Monday, January 7, 2013

Savings tip: Freeze everything!

Other than tips to save while grocery shopping like using coupons, buying generic, comparing prices at stores like Aldi and Save-a-Lot (particularly meat and produce), comparing prices at Dollar Tree (I get Italian dressing there for $1, cheaper than Walmart), shopping weekly ad sales and making weekly meal plans/menus - all covered much better at the Money Saving Mom blog - one of the best savings ideas I can give as it relates to the kitchen, is freeze everything.

That is a rule I live by and I hardly ever have to throw something way. If we have leftovers more than two days, I freeze them and it's an easy meal one week when I'm super busy. If there a few leftover veggies, noodles, rice or meats from a meal, I toss them in one big container for my next Whatever-You-Have-On-Hand soup and continue adding to the container. Freeze stale bread or crusts to make homemade bread crumbs or homemade stuffing.

We freeze marinades once we take the meat out to use on our next round of meat and I freeze seasoned flour breading after I'm done to use next time. I precook sausage and bacon that are near expiration and save them to use in soup, with eggs or on pizza. I freeze leftover spaghetti sauce for an easy dinner. If you have too much lunch meat, freeze it. It will still be fine when you thaw it out.

I shred and freeze zucchini from the garden to use in zucchini bread or zucchini fritters over the winter. Bad tomatoes from the garden I cut off the bad spots and freeze for salsa. We freeze catfish we get from relatives in meal-sized portions, and sliced jalapenos to use for poppers. I froze the pulp remaining from blending garlic, vinegar and cayenne peppers to make homemade hot sauce, (which is glorious, BTW), and will use bits of that paste for chili. I make large pots of rice, noodles and beans, and freeze them in individual meal portions to take out ready to go for an easy addition.

When making burgers, make a few extra patties and freeze for next time. Pre-make pie crusts and freeze a few so you want have to buy them next time (I have yet to try my own crust. If I ever do, I'll be sure to take pictures, LOL.)

I freeze the liquid from canned tomatoes for soups, not wanting to waste a drop, and you could do the same with canned pear, fruit cocktail or mandarin juice for smoothies. I've even read you can freeze extra watermelon for smoothies or frosties. You can stock up on Cool whip, sour cream, cream cheese or regular cheese, and even hot dogs, sausage and bacon when they're on super sale around holidays and freeze those you don't want use immediately. Some fruits - like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries - you can get on sale and freeze spread out on a tray, then pour into a freezer bag. I used up the last of the mulberries and apples this summer by pre-making the filling for a full pie and will use them soon. If I buy a pre-made crust, all I have to do is pour the filling in and bake!

Below are some of the things I currently have frozen in mine. Make the most out of your freezer. You'll save time and money, and never have to waste anything again. Good luck!

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