Tuesday, February 21, 2012

For the Love of Cooking - Things I Always have in my Freezer



My freezer is my best friend when it comes to cooking. I am still in the process of finding a space for an external freezer for my tiny apartment. But that is how much I see it as my best tool in the kitchen. I can buy foods on sale, FREEZE IT! I buy veggies and fruits in season, therefore less expensive. I clean it, cut it, bag it, FREEZE IT! I have fruits or veggies almost going bad. I may not feel like eating it now, cooking it now. What do I do? Wash it, cut it... and yes FREEZE IT! It is often times less expensive when in season. I also enjoy buying local/organic or both. It is often times less expensive for me to do it myself.

When I freeze I cook once, and use at least 3 times. So I make huge batches that I separate into servings, put it in bags and freeze. I then can pull it out and literally dump my ready made veggies and meats in a pan or pot and my dinner is almost done! Healthy, quick, and easy!



FUNDABBLER FACT

Assuming your freezer is at the correct temperature, and that your foods are well packed meats, veggies, and fruits have a freezer life. 

Cooked meats - stays in freezer for about 2-3 months
Fruits and Veggies - stays in freezer for 8-12 months
Uncooked meats - stays in freezer for about 3-4 months

For more detailed information check out the USDA's Food Safety Fact sheet 


THINGS ALWAYS IN MY FREEZER



MUST HAVE

Chopped carrots
Frozen Peas
Ground beef already fried
Ground Turkey already fried
Chicken pieces already cooked
Beef cubes fried

WHY

These must haves fill the needs to a well rounded meal with some quick carb and/or salad on the side. The beef cubes are good for Indian food, Persian food any stew really as are the chicken pieces. The ground meat can be made into a quick sauce, Shepard's pie, meat pie or just defrosted to eat. Simple as that




JUST A BIT MORE EFFORT

Chopped celery
Organic Frozen Spinach 
Parmesan Cheese grated 
Cheddar and mozzarella cheese (ideally grated and in baggies)
Tortillas (corn or flour)
Old bananas (to later make banana bread or shakes in the summer)
Berries of choice and whatever fruit I have that is going bad I cut and freeze for baking or smoothies. 
Frozen spag sauce home made 
Well washed knob of ginger in a baggie ready to grate

WHY

Your veggie choice becomes a bit more refined and higher in nutrition with this category. Better food really in a lot less time. Your range of choices for meals increases as well. With your spinach you have stews as well as quiches, omelets, yogurt sides... your creativity is the limit!

The fruits make a base for baked goods as well as smoothies. Always a good insert for nutrition when you don't have time.

Tortillas because some times you don't want to eat 12 tortillas in one week.

Cheese because it always makes everything better, adds flavor, and with your frozen spag sauce, you always have a great well rounded meal in 30 min or less!

The ginger trick is really fabulous. Seriously it adds such flavor (and nutrition) to your meal, but a little goes a long way. You buy a nice big knob, wash it, freeze it and it is even easier to grate frozen than fresh. Promise you'll try it (if you like ginger).




LUXURY
If you want to get fancy and I love it because I feel like I cook well without having to kill so much time. It's already in the freezer and ready to go after some prep work:

Small bell peppers cubes
Small  zucchini cubes
Pizza Dough
Cookie Dough


WHY


Bell peppers and zucchini just another additive to your depth of food. Although cooked, bell peppers lose a bit of nutrition and become just major sources of fiber, but flavor wise, they are great toppers for home made pizzas, another dimension to your stews, omelets, quiches, quick spag sauce (with a can of tomatoes and some ground meat w spices/herbs and garlic.) Fried rice... again the list goes on.


Zucchini cubes fall under the same category as the bell peppers. More nutrition, more fiber, more flavor. 


NOTE:


It really is worth the bit of time. You save when you use things on sale. Freeze it use it and enjoy it. You are already washing your veggies, and cutting them. Adding a few more to the batch adds a few more minutes but a lot less work. PROMISE! 


Happy freezing... and ENJOY!

1 comment:

  1. Great post -- I am about to email you for freezing tips! :-)

    ReplyDelete