Posted on Leave a comment

Storing Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the turkey and all the trimmings, and you were surrounded by all your loved ones. Life doesn’t get any better, does it? Now that Thanksgiving is over, you are left with the leftovers you will tire of in the next couple days. What can you do with them? Your freezer comes to the rescue.

Before you begin shoving the remains of that bird into your freezer, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has some advice, and some guidelines, for you.

  • In order to prevent the growth of bacteria which can cause food poisoning, the CDC recommends that you put leftovers away quickly. How quickly? No longer than two hours after eating.
  • Refrigerate leftovers at 40 degrees F or colder.
  • Cut up the turkey or that pot roast into small pieces, no more than 2 inches thick. This will help them freeze more quickly and maintain quality. Store in small, airtight containers.
  • Use up leftovers within 3 to 4 days. Any remaining after that should be frozen. They can last for 3 – 4 months.
  • Use a permanent marker to label containers with the expiration date.

A guide to storing leftovers:

Food Fridge Freezer

Turkey 3 – 4 days 2 – 3 months

Meat (beef, ham) 3 – 4 days 2- 3 months

Chicken 3 – 4 days 2 – 6 months

Cranberry sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months, gravy 2 – 4 months and mashed potatoes, if made with butter and cream, can be frozen up to 1 year.

The holidays are not the only times you may need to freeze food. You can freeze food that was freshly cooked in order to save you time and money. If you would like to learn more about freezer cooking, just click on the FREE offer below. Your name will be added to my mailing list so you can receive more updates on offers like this. I will never share your information with anyone, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Free guide to Freezer Cooking

Posted on Leave a comment

how to prepare for freezer cooking success

Some time ago I posted an article on what foods are suitable for freezing. You can read that post here.

If you are serious about making lifestyle changes to your eating habits, you will do well to cook a batch of food and freeze it so when you are ready for a meal, you will have healthful dishes and not be tempted to go back to your old way of eating. Make sense?

Today, I want to talk a little about preparing for successful freezer cooking. When you decide to try freezer cooking for the first time it’s important to learn from people who have experienced failure before you. There are some tried and true tips to make sure you have a successful freezer cooking experience that you should follow.

1. Be prepared

It’s important to get prepared for your cooking session if you’re going to cook several freezer meals at once. Even if you are just doubling your nightly meal to “feed the freezer” you want to get everything prepared, make sure you have all the ingredients, the storage containers, and everything set up in an assembly line to make it easier.

2. Get comfortable

This isn’t the time to wear your good clothing or pearls and certainly not uncomfortable shoes. In fact, you probably should wear a good pair of shoes that are meant for standing for long periods of time to make it easier on your feet and back. If you can invest in a comfortable standing mat for your kitchen floor all the better. Have a snack before you start to avoid snacking as you cook.

3. Shop with a list

You definitely do not want to shop for a freezer cooking session without a list. It’s a good idea to plan out everything that you do, and a shopping list is a must for successful freezer cooking. You need to know exactly how much and what to buy so that your recipes turn out perfect each time.

4. Cook what you like

Most families actually rotate the same 8 to 10 dishes, and rarely try anything new. It’s important to understand what you and your family like and work within that parameter to truly be successful with freezer cooking. Try only one or two new things in any given month and you’ll be a lot happier with the outcome.

5. Get organized

Before you start, make sure you begin with a clean kitchen and an organized workspace. Get out the pans and supplies that you need in advance and set them out like you work in a factory so that they’re at the ready. The same goes for measuring cups. It helps if you have several sets of measuring cups so that you don’t have to wash anything while you’re cooking. Stick dirty things in the dishwasher as you go to keep your area neat.

Freezer cooking can help you save time and money and make it easy for you to reach your goal of healthy eating faster. Follow the tips above and you will be on your way to achieving that goal.

The utensils and other equipment are given you as a guide to make your cooking experience more comfortable. I especially like the standing mat and the shopping organizer that holds your list and your smartphone . These links are all affiliate links, meaning if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.

Want to know more about freezer cooking and other healthy lifestyle changes? Sign up for my newsletter by filling in the form below.

Posted on Leave a comment

What Foods Can You Freeze?

How many times have people shown up at your home unexpectedly? It happens, especially if you have children. Plus, you probably enjoy having company over, but it always seems like just too much work. Now, you can relax a bit because you don’t need to do more than heat up a delicious entre, make a nice salad, and pour some wine to look like the most amazing host on the planet.

Freezing food beforehand can save you time as well as money. But in order to get the best benefits, you must know what foods you can freeze.

Keep in mind when you choose meals to freeze, that freezing changes the texture of some foods. For instance high moisture fresh foods don’t really freeze well if you plan to eat them in raw form later. For instance, you can’t freeze a raw chef salad and expect it to taste like a fresh chef salad after freezing. But you can freeze chopped tomatoes to use in a sauce later.

Do Not Freeze These Items (or freeze with caution)

Cheese — You can actually freeze cheese as long as you understand the texture will change. It will be crumbly, (shred it first) and you can’t eat it as is, but you can use it in a casserole as a topping. So, if you put cheese on top of a casserole that you’re going to pop into the oven to reheat anyway it’s fine. But if you plan to slice it for a sandwich, you probably don’t want to freeze your cheese.

Fried Food — You can freeze fried food as long as you wrap it right, and then reheat it correctly. For something like fried chicken be sure to cool it down while draining off the extra fat, then wrap with freezer paper and then put it inside an air tight container. To reheat, put in the oven frozen after unwrapping on a greased pan.

Grapes — Everyone knows you can freeze grapes if you plan to eat them frozen. A nice treat and tastes like dessert.

Onions & Peppers — You can chop these and freeze them to use in recipes. Chop and let them dry on a paper towel first to drain off extra moisture. Spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze for about an hour before putting them into airtight freezer bags.

Tomatoes — You can chop them and freeze into serving sizes or recipe sizes in airtight containers. You can only use them for sauces after freezing or in a soup or stew where texture isn’t as important.

Oranges & Citrus — You cannot freeze the fruit but you can freeze the zest. Zest onto a paper towel, and let dry out a bit, then freeze in one layer on a pan for about an hour. Pour into a airtight container to use in recipes.

 

Rice &Potatoes — They freeze fine in casseroles and dishes, but it does change their texture a bit. You cannot freeze them raw; you must precook and then freeze.

Pasta – While many places have pasta on the ‘no freeze’ list, you can freeze cooked or frozen pasta. It is recommended that you freeze pasta for some dishes uncooked because it will cook during the reheating and you don’t want to overcook it. But, you need to use prepared dried pasta and not freshly made pasta that isn’t dried.

Other foods which should not be frozen are: apples, cottage cheese, cream cheese, radishes, salad dressing, salad greens, sour cream, mayonnaise, watermelon and yogurt.

The important thing is to remember to prepare the dishes correctly for storage and to reheat them properly. You have to be sure that your freezer is the right temperature, (under 0°F) and in good repair and that you consider the moisture content of anything that you plan to freeze. Moisture expands when it freezes.

Want to know more about freezer-cooking and other ways to eat healthy? Just click on the FREE offer below. Your name will be added to my mailing list so you can receive more updates on offers like this. I will never share your information with anyone, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Free guide to Freezer Cooking