March is National Frozen Food Month â€“ and other things!
I donâ€™t know about you â€“ but Iâ€™d be in â€œmake dinner hellâ€ without my freezer.Â Itâ€™s only a small 5.5 cu. Ft. chest style, but it makes my life so much easier dinner time each and every day. Â This gives me back time to spend creating my distinctive jewelry, write, read, and relax.
When you live 150 miles from the closest Walmart and our locally owned and operated is smaller than our own gift store you donâ€™t bother running down to the store more than once a week.Â Tuesday is fresh produce day â€“ lettuce, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, apples and bananas.Â It fills in when necessary.
I slow cook something at least every other Sunday.Â Last Sunday was a dozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts.Â Slow cooked in garlic-herb dressing and chicken broth, I then let them drain and cool before packaging them in individual zip bags and put in a larger bag marked with the meat type and date (mo/yr).Â When I want a dish to include chicken I can take it out in the morning before going to the gallery or pop one, or more, out when I get home and defrost them in the microwave.Â Warm them to add to casseroles or salads or leave them cold over salads.Â Chop and add them to your favorite red sauce over pasta, or put on your homemade pizzas.Â Lots of uses.
This week itâ€™s Pork Loins.Â When theyâ€™ve cooked 8 hours on low Iâ€™ll let them drain and cool slightly, then chop into servicing sections.Â Some will get frozen in chunks, others Iâ€™ll shred with two forks and bag for pizza, tacos, pasta, salads, all the same types of foods as chicken.Â Today Iâ€™ve got two giant pork loin roasts that will both cook at the same time.Â One Iâ€™ll take out and let cool and chunk the other Iâ€™ll add BBQ sauce to and let cook another hour then split apart.Â The BBQ one will be shredded and stored in serving size bags, the plain chunks Iâ€™ll freeze to use in stirfry with frozen veggies and Chinese noodles.
There are lots of choices and lots of recipes that use these meats (I only do a small amount of beef every year because red meat is hard on you) but I do precook a 5# bag of hamburger about every quarter.Â I cook it up in my electric fry pan just until itâ€™s lost itâ€™s pink color and then drain and store in serving bags for tacos, chili, etc.
Dinner in less than an hour â€“ top to bottom â€“ thanks to my little freezer, tucked in a corner of the laundry room.Â Itâ€™s National Frozen Food Month.