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My Frugal Freezer Cooking Basics-Part 1
Today I am sharing my favorite frugal freezer basics with you. My husband and I went to Walmart and we bought 10 pounds of ground beef for $18.00. I also found 2 rotisserie chickens on sale for $2.96 each. Woo-hoo!!!! I’m going to show you how I break these down for my basic cooking, and stock my freezer.
Let’s start with the beef. It comes in log form.
I cut the log in half. The first 5 pounds I break up into my Crock-Pot with one large onion, chopped, and a little black pepper.
I cook it on low for around 4 hours, stirring every hour, until browned.
I drain the beef really well and let it cool a bit.
When it’s cool, I split it into 2 quart size freezer bags. You can make 4 bags with approximately 1 pound in each also.
I use these to save time for any recipe that calls for browning beef. Add taco seasoning for quick tacos, add to pasta sauce, use for chili on a busy night. The possibilities are endless.
The remaining 5 pounds I split into 3 bags. 2 bags with 2 pounds each, and a 1 pound bag. I flatten these as much as possible, making them fit better in the freezer and they defrost much quicker.
Now let’s tackle the chicken. I cut each chicken up and cube the meat. This goes into a quart size freezer bag for recipes or a quick soup.
I put the carcasses in a large stock pot, add an onion, a few carrots, and some celery. I actually save my veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer, and use them when I make my broth. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
Turn it down, and let it simmer until you get a nice golden broth. It will be fatty on top, but we are going to take care of that.
Drain the contents into another large pot, let cool. I pick through the colander for good meat. This time I got almost 2 cups worth, that I used for chicken salad.
When the soup cools down, the fat will float to the top and solidify, making it easy to remove.
For freezing, I measured 32 ounces (the size of a box of broth in stores). I pour the broth into ice cube trays, filling 2 trays. Repeat with remaining broth. Refrigerate leftover broth until you can repeat the fill/freeze process. I freeze into cube form for 2 reasons. First, the cubes melt quicker when making soup, the second reason is, I can grab a few cubes if needed for a cup of broth when someone is sick. I’m a mom, and always think ahead, especially this time of year.
When the cubes are frozen, I place 2 trays of cubes in a gallon size freezer bag, in a single layer. With this batch I ended up with 4 bags, equaling 128 ounces.. In my area, a box of broth can cost $2.50 or more, they are bland and usually filled with sodium. I am saving money, with a much tastier and healthier broth.
I hope you can use some of these money saving tips.