My husband has found a new way to save us more money and time. He has been using our freezer to make our cooking very efficient and allow us to have meals we couldn’t afford otherwise (like boneless breast recipes).
Let’s start with chicken.
When we get chicken for Shabbos, we do not always eat the whole thing and some parts get wasted (or eaten as a not-so-healthy snack for my husband). So instead, my husband has been using all the parts of the chicken very creatively. From two chickens, he puts aside:
- one chicken breast for a meal later,
- the wings for a meal later,
- the necks, back of the breast, and wing tips are saved for making soup stock and then used for soup meat,
- and one thigh for a meal later.
- If we are having a roasted chicken, he saves the carcass for making soups, too.
After several weeks or months, he has enough of each part to make:
- a boneless chicken dish (from the breasts),
- teriyaki or barbecue chicken wings (from the wings) – pictured above,
- chicken soup stock and chicken soup (from the necks, backs, and wing tips),
- and smoked chicken for seasoning or chicken pieces for a stir fry (from the thighs).
Then there are those nights when we have leftovers from a chicken dish, but not enough to make a meal. That chicken becomes stir fry! Even our kids love it and will have several helpings!
We buy large packs of shredded cheese from Costco. The pack contains more cheese than a single meal uses. So he packages the cheese into smaller servings as soon as we get home. These get frozen in freezer bags to use later as needed. For more ways to cut down on meal costs read “Stretching your dinner dime… dollar.”
My husband has created the best refried beans recipe. He makes a huge batch in our largest soup pot and packages it up in large Gladware containers. (We used to be able to use the soup and salad size, but our family eats more now!) One container or two small ones makes for a great meal of burritos. They are also good to pull out when we cook for a friend with a new baby or for another occasion.
Sometimes we stock up on milk if it is a particularly good deal or we have been given milk that is close to expiring. If we freeze it and then thaw it later, we can get a few more days out of it than if we had used it right away. For more tips on how long various foods will last, check out my post “Shelf life of your food.”
We recently found an Entenmann’s outlet that sells Arnold and Thomas bread products as well as Entenmann’s baked goods. They have store coupon as well as a punch card. We can spend $10 and leave with 5-7 items! We keep a few out and save the rest for later. Between this and our bread maker, we our saving a ton of money on bread. This has been a big help with all four of our boys needing lunches each day!
We always make several challahs at once. What we don’t need for that Shabbos gets frozen for later Shabbosim. To see why making your own challah is worth it moneywise, read “Making your own challah.” We have also tried canning. Read more at “First canning experiment: apple butter.”
Kugels and desserts:
This is not always possible, but we try to double kugel and dessert recipes when preparing for Shabbos so we have one to freeze for later. This depends on what ingredients we have available.
How do you use your freezer to its potential? Share your tips below!