Thursday, August 29, 2013

Freezer Staples

There are a few things I ALWAYS try to keep in my freezer and I look for these items on sale or on manager special marked down.  Having these things always helps when trying to get by on spending less at the grocery store.  It makes it easy to throw meals together on the fly and makes it possible for me to have a tiny grocery budget.
  1. bell peppers (red, green, and yellow) wash and slice them, put them in a freezer bag.  When you want to use them either thaw out the amount you need or defrost in the microwave.  They will be a little water logged but I just spread them out on a kitchen towel and place another towel over the top, press down to absorb the water then use in whatever recipe I'm making.
  2. chicken or veggie stock.  I make my own chicken stock when I have bone in chicken breast or a whole chicken I need to cook.  I have a bag in my freezer for leftover veggie parts that I use to make veggie stock.  These include the pieces of celery or carrots you would normally cut off and throw away, corn ears (after I scrape the corn off and freeze it for future use), leftover pieces of onion, etc.  When I get about 2 cups worth of veggies I fill my pot with them and water, add a little salt and pepper and maybe a bay leaf and let it simmer for a while.  Separate the veggie parts from the liquid and freeze the liquid in 1cup portions.
  3. veggies, any and all that you can fit but especially broccoli, corn, and stir fry mixed vegetables.  The broccoli and mixed veggies I like to have to make a quick stir fry.
  4. blueberries.  I buy these in the summer when they are around $1.25-$1.50 a pint.  They are my favorite fruit to add to muffins, oatmeal, yogurt, or cobbler.  I usually try to have about 3 quart size bags of them in my freezer and that gets me through the winter until they start going on sale again.
  5. Meat. In an ideal world I would have smoked sausage, chicken breast, ground beef, pork loin, pork chops, and beef roast in my freezer at all times.  Unfortunately this is rare.  I usually have 3 or 4 of these but not all.  The more variety you have on hand the less bored you will feel with your menu planning. 

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