You may remember that I mentioned getting the book Frozen Assets last month. I love the concept. I’ve taken the author’s suggestions and modified the style to suit our needs. I don’t take an entire day for cooking for the month, or even the week. But I am slowly working up to a freezer with more home cooked pre-prepared foods.
Some really easy things we’ve done to start our home-made stock pile:
Browned Ground Beef:
- I browned a 5 pound roll of ground beef, with a large diced onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, and 3 cups of water.
- Once the ground beef was completely browned, I drained the fat and water from cooking and rinsed the meat under hot water to get the rest of the fat out of the meat.
- I separated the meat into 4 sections. I froze 3 of the sections in zippered freezer bags, and used the other ¼ of the meat in that night’s dinner.
- Last night, I pulled out one of the bags of frozen beef to add to my homemade sauce for lasagna. I made two at the same time, freezing one lasagna for later and popping one lasagna in the oven for dinner last night.
Chicken 3 Ways:
- Mark put 4 chicken leg quarters into our 6 quart crock pot with some spices and water and left it on low for the entire day. From this, we made two types of broth and stew for several meals.
I deboned the chicken and set it aside to cook a huge pot of chicken vegetable stew. Two huge containers were put into the freezer, and one was for dinner.
- One container of stew will be used for fast and easy chicken and dumplings.
As for the broth:
- I strained the broth through cheesecloth and set it aside to cool, removed the fat from the top, put it into zippered freezer bags and put it in the freezer for later use.
- I put all of the bones and fat back into the crockpot with diced vegetables and spices and filled it up with water and left it on low for another day.
- I strained the second batch through cheesecloth and repeated the steps from the first batch of broth.
PUMPKIN: I love love love to cook with Pumpkin. I should have bought stock in Libby to return some of my investment, because I’ve used so much of their product. This year, I bought and steamed my own!
- I baked the pumpkins (4 of them) and made my own pumpkin puree. It turned out to be just a little more than 2 gallons that I poured into zippered baggies at 2 cups each.
I’ve made Pumpkin Spice Lattes (BEST RECIPE EVER) for my house guests and homemade pumpkin pie pancakes for the children for breakfasts.
- This is the part where I beg you for really fabulous Pumpkin Roll recipes.
As you can see, I’m taking this in baby steps (except the Pumpkin… because I’m a little obsessive about that), and working this extra cooking into places where it doesn’t take any extra time or energy to complete. I don’t expect to get to the point where I only have to cook once a month, but knowing that I have a few meals in the freezer that are ready to go into the oven makes me more relaxed.
Benefits to cooking this way:
- The children can thaw the ground beef to make boxed meals like Hamburger Helper or Old El Paso dinner kits when Mark and I have plans outside the house.
- We have plenty of chicken broth for recipes that call for it, and I control how much sodium goes into the food!
- I can make yummy pumpkin desserts, drinks, and other foods any time I want to.
- We can still have healthy, homemade dinners for the same amount of time it would take to get fast food on days when our family is busy.
Care to share your suggestions? Favorite links? Recipes for Pumpkin????? (please?)