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Anna N

Challenge: cook your way through your freeze (part 1)

502 posts in this topic

Any one up for a new challenge?

 

I have a freezer so full that I cannot take advantage of any sales, make a batch of anything to freeze, or even easily find anything in there. 

 

Today while Kerry Beal and I were out galavanting about we passed one of our local supermarkets which often carries lamb at good prices. Of all the things in my freezer I can pretty much guarantee lamb is not one of them. I bemoaned my first world problem to Kerry. 

 

She suggested that I look at it as a challenge and that each day I should reach into the freezer drawers and, without really looking, pull out a package of whatever. That package would then become what I would cook.

I was recently watching a program on Gusto TV called A is for Apple. It is based on the premise that the chef/cook choose two ingredients beginning with the same letter. I've seen two episodes so far. One involved onions and olives and the other pork and pineapple.  Each episode involves three dishes. One made with each of the ingredients separately and one made with them both together. 

 

This is just a little too complex but I did want to put somewhat of a twist on Kerry's original idea. 

 

So for those of us who are struggling to find some freezer room, to empty a freezer with a view to defrosting it, or for anyone who finds such a challenge fun, here is my proposal.

 

A) As often in the week or month that you choose, reach into your freezer and take out the first thing that comes to hand. 

 

B) From your pantry, market, refrigerator or even freezer, if it is organized enough, choose a second ingredient with the same first letter as the ingredient you retrieved.

 

C) Using these two ingredients and anything else that you have or can get, make a dish. It does not have to be an entrée.  It can be a side dish or dessert. It can be soup or salad. No holds barred. 

 

D) Show or tell us what you made BUT to make this much more interesting tell us the thought processes you went through to decide on your dish. How did you decide on the second ingredient? If you used a recipe tell us about it or even better link to it. If you pulled the idea out of thin air tell us that too. If it was inspired by a memory tells us that. You get the idea. 

 

E) Bonus points for anyone who uses two or more ingredients from the freezer. 

 

This is meant to be fun and inspirational for all of us so there are no time restrictions and no hard and fast rules.

 

Anyone up for this?  If you are a jump right in. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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This sounds fun! I'd love to give it a try. Definitely can use the freezer space.

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I'm up for this.  I have a stand-up freezer that is crammed and the bottom freezer on my fridge has a tiny bit of room only because yesterday I threw some stuff out that had been in there since I don't know when.  This will be fun.

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This will be fun to watch.

 

I can't play because three times a year I pretty well empty out the freezer to make space; in the spring and fall for my ren faire acquisitions, and a third emptying happens after the American Thanksgiving for the small mountain of cookies we bake for Christmas Cookie Tins.

 

Have fun and i will enjoy watching.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Okay, I will start. Today I pulled a lb. of ground chuck (BEEF) out of the freezer to make taco meat. To go with the Tacos will be a side dish of Spicy Black BEANS, but I like to add the Beans to my Tacos, so BEEF and BEAN Tacos. This is a meal we both like and makes for great leftovers. The inspiration for this meal was the avocado in the fridge that really needs to be used and I just happened to have one more container of homemade Taco Sauce in the freezer. Results will be posted on the Dinner Topic.


Edited by robirdstx (log)
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57 minutes ago, FrogPrincesse said:

I love this! It reminds me of another one of my favorite challenges from eGullet...

 

 

Yes, that is where my inspiration came from  but I could not find it to give credit where it was due.

Edited to be more correct

 

I meant to say that that is what came to mind when Kerry made her suggestion!  


Edited by Anna N (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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14 minutes ago, robirdstx said:

Okay, I will start. Today I pulled a lb. of ground chuck (BEEF) out of the freezer to make taco meat. To go with the Tacos will be a side dish of Spicy Black BEANS, but I like to add the Beans to my Tacos, so BEEF and BEAN Tacos. This is a meal we both like and makes for great leftovers. The inspiration for this meal was the avocado in the fridge that really needs to be used and I just happened to have one more container of homemade Taco Sauce in the freezer. Results will be posted on the Dinner Topic.

 

Great! 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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My freezer would benefit greatly from this. Not sure if I'd be brave enough to risk two freezer ingredients at once though... I could end up with some pretty Chopped-esque combinations. With my luck, I'd pull out the mini chocolate tart shells and the local walleye I have lurking somewhere in there. That, or the half of a cream cheese pound cake and the smoked elk bones. Now that I think about it, there was a time not all that long ago when I would have been excited about trying to make those things work together in a pleasant manner. What's happened to me? ¬¬

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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41 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

My freezer would benefit greatly from this. Not sure if I'd be brave enough to risk two freezer ingredients at once though... I could end up with some pretty Chopped-esque combinations. With my luck, I'd pull out the mini chocolate tart shells and the local walleye I have lurking somewhere in there. That, or the half of a cream cheese pound cake and the smoked elk bones. Now that I think about it, there was a time not all that long ago when I would have been excited about trying to make those things work together in a pleasant manner. What's happened to me? ¬¬

 Well you are welcome to try pulling two random things out of the freezer but that wasn't my intent.   I meant after you have your first ingredient in hand then you decide on your second ingredient and if it does come from your freezer then you get bonus points.   I likely didn't explain myself very well. But cream cheese poundcake and smoked elk bones....  Adventurous.  


Edited by Anna N (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Anna, this is not fair.  This is what I do most every day.  I just put over 12 lbs of chuck roast and 2 chickens in the freezer 

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I'll go. A package of frozen pulled pork (Pork) had migrated to the front of the refrigerator side-by-side freezer and had been staring at me reproachful(isly for a day or two.  I pulled it out tonight, and combined it with a can of chopped green chiles from the pantry (Peppers), grated cheese, tortillas and canned enchilada sauce and made enchiladas. (I had been craving Mexican food, and it was either that or call and order carryout.)

 

Had them with Mexican(ish) rice and a leftover tortilla sprinkled with grated leftover cheese and toasted. Needed some greenery, but I didn't have any.

 

As an added bonus, everything was something I had on hand, which was a Good Thing, as I worked in my PJs all day and wasn't about to get dressed to go to the grocery.


Edited by kayb (log)
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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I might try this, have to get the rest of the house on board. But our freezer is mildly ridiculous.

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

 Well you are welcome to try pulling two random things out of the freezer but that wasn't my intent.   I meant after you have your first ingredient in hand then you decide on your second ingredient and if it does come from your freezer then you get bonus points.   I likely didn't explain myself very well. But cream cheese poundcake and smoked elk bones....  Adventurous.  

 


I'm sure you explained yourself just fine, just my own mind making things more difficult than need be. It does sound much more pleasant the way you intended, I'm not sure I was looking forward to some of the combos that might come from my freezer if I grabbed two ingredients blindly. I'm not even entirely sure what all is in there. I won't know what some things are even after I pull them out until I've opened whatever I have them packaged in. How's that for some quality freezer organization? :D

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I was told John about this challenge and how we were going to participate.  I opened the freezer door, eyes carefully averted, and pulled out TJ's Chili-Line Chicken Burgers.  My question :. Does the second ingredient start with C for Chili Or Chicken or B for Burgers?

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12 minutes ago, ElsieD said:

I was told John about this challenge and how we were going to participate.  I opened the freezer door, eyes carefully averted, and pulled out TJ's Chili-Line Chicken Burgers.  My question :. Does the second ingredient start with C for Chili Or Chicken or B for Burgers?

Pick one. Nobody said it would be easy. That's why it's called a challenge. :D:D:D

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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This is right up my alley.  Old refrigerator has a larger freezer than the new one and I need to pare down the stuff in the old one.  I am taking tomorrow and Friday off work to put all the pots, pans, dishes, etc into the new kitchen and will be ready to cook!  I have 3 gallon bags of frozen Meyer lemon juice cubes and two of pesto.  Will probably make lemon curd since I have 2 dozen eggs from the boyfriend's chickens.  But then I'll freeze that.  Have a lot of meat - pork shoulder, ground veal& chicken.  Meatballs?  Seems like I can stock the freezer with prepared stuff instead of the basic ingredients.  Am getting excited to use the new kitchen

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 I am feeling the pressure. After all I started this challenge so it is incumbent upon me to participate. I have an appointment this morning but before I go I will reach into my freezer and see where my luck lies. Whatever emerges  can be defrosting in the refrigerator until I get back.  

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I'll try this.....but I am so weak!

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Do I get extra points if my freezer is in such shape that the first ingredient fell out when I opened the freezer door? This was before I read this thread but it became last night's dinner. The freezer item was a package of venison Backstrap, I served it with shredded golden Beets just because I thought the tastes and colors would be nice together. The dinner was excellent - I will post pictures in the dinner thread when I get home from work this afternoon. 

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If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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44 minutes ago, ElainaA said:

Do I get extra points if my freezer is in such shape that the first ingredient fell out when I opened the freezer door? This was before I read this thread but it became last night's dinner. The freezer item was a package of venison Backstrap, I served it with shredded golden Beets just because I thought the tastes and colors would be nice together. The dinner was excellent - I will post pictures in the dinner thread when I get home from work this afternoon. 

 Most definitely extra points for you!

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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47 minutes ago, lindag said:

I'll try this.....but I am so weak!

 We are all weak.  First of all we are all human and second of all if we weren't weak we would have a more efficient way of dealing with our freezer so it never gets this bad!  Only the weak need to be challenged to improve their dastardly habits.:)

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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6 hours ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

I made a smaller casserole than usual of scalloped potatoes, which were excellent as always, but I still have a serving or two left over. This is not a bad thing. I love scalloped potatoes. This was served with a ground chuck burger with no accompaniments except its luscious med rare juices and salt and pepper. Frozen ground chuck burgers are good for a single person. Quick to thaw and no waste. So good too.

 

Green stuff will come tomorrow, unless you count the limes I used in my Coronas, and the scallions in the scalloped potatoes. :)

 

Left-over scalloped potatoes also work marvelously for breakfast, with an over-easy egg on top.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Very interesting topic.  Look forward to your posts.

 

In my case , one freezer became two.  for a good reason : to defrost the first every few years.  I used to do this during very cold weather

 

ie a week of 20 F , by bagging up the contents and placing them in the ' storm door ' entrance to the basement.  worked fine. PITA though.

 

then I got lazy , bought the new freezer ( On Sale ! Free Delivery ! ) and then turkey's were 49 cents / lbs .....

 

every thing in my freezer is SV'd    on sale / bulk SV

 

except for Turkeys  :  4 x 22 lbs + , 2 x whole fz breasts  , and ground turkey  6 - 8 20z packs exact count unclear

 

I will say this :  Bulk SV + Freezers = a disease.  

 

I doubt this counts under this topic :  The New Disease variant is taking those  20 oz Fz ground turkey packs and turning them into

 

TurkeyRagu  bricks  :  1 gr turkey pack becomes 4 TR bricks.  the iPot facilitates this, asking for 2 fz turkey packs 

 

( + two jars Marinara , bacon , sweet italian turkey sausage , 1/2 + 1/2 )

 

Freezer Entropy in my case only seems to increase.   Following the 2d law of thermodynamics, of course

 

 


Edited by rotuts (log)
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Fun idea, Anna N!  I'm game, but probably won't get to it for another few days.

 

(DH just filled the freezer back up with dumplings - hope I don't get dumplings and uhhh...doughnuts. Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

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