Cleaning Out the Freezer and Saving Some Dough

A few weeks back, I was looking for something in our deep freezer, and I kept coming across packages of long-forgotten frozen food think “Oh, I need to make this soon…” I guess I have a tendency to put stuff in there and forget about it. And one thing that would absolutely kill me is to waste food. I would hate to have to throw it out because it was in the freezer too long.

About the same time, the Hubs and I were talking about vacation plans for this summer. We need to start saving up some money for whatever we decide to do, and I got an idea. I would spend as little as possible at the grocery store for a month, which would force me to clean out that freezer for planning meals. It would be a win-win since it’s time to start cleaning it out anyway to make room for for this seasons spring and summer bounty to put away. And I could put into our savings account the money I would have spent on groceries.

 

Just look how much I had to work with.

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It’s ridiculous. So much meat. Beef, deer, pike the Hubs brought back from Canada. Pureed winter squash. Blueberries. And stock. So much stock.

Don’t get me wrong, I count myself lucky. It’s nice to have a big deep freezer to fill up with so much good food.

So far, this month, I’ve made a good bit of progress. Of course, I can’t skip buying stuff like coffee and yogurt at the grocery store. But the grocery bill was lower for my first trip (I try to only make two big trips per month). Another month of doing this, and I should have made a good bit of progress getting stuff out of the freezer from last summer and fall, and hopefully have a nice little chunk of change for vacay.

A couple nights ago, I was planning to make Duck Tikka Masala (for a later post), but I realized I needed to marinate the meat overnight. I didn’t have something lined up for Plan B, so I peeked in the freezer, and found a cup of arugula pesto I’d frozen after the ridiculous explosion of arugula in my garden late last spring. I seriously had so much I didn’t know what to do with it. An easy way to use up a bunch of any green or herb is to make pesto. You can make it with mint, kale, chard, arugula or whatever you have on hand–in addition to the classic, made with basil. It freezes well, and is perfect to bring a burst of warm summer evenings to a cool night dinner in late winter.

My no-fail, favorite cookbook, The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper, has a a great recipe for pesto risotto. Dinner was done and in a bowl in about 30 minutes. And another two containers were out of the freezer–(one for pesto and one for turkey stock).

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The deliciousness will continue all month long, I’m sure. It’s hard to tell what kind of goodies I’ll find when I start digging out the freezer.

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