I grew up in the country of Texas... whoops, I meant in the country in the state of Texas. ;-) Although my husband will attest to the fact that sometimes Texas does feel like another country (he's from Ohio)! Living in the country, and in the South, meant two things for me growing up: you learned to cook large amounts of food since there was always some kind of family or friend get-together going on, and you couldn't "just run to the grocery store", since the nearest store was 30-45 minutes away.
This meant meal planning, buying in bulk, and freezing a lot of food. When I got married several years ago, I had several adjustments to make: most of my recipes were for 6-8 people or more, I live in a different culture (Ohio) and have to substitute for items I can't find here, and (drum roll), I didn't have a DEEP FREEZER!!! While the grocery stores are only a few miles away, I still was used to buying in bulk, instead of grocery shopping every week or every couple of days. And this was frustrating as I started on my adventure in couponing & bargain-hunting, because I couldn't buy some of the deals (that I would actually use), because I had no place to put it.
And like many other singles, couples, or small families, it's trial by error to find which recipes feed 1-3 for a meal, without having to eat it 4 more times before it's gone. Or how to buy ingredients that you need for one meal, and use up the rest before it goes bad... Especially onions. Onions are needed in several recipes, but my husband doesn't like them, so I slip them in for flavor, but often have half an onion left over.
This last year we started saving up for a freezer, and in December finally got to purchase one! So now I'm a busy little mama, working on meal planning and freezing stuff to use in the coming weeks and months! Oh it's so fun to look at the shelves in my freezer and realize the money & time saved by those bags/containers sitting so patiently. So I thought I would share some of what I'm planning on freezing...
Here are a few of the things I have found that freeze really well:
- diced onions (in 1/2c. increments in a snack-size bag, then put into a quart freezer bag marked "Onions")
- chopped bell peppers (same as above)
- sliced celery (same as above)
- raw ground beef (1 lb.
- browned ground beef (1 lb. increments for recipes)
- raw chicken (divided into meal-size portions)
- cooked chicken, cut-up (into 1 c. portions)
- grated cheese
- banana bread
- coffee grounds
This cuts down on meal prep. Like if I want to make tortilla soup or a chicken pot-pie, I just go grab the meat and veggies I need and pour them into the pot! And when I can buy cheese for $.69 a bag, I can buy 10!!!
What else have you found that freezes well?