Sunday, December 06, 2009

abundance from the deep freeze

A deep freeze is a most wonderful invention; I'd be lost without mine. Odds and ends that would normally go to waste can be tucked away in there, then resurrected just when I need them. Trouble is, if you get too many unmarked odds and ends piled in there, you end up wondering what's what, especially if it's unmarked. There's always frozen chicken broth, and usually some cooked chicken... or during the holidays, cooked turkey. I keep those pretty much in one certain section, so they seldom get lost. It's those odd bags and containers of leftovers that get away from me.
I love having chili or turkey soup frozen in portions that I can take out for a quick meal when I'm running short on time, or when I'm just plain lazy. Since we're having good weather for cooking (wintry), I decided to make turkey gumbo for our dinner (and probably tomorrow's dinner too), and some chili for the freezer.
I'm working on using some of the assorted bags of frozen leftovers, so they don't get totally lost in the shuffle. Today when I went after some frozen diced onions that I'd put in there to save them from rotting last summer, I noticed an unmarked bag of something red. Something smooth and red, like ketchup. Only I've never frozen ketchup. I opened the bag and sniffed it: definitely a tomato product.
Then it came back to me. Two years ago when the grandson was staying with us and was working for an employer that supplied restaurants with various foods, he came home with some gallon cans of tomato puree that had been discarded because they were outdated. He planned to use them for target practice.
"Over my dead body." I said. "I'll open the cans, freeze that stuff in quart freezer bags, and use it when I make chili, in place of tomato sauce."
I've never been one to worry over outdated canned goods. Obviously, I don't worry about food that's been in the freezer for two years, either. I ain't skeered.
So the mysterious bag of puree, the frozen, diced onions, and some frozen, diced sweet peppers from the garden are in the process of becoming chili, along with ground beef from our dear departed steer, Meatloaf. Oh yes, and a jar of home-canned tomatoes. For dessert we'll have home-made butternut squash bread; I found half a loaf of that while digging in the freezer.
I feel like Miss Frugality today.

5 comments:

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I've always been afraid to use food that's been in the freezer over a year and have thrown out a lot of stuff in my day. I think it's a good thing you check it out and see what you really do have. I guess you must date it so you know how long it's been in there. Your chili really sounds good right now...it is very cold here tonight. I think I'll go check my freezer and see what I can find for my supper.

Tango said...

:) Sounds like a royal dinner!! ....and you didn't have to spend a thing! Nice job :)

m.v. said...

some foods don't keep very long in the freezer. like ice cream would become sticky and weird-looking. cans on the other hand were found edible as old as WWI

Lindie said...

Chili does sound good! I have everything but the ground beef. Do you use beans in your? I love dark red kidney beans in mine. I don't have as much in my freezer as I don't normally have a big garden. I do have tomatoes, diced bell peppers and a lot of chili peppers, some diced, some whole and some dried.

Donna said...

Lindie, I use red kidney beans in my chili. The batch I made yesterday had 3 pounds of chili and 1 pound of dry red beans I cooked ahead of time.