Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Five in the Freezer

You'll have to forgive me for not having anything yummy to show you just yet, I still have to upload pics I shot over the weekend. In the meantime though I thought I would share what I've been doing lately, which is emptying/restocking the freezer. We have meat we purchased in a small bulk amount and fish we received from some of Josh's dad's many successful trips to the river and the coast. I've been slowly cooking my way through the fish and trying to use the meat as efficiently as possible. Here is what I've made recently to restock the freezer for a rainy day, be it due to busy schedule or tight budget.

Meatloaf- My meatloaf recipe makes a loaf that serves six. Since there are just the two of us to feed in our house I molded my ingredients into three smaller loaves meant to make a single dinner for the both of us. Now, this does break my heart a little bit because I love meatloaf and this leaves no leftovers for the next day. But, on the other hand I have two ready to go loaves in the freezer, meaning I can eat meatloaf again soon and I get three portion-controlled meals out of my meat supply.

Vegetable Enchiladas- I love making these enchiladas because not only are they slightly healthier than your typical pan of mexican food, but they are delicious and takes so little effort or cost to have two trays worth. I use aluminum pans for my freezer batches and I always wrap it first in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to protect it well from freezer burn. I made these enchiladas Friday for guests and stocked the freezer as the same time.

Red and Black Bean Pie- Another one of my favorite meatless meals, this recipe was a freezable feature in an issue of Everyday Food. This recipe could be especially great for families where a family member gets home late, or for a single guy or gal who doesn't have a lot of time to cook for themselves in the evening, as it can be made in ramekins for individual servings. I typically cook mine in a deep pie plate and put my freezer batch in a 8" square aluminum pan, wrapping as I described above.

False Alarm Vegetable Chili- This is a recipe I came across very early in our attempt to start eating a bit healthier. I normally halve this recipe when I cook it since it's actually meant to feed a firehouse! But since I've been stocking the freezer up lately I decided to pull out my big stock pot and make a full batch. In fact, I just made it last night. We both had a hearty dinner, with enough for lunch leftovers, and two approximately 4 cup containers in the freezer. Each one of those should feed us a dinner and lunch again.

Bread- One of these things is not like the others, you might be saying to yourself. And you're perfectly right. Bread is hardly a recipe, nor is it a meal in and of itself to be popped out of the freezer for a fast dinner. However freezing bread is one of my favorite tricks for making sure I get my monies worth, and being able to whip something up at home instead of running out to grab fast food. I like the fresh and yummy breads I can get at Central Market. But the idea of eating an entire loaf of sourdough before it turns into a science experiment or letting it go to waste and throwing dough (both literally and figuratively) into the trash definitely doesn't appeal to me. So I experimented with freezing the bread and had great results. I pair slices of bread and wrap them in plastic wrap, then foil and then place the little packages in large freezer bags. I like to keep challah for making french toast, sourdough for grilled cheese, toast, or croutons and this week I bought some yummy rosemary bread to do some fun stuff with. When I unwrap slices to use I keep the plastic wrap and foil paired together in a drawer. Then when I buy my next loaf I can reuse it, which helps cut down on waste and save money.

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