But what about those days when life is just so crazy that we forget to put dinner in the crockpot? That’s when most of us are tempted to swing through a drive-thru or order a pizza.

These instances are why I also love quick and easy one dish meals like my scallops in bacon vinaigrette, and this cilantro shrimp recipe. Having this meal on hand in the freezer saves me on days that my meal planning slips up and I find myself in a bind right before dinner.

Tips for Quick Defrosting

If you ever find yourself in this situation, grab your pre-prepared cilantro shrimp freezer bag, and run the bag under cold water for a few minutes to defrost. Using cold water seems counter-intuitive, but it works well to defrost seafood quickly and safely. Once it is defrosted, remove the contents from the bag and get cooking!

The Case for Shrimp

I originally came up with this recipe when I needed to use up some frozen wild shrimp in my freezer. I always buy all organic produce, but do the best you can. The combination of flavors in this cilantro shrimp recipe brighten the shrimp and appeal to kids and adults alike.

Keeping shrimp on hand in the freezer is another way to save the crazy days from meal disaster. They are a great source of protein, have a variety of uses, and fill tiny bellies up fast to help stretch a meal!

Cilantro Shrimp


  • 5 cups of frozen wild caught shrimp
  • 2 cups of cilantro
  • 6 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 bag of baby carrots

Day of cooking add

  • juice of 2 limes
  • water
  • grass fed butter


To preassemble the meals for freezing

  1. Dump shrimp, cilantro and garlic into two separate one gallon freezer bags
  2. Divide bag of carrots into two smaller ziploc bags and place inside the gallon bag

Day of cooking

  1. To cook carrots first, put in cast iron skillet with water, just barely covering the carrots with water
  2. Boil them and add butter as the water evaporates completely and the carrots are soft
  3. Once carrots are cooked, transfer to a plate and set aside
  4. Put a dollop of butter in the skillet and add garlic, shrimp and cilantro
  5. Cook for about 4 minutes, until shrimp is cooked throughly
  6. Add the juice of one lime and mix together
  7. Serve immediately with side of carrots

What’s your best tip for cooking healthy meals on the fly?

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  • Jenny
    June 26, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    I’ll take any one-dish recipe you got. I love the slow cooker, but one-dish/easy recipes from the freezer are fairly doable as well. Plus it’s fun to see new ideas.

  • Brandi Lomack
    June 27, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    One dish meals are a good way to mix things up so that my family doesn’t dread walking in & seeing the crockpot. 🙂

  • paula j
    June 27, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    I have a friend that would love this so I’m passing it on.

  • Courtney
    June 27, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Hello! I purchased the ecookbook, but not seeing if it went through. Sorry to post a comment here- I couldn’t find a spot to otherwise contact you. Could you check for me please? I need to get started on some freezer meals asap- thanks! [email protected] [email protected]

    • Stephanie
      June 27, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      Hi Courtney! You should have gotten an email from Ejunkie. If not, send me an email at [email protected] with your paypal receipt and I will get a copy to you ASAP.

  • Mishelle
    June 27, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    It’s nice to see a one dish dinner that doesn’t involve pasta. I am Italian-blooded, and trust me, I love some Pasta! But choosing a balanced diet means sometimes we get our carbs from carrots instead of pasta. I will try this soon!

  • Susan
    June 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    This looks delish! Please add more one-dish wonders 🙂

  • Rebecca
    July 2, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    I would love more one dish meals like this! I often forget to get things into the crockpot early enough so things that I can pull out at the last minute are great! Also, I love that even though my kids are allergic to a number of things I can easily tweak your recipes to fit our needs since you use REAL FOOD!

  • alicia force
    July 17, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    I have just found you (thru 100 days of eating real whole food challenge blog.. or something like that).. I am hoping you are the answer to my prayers.. I will be purchasing your book… I would love to see more of these freezable one dish meal recipes. Non Crockpot quick meals are so in demand as well. It’s a great mix!
    I love that you even go through the painstaking task of creating the grocery list for us. I can pick the meals for the week but seem overwhelmed to do that and am constantly at grocery store spending so much on ingred. that I use maybe once . I love that I have found you and you are giving me hope that I too can create REAL Food meals that my family might actually eat. Thanks for the hard work and taking the chance …. I am sure it will come back to you!!!

    • Stephanie
      July 17, 2012 at 2:44 AM

      Welcome!! So glad you are here. Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Kandace
    July 18, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Do you put the freezer bag in the fridge the night before to allow time to thaw? It sounds so good. I can’t wait to try it 🙂

    • Stephanie
      July 18, 2012 at 1:48 AM

      Nope. I just cook straight from the freezer. No need to pre plan or remember to thaw, just grab and cook!

  • Tammy Willoughby
    July 28, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Thanks for sharing your strategy for providing wonderful dinners for your family in a simple, time-efficient, and cost-effective way. Years ago when we were a family of 5, I did ‘Once a Month Freezer Cooking’, taking 2 full days for shopping and cooking…quite exhausting. Now that there are only 2 of us at home, and I am starting grad school with a 2-hour commute one way, your strategy will allow me to be able to not only enjoy amazing dinners with my daughter, but to also send freezer meals home with my son who is a university student and uses his crockpot often. I prepared 24 freezer crockpot meals using your recipes and strategies yesterday afternoon! I am also very interested in your semi-freezer quick stove/oven options. Ordering your eCookbook today!

  • Kathy
    July 31, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Thank you! What a great idea!!! I am so excited to do this! I have been good at freezing meals (that I have to cook). But, I am so excited to come home to cooked meals!!

  • Bree
    August 11, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    how would you convert this to a crockpot recipe with chicken? is it as simple as add chicken, stick in freezer bag? 😉 Thanks! Love your recipes and ideas!

    • Stephanie
      August 12, 2012 at 1:34 AM

      Hmm, I will have to think about that! If you did chicken, I would add some stock, tapioca flour, maybe some onions.

  • Michelle
    October 5, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    I did a good bit of pre planned meals when I had my kiddos at home and in school. They always felt deprived that I wouldn’t feed them ‘sugar’ cereal for breakfast. I make sausage biscuits and breakfast burritos and they could zap in microwave as they were running out the door. Nowadays, I work 12 hours at night and with commute my day (night) is 14 hrs. I have no time, energy or desire to cook on those days so I will be trying out your book. We are lucky in the fact that we have a local business here that makes prepared meals, freezes them and you just pop in oven when I wake up. He just doesn’t use organic meat, so I mostly stick to fish or seafood entrees. I’m trying to talk him into test selling organic meats but I hope with your book, I can prepare my own at a better cost. I live near the gulf so have abundant seafood and fish whereas the organic must come from Whole Foods at a hefty price. More seafood…. ESP shrimp, crawfish and fish recipes would be awesome!!! Look forward to trying your book out! Thanks!

  • Randal Oulton
    October 8, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    Is there a certain taste to “wild caught shrimp” that is essential to the recipe, or is that more a personal philosophical food choice that you make? I only ask because not everyone’s budget might stretch to that plus “all organic produce, but do the best you can.” Sometimes “doing the best you can” means juggling choices to make sure the kids have proper winter boots, etc.

    • Stephanie
      October 8, 2012 at 4:36 AM

      I do notice a taste difference, but yes, winter boots come first.

    • Janet
      December 19, 2014 at 7:13 AM

      I do agree with Randal, not everyone has the money to do the ‘wild caught’ and grass fed and organic thing. So my solution is to pray for our food before eating it and ask that God cleanse it, knowing I’ve done all to get the best affordable food we can.

      • Stephanie
        January 6, 2015 at 11:45 AM

        That is a great thing to do, and I have done that in the past too, especially with restaurant foods. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mellissa
    October 19, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    I’m soooo glad you didn’t put shrimp in the slow cooker! Haha! This looks great! Can’t wait to try it out, and it is nice and easy change up from the crock pot meals! Thanks!

    • Stephanie
      October 21, 2012 at 1:43 AM

      Exactly! Although, just fyi, you can put shrimp in a slow cooker like in my Valencian Paella recipe in my cookbook, but you just add it the last thirty minutes of cooking. 😉

  • Deanna
    February 4, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    I’m new to your website. Is there a way to print this recipe? Thanks!

    • Stephanie
      February 4, 2013 at 1:26 AM

      We are actually in the process of going back through old posts and installing an easier way to print recipes. But for now, only thing you can do is copy and paste and hit print selection. 🙂

  • Tish
    September 14, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! How did you freeze the shrimp? Were they peeled already, or did you have to peel them first before putting them into ziploc bags?

    • Stephanie
      September 14, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      I bought the shrimp already frozen and then just added it to my gallon freezer bags during assembly time. 🙂