Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This is elementary for most of you, but just give me a minute to catch up...

When I left home, I wasn't exactly what you would call a Martha Stewart. I thought I was a bona fide cook the first time Honey came to visit for the weekend and I made him Hamburger Helper.

It wasn't my mom's fault.  She tried to teach me.  I just wasn't ever in the mood to learn.  The consequence of my teenage apathy, is that I've spent the first 15 years (and counting) of my married life learning.  Bless my husband's heart.

My family is growing...in size, not in quantity...I'm a bit out of my element when it comes to cooking for 5-ish adults.

But, I'm adapting.

I'm loving my freezer(s) right now.  I have three, and I'm slowly learning how to use them to their fullest benefit to make my life easier.  They are even kind of organized.

The house fridge has all of our convenience food...Eggos, and sausage patties, and frozen veggies, and rolls.  And ice packs, OH. MY GOODNESS at the ice packs. 

The smaller garage freezer has all of the leftovers that are waiting to be used. 

The larger standing freezer has uncooked meats, our New Mexico green chili, and any frozen dinners that are waiting for us to eat or give away.

And then there's stuff that doesn't really fit in to any of those categories that is just stuck in wherever there is space.

(By the way, our large freezer is in serious need of a defrosting.  Just sayin')

Here's why I'm loving my freezer(s) right now:

1)This week, I cooked a pot of Texas Chili.  We only eat about half of it at one meal, so I freeze it in individual servings for me or the kids to eat for lunch a couple of times over the next few weeks.  I do this with many of my soup-ish or casserole-ish recipes.  We don't get sick of eating the same thing leftover 4 meals in a row, and I can't remember the last time I bought a Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine.

If the kids are having it for lunch, I usually put it in the fridge overnight to defrost.  We use these containers in their lunchboxes and they warm it up using microwaves in their school cafeterias.

2)Last week, I cooked a huge ham.  (that I bought on sale and stuck in the freezer several months ago)  We ate it for dinner one night and the kids had sandwiches, but there was still a TON left over.  I chopped it up and froze it in 2 cup portions to use for quiche, baked potatoes, or pulled pork sandwiches later this month.

I also do this with ground meat. 

(My habit lately has been to use 2 lbs of ground beef and 2 lbs ground turkey.  You get the beef flavor and the healthier turkey all at once.  Last night I was out of turkey so I just used beef.  Mary TuTu noticed the difference right off and said, "I like this chunky meat mom!") 

While I'm browning 1 lb of meat, I might as well brown 4 lbs.  Then I divide it in to 4 parts, use one part for dinner and freeze the other 3 parts.

My MIL suggested doing it with pinto beans.  I make a huge pot (about 4 cups of dried beans is about all my crock pot will hold), and freeze in 1 heaping cup with juices servings.  Then when a recipe calls for a can of pinto beans, I use a bag of those. 

To defrost, I just put the sealed bag in a sink of hot water for about 10 minutes and whatever is in there is usually soft enough to remove from the bag easily.  I normally use these freezer bags

-Green Chili Enchiladas are on our list of options pretty often, but we hardly ever actually cook them.  Why?  Because Green Chili Enchiladas are one of Honey's specialties and he doesn't always make it home from work in time to cook supper. 

A few weeks ago, Honey did actually make the enchiladas.  I asked him to make a double batch of the green chili sauce and we froze half of it for later.  Guess what we're having for dinner tonight?  All I have to do is defrost the sauce, layer it in the casserole dish with the corn tortillas and cheese and bake for 30 mins.

Now it's your turn.  Help an apathetic teenage girl out and tell me why you are loving your freezer these days.  And where do you put all the stuff in the freezer while you defrost it?!


Ashley said...

Oh, I love my freezer. I *might* have cried when we sold our deep freezer before leaving CA.
http://lifeasmom.com/ has a new freezer meals cookbook that I really want. There should be a link at the top of her page. She also has tons of recipes on her 2 blogs.
I love to cut up onions and bell pepper all at once and freeze. It saves me a ton of time if I don't have to chop veggies for dinner. I'll also put bbq sauce or other marinades in the bag with the raw chicken or whatever meat so I can just dump the whole thing in the crockpot (frozen) in the morning and not have to do anything for dinner.
You can freeze things flat on cookie sheets and then transfer to ziplocs so everything doesn't stick together. I do this with black beans and chicken all the time. I could go on and on....I love the freezer!!!
Eat what you can out of the freezers so you have room to condense down to 2 and don't add anything else until you can defrost the one.

MB said...

Hmmm... Now I want Green Chili Enchiladas. I think you should post Honey's recipe... Yum! :)