Quick Tip Tuesday: You Can Freeze Almost Anything

Over the years, and I’ve read any number of tips that have changed my life. Not only do many of these tips save me time and energy, some of them save me money too. So as part of the new MMC, we are now bringing you “Quick Tip Tuesday”: time and budget saving tips in short blog post form.
Are you ready for it…….Here’s this weeks tip………
YOU CAN FREEZE ALMOST ANYTHING
This is life altering for many many reasons. First, freezing your food means that, like most of our meals, its available for use in the future. Second, if you ended up with some unexpected left overs, or excess produce you can’t finish in time, you can save it for later – this way it does not go to waste, and it saves you money in the future. Third, you can buy just about anything in bulk that is on sale.

Frozen Banana Slices – Perfect for Smoothies

I was quite skeptical in the beginning, of what I could or couldn’t freeze. I played it safe. Lately, I’ve been branching out, and doing some research and it has definitely paid off. Can’t finish off that huge container of Costco spinach? Freeze it. Throw it in smoothies, dishes calling for frozen or fresh spinach. What about the ridiculous large container of Costco pesto? Freeze it in cubes, throw in dishes at a later date. Bought a fridge full of squash and zucchini and suddenly have to leave town? Slice it up and freeze it. Throw it in some orzo at a later date. And those are just a few. 
Frozen Pesto Cubes!
I could go on and on, but in the interest of this being a short post, I’ll leave you with a few basics and some links. First and foremost – most things should be quick frozen on a cookie sheet, freeze for 1 to 24 hours, then bag. This freezes all the items separately, so you can store in a single bag and grab as much as you need. For example: slice up bananas and lay on a parchment paper lined pan. When frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag. Scoop out what you need for a smoothie when you need it. This is the same for most fruits. I do the same procedure for meatballs and individual burritos. Sauces freeze great in ice cube trays. Once frozen, put in a bag. 

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Look at this creamy goodness

I confessed sometime ago that I don’t eat enough veggies. I’ve found found over time that, if cooked right or a certain way, I do like more veggies than I initially thought. I just don’t know what do with veggies! When I was pregnant with my first, I craved cauliflower, unfortunately it was the mini-steamer pack kind covered in cheese….not the healthiest of sides, but certainly not the worst.
Cauliflower can be used as a substitute for some starchy foods including mash potatoes, potato salad, rice and Kayte even uses it for pizza crust! (According to Wikipedia) Cauliflower is low in fat and carbs, but high in fiber, folate, water, and vitamin C. All this had me fairly sold – then I saw this  droolworthy Buzzfeed  post on ways you can use cauliflower to cut carbs. I picked some up on my next costco trip!
I wanted to make something I knew our toddler would gobble up, and after a recent cold spell, I wanted something warm and comforting. I settled on this cauliflower mac & cheese from ShockMunch. Then I made the laziest version of it possible.

The recipe starts by cooking macaroni, and steaming the cauliflower. I don’t own a fancy steamer, but I do have some of these awesome Ziploc Zip n Steam bags. Just throw your veggies in there with some water, and pop in the microwave for the appropriate amount of time as listed on the bag! Next the recipe calls for blending the cauliflower with sauteed onion and garlic. I used onion powder, and some Johnnys garlic powder instead and just threw it in the blender. Add milk and blend. Pour the mixture into a pot with cheese and stir until melted. Combine with the macaroni and you are done!

Creamy cauliflower with melting cheese

Salmon With Orzo Pilaf and Veggies

This meal is in regular rotation at our house. It’s not exactly a freezer meal, though the ingredients come straight out of my freezer, or pantry. We always have a bag of Kirkland Signature Boneless/Skinless Salmon Fillets in our freezer. These bags retail for about $28, and contain 7 individually wrapped fillets (around $4/Fillet, a pretty good price for Salmon). I usually have a variety of frozen veggies on hand, too.  I also keep several types of pasta in my pantry, including orzo. Again, I stock up when both these items are on sale and use them as needed. 
The picture above is salmon, cooked according to the bag directions, with a bit of olive oil and Penzy’s Shallot Pepper Seasoning. I’ve made it with salt & pepper, seafood seasoning, and other seasoning mixes, as well. The recipe for the orzo is listed below. 
 Orzo Pilaf with Veggies

Ingredients

  • 1 TBL Butter
  • 2+ Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 2 Cup Water (Or Chicken Stock)
  • 8 oz Orzo (1/2 box)
  • 1/4 C Italian Cheese/ Parmesan/ Goat Cheese
  • 1 Bag frozen veggies (see pic for my favorite!)
Directions
  1. Melt butter in pan on medium heat. 
  2. Saute garlic, until fragrant
  3. Add orzo. Cook until it begins to brown, approximately 3 min. 
  4. Add water (stock), frozen veggies, and seasoning,
  5. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add cheese, stir and remove from heat. Serve. 

Pulled Pork Philly Cheesesteak


[This is a continuation of my last post, describing how a family of three managed to eat an entire 8lb pork roast. Read the first post here]

One of the new recipes I tried with pulled pork, was a pulled pork philly cheese steak. This recipe was a total win. I used this recipe, from Simply Gloria. It was so good, this is the only picture I got. We ate them as soon as it came out of the oven!

The only change I made was that I used a bag of frozen peppers and onions. I always have a bag of those in my freezer. It’s great for many dishes, including fajitas and sausage and peppers. Usually, I have quite a few bags of frozen veggies in the freezer. Frozen veggies are often cheaper then fresh, you can coupon for them, they are picked at their peak and frozen quickly, making them just as nutritious as the “fresh” options and most importantly, they keep! Want to know more about the health & safety of frozen veggies? Here’s an article or two.