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Anna N

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

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DUH...Last night, I finally pulled up the first page of this thread, and it seems that I was not following the rules!

So I tried last night to get something for tonight's supper.

From the "beef basket" in the main freezer,  I pulled a chunk out, and it was a chuck roast that was purchased "some time ago". It caught my hand because part of the packaging was ripped. From the fridge freezer, I had a package of frozen excess celery and some leftover coconut milk.

With addition of mushrooms, onion, leftover kolhrabi, and Thai red curry paste, we ended up with Coconut Curry Beef for supper. Side was steamed asparagus.

                                     Freezer Chuck Roast 8 20160001.jpg

                                     Coconut Curry Beef 0002.jpg

 

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Dinner was based on two things from my freezer: lima Beans and some French Bread for Garden Stuffed Peppers and garlic bread.

 

The peppers were stuffed with the cooked limas, onion sauteed in butter, a chopped Roma tomato, corn, and oregano, then baked. Cheddar cheese was placed on top to melt for the last five minutes of the bake. The garlic bread was made from slices from the frozen loaf, garlic, butter, parsley and fried in a skillet.

 

I also took out a 1 pound package of ground chuck that's been in there since before my situation changed and I learned to make 1/4 pound patties and freeze for single servings. I'm torn between moussaka and Masbahat El-Darweesh for tomorrow.

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Randomly on purpose pulled out frozen Peas, and had it with Pasta (tortellini), Prosciutto in a light cream sauce, Parmesan on top.  Heh.  Making baby steps - half a bag of frozen peas at a time!

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There were two Italian sausages on top of the bottom drawer of my freezer that kept staring at me the way you see puppies in a shelter stare. "You gonna take me? Uh? Uh? Please".  So I caved. Later tonight it will be S for sausage and S for soup,  but I also used up a large bag of S for stock. I think I chalked up a few points. If only I could have found the Parmesan rinds in the freezer I would have used some of those, too.  Hoping they will surface soon.   This is going very slowly but I feel it is working. I added a whole bunch of meat to my grocery list and then immediately crossed off every single one. "Read my lips. No more meat."

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This is a great idea...if only I knew everything that was in my freezer!  That's the problem with chest freezers (upstairs is a pull-out and fairly manageable), even with some crates to stack things, its difficult.  I had an idea for a bar-code scanning system to inventory what goes in and out, but it remained, sadly, an idea.

 

Does taking out frozen home made pizza count!?

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54 minutes ago, TicTac said:

This is a great idea...if only I knew everything that was in my freezer!  That's the problem with chest freezers (upstairs is a pull-out and fairly manageable), even with some crates to stack things, its difficult.  I had an idea for a bar-code scanning system to inventory what goes in and out, but it remained, sadly, an idea.

 

Does taking out frozen home made pizza count!?

Of course it does so ....long as you don't just put it back in the freezer. 

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I am not keen on re-frozen frozen pizza, so I will be vigilant in my efforts to avoid such a tragedy!

 

                                                         

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Tonight's dinner will be Beef Chili with Beans (from the freezer) topped with Shredded Cheese and Green Onion with Saltine Crackers.

 

Tomorrow's dinner will be Pizzas made from (frozen) homemade dough (dated Oct. 13) currently thawing in the fridge. Toppings to include homemade Marinara Sauce, Pepperoni, Pork Sausage and Prosciutto (all from the freezer) and Mozzarella and Mushrooms (both from the fridge). Some chopped onion, black olives and jalapeños will also make an appearance.

 

Pizza inspiration came from Ann_T's awesome pizza photos on the Dinner Topic!


Edited by robirdstx (log)
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Today I grabbed some ground Pork out of the freezer.  There were two packages so I decided to turn it into chili con carne.  The meat was browned, Peppers and onions sautéed, garlic added, then ancho chili powder, chili con carne spice mix, cumin and oregano.  That was followed by 3 cans of my very precious Rotel tomatoes (precious because we can't get them here) salt and pepper.  We let that simmer for a bit and then tasted it to adjust the seasoning.   Bleech!  It tasted of old meat.  Very old meat.  It was trashed.

 

This time I looked in the freezer to see what we had that was already prepared as it was now 7:00.  Found some stuffed peppers and they are currently heating up in the oven.  So no points for me today but on the other hand, three more items have been removed from the freezer.  Almost, but not quite, makes up for the 4 packages of pork back ribs that went in this afternoon.O.o

 

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Not a blind pull but a couple of burger patties made their way out of the frozen tundra to thaw and get blasted with heat from a ripping hot cast iron pan.  Their fate was shared with a couple of potatoes that were flayed into strips and sent to the oven to brown

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image.jpeg

 

 So here it is. Sausage soup using stock and spinach so that's three things from my freezer tonight.   It freed up very little room.   I feel like Hercules mucking out the  Augean stables  only it's going to take me much longer than a day. But I feel virtuous compared to those of you who are like Sisyphus  pushing that rock up the mountain only to have it roll back on you when you go to the grocery store.

 xDxD  

 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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6 minutes ago, Anna N said:

image.jpeg

 

 So here it is. Sausage soup using stock and spinach so that's three things from my freezer tonight.   It freed up very little room.   I feel like Hercules mucking out the  Augean stables  only it's going to take me much longer than a day. But I feel virtuous compared to those of you who are like Sisyphus  pushing that rock up the mountain only to have it roll back on you when you go to the grocery store.

 xDxD  

 

 

 

Indeed.  But at least I didn't buy the jumbo chicken wings which you so seldom see.  Not yet, anyway.:smile:

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I finally decommissioned the old refrigerator and freezer.  The new freezer is smaller than the old one.  But I did throw away a bunch of old stuff.  The turkey breast still wouldn't fit in the new freezer so we had turkey breast and stuffing with homemade cranberry/orange sauce tonight.  Turkey Breast and Baked dressing.  That's about as alliterative as I can get with this meal.  My son's plate - mine was about half that

IMG_1223.JPG


Edited by Jacksoup Spelling of course (log)
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By Jove, I think I've finally got it!
From the freezer: ground Pork, from the fridge Peppers , Purple eggplant (does it count?) and Peas
Supper Trio:

Stir-fried ground pork with peppers, purple eggplant in toban sauce

                                            Spicy Pork Peppers Purple Eggplant0003.jpg

Sides: Tofu in Oyster Sauce. Clean-out-the-Fridge Veg Medley: peas, celery, peppers, wood ear (leftovers from Hot'n'Sour Soup), ginger, zucchini.
                                            Freezer Ps 0006.jpg


THIRD Day without any shopping! Starting to feel a twinge of withdrawal :S

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I used a pound of ground Beef chuck and some french Bread from the freezer for the Masbahet El Darweesh I made tonight. I used a recipe I hand copied from a library book, and I can't remember which book. It was 41 years ago and I was only 16 at the time. I noted that the book said the dish was from Lebanon. It's a spiced meat and veggie baked casserole.

 

I used to make this recipe about once a week way back when, and then forgot about if for years, until I was contemplating what I was going to do with a whole pound of ground beef. I had almost narrowed it down to moussaka when that prompted me to recall this recipe and that is where I decided to go with my beef.

 

Thanks to the internet, after all these years, I was able to find out the the name means "The Dervish's Rosary" in Arabic, and that it's a dish more likely to be made at home than served in a restaurant. It used to be assembled at home and then carried to the bakery's bread oven after the bread came out, where the cook paid a fee to use the oven. I got the impression that more traditional and authentic dishes used cubed lamb. Also, like many homemade dishes, there are lots of variations, so I felt free to add a sliced carrot and a few sliced cremini mushrooms to my old recipe tonight, which is the one I used because it's tried and true, but there are many recipes and even videos on the dish out there. One article had an interesting theory on the origin of the name. It proposed that the ingredients combine during the baking like the beads of a rosary to make something greater than themselves. I don't know, but it's awfully good, pretty healthy, and a unique taste to this American gal.

 

The bread doesn't go in the dish, but is rather served alongside for mopping the broth. I refreshed my bread in the oven.

 

I had lots of leftovers, but that's okay, because I'll enjoy eating it. 

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5 hours ago, ElsieD said:

That was followed by 3 cans of my very precious Rotel tomatoes (precious because we can't get them here) salt and pepper.  We let that simmer for a bit and then tasted it to adjust the seasoning.   Bleech!  It tasted of old meat.  Very old meat.  It was trashed.

 

I'm so sorry about your dish, and wasted effort, time and other ingredients. That is so sad, especially the Rotel you have so much difficulty getting. :(

 

How do you get your hands on them? 

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The time has come/the Walrus said... Oh wait.  The time has come in this challenge that began as an effort to reclaim power over my freezer, to assess my progress.  I still have very little idea of what is actually in there so I am going to spend time today to inventory at least the large bottom drawer.  Bending is a huge challenge (which it wasn't when I bought this beast) so I will pull up my small step stool, find a couple of empty crates or boxes  and tackle this task. I have found the easiest way to do any inventory around the house is to use my smart phone's dictation feature and "speak" a list. 

Ultimately my goal is to ascertain what is in there and then make a plan as to how best to use it up. I am a little concerned that it might be full of nothing but pork or beef or chicken maybe.  It may contain so very little meat that I really do need to buy some.  I suspect the list is going to prove embarrassing so I won't promise to share it with you. xD

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Anna, I did the same thing a few days ago. I now have an inventory and have it posted on the door of the fridge. Having the list right there in front of me helps when deciding what to make and reminds me to use some of this before I buy any more! I did toss a few things while doing the inventory! I have the inventory sheet on my iPad, so I will update it every once in a while and print a fresh copy.

 

IMG_6510.JPG

 

 


Edited by robirdstx (log)
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 Sheesh,  I knew somebody would out me!   I knew I would be embarrassed and I surely am.  There is so much good protein in my freezer that I didn't even know was in there that I ought to be beaten with a wet noodle.

 

 

 

 I may take a coffee break and then tackle the upper drawer which is largely ingredients. But I would like to have space where I could freeze things like berries and meatballs flat before I package them. That may be more of a challenge.   That top drawer is really jammed.

 

image.jpeg

 

 

 

 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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I know exactly what I have in my freezer drawers: too much ;-) no, but I have a system. it starts with game, followed by other red meats, birds, fish, shellfish, sausages, thats the raw freezer. the other starts with fruit purees for icecream, and goes down with stocks and jus, ready cooked meals. dumplings and gnocchis, vegetables and last one bread, sweets and dough. today I pulled out some red Cabbage and some Chicken stock and blend it together for a nice soup. yesterday I mixed the zests of 2 oranges with some vegetable oil and let it infuse over night. this I dripped on top, which gave a nice flavor. sorry, no pic, you have to trust me.

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image.jpeg

 

 

 So now I have fully revealed all my sins.  I am going to ditch the duck stock because it really is much too salty. The only other thing I threw out of the freezer today was some frozen tofu. I don't think there was cause to throw much else out. But I certainly did not come even close to finding room to take advantage of the IQF method of freezing stuff.  So back to the challenge although it may not be quite as blind as it was before.xD

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11 hours ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

 

I'm so sorry about your dish, and wasted effort, time and other ingredients. That is so sad, especially the Rotel you have so much difficulty getting. :(

 

How do you get your hands on them? 

 

We go on grocery shopping expeditions.  Ogdensburg is about an hour from here and they have Aldi and Price Chopper. We have also been known to go to Syracuse (3 to 3 1/2 hours) where we amble around Trader Joe's and Wegman's.  We try to stick to stuff we can't get here, including Rotel tomatoes in the 10oz. tin.  For some reason, I really like them.  Normally when we go to Syracuse we spend the night at my niece's, but we have been known to make it a day trip.  Oh, and TJ's peanut butter pretzel things are likely my husband's favorite snack food.  We can get something similar here but the shells are thicker so they don't have the same sort of snap.

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2 hours ago, Anna N said:

Sheesh,  I knew somebody would out me!   I knew I would be embarrassed and I surely am.  There is so much good protein in my freezer that I didn't even know was in there that I ought to be beaten with a wet noodle.

 

 

 

 

Remember I have been using hand written lists for years - for some reason people freaked out when I posted them back in 2007 on my foodblog.  I have since added various sized bins that fit into my downstairs and upstairs freezers that help me even MORE than a list as I group everything in a category together - poultry parts, whole poultry, frozen fruit, frozen veg, breakfast products, venison and bison. etc.  I have also learned to keep a short shelf for casseroles, stocks and soups in containers.

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1 hour ago, ninagluck said:

@Anna N, why do you freeze duck confit?

This was duck confit that I had shredded  and had great plans for but life got in the way!   It so often does in my house.

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