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Okanagancook

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

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21 minutes ago, Anna N said:

... and Ronnie refuses to obey the invisible wall and so goes wandering off where ever he feels like.  

 

 

Ain't that just like a man.

 

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Hi -- I haven't posted much, having been ill, but I'm trying to participate more! I just wanted to say that this thread has been a huge inspiration for me. I only have a little NYC kitchen and corresponding refrigerator with bottom freezer. I can't show you pictures because the freezer light blew out a while ago and it appears that no replacement is available (even though the fridge is only 6 years old. Grrr.) I had no room for anything in there, and, inspired by this thread, have been cleaning out the freezer with a flashlight (sigh). 90% of it is ancient and inedible and a lot unlabeled, so no nice dinners coming out of there yet! Thank you so much for the inspiration, and I'm very glad this thread is active again!

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@BeatriceB,

 

Sorry to hear about your illness. I hope you continue to get better.

 

Yes, my freezer was in much the same shape as yours. I dumped all the old inedible stuff last Tuesday for garbage collection the next day except for some stuff I know my little raccoons that live in my yard would enjoy, and am setting portions I know they'll eat out to thaw religiously when I start dinner prep. I add any dinner leftovers I don't want to save to the coons' food and take it out to them in a place at the edge of the woods where they can find it. It's always gone the next day. They even ate a little Greek salad I couldn't finish.

 

I am so grateful for this thread, because I now have clean freezers with only fresh foods I know I will eat, and have been doing well at not adding stuff I won't eat, expecting it to improve with time in the freezer. I can find everything easily and my freezers have gone back to food storage of usable food. Bonus! slam packed avalanche freezers do not even work efficiently because the fan circulation is impeded, so now my stuff is keeping better. My freezer/fridge has not peed on the floor since the clean out either, in spite of our typical very high summer humidity. Yah!

 

I'm so thankful to @Anna Nfor starting the thread. It took me quite a while (since January, so 8 months) in fits and starts of trying to eat stuff that was too old, but I finally faced up to my waste guilt, and hopefully have a place to go forward from much more intelligently from here. We'll see. :) 

 

 

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My focus for the next month or six weeks will be on eating beef, to get the beef inventory down before the new beef comes in October.

 

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this topic has helped me be more diligent about not stockpiling things in the freezer. Our household is 2 adults and frankly I usually just cook on the weekends due to work/life schedules. I'm more apt to portion things for lunch size, so I'm more likely to get the stuff rotated out more quickly if I can grab a small container to take during the week. DH doesn't seem to recognize anything in the freezer unless it has a popsicle stick in it.

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I forgot to take out more chicken a couple days ago to thaw in the fridge.

My memory sucks lately!!!

I will definitely do it today!

 

:)

 

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My GF's mother has just gotten out of the hospital after a week (long story...turned out to be an internal bleed). 

 

So today I hauled out a whole chicken, a carcass, and one of the five or six packs of wingtips that I know is in there somewhere, and made her a big batch of soup. Loaded it up with plenty of the frozen garden vegetables, as well, because she's bad for not bothering to prep any vegetables. Eats them happily enough, just can't be bothered to spend any time on 'em. 

 

Our dinner tonight will be chicken pot pie casserole, made from basically all the same stuff. I have a cup or so of soured heavy cream I stashed away in the freezer for just such an occasion, so that's thawing as I type and I'll use it in biscuits for top of the casserole. 

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41 minutes ago, chromedome said:

 

 

I have a cup or so of soured heavy cream I stashed away in the freezer for just such an occasion, so that's thawing as I type and I'll use it in biscuits for top of the casserole. 

 

I had no idea that soured cream could be used for anything!

I guess that's why you're a chef and I'm not.

l

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It's basically just like soured milk, only richer. Use it in biscuits or chocolate cake; basically anywhere you'd use past-its-prime milk. 

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7 minutes ago, chromedome said:

It's basically just like soured milk, only richer. Use it in biscuits or chocolate cake; basically anywhere you'd use past-its-prime milk. 

I usually throw past-its-prime milk down the drain. Looks like I have something to learn here. What do you do with it?

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Okay. I just pulled two more packages of vac-packed chicken leg quarters and some homegrown green beans out of the freezer.  I spotted a vac-packed package of Hofmann German Brand Franks. I'll dig them out soon, cut them up some on a bias and warm them up with some sauerkraut. That'll make a couple nice low-carb lunches.

I've kept my meals very simple since June 1st—trying to shed a few pounds!

 

:)

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I am being stymied in my effort to tackle my freezer by kind friends and relatives who are bringing me fresh produce!  

 

 Oh well there will be time enough to tackle the freezer when I'm longing for some fresh produce. xD

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5 hours ago, cakewalk said:

I usually throw past-its-prime milk down the drain. Looks like I have something to learn here. What do you do with it?

Treat it as a replacement for buttermilk in most recipes. You want to use it or freeze it before it gets to the chunky stage, though. 

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I've had a ziploc with 3 big abalone in it for about two years. They were frozen in water/ice so never got freezer burn, but due to that they took up a lot of room.  With all the pesto and @ElainaA's roasted tomato sauce I'm freezing, I needed to free up some room.  Abalone is a lot of work, but I gave my son the meat tenderizer and he went to town.  Then I dipped in egg and Ritz cracker crumbs and fried it.  The Ritz crumbs are a thing an abalone diver told me about years ago.  I only cooked one and it was so rich, my son, his girlfriend and I were done.  It was good but messy to cook.

IMG_1484.JPG

 


Edited by Jacksoup Extra pucture (log)
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8 minutes ago, Jacksoup said:

I've had a ziploc with 3 big abalone in it for about two years...

 

That's got to be one of the best things I've seen pulled out of a freezer in this thread - what a treat!

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16 hours ago, chromedome said:

It's basically just like soured milk, only richer. Use it in biscuits or chocolate cake; basically anywhere you'd use past-its-prime milk. 

 

16 hours ago, cakewalk said:

I usually throw past-its-prime milk down the drain. Looks like I have something to learn here. What do you do with it?

 

10 hours ago, chromedome said:

Treat it as a replacement for buttermilk in most recipes. You want to use it or freeze it before it gets to the chunky stage, though. 

 

My paternal grandmother used to drink it.

She lived a very poor, hardscrabble life coming up.

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Yeah, that's a pretty old-school thing. I remember an exchange in one of Lillian Beckwith's books about life in the Hebrides, in which -- when she expressed revulsion at the notion of drinking soured milk -- the islander looked at her in astonishment and asked, "Well, you wouldn't dream of eating fruit until it was ripe, would you?"

 

17 hours ago, lindag said:

 

I had no idea that soured cream could be used for anything!

I guess that's why you're a chef and I'm not.

l

 

Just to be clear, if you were hashtagging this, it would not be under #protips. This is pure, old-fashioned frugality. 

The staff at my restaurants knew when I started speaking about my "East Coast Frugality Gene," it meant somebody was being wasteful and was about to get a dressing-down. 

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6 hours ago, chromedome said:

Yeah, that's a pretty old-school thing. I remember an exchange in one of Lillian Beckwith's books about life in the Hebrides, in which -- when she expressed revulsion at the notion of drinking soured milk -- the islander looked at her in astonishment and asked, "Well, you wouldn't dream of eating fruit until it was ripe, would you?"

 

I question the notion here of "soured milk".  I've had milk in the Hebrides, island of Scarp to be specific.  The milk was fresh and served at cow temperature.  There was no refrigeration -- let alone ice or a freezer -- so any spoilage (should milk last that long) was possibly from lactic acid bacteria.  Think yogurt.

 

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IMG_8223.thumb.JPG.f94b0e4dcbe65b05964bd9eb5d1e8d62.JPG

 

Thanks to lack of power due to Hurricane Harvey, I think I have met the challenge! Time to restock! :P

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During this challenge, I focused on my stand-up freezer.  There are still a few items in there from when this started but It's all mostly gone.  But then there is the matter of the fridge freezer.  It has some bits and pieces in it from waaaay back.  Yesterday I found two Ontario lamb shanks in there.  With the help of the Instant Pot, I turned them into shepherd's pie.

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19 minutes ago, robirdstx said:

IMG_8223.thumb.JPG.f94b0e4dcbe65b05964bd9eb5d1e8d62.JPG

 

Thanks to lack of power due to Hurricane Harvey, I think I have met the challenge! Time to restock! :P

 Not sure if I should laugh or cry. 

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We did not actually lose much due to lack of power to the freezer - mostly some veggies and pot pies that got soggy. We did not lose any of our frozen meats, which were stored in the bottom drawer and packed with ice. Since we were on generator power for five days I did not buy any more meat, instead, using this as an opportunity to see what I could do with what we had on hand.

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I finally caved! A 20.9 cu foot manual-defrost upright freezer will make its way to my garage on Thursday. The +30 year old chest freezer has been "challenged" down to half empty. What's down the second half ? There is still lots of protein, but I am sure lots discards as well. Here's hoping my shopping, hoarding tendency will be curbed somewhat, and my organizational skills will improve.
This meal could be on either the Instant Pot thread or challenge, so I'll put it here to continue my freezer purge!
Leftover re-hydrated Chinese mushrooms from making Joongzi and 8 drumsticks (purchased at 50% discount), ginger,  a splash of oyster sauce and chicken stock were steamed for 18 minutes in the Instant Pot. One of our favourite meals.
                                                                 59ac5761c43f6_IPChickenShitakiMushrooms0922.jpg.517a772881965b4cf9da4a4186999a3b.jpg

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I can contribute again, pulled out a striploin fromthe freezer, triple cooked fries and a bearnaise

IMG_0550.JPG

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2 more gone from freezer. Leftover zucchini casserole (sort of like noodle-less lasagne), added some darkly roasted cauliflower bits (dated from Feb) mixed with parm cheese, crumblike texture, used them as the bottom layer in the pan. Frozen prepared crabcakes (only 3 days in freezer, quick turnover!). I am now realizing I have more froz veg than I thought, may be soup time soon.

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