My Story: My Friend the Freezer
contributed by Jora
Making Fresh Freezer Meals
Using a Freezer Effectively
Freezing Food Staples
"Why do you bother with such a big freezer and pantry?" my in-laws ask. "After all, there are only four people in your family."
I not only have a 20-cubic-foot freezer, but I have named it "My Precious." And I have a kitchen pantry and a converted closet pantry.
I use my freezer for everything, including meal ingredients, fully-prepared meals, convenience foods, raw meats, veggies, cheese, and butter. A lot of these are purchased at rock-bottom sale prices. In fact, I don't think I've paid regular price for butter in five years. I even put my most expensive knitting yarns in the freezer during moth season!
Last week, I found baby back ribs reduced from $16 to $6 because it was their "sell by" date. (These cook up restaurant-quality-tender in the slow cooker.) I bought six packages. Immediately, I slow cooked two for weekend meals, and stuck four packages of vacuum-packed ribs into "My Precious."
A few months ago, it was 14 packages of corned beef. When I found organic ground beef reduced from $6/lb to $2/lb, I bought eight pounds. I threw it into my largest slow cooker to brown up (www.recipzaar.com/321884). The crumbles that didn't get used immediately went directly into resealable bags to freeze for future meals.
As for the pantries, how often do you find a great deal at the supermarket, but you don't really have room to stock up? The ten shelves in my overflow pantry give me plenty of room for canned beans, veggies, sauces, soda, laundry, detergent, soups, crackers, cookies, and cereals. There are advantages to storing food:
- We never have to eat out because there's nothing in the house. Last time we had out-of-town guests, I was able to feed them all three days with the bounty from my freezer. The suppers included sausage and peppers, parmesan tilapia, and standing rib roast.
- When someone is sick, there are soups in the pantry and freezer. Juices are kept on hand as well. And there's a stockpile of 88-cents per box tissues in the pantry as well.
- If my freezer keeps us from eating out only one time per month, it more than makes up for the $7 in electricity it uses. It was $50 plus the tip the last time we went to dinner.
- By giving me a lot of pre-made meals or meal ingredients, it saves time as well.
- I mix up cookie dough and freeze it, so I have quick cookies when my husband has to bring a last-minute dessert to work.
- When my kids get invited to a friends' house for dinner, I can grab something from the freezer to send along.
- When my kids and their friends grow up, maybe I won't need so much freezer space. But I'm sure glad to have frozen pizzas and taco meat when teenagers come to dinner.
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com.
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