It’s a corny title, I know.
With only two of us in the house, leftovers can become a problem. A good problem, that is. I find it’s more palatable to save the rest for another time, rather than have a serving or two left in the fridge that has to be eaten within a couple days. Good thing I have a big freezer!
I freeze just about everything; soups, rice, sauces, pancakes, bread veggies… I keep ‘breakfast’ items like muffins and pancakes and open bags of frozen fruit and veggies (for smoothies) at the ready in the upstairs freezer, while just about everything else goes downstairs. It’s also helpful to stash extra meat and fish when I buy in bulk. This summer, when I had an abundance of kholrabi, I even made a ‘summer veggie soup base’ with it and other typical soup veggies (carrot, onion, celery) to freeze for winter. We’ve eaten it twice–once with the addition of white and wax beans, and another time with quinoa.
Here are some things I keep in mind when I freeze items:
-LABEL, LABEL, LABEL! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thawed out what I thought was bolognese sauce, only to find out it was beef stroganoff. I like to note the recipe name, total amount frozen and calorie count per serving.
-Some things don’t freeze well, such as milk and other creamy products. Stick to non-dairy items with a high liquid content.
-Vegetables need to be lightly steamed or blanched before freezing.
-Cool food in the fridge before putting in the freezer.
Below are some links to what’s inside right now, plus some other good information about freezer storage:
Cooking Light’s Best Freezer Recipes
What’s in my freezer right now:
Thai Curry Stew with Turkey and Zucchini
Ellie Krieger’s Pork and Tomatillo Posole
Ellie Krieger’s Easy Tomato Sauce
North African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans
Don’t know how best to preserve your leftovers? Do you know what doesn’t do so well in the freezer? Check out ReluctantGourmet or Mark Bittman’s ‘How to Freeze Food’ or even the USDA’s ‘Freezing and Food Safety’ site.
I hope you put your freezer to work as much as I do!
Holly R. Layer
Holly is a registered dietician and a freelance writer. She works as a clinical dietitian at DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda, teaches fitness classes at the Southtowns Family Branch YMCA and shares her love of food through her blog www.thefrozenpineapple.com (new website coming soon), as well as Buffalo News (Refresh), and the East Aurora Co-op Market (the "Eat This" blog series you see here). She lives in East Aurora with her husband Andrew, an East Aurora native and East Aurora Co-op Market board member.