One long week is done and my freezer is almost full. Who knew 22.5 cubic feet was that much bigger than 14.7 cubic feet!
I came home from the store with tons and tons of stuff. First, I took care of the pantry items, wiping off shelves and taking inventory as I updated the stock... new items in the back, old items in the front.
I even found 2 cans in the back of the pantry that were busted and oozing. Something my mom brought over years ago -from the discount store, pricetag still attached. Expiration date circa 2000. Sorry, Mom. Apparently we don't eat that.
Then came the fridge. WOW. That is a LOT of stuff to work on!
So I started easy. I began by packaging foods that were bought in large quantities and just needed to be broke down into meal size.
12 pounds of cheese. I dumped it into a large bowl, measured it out by 2 cups and bagged it. Why 2 cups? Because the majority of my recipes use 2 cups or less. Plus it fits perfectly in a sandwich baggie.
Then I packaged:
- muffins (big ones cut in half 'cause ya KNOW I shouldn't be eating a whole one),
- hashbrowns (love em but not in a 5 pound bag),
- shrimp scampi (hubby cant eat spaghetti without it)
- and frozen veggies (5 pound bag again).
Why the extra hassle when I could just take what I need out of the big package?
There is no portion control. If 12 ounces of hash browns will feed the family, then why does a 5 pound bag only last 4 meals? Picture this: Big plastic bag, tons of frozen hb, skillet, pour. The hash browns just keep coming out of the difficult-to-control-plastic-bag until the skillet is full. The more food you have prepared, the more your family eats. And whatever is left goes in the trash. Yep. Portion control is necessary.
But there are other reasons too. The freezer fills up with package, and it doesnt store efficiently for the space available. So a huge, half empty plastic bag takes up the room of a small roast. And the product left in the bag becomes balled up and doesnt lay flat or stack. (OCD nightmare)Plus smaller, vacu-sealed packages keep the freezer burn to a minimum on the unused-but open portions.
With my foods divided, packaged, labeled and stored in the big freezer, the remaining task will be foods that need to be cooked or mixed or prepared in one way or another before freezer packaging. I will start with one kind of meat and work on it until it is done, clean the kitchen and then start on another. Trying to eliminate any cross contamination.
Sauces, Soups and Stews
Baked goods and breakfast foods
Stick around. The fun has just started!