Five Things I Always Keep In My Freezer
I have recently noticed that there are several items I am so accustomed to having in my freezer that I am lost without them. These are my favorite freezer items to keep on hand and why.
I know. Obvious, right? Not for everyone. I have been places without ice in the freezer, or at most, a few stray cubes. For those of you with ice makers built into your fridge, supplying the ice is done for you. Unfortunately for me, when my landlord finally replaced the harvest gold (gotta love the 70's!) monster with a new unit, he did not spring for the extra bells and whistles. I keep just one ice cube tray and use it to fill a small plastic container. That way I always have a few handfuls of ice on hand. When it looks like I am getting low, I empty the tray into the container and fill it back up with water. One tray and a container rather that multiple trays makes the ice retrieval much simpler. There is no fighting with that stubborn cube that wont come out, or pulling out a tray to find only a few stray cubes, or even worse, thinking you are grabbing a tray of ice only to find someone just filled it with water. Why have ice at all? I for one, enjoy a few cubes in my beverage on a warm day. It is also nice to have on hand for guests. And emergencies. Its much nicer to throw a few cubes in a Ziploc for that burn or sprain than it is to be using that beautiful rib-eye!
2. Frozen Veggies
These are great to have on hand. They have a longer shelf life and have just as much, or more, nutrition than their fresh counterparts. They also tend to have better color and texture than canned vegetables. Which ones to keep on hand is a matter of personal taste and cooking style. I have never been fond of frozen beans or carrots. Only fresh will do it for me with those guys. That being said, there are a few frozen veggies that I can't live without: peas, corn, and spinach. I will cook these as a side dish alone or blended together. They are also great added to other dishes. I add corn or spinach to omelettes. Try an omelette with peppers and corn, or spinach and feta. Frozen peas and corn also make great additions to salads. They add color and texture to tuna, chicken, or pasta salads. I will even add them to tossed salads when I want to switch things up a bit. A word of caution to dieters: peas and corn will add extra calories, so be careful. Also, frozen veggies can release a bit of water when they defrost. I recommend defrosting them before adding to omlettese and salads to avoid making them watery. You dont have to heat until hot, just enough to melt them and drain the water.
3. Frozen Hamburger Patties
I am not talking about those things that come in a box or bag that resemble hockey pucks. If that's your thing, go ahead. But there are a few good reasons to make your own. For one thing, it will save you money. The next time you are making a dish with ground beef, spring for the bigger package. Many times it will cost you less per pound. Use what you need for that meal and make small to medium sized patties. Wrap these individually and then place them in a freezer bag. They defrost quickly and easily, or can be cooked frozen over a medium heat (don't put the heat up to high or you will end up with a charred outside and cold center). You can also use them for dishes that require ground beef. Just break up the patties. Trust me, it is a lot easier to go from a frozen patty to plain ground beef than it is to go from a frozen chunk of ground beef to a patty. There are many nights when burger patties in the freezer saved me from a night of expensive and not so healthy take-out.
This can also be done with ground pork, chicken, or turkey. I also freeze boneless chicken or pork when I can get it on sale. However, these take longer to defrost and so require some planning. Always wrap individual patties or cutlets. This allows you to easily control how many portions you defrost.
4. Ice cream
Plain chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry ice cream are great to have on hand. I tend not to keep baked goods or candy around lest I have one of my weak moments and eat half a cake or a dozen cookies. I am also only an occasional dessert eater. Nightly indulgence never fails to lead to extra pounds. But I do indulge now and then. For those of you like me that get a craving for dessert, but don't have the best willpower, ice cream is great. Plain ice cream is relatively low in calories compared to other desserts. About 150 calories per serving. And because it's cold, it is a lot less likely that you will down the whole dish in under two minutes, giving your body time to register and stop you from overeating. If you aren't a fan of the plain stuff you can add some fruit or granola or a small amount of your favorite topping. I also make the occasional shake: icecream, milk, stir. And have added a small scoop to iced coffee.
Hmm. Is space a "thing"? Well, for the purpose of this hub, let's just say it is. I am always sure to keep some space in my freezer. I have seen freezers packed so tight you would be hard pressed to squeeze in one more cube of ice. Not a good idea. Take a look in your freezer. If you see vents that is a good thing. If not, move some things around. Did you uncover a vent? If so, keep it that way. Blocking the vents decreases the efficiency of your freezer. Another reason to leave space is so that you have some wiggle room. If it is packed so tight you need extra body weight to get the door shut, how on earth are you going to get to that item in the back without taking a bunch of things out? More importantly, how are you going to even know that thing in the back is there? While forgotten items in your fridge will announce their overly long stay with an rather unpleasant odor, frozen items do not. It is not difficult for that ice cream sandwich to turn into something resembling the iceberg that sunk the Titanic when it has been hiding behind the TV dinners for months. And the last reason to leave some room is so you can put something else in there! Believe it or not, I have returned from the store with someone who opened their freezer to put away his groceries only to discover there was not enough room. Don't be that guy!
I hope that you have gained a few nuggets of information from this hub. If you are itching for some more check out the links I have provided. Enjoy your foray into the world of your freezer with all the gusto of an explorer headed on an artic expedition!
More Info On Frozen Foods
- Nutrition Facts For Frozen Vegetables | LIVESTRONG.COM
Nutrition Facts For Frozen Vegetables. If you are trying to eat healthy and consume the recommended five servings per day of vegetables, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of time it takes to maintain a supply of fresh vegetables at your home o
- Frozen Vegetable Recipes - Allrecipes.com
Looking for frozen vegetable recipes? Allrecipes has more than 1,280 trusted frozen vegetable recipes complete with ratings, reviews and cooking tips.
- Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer | FoodSafety.gov
Why Baked Goods Are Not Invited To Stay
- Tastes Like Heaven
I don't diet. I have tried. I have failed. Why? Because food tastes like heaven! Don't get it? Don't believe it? This essay just might convince you. You might want to avoid reading on an empty stomach!