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Okanagancook

Challenge: Cook your way through your freezer (part 2)

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12 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

There are two kinds of 'blue thing-ies'.  The dividers for the body of the freezer creating different sized compartments if you like.  Mine are six equi-sized compartments.  Then there are the three baskets which hold a lot of food.  All the blue thing-ies came with the freezer.    I keep mostly finished meals/dishes in the baskets and meats/sausage and veggies in the compartments.  The chest freezer only took an hour to clean and re-arrange.

 

The upright took a little longer (most of the afternoon) because it was a really mess.  Now neatly arranged and inventory updated plus a few unlabeled mystery items in the bin.  I use "Numbers" spread sheet to keep track of my freezers so that got a major update and a copy of it made for safe keeping.

 

Today I cooked 8 lamb shanks and two packages of lamb necks.  Bourdain's Daube Provencale was made with the necks.  Turned out very nice.  Three packages for the freezer.  Four of the shanks were cooked with figs from Taste and Technique and the last four were made into a stew from Lucy Waverman.  Another three packages of each for the freezer and one portion for dinner tonight.   This made quite a bit of room in the freezer.....already for our sausage making day in a couple of weeks.

 

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OMG, I'm freezer deprived.

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We've eaten the 2 lamb stews and a hunk of ham from the last smoked picnic shoulder we had.  One hunk left in the freezer along with the 2 whole ones.  The hunk of ham became Ham, cheese and asparagus stuffed crepes with that Bacon Shallot Cream Sauce from the Recipes That Rock 2017 thread.  I used ground pepper rather than cracked pepper in the sauce and added a tablespoon of whole grain Dijon mustard.  Tonight - finally - we eat the last of the perogies so another item gets scratched off the list.

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Just back from our 3 week trip to China, with a visit to my family home where I was born!

We were on a tour with a Canadian company, so meals were pretty pedestrian, set up for the mass of tourists. We extended our trip by a week, so food by choice was much much better.Dim sum and street food in Guangzhou were the best!

However, back to the reality of the freezer challenge. The kids haven't been home, so the level of the contents has not changed.

First dinner home, prime rib bones with pepper leaves and rice.

We enjoyed these pepper leaves at many meals in China, but this was the first time I had seen them at the Chinese grocery store in the city.

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Had picked up a package of prime rib bones a couple of months back. Was feeling the need for good beef on the bone!

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                               Tonight, we had a grilled rack of lamb I had picked up at 50% off...The gremolata added a nice brightness to the meat. Corn-on-the cob and a salad was what we needed.  The corn 

                                we tried in China was horrible - dry and tasteless. Might have been field corn for fodder? But everyone was eating and seemed to enjoy them...    

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I've managed to make some inroads on freezer contents of late; a carton of shrimp frozen in a block of ice made dinner on Sunday, and a chunk of pork loin was the centerpiece for Sunday's dinner. As I am about to be gone for a week, I have stocked up with all kinds of obnoxious freezer convenience foods for my daughter, who has the worst dietary habits known to modern man -- she has frozen pizzas, burritos, toasted ravioli -- and the grandson has a fresh supply of chicken nuggets and pancakes. Kid won't eat my pancakes, but loves the Eggo ones you stick in the microwave. Go figure.

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38 minutes ago, kayb said:

I have stocked up with all kinds of obnoxious freezer convenience foods for my daughter, who has the worst dietary habits known to modern man -- she has frozen pizzas, burritos, toasted ravioli -- and the grandson has a fresh supply of chicken nuggets and pancakes. Kid won't eat my pancakes, but loves the Eggo ones you stick in the microwave. Go figure.

That's my son-in-law. My daughter knows how to cook frugal stuff (they're on a limited budget) but he basically only eats about a dozen things, and most of them come out of a microwave. It drives her crazy (personally, I'm rooting for her to outgrow him at her earliest opportunity). 

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Jet lag has not released me from its grip. These 3-hour afternoon naps have messed up my meal planning and night time sleeps. Anything that is easy to throw on is my MO for meals these days.

Bought beef tenderloins at an excellent price in Dec. These were trimmed and cut into sizes possible for Beef Wellington, but were out-voted by crab legs over Xmas and NY.

Had pulled a piece out of the freezer a couple of days ago in anticipation of better things; however, it was divided into 4 thick pieces, grilled on stove top, and eaten with more delicious store-bought corn (compared to China) and sauteed yam leaves with garlic and a dash of fish sauce and garlic. And, here I am at 4:30 am posting about it!

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Friends who travelled to China with us came over to exhange memory cards full of pictures from our village visit.

A favourite dish from his childhood days was the request for supper.

Pork spareribs (freezer collection) steamed with brown bean sauce and plums in brine. Simple stir-fried baby bak choy, jasmine rice

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Soup was Chinese Mustard Greens with pork ribs. Another favourite dish was Beef (tenderloin from freezer collection) and Tomato with Egg. Needed lots of rice for that tangy tomato sauce!   

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Dessert was Green Tea ice-cream, a sample container from a friend whose husband has an ice-cream company. They are testing out a new CanAsian series of flavours. We have had Peach Lemongrass, Mango, and Coconut so far.

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A couple of other meals I was able to cobble together with more "freezer collection"

Ground beef Moussaka and Mashed Cauliflower. Unfortunately, the ingredients made a huge panful, so there are 3 more meals for two back in the freezer.

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Roast Chicken legs with Moroccan Harissa rub with steamed asparagus.

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I was a good girl today, more space in the freezer! there was a lonely octopus leg, so I pulled it out and served it with potato confit (in goose fat) and some chimichurri

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Edited by ninagluck (log)
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am I the only one cooking from the freezer? today a special cut of pork found the way to my table. braised in red wine and served with home made pasta. proof for home made ;-)

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Edited by ninagluck (log)
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1 hour ago, ninagluck said:

am I the only one cooking from the freezer?

 I can't seem to motivate myself to start again although I desperately need to.   There isn't even room in there for a wafer-thin mint. 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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Most of my proteins are coming from the freezer.  Fish/shellfish, poultry, beef and lamb.  I guess it just became redundant. 

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1 hour ago, scubadoo97 said:

Most of my proteins are coming from the freezer.  Fish/shellfish, poultry, beef and lamb.  I guess it just became redundant. 

 The challenge was really meant for people like me who has a freezer so full that I can't put another thing in there. This matters if you were trying to quickly chill something. Or want to make a loaf of bread and store some of it for later. If you are organized and turnover in your freezer is as it should be then the challenge would not be for you.  

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I'm trying to make sure the perishables get used...last week I bought a pack of 3 heads romaine in a bag so salad it was for the 2nd Sunday in a row (one head left). I did defrost some roasted delicata squash (leftover from the end of 2016) and chopped it to put onto the salad, at least that freezer bag was diminished in size. And last week's salad used up some bread I had saved for croutons. I had soup during the week (one freezer bowl taken care of). I suspect this challenge at least got me motivated to think about using those leftovers piecemeal instead of "saving" them for some grand plan (which only ensures various bags of freezer burned items).

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On May 7, 2017 at 4:53 PM, ninagluck said:

@Anna N I can do it, so you can!

OK. OK.   Today I did the inventory again and tossed out anything that was past its best before.   It will take me a few days to get back into the saddle as I have fresh ingredients I need to use up before I dive back into the freezer.  

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Going in reverse>:(

But local asparagus is in and here for only a week or so.  I make asparagus soup which really captures the taste of the asparagus.  And then of course there were those 30% off mushrooms which looked perfect for Les Halle's Mushroom soup.  I am out of freezer soup so now there are four litres of mushroom soup base on shelf no. three!  Probably will add four litres of asparagus tomorrow....had to make some chicken stock first.

 

As you may have guessed my freezer isn't full to the gills.  But before this thread it was crowded with prepared items which needed to be eaten and by enlarge they are gone.

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 While I was inventorying my freezer the other day I came across a rather sad looking loin veal chop. I debated its future and decided to move it to the refrigerator to thaw before pronouncing sentence.  Once thawed it looked quite reasonable.   I quickly sautéed it and  some mushrooms, deglazed the pan with a bit of red wine, added some cream and peas and it made a perfectly satisfactory lunch. Or perhaps I  should call it slunch since I ate it somewhere in the middle of the afternoon and didn't bother with a meal later in the evening. 

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I don't end up with much more space in the freezer whenever I pull something out. 3 squid tubes were transformed into todays dinner. along with some potatoes and a crisp sald. 

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Edited by ninagluck (log)
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More protein from the freezer being used:

A tray of baby back rib, marinated overnight with Hoisin sauce, Chinese wine and cooked in the oven.

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A small chicken rubbed with Township Chicken - African spices a colleague brought back from working in Africa. Chicken was cooked in the Big Easy. Stir-fried bell peppers. Cauliflower was cooked with another packet of African herbs and spices: Cape Malay Rice Spice. It was not as I had hoped as the cauliflower does jot absorb flavours as does rice.

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Kids all came home for the long weekend. Used a tray of sweet Italian sausages and 2 lbs of lean ground beef I had in the freezer and made a huge "meatza lasagna" for the carnivores in the family. Also made a vegetarian one for 12-year-old granddaughter who changed her eating habits after seeing the piggies go to market in a big truck.

 

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I DID weaken last week and stock-piled the freezer with T-Bone steaks that were on sale at Sobeys. Used 10 of the 24 I picked up. This week, AAA A Angus rib steaks are on sale on Monday at Walmart at $5.77 / lb. How can I refuse? They will lie flat, so won't take up much room...9_9

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 Animal-based protein has not been high on my list of foods consumed recently but last night I did manage to go into my freezer and pull out a small piece of sirloin cap (picanha)  which I then sous vided.  I know there were two pieces in there but was unable to find the second one!  I might try to hunt it down later today. 

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another freezer find. braised maroccan lambshank, couscous harissa yogurt

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