Stocking Up

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Even though there are only two adults in our household, I find it worthwhile to prepare bulk amounts of various meals and ingredients for meals.

Some of the bulk preparation is due to the quantities of seasonal produce from our garden and in other instances it is simply due to the recipe or my choice to make a substantial quantity in one go.

Here are some examples of the sorts of things I do.

Single lunch serves of pumpkin soup.  This was after we had soup for dinner, it was all from one medium pumpkin picked from the garden.

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Limes cut into wedges.  Citrus are in abundance at our place at the moment and this is just one of the many ways I am using the bumper crop of limes.

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Bagged and ready to pop into the freezer for a refreshing addition to chilled water – still or sparkling (from the Soda Stream).

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A bulk quantity of refried beans done in the slow cooker.  This recipe (from Mimi all those years ago) practically makes itself.  A versatile staple that I store in the freezer.

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Spiced peanuts – I used some in the kale salad tonight and the rest will be used for future salads, that is, if GMan doesn’t snack on them all in the meantime.

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A batch of gluten free cheese scones.  These are delicious with a bowl of soup on a cool evening so I always have some in the freezer.

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What is in your stock to make preparing meals easier?

 

Filling the Freezer

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I am putting the disaster of my photos behind me and moving on.

This week is going back to the basics of the things I do.

We have a refrigerator with a freezer section as well as a small upright freezer which is the size of a bar fridge.  It has been turned off and not used for a couple of months as I simply did not need it and it seemed pointless to be wasting electricity when I could fit everything in the other freezer.  However, I turned it back on last night as I opened a large, catering-size tin of crushed tomatoes and divided them into portions to freeze.

Frozen tomatoes

I also cooked a quantity of refried-beans in the slow-cooker.

Re-fried beans

Tonight I removed the frozen blocks of tomatoes from their containers and placed them in a double bag.  These are old bread bags that have been washed and re-used many times.

Frozen tomatoes - baggedThe containers were then re-used to freeze the refried beans.

Refried beans - ready to freeze

There was some leftover quiche which I portioned up for my lunches and 2 pieces are ready for the freezer.

Quiche to freeze

The plastic sheet to separate the slices is from cereal packaging.  I rarely buy prepacked cereal of any kind but these have been saved and rewashed many times.  I store them in a bag in the kitchen drawer when they are not in use.

The freezer is not full yet but I will be working on that over the coming days.

Freezer

Of course, there are many other things in the freezer such as meat, cooked rice, spreadable butter, grated cheese and sliced bread.

What is in your freezer?

Freezer Finds

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My freezer is one of the most useful appliances I have.  I am able to buy larger quantities of some items and avoid going to the shops as frequently as I would otherwise and of course it is wonderful to be able to store excess produce.

I have 2 freezers – one is the bottom 1/3 of my refrigerator in the kitchen.  It has a narrow shelf at the top and 2 large pull-out baskets.  The second freezer is the size of a bar fridge and lives in the study.

Since we are going on holidays in 3 weeks I have been trying to use up some of the food that is in the freezers with a view to being able to empty and turn off the stand-alone freezer.  The first thing to do was to make an inventory of everything that is in them so here is the list.

Ground coffee
Pineapple (fresh, very ripe so will be juicing it)
Refried beans (homemade) 500g x 4 packs
Ice-cream – 3/4 of a 2 litre tub
Grated cheese – 4 large containers (I buy 2 kg block of cheese from a local factory and grate it)
Spreadable butter blend (homemade) 500g x 2
Grated zucchini – 400g packs x 2
Beef curry – 6 serves
Lasagne – 2 serves (lunch sized)
Chili con carne – 2 serves
Beef & vegie casserole – 6 serves
Tomato/pasta sauce (homemade) – 750ml x 2
Lasagna sheets (homemade) x 12
Fettucine (homemade) – 2 serves
Gravy beef – 500g x 2 packs
Chicken breast fillets x 4
Sausages x 2
Bacon (shortcut) x 7 slices
Sausage rolls (mini) x 5 – thawing for lunches today with salad
Sweet pastry (homemade) x 1 quantity
Savoury pastry (homemade) x 1 quantity
Baked sweet pastry (was tart shell which broke)
Sliced white bread (homemade) – 7 slices
Gluten free bread (1/2 loaf)
Breadcrumbs (soft and toasted)
French stick (sliced and in a bag)
Fruit muffins (crumbled in a small container)
Mashed pumpkin (to make pumpkin soup)
Lemon zest
Lemon juice (2 litres)
Lemon juice (ice cubes – about 4 dozen)
Lime juice (ice cubes – about 4 dozen)
Sliced limes – 2 containers
Orange juice – single serves x 3
Banana x 1
Passionfruit ice cubes x 15
Turkish bread rolls x 4

Bag of meat scraps

The freezers are a constant dynamic as shown by the following changes in the past 36 hours since I made that list.

Lasagne – 2 serves (lunch sized) – now 1 serve
Fettucine (homemade) – 2 serves – used
Chicken breast fillets x 4 – now x 3
Sausage rolls (mini) x 5 – thawing for lunches today with salad – used
Lime juice (ice cubes – about 4 dozen) – now 3 dozen
Orange juice – single serves x 3 – now 8 serves – 2 used and 7 more added after juicing the remaining oranges from the tree

I have also added another 2.5 litres of lemon juice.

From my inventory I have made a menu plan and will be using more of the contents over the coming weeks.

I am confident that I will be able to empty the small freezer before we go away.  I will post an update of the list in a week or so.

How do you manage the contents of your freezer?  Do you keep a precise list or just a general idea with the occasional complete inventory?  What do you mostly store – excess produce, bulk meat, prepared meals or baked goods?  I would love to hear your story.

Don’t Cry For Me…..

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…because I have finished preparing and freezing the onions.

We grew onions this year from a punnet of seedlings I bought at the Yandina Markets.  From 1 punnet of seedlings bought for $2.50 I had 90 seedlings.  They were tiny but I separated them and planted each one individually.  74 survived and here is the harvest..

Here they are drying on a rack after I pulled them up today.

We do not really have an ideal climate for growing onions as you should really have dry weather when they are maturing so that the tops die off completely and then they can be stored.  Since we are coming into our wet, humid weather I decided that since they were a reasonable size I would harvest them and then dice and freeze in packs of 150g (about the size of a medium onion.

Thanks to my wondrous food processor I now have 7 kg of diced onion in the freezer as well as another 1.5 kg of the lower end of the stalk sliced and bagged up.  When I get time I will use this to make stock.

By next year I hope to have a dehydrator so that I have some more options.

Despite the less than ideal growing conditions I will definitely be planting onions again next year as a harvest of  8.5kg of onions for $2.50 seems like a pretty good return on my money.