Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frugal Friday 10-31-08

Your Freezer is Your Friend!

I love cooking ahead and putting things in my freezer for another day. This week alone already I have chopped nearly two bags of red bell peppers and put in individual container/baggies in the freezer, onions, jalapeno peppers (from our garden), carrots I got for free from Target a week ago, plus a few containers of left over chili I made this week.

This is the first time I have frozen chopped bell peppers but thought I would give it a try. I love to grab a handful when I am making omelets and throw into the skillet first with some onions. It makes it so nice to have everything already chopped and measured so that all I have to do is get out the baggies, heat up the skillet and saute away!

Over the years these are a few things that I have done:

1. Shredded a crockpot cooked roast into small individual servings after mixing the roast with barbeque sauce. I flash froze the little piles of beef and then wrapped each one in saran wrap, smooshed the air out and then folded up the little packets of goodness and placed in a large freezer bag. When it came time to make lunch for the kids I took a packet out, placed it on a hamburger bun, added a little sauce, wrapped the sandwich back up and placed in the lunch box. The meat is defrosted by lunch time and it is very yummy.

2. Baked brownies and wrapped individually in saran wrap and stored in a large freezer bag. Makes it easy to grab and go. I have also started making brownie bites using mini muffin pans. I put three or four in a small snack bag and then once again place them into a much larger freezer bag. It makes it so nice. The kids love to eat these right from the freezer! I have done this with cookies too!

3. I have browned more than 50 pounds of turkey or hamburger meat all at once. I then will divide it out and season some with chili, taco, or italian seasoning. I also will add spaghetti sauce to some of the meat and freeze it in a baggie and lay it flat like a record album. They stack nicely in your freezer. I also brown the meat with onions and garlic. You can grab out a bag and make tostadas, quesadillas, tacos, pizzas, meat for spaghetti, and various of other ideas. It is a LIFE saver!

4. I have made tons of muffins and mini loaves of pumpkin, banana, zuchinni, and cinammon bread. I bake them up and place them in bags ready for the freezer. This weekend I will be making the pumpkin muffins that my kids beg for each year.

5. Calzones are a great thing to make and put in the freezer. They come in handy when families are busy heading to games or practice. They are super easy to make. I use frozen rolls to make mine but have also made them with a recipe I found online as well. I simply put some of my seasoned meat inside or pepperonis, cheese, a little sauce and seal them up and bake. They can then be reheated in the microwave or in a toaster oven.

6. I have also made meals such as lasagne, mexican lasagne, casseroles, etc to put in the freezer but more often than not I have components of meals that I can pull together at a moments notice.

7. When rotisserie chickens are marked down for a quick sale I pick all the meat off the bones and place in baggies in one pound increments. I have also then taken the bones and made my own chicken broth!

I am sure people that have a regular freezer feel that they cannot participate in this type of cooking. You are SO wrong! I do not have a freezer! I use the top of my refrigerator and have another fridge in the garage. We would love a freezer but ours died, full of food I might add, last year. We plan on getting one again. When I was a single mom I used the freezer on top of my was all I had. Granted it was just me and my little boy but in those days I made entire meals and froze them. It was a God send for us! Since our family now consists of six people I do things on a much smaller scale until we get a new freezer. It can be done!! Give it a try. You will be so glad you did!

Today at Money Saving Mom there are great examples of what one can do when they have some time. Check out Crystal's baking day here.

For more great Frugal Friday ideas check out Biblical Womanhood.


Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I wrote about my freezer this week too!


You freeze some interesting stuff..I'll have to try muffins and such soon.

Sherry said...

Wow! Great ideas for freezing. It has been a while since I froze a whole dish, but we usually freeze leftover hamburger, chicken, roast beef, and then some muffins, breads, pancakes. :D Another one I love to freeze cookie dough. I flash freeze drops of cookie dough using my cookie scoop and then put them in a ziploc. Great for being ready to bake up CHRISTmas gifts!

BarbaraLee said...

I love my 2 1/4 freezers. Their a girls best friend.
Did you know you can freeze celery too? I keep the small veggies like that in the freezer in my kitchen for easy grabs while I cook.

Donna(mom24boyz) said...

Oooh, I feel so guilty. I am about to do a post showing my gigantic upright freezer that is COMPLETELY empty. We are a family of 6 and I never have anything in my giant freezer. I need to start using it or unplug it and get rid of it! I am thinking of spending this Saturday baking and filling it :) I will be posting for tons of ideas!

These were great, I love the individiual snack idea!

Mom2fur said...

I've done the 'freezer dying' thing, too, so you sure have my empathy and sympathy there!
We bought a little freezer last year for $150 at Sears and it rates in my top five best household investments! I would highly recommend one to anyone. We replaced a second, old fridge (I was only using the freezer part--the rest had a leak) and believe it or not, our electrity bill went down by $60 a month. (The clothesline helped, too.) Being able to stock up on sale items helps you pay for the thing, too.

Lisa said...

Hey, what's your pumpkin muffin recipe? You must be extremely organized to freeze everything, but I bet it is a life saver with your busy schedule/life. You're awesome to learn from. Thanks.