Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do you have extra time? Get to cooking!!!!

There is a blog that I follow (mainly droul over) named ____________ (can't remember it for the life of me - I get an email when she updates her blog and she is probably taking some time off - I will fill in the blank when it comes to me. She takes three days and cooks most of her meals for the month).  Okay, on with my point......

I have a good (okay - maybe great) stockpile of groceries, including meat in the freezer.  The problem is that when I am in the mood for pulled pork, say around 4:00 in the afternoon, it is virtually impossible to take it from freezer to plate in two hours......or is it!?!?!?!

I have the week off from work and am taking this extra time to cook and freeze.  Yesterday, I made this great beef stew soup - a recipe from my neighbor Mrs. Linda.  It basically consists of cooking a roast, pulling it apart and getting the fat off and using the juice that it cooked in to creat a soup/stew.  I had a large can of tomato juice that I knew that I had for a while and used it.  I felt so good - the expiration date was 12/2009 - barely made it!!!! I added crushed tomatoes, 2 cans of corn, 2 cans of green beans and carrots.  In the past, I have added pasta, but that does not freeze well and gets a little mushy.  After I let the mixture cook for 1-2 hours, I turned the stove off and let it cool a bit.  I then filled the ball jars up to about 85% and put them in the freezer without the lids.  That gives them space to expand.  After about 24 hours, I put the lids on. This recipe ended up making 7 large ball jars.

Here is a picture of them (ignore the Tony's pizzas in the background - I haven't found anyone to donate those to yet.)

Today's project is - you guessed it - pulled pork.  It smells SOOO good cooking!!!  I will also put those in jars and cover it with the juice.  I think the juice helps with freezer burn.

Other foods that I have previously pre-cooked:

Hamburger meat:  I got a great deal on the 80% hamburger meat, which we usually don't eat, but I cooked it, rinsed it, put it in ziploc bags and froze it.  It makes for a quick baked pasta where you defrost the meat, add the sauce, cook the pasta.  You have a meal in about 30 minutes.  Also, you can add the cooked hamburger to Velveeta cheese and salsa for a quick snack.  My SIL makes this GREAT dip called Pizza Dip.  You could use it in that as well.

Chicken:  When HT had their whole chickens on sale for .49, I stocked up.  Instead of putting the whole chicken in the freezer, I cooked three chickens at a time in a big stockpot, deboned them and put the equivalent of one chicken in a ziplock bag, filled it with the juice, bagged it again - just in case - and froze them.  I make a great chicken casserole and this makes it super easy.  Plus, you could use it for home-made chicken and rice, chicken with pasta or chicken and dumplings.  I also froze the extra chicken stock in jars. Throwing that away is like throwing $ down the drain!!!

One more thing......mashed potatoes.......you heard right.  Last year, at our work Thanksgiving luncheon, someone from our group brought a small vat of mashed potatoes from K&W.  We were cleaning up and it was time to go and no one wanted it.  I brought it home and froze it in a ziplock bag.  6 months later, I thawed it, added a little butter and sour cream and you could not tell that it had been frozen. Whenever I have potatoes that I don't think we will be able to eat before they go bad, I cook them up and add minimal milk and butter to them, so that they are a little dry.  I put them in ziplock bags and enjoy mashed potatoes later. 

Where do I get my jars?  Mainly, I save them.  I have Mom pick them up for me when she goes to Thrift stores as well.  There was a couple of weeks in a row that I  kept mentioning to her that I needed more jars.  She brought me a dozen wide mouth quart Ball jars with the lids still sealed in the box.  WOW - What a find - I asked her where she got them from and she said K-Mart - THAT'S CHEATING!!!!!!  But - her reward was my big smile (you would've thought someone gave me a million dollars ) and some of the stew and pork!!!

That's all I can think of for now. 

1 comment:

kiger819 said...

Thanks for the tips. I didn't know how to save mashed potatoes. This will make my family happy, because we'll get to have them on days when I'm too darned tired to make them from scratch.