Monday, March 28, 2011

Makes Good Cents to Me

This post should probably go over on my "What's Cooking" blog but it's not really a recipe per say. It's more about revisiting my old New Year's resolutions of using up things that I already have in the fridge and freezer, wasting less food and a constant journey to organize my life better.

I've been talking with my friend, Tara, at work about freezing food. She brings a big stack of small same-sized containers to work every once in a while and shoves them in the freezer. And then on those days when she stays in for lunch, she microwaves the most wonderful smelling lunches on the block.

I asked her recently what freezes best and she told me she does a lot of cooked chicken, stews and soups. I don't like stew but I'm a chicken fan so yesterday, along with the pork that had been marinating for two days, I cooked up two big batches of meat and stored a majority of it in the freezer.

I love saving time and money so this seems like a no-brainer. I also have about a million plastic containers that serve only to irritate Gene when he gets in the drawer to find something, so I cut up the chicken into small pieces to eliminate as much air from the container as possible and stuck 'em in the freezer. Did the same thing with the cooked pork. We'll use it for making quicker Thai rice or noodles. Tara puts slightly cooked peppers in her chicken and says it heats up nicely. I have yet to try that.

Last week, Gene pulled out his Griswold grill  (see my post on "Cast Iron Skillets") that we bought several years ago and have never used. It worked beautifully for the purpose of cooking lots of meat and kept the temperature even so I didn't have to worry about the "hot" spots on the grill.  It  also saves the grates on the grill from getting all gunked up. Read: much easier to clean than the grates. Yahoo for that! I don't know why we didn't think of it sooner. I can hardly wait to try grilling  vegetables on it.

Once I get going with an idea, I can hardly stop. So, I made a big crock pot of Chicken Tortilla Soup and found some smaller containers to freeze some of it for lunches later. I actually had more soup than containers so guess that's what we'll be having for dinner tonight. I'm a starving Marvin when I get home from work and I love that it takes 5 minutes to heat up dinner.

The price of gas has gone up to $3.79. Yikes! You can really see the ripple effect at the store. I had a short conversation with a stranger at the store yesterday about the price of little grape & cherry tomatoes. It was something like $4.29 for a little container of them.  Better stock up on beans!

In the meantime, I'm so happy I made soup yesterday. It's raining this morning and that soup will be so inviting to me at lunch time today. I don't care if I have to eat it twice today ~ it's that good!

Do you have any tips for freezing you can pass on to me?  I'd love to hear them!

love, susan



3 comments:

  1. When Tom bbqs we always cook extra to freeze...a container of meat thrown on top of the rice in the rice cooker makes a fast and yummy lunch....I also cook dried beans in the crock pot and freeze them in 2 cup portions to add to soups or burritos later. We tried freezing bell peppers from our garden, but they came out soggy and we didn't really like the texture when we used them. Also, when ground beef is on sale, I cook up 10-20 lbs with onion and garlic to freeze in 1 lb containers...easy to pop out of the freezer to make a quick meal of spaghetti or soup on busy days. I don't usually freeze completed soups simply because we use them up. We also froze diced tomatoes from our garden and they were great to add to soup and chili.

    Cher

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  2. I personally love left-overs. They alwys taste better the next day and that also means I don't have to cook two days in a row. I love your food posts! It is very inspiring. Keep it up!!

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  3. I always make lots of spaghetti sauce to freeze. I really like homemade sauce, but can't give up an hour to make it every time I want some. This way I only have to spend 5 minutes on spaghetti night. :)

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