Monday, January 3, 2011

Freezer Meals

So I thought I would talk a little bit about freezing meals.  I wish I had a little more room in my house so I could have a freezer that was separate from my fridge.  But that will just have to continue to be on my wish list until we move into a bigger house.  Anyways, there are so many ways you can cook from your freezer. I just finished cleaning out my freezer and eating through what needed to be used to start the new year.  Have you looked in the back of your freezer in the past few months?  You might be surprised what you will find hiding in there.  You should try and eat through your entire freezer stash at least every 4 months or so.  This will help you save money and also keep food from going bad or getting freezer burn as I like to call it.

Here is how I use my freezer to help me with my day to day, and monthly cooking.  Any time I cook a meal that is easy to double, I try to do that.  I cook all of it and then place half of it in the fridge to cool overnight and then freeze it for later in the month.  I just did this with a new recipe that my husband and I loved.  We had some awesome slow cooker pork chops with rice and veggies.  I made a double batch of the pork chops in the slow cooker and then put half of them in the freezer.  Now all we have to do is defrost, cook some rice and veggies and we have dinner on the table in no time.

I also love to store my leftover sauces or extra veggies to add to other meals.  You know when you have just a spoonful or two of something?  I used to hate throwing that out.  Sometimes the dog would get it, but most of the time it was wasted in the trash.  Now, I put the extras in a container and put it in the freezer.  Then when I have enough I can make a soup out of what I have.  I have done this a few times now and it has turned out very well.  I just add some meat and a little more veggies and some kind of liquid and presto, you have soup!  Get creative and try it for yourself.  If it's a flop, try, try again.  You can always make PB & J that night if you really mess it up.

Once you have cleaned things out pretty well, it may help to designate certain shelves to always have the same things.   is how my freezer is set up...

Top shelf - frostings, fruit, and anything I might use to make something sweet.

Below the Ice Maker - This is where all my husbands frozen lunches go.  He takes one to work almost everyday so there are a lot of them.

Next Shelf - This is where I put all the food I have from leftovers or meals I have cooked and are freezing for a later date.  Try to always date and label them.  This helps in so many ways.

Next Shelf - This is for pre made food from the store.  Fries, frozen dinners from a bag or a box and pizzas.

Bottom Bucket - This is for all the meat.  I try hard to separate the meat out into sizes that work for my family.  This way I can just grab what I need the night before and place it in the fridge to defrost overnight.

Door of the Freezer - There are lots of things in the door.  Bananas, veggies, breads, popsicles, and anything else that doesn't fit on the shelves very well.  

Hope this helps a little and makes you motivated to clean out your freezer and start using it to save you money.

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