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Old 01-23-2012, 11:34 PM   #1
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The foodie and the freezer

Like most of you, I love to cook. I could do it all day every day. My quandry is that I have a very small family and so many of my offerings end up in the freezer. And since I do love to cook every day it is rare that the stuff I have cooked and placed in the freezer ever gets used. I am working hard at learning to cook small portions but it is difficult. On the rare occasions when I can't cook DH and DD like to get a crack at the kitchen. (Though neither of them has any skill there.) But they get to make things I would not make like chili mac and cheese primarily from a box. Well, at least when I get around to cleaning out the freezer the older kids get some pre-cooked meals to supplement their grocery budgets but the whole thing is a false economy for me. What's a girl to do?

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Old 01-23-2012, 11:44 PM   #2
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Mom and I do much the same thing (no, we don't live anywhere near each other). She has a neighbor who lives alone, and when she makes food hard to do for two, she prepares a plate for the friend with limited mobility. I have two friends who have mobility problems (one completely house-bound, the other not quite that way) who have 24/7 home health care. When I have something that isn't two-able, I bring food to them and their care-givers and their kids and grand kids. Also, make sure any guests take care packages home with them after you've had people over for dinner, or if you know any college kids with room-mates, ditto.
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:10 AM   #3
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I was going to suggest adopt a college student...when I was in school there was always at least one or two who were not going home for the holidays, they had permanent invitations to all holiday meals and I would also have them over for leftover's night, always sending food home with them.

Now, there's a CNA/College student at work who is grateful for leftovers and invites. I've not only made friends with them, but also with their parents. Once they figure out we are mostly harmless...
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:39 AM   #4
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I only have a small freezer compartment in my apartment refrigerator so I do not have much space to work with. I use the freezer for short term storage of leftovers and a few bargains. I enjoy cooking and I have tried to eliminate most convenience and prepared foods so I can make them myself. I also only cook one big meal each week. I freeze the leftovers and rotate them out, usually within a month. It took me a long time to cut back on recipes for soups, stew, and pasta. I now force myself to measure things like pasta and rice so I do not make more than I need for a couple of meals. I have also cut many of my baking recipes down to an 8 inch square pan or only make a few cookies.

The best cure for a full refrigerator is a teenager but, I don't know where you would find one. I used to have a couple of grad students that I shared with but, they have moved on. The new crop has not warmed up to me and I doubt that they will. It is hard to meet new people, like Princess says it takes a while to figure out I am mostly harmless, strange but, harmless!
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:40 AM   #5
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The secret to learning to make smaller meals is smaller pots and pans. For stew and soups a three quart saucepan makes just enough for two people. A half pound of meat is more than enough along with only one or two stalks of celery and carrots. One potato per person. Think in terms of portion control. After cooking for five kids for a number of years, I too had to learn to cut back. When I was making a meal for the family, the usual was five pounds of potatoes for supper. A whole package of pasta, more than a dozen biscuits, and using the dutch oven to make pasta gravy for just one meal. Now my dutch oven sits there very lonely. I use my little one quart and two quart pans more then any other. I used to have a six quart bean pot. Now I have a 1.5 quart one.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:46 AM   #6
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If you can't easily reduce the size of the recipe, freeze the exess in lunch-sized portions and have them for lunch. I used to take frozen lunches and heat them up in the microwave at work.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:37 PM   #7
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one more "provider of food" to family members, if for nothing else than to make room in the freezer and cupboard.

when i make more than the three of us can eat in a meal or two (each), i save the quart containers from chinese soup takeout and use them to freeze things like meatballs and sausage, pea soup, lamb stew, and so on. whenever i visit my parents, i bring them several frozen containers so they have nukeable ready made meals.

also, when making something that uses a spice rub for a dish that i'm making for a family get together, i often make too much rub, so i bring the extra in baggies and give it to whomever is interested in it in the family.

one of my bils has sworn to figure out what's in my grilled pork chop rub.

i never said it was a secret and would give it to him if he simply asked, but it's his endeavor to duplicate it, lol.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom View Post
i never said it was a secret and would give it to him if he simply asked, but it's his endeavor to duplicate it, lol.
Tell 'em the secret ingredient is octopus antenna...
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Old 01-24-2012, 06:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
If you can't easily reduce the size of the recipe, freeze the exess in lunch-sized portions and have them for lunch. I used to take frozen lunches and heat them up in the microwave at work.
I always fix extra and make up lunches. Sure does save money to eat your own home cooked meals instead of eating out.
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:37 PM   #10
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For family dinners, I'm often mindful to fix "less than enough." If the plate or spread looks sparse, there's usually something in the fridge I can whip up and add, like maybe a salad side. Dessert also fills the gap, if I miss the mark and don't cook enough. It minimizes leftovers cluttering the frig/freezer for things like stews which I might make in large batches with some planned ideas of what to do with the leftovers.
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