January 29, 2012

How To: Stock Your Freezer with Basics

Posted by Laura

Featured on Mass Appeal

Gooooooood mor-ning-blog-o-sphere! Today's topic is "stocking your freezer". I'm going to go over a cookie dough trick, a recipe for chicken stock, and dried-beans-turned-cooked-turned-frozen. I love having a stocked freezer. When my brother came for a visit with his family last month and stayed an unexpected extra 3 days, I had lots of food in the freezer just waiting to be used up. It was easy-peasy providing food on a whim.



A Tip for Cookie Dough

A few years ago, we rented a house in the Outer Banks with some friends for a week. One of the two couples we went with, Ashleigh and Brett were living in North Carolina at the time so we had the luxury of eating Ashleigh's homemade food that she packed in a cooler. One of her tricks she did, that has always stuck with me, was to package up some cookie dough on parchment paper in a plastic bag - ready to go in little cookie dough balls. I've never told her how much I loved that trick and use it all the time (I'm guess I'm telling her now! - love you Ash). 

I love cookie dough - I could just eat my computer
screen right now.


1st, ration the cookie dough out onto parchment paper as if you were about to cook it.



Next, fold it up....



...and stuff it into a freezer bag and store in your freezer.


When you're ready to use it, just take the parchment paper out of the bag and unfold it onto a cookie sheet. Done and done! Now, I just have to share with you the clumsy moment Caleb and I had when I was making this cookie dough. What a mess...


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Recipe for Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is super easy to make and stores well in the freezer. Once you make your own you will never go back to buying pre-made stock. You can ration the stock out in 1 cup measurements so that when a recipe calls for a certain amount, you know exactly how much to thaw.

I forgot to snap a picture, but this one looks
pretty good! Photo via trissalicious

Ingredients:
-1 chicken carcass (tip: if you're short on time, use the carcass of a rotisserie chicken)
-6 carrots
-6 ribs of celery
-1 head of garlic
-1 onion
salt and pepper


Directions:
1. Chop up vegetables and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large soup pot, fill with water to the brim.
2. Simmer for approximately 3 hours, drain the broth and keep. Discard carcass and cooked vegetables.
3. Store broth in mason jars in the freezer (but make sure to leave room in the jar for the liquid to expand).

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Canned Beans vs Dry Beans

There are a few benefits to cooking your own beans vs using canned one. Granted, it is much easier to buy a can of beans and throw it in the pantry than to cook your own beans, but these 3 reasons alone are enough to cause me to make the switch:

BPA (Bisphenol A) Many cans used for canned goods are lined with BPA on the inside. Here's a great video from consumer reports explaining it well 
 
Sodium Canned beans have quite a bit of sodium in them to act as a preservative. Most cans have about 20% of your daily requirement! Eek! I'd rather save the sodium for a salty roasted chicken...mmmm. 
$$$ Dried beans are slightly cheaper than canned ones. You know us, anything that's easy on the wallet gets our attention.


Recipe for Beans (adapted from Kristin)

Ingredients:
-1 bag dry, uncooked beans

Directions:
1. Place uncooked beans in a pot, fill with water approximately 2 inches above beans.
2. Let beans soak in water, covered, for approximately 6-8 hours
3. Drain water and refill the pot with water. Bring water to a boil, let simmer for 1 1/2 hours until tender.
4. Portion into ziplock baggies or small jars and store in the freezer.

2 comments:

  1. I used to hate working with dried beans because I never remembered to soak them the day before. Then I read this great tip and now I use it all the time:


    Pour your dried beans into an dutch oven with a lid (you can do as little as 1 cup or beans or as much as a pound). Add water to the dutch oven until there's at least an inch of water above the top of the beans. Cover and cook for 75 to 90 minutes. "Instant" rehydrated beans. Now I don't even bother with overnight soaking!

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