February: Use What's In The Freezer Month - Life ... It's Why We Cook. Blog at Allrecipes.com - 296906

Life ... It's Why We Cook.

February: Use What's In the Freezer Month 
Feb. 7, 2013 9:16 am 
Updated: Feb. 15, 2013 7:51 am

My wife doesn't know it (yet) but we are participating in "February: Use What's In the Freezer Month" that I inaugerated last week. After the cleaning of the freezer that we did last month, I pledged to never again let the freezer become a wasteland of food. So far, Mrs. Mike hasn't noticed- or said- anything about this endeavor and, just maybe, I can use up all those frozen feasts. (Uhh hmmm? Folks for Freezer Feasts in Frozen February?) In only seven days, there is much more room in the freezer. What is the topper? How about, the grocery bill is down by approximately 60% that first week. I can take that!

Another thing we are doing to improve our grocery bill is we'll buy those "Family Packs" of ground meat, usually ground chuck. One day I thought of a way to put it up so we would always know how much of the meat to use thereby eliminating waste. I decided to use quarter pound increments which is enough to fill a half cup measuring cup. I'll measure each cup and make a ball then put it into one of those cheap sandwich bags. When the meat is all dibbied up, I will put all of the meat into a gallon size zip bag. We'll always know how much we have on hand. Also, the smaller sizes will defrost faster for quick meals.

On the recommendation of some AR folks, I applied for the AllRecipes All Stars Brand Ambassadors program. I was accepted and, so far, it has been fun in that I am getting to know folks who I have never had any interaction with. This is going to be interesting, especially when an assignment requires desserts or yeast.

I am not a baker. Never aspired to be a baker. My very few experiences with yeast, have been, at best, horrendous failures. My last batch of bread was so hard, when
I tried to make bread crumbs of it, the food processor would just play handball with it. If the All Stars program makes me a baker, they will have much to brag about.

Many readers of my blogs noticed that my posts that were very active, did not get on the top five "Most Popular Blogs" list on the front page of this site. It did irritate me but I never dwelled on it but Cat Hill sent off an email to AR. That prompted me to to investigate it myself and sent off an email to customer service. Their probe into the matter discovered that I was flagged as "incindiary" and immediately corrected the problem. Incindiary? Not me. Sexist pig? Yes, but not incindiary.

I have just downloaded an ebook that has a wealth of dietary and nutritional information. I have only skimmed those chapters I wanted to immediately see and I am totally impressed. Written as an information source for cancer survivors, it's information is a very informative platform for anybody. The chapter, "Dietary Supplements: Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs" I found very helpful especially those paragraphs that revealed government guidelines about labeling. Also of interest to me is the chapter "How Food Is Grown and Treated". There is a little bit about GMO food but it cautiously reveals only what has been substantiated from the scientific aspects. It does not disfavor nor does it favor GMO. Also, the labeling of "Organic", "Natural" and "Naural Ingredients" is explained.

Unfortunately, the publisher (not The American Cancer Society) forbids any reproduction of the book or any part of it, so I cannot offer samplings of it's contents.

http://acs.bookstore.ipgbook.com/american-cancer-society-complete-guide-to-nutrition-for-cancer-survivors-products-9780944235782.php< ?

"The American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Nutition for Cancer Survivors" is $19.99 as an ebook and $24.99 (plus shipping/processing) in paperback. You will likely need a free download from Adobe which is available at the checkout page. It will be a little easier if you have an Adobe ID already.

Our Walking team for The Relay for Life of Liberty, MO now has four committed walkers: Magnolia Blossom; Candice; Mrs. Mike; myself. This is in conjunction with The Midwest Roundup that Cat Hill generously provides every year. So, if you want to have a great socializing weekend, walk with us on June 21 and/or come to the roundup on June 21, 22, 23. Neither event is sanctioned by AR. We're just a bunch of folks that like what we're doing and AR is the 'glue' that binds us when we are not together.
Feb. 7, 2013 1:26 pm
Hi Mike,i would love to walk with all of you,but i will do it from home,either on my treadmill or walking with my dog.What i would like to know is how can i contribute moneywise?I don't like to do anything to do with money on line.Is there a place i could send a money order?
Feb. 7, 2013 1:41 pm
Hi Mike! I need to participate in your "Folks for Freezer Feasts in Frozen February" campaign! I got a good start this morning on that when I loaded up my crockpot with a roast and dumped a can of tomatoes, some red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic and a packet of Lipton onion soup mix on it. Now if I can only keep it up!
Feb. 7, 2013 1:45 pm
OH Sure as if everyone didn't already know about my tendency towards irritablity but it was only ONE email to AR which got no response to me personally and MANY emails to other AR members. Hey, I may dislike fruitcake intensely but that really was a good blog and it was the perfect time for it. Not to mention the comments were vastly varied and quite interesting :)
Feb. 7, 2013 1:47 pm
OOOOO Candice is coming? Yeah!! And Mrs. Mike? Yeah!! Uh oh someone had better get to getting the Invite blog up so we get the opportunity to have new faces here this year. The place will be the same ole same ole and the food will still be BBQ.
Feb. 7, 2013 2:15 pm
Hi, manella! What is important is that your donation get to cancer researck/awareness. Save whatever you want to donate for our team and include it with the donation you make to your own team. That will be the easiest and most certain way your donation will make it to it's destination.
Feb. 7, 2013 2:16 pm
Yayyy, Mother Ann!!! Now my international organization has two members!
Feb. 7, 2013 2:20 pm
I fixed that, Cat!... There was a lot of fun in that post. I think I'll go back on it from time to time just to relive the moment.
Feb. 7, 2013 2:22 pm
Well, Candice signed upnwith the team on the R4L site. Specifically, she hasn't said. Maybe she'll bring her hubby this time?
Feb. 7, 2013 2:47 pm
I have been wondering for a long time way your blogs didn't hit the front page - well you are a rebel rouser, fun loving, cancer fighting, loyal AR Peep and I will gladly stand in your corner. I will join you in the "Folks for Freezer Feasts in Frozen February" campaign - I have made some head way there but not enough. I am so glad to see you join the Ambassador Program and don't worry, it isn't liable to turn you into a yeast expert - but we can work on that, if you wish.
Feb. 7, 2013 2:50 pm
Oh about storing that ground beef - rather than 'balls' - I measure out the meat and into bags like you do but flatten them and then into freezer bags. They store flat and stack in the freezer very nicely.
Feb. 7, 2013 3:24 pm
Thanks Mike, will do.
Feb. 7, 2013 4:12 pm
I fixed that, Cat!... There was a lot of fun in that post. I think I'll go back on it from time to time just to relive the moment.
Feb. 7, 2013 4:20 pm
Some easily made error, Baking Nana. Someday, we will see if the fix is working. ... Your use of flattering adjectives is accepted and will be entered into my autobiography. As for the yeast thing, it will not be in my autobiography.
Feb. 7, 2013 4:23 pm
Incendiary? Well, I'll have to agree, your blogs are the bomb (at least that's what the grands say when something is good). I'm glad you looked into that Mike. What the heck were they thinking. Welcome to the crazies and no we haven't had to do baking yet (I'm with you on that subject).
Feb. 7, 2013 4:24 pm
That will be great, manella! Thank you!
Feb. 7, 2013 4:28 pm
Thank you, bd! Cat is actually the motivation with me getting to it. I didn't consider it a problem until she got on it and the other folks started talking about it.
Feb. 7, 2013 6:00 pm
Gee, secret lists or being black listed sounds so yesterday . . . reminds me of Nazi Germany or the 1950’s McCarthy era. One arm of AR accepts you as an AllRecipes All Stars Brand Ambassador and another arm blacklists you in spite of taking your money in support of this organization . . . this is one well oiled machine. Oh well, so long as you’re happy in your new role, that’s what counts . . . good luck, Baker Mike!
Feb. 7, 2013 6:34 pm
It was only a mistake, Conky Joe. Not the ambassador thing, the flag thing.
Feb. 7, 2013 6:57 pm
See how words get twisted - I specifically said you were "Hot Stuff" guess it got lost in translation. I had the opportunity to clean out the freezer thanks to 3 weeks without power but I am making a serious effort to clear out the pantry and cabinets.
Feb. 7, 2013 7:15 pm
Sure, sure still getting the blame. I believe that is why I got the Sourpus wine last year. Sour=cranky but always for a good cause :) Like what the heck is up with that banner thingy now on the Buzz? Least I forget while I get slitty eyed over irritating things, I have too been engaged in the "Folks for February....", cleaning out that freezer has been challenging but productive.
Feb. 7, 2013 7:30 pm
Cat,hi,how are you?Are you as anxious for spring to come so we can start our gardens again.?
Feb. 8, 2013 5:33 am
I don't get to the blogs very often, but I do always like yours, Mike. I wish I could come out for your walk because it's all for an important cause, and who could pass up a chance to walk with AR friends? Regarding the meat, I weighed my leftovers from my bulk buy just last night and marked the weight on my Foodsaver bags. If my Foodsaver went out, I'd be at Costco's door immediately!
Feb. 8, 2013 5:50 am
Hello Mike! Congrats on the AR Ambassadorship! I am inspired to at least look in my freezer. Hmmm-chili and beans, green chili, tamales, frozen green chili. Looks like Mexican food for me! Also, Marianne I want a foodsaver, now I can say I need a foodsaver to save $.
Feb. 8, 2013 6:08 am
Incendiary? Really? Over fruitcake?? pffft
Feb. 8, 2013 8:57 am
Well I always thought you were a firecracker young man so maybe the incendiary label fits :)
Feb. 8, 2013 9:19 am
gotta say I love the profile pic
Feb. 8, 2013 9:46 am
Way to go Mike, you made the MPB list.
Feb. 8, 2013 10:01 am
Well, I can blame you, BigShotsMom! That's good because Cat won't let me blame her. Thank you!
Feb. 8, 2013 10:04 am
Incendiary? Really? I'm glad you got things fixed up. I mean the women of AR know you're really hot, cause they've seen the sizzling pics of you in your shorts trying to get into the trunk.
Feb. 8, 2013 10:05 am
Cast, it seemed like such an easy, logical thing to blame you.
Feb. 8, 2013 10:11 am
Hi, Marianne! I'm happy that you read my blogs and thank you for enjoing them. I have quit using our Foodsaver on meat because it draws out so much of the moisture. The instructions say to freeze meat before the Foodsaver but the problem with that is remembering there is meat to be wrapped. Instead, we are using the ZipLoc vac bags that use a hand pump that does not pull out moisture. It has kept the meat very nicely. A bonus, you don't need to get scissors or a knife to open the ZipLocs, they open just like the regular bags.
Feb. 8, 2013 10:15 am
Mexican or SW fare suits me fine, Lela. See my reponse to Marianne about ZipLocs.
Feb. 8, 2013 10:17 am
Yup, LadySparkle. But the incendiary bit goes much further back than fruitcake- better that a few years, I'll bet! AR Customer Service got right on it for me and in a weeks time, they had it resolved. I think they did me right.
Feb. 8, 2013 10:26 am
mauigirl, If you keep calling me young, I'll be forced to keep acceting it. Flattery is becoming something I am very capable of accepting- not that I have a self centered ego or anything like it.
Feb. 8, 2013 10:27 am
Paula T., Thank you!
Feb. 8, 2013 10:28 am
Yeah, bd, I'll have to used to that now, I hope!
Feb. 8, 2013 10:46 am
That's "shorts" as in outer wear, folks. Magnolia Blossom needs to be specific where some words have more than one meaning. Hmmm. I was sober, wasn't I?
Feb. 8, 2013 10:59 am
Hehe, glad you clarified that, considering you were in MY driveway wearing said attire. Sober? I'd have to ask Mrs. Mike, but I think so.
Feb. 8, 2013 11:40 am
Whew! Good! I do some wierd stuff when I'm influenced by the demons of alcohol. Thankfully, I quit drinking yesterday evening.
Feb. 8, 2013 2:45 pm
LOLOL! OK I accept the blame because you are on the top 5 where you belong!! That banner thing has got to go!
Feb. 8, 2013 2:45 pm
manella, Hi back! I'm not quite ready to get back to gardening just yet. Winter is my break time.
Feb. 8, 2013 9:18 pm
I like the idea of Use What's in the Freezer Month. Have to give it a try for the rest of the month. Then maybe I can aspire to getting my freezer organized like yours. Would like to proudly open my freezer door to you when you come in June. Gulp... now I've set myself a goal.
Feb. 8, 2013 9:23 pm
BTW, glad to see that now you are no longer deemed "incendiary", you hit the top 5 where you have belonged many times. Many thanks to that cranky, sour puss for sharing her concerns. LOL, had a great conversation with her this evening.
Feb. 8, 2013 9:58 pm
From time to time, I not only need a "use what's in the freezer," but also to hammer away at l/o's in the frige! Fun sometimes to take out a few containers, and see just what I can make out of it! There are also times that dinner consists of what I call "smorgasborg!" Be well, Mike!
Feb. 9, 2013 12:36 am
Looking at your organized freezer is exzctly what I'm going to do when we get there. First thing! Even before the bathroom!
Feb. 9, 2013 12:39 am
Cat, now you will accept the blame? I've already designated BigShotsMom to that position. Well, maybe having two blame platforms will be nice.
Feb. 9, 2013 12:46 am
Hi Mike, I proportion meats out, lay them on a parchment paper lined pan, freeze them and then package into gallon bags. They don't stick together and you can get out what you need as you need it.
Feb. 9, 2013 4:00 am
I'm sure I've read a post or two on your blog, Stevie, that had your smorgasborg as the topic. If memory serves me (yeah, right!), you were quite innovative creating the smorgasborg. I am appreciating having two weeks of a greatly reduced grocery bill. This week has been zero dollars at the grocery.
Feb. 9, 2013 7:07 am
Hi, suepa! That's a great idea! I'll try it!
Feb. 9, 2013 7:53 am
bahaha, well Mike that is quite an explanation from AR, we learned a looong time ago not to stir the pot on AR, can't post anything against anyone. Can't even disagree....OK well you can disagree but must tiptoe through those tulips with such caution that I get tired of hitting the delete button and retyping a comment. Anyway, you are on a 5-F frenzy? Good for you. Some people like to think of their freezer as a safe, put things away for a rainy day, pfft. I currently have 4 freezers up and running, great thing about winter months is that they do not run often in the garage. The chickens, turkeys, deer, pork we butchered in the fall, the fish we caught all summer and the veggies I froze from last years garden will all be gone by next Sept/Oct and ready to be replentished.
Feb. 9, 2013 8:20 am
Hi, gramma! You have to live from your freezer so you probably have it well organized and rotated. We, who have supermarkets to spoil us and take our money, spoil ourselves by taking our food for granted. Thereby, we need coaching and reminders about our stored away food. ... I did have another "F" frenzy back in December, didn't I? I guess it must be that I am good with "F" words. When I was working the boss would ask me, "How are things going?" My response, "Fast, furious and frantic!"
Feb. 9, 2013 9:17 am
:P Fabulous, and freakishly funny
Feb. 9, 2013 10:04 am
Great minds must think alike, Mike. I've been cleaning out my pantry, frig, and freezers for 3 weeks now. From reading the responses on my blogs and now yours, I'm realizing we aren't the only ones who have this problem of buying and buying and not using :) I've come to realize (for me) it's irresponsible and ridiculous to be so wasteful. I'm gladly participating in February-Use What's In the Freezer (and pantry) Month!
Feb. 9, 2013 11:38 am
For ground beef in the freezer..I buy 10 lb bulk pkg. I make patties(8 per pkg)& mini meatloaves. Plus I cook the beef and pkg 1 lb in a freezer bag. Just enough for tacos, spaghetti, sloppy joes. Only deal with discarding the fat one time. I flatten the beef in the bag. Stacks nicely in freezer and thaws quickly.
Feb. 9, 2013 11:44 am
I always get blamed for things, no problem! But you are on the front page and that's what counts. (BTW, I really was not the cause of the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755, but I still got the blame.)
Feb. 9, 2013 3:58 pm
Flinging for fame, gramma?
Feb. 9, 2013 4:00 pm
Keep up the great work, Paula! The real work will be to keep it that way.
Feb. 9, 2013 4:02 pm
Wonderful ideas, lovettcm! Thank you!
Feb. 9, 2013 4:04 pm
Not the blame for that earthquake, BSM? How about lighting matches for Nero?
Feb. 9, 2013 5:39 pm
'Scuse, me where do I sign up for that February Use What's in the Freezer thing? My name is Bibi, and I'm a food-aholic!
Feb. 9, 2013 6:03 pm
We'll send you to the food-aholic clinic. Go to the left door and enter when the light comes on. Find a comfy spot and stay there. Relax. It will be a while before somebody finds you. Don't get upset when you get relocated several times before you are finally noticed and given the appropriate attention.
Feb. 9, 2013 6:35 pm
Hey, BigShotsMom and I can get equal billing! I love my freezer. I can pull many things out of it. Last night quiche made with the girl's eggs, tonight deep dish pizza made for New Year's. Shhhh! tomorrow, a gumbo that will be served with homemade bread. YES! I can get away with this because our BFF, Alan, is coming up and he loves that type of food with MY bread. Of course, I will feel the need to send him home so he can have another decent meal. He brought another round of to-go containers last time he was up. So I need to send them back :)(:
Feb. 9, 2013 7:40 pm
Alan has it made! Mr. Cat Hill for the guy stuff and you for the belly stuff!
Feb. 10, 2013 10:50 am
Mike, Mike, Mike you are by far the most popular blogger goodness gracious! That's because you are so cute! We love you!
Feb. 10, 2013 11:55 am
Absolutely! I believe at #2 roundup, he demonstrated his keen appreciation of leftovers by delivering a bag of tupperware type containers. Today's meal wouldn't have been eaten by Mr. Cat if Alan weren't here. To reward Alan for all of his help today, wood and fixing the DS's car, he gets 1/2 of loaf of homemade bread and some really good gumbo. I need to look that recipe up because it came from AR and need to note what I did even after freezing and re-heating it was still good!
Feb. 10, 2013 2:56 pm
BNC, yer making a tough old man blush. Thank you!
Feb. 10, 2013 3:02 pm
Your hubby seems to be a rather fussy eater, Cat!
Feb. 10, 2013 4:59 pm
Great tip about freezing the ground beef!
Feb. 10, 2013 5:16 pm
Thank you, MrsFisher! There have been a few commenters that do something similar. You should look them up!
Feb. 11, 2013 7:19 am
As I empty my freezer, I add containers of water (usually 2 liter soda bottles). I think it is true that once they are frozen, it's more efficient for the freezer than having empty space. Also, if there is a power outage, the ice will help keep your food cold until the power comes back on. They are also good to stick into a cooler. Or, when melted, you have drinking water if needed. *Works for me, anyway.*
Feb. 11, 2013 12:37 pm
You have an idea of merit, Indiana Peggy! Also, emergency water supply. You don't want to keep the freezer too full, though, because you need space for air circulation or you lose efficiency.
Feb. 11, 2013 7:03 pm
My freezer is in pretty good shape, but I did have a 1/2 pound of ground pork leftover from making a meatloaf a few weeks ago. I usually only use 8 oz for meatloaf, and save the rest for next time, (maybe months later) but you inspired me to search and see if I could come up with something else, and shazam! Pork Tacos! I would've never thought of that. :o)
Feb. 11, 2013 7:11 pm
Pork! The original taco filler! Happy cooking, Clover!
Feb. 13, 2013 1:56 pm
hello! i need a little help ! everytime i cooked cupcakes my cupcake filling is not fluffy and is streaming ! why is not working? what should i do? please can someone help me ??? and i haven t read this but i will probably tomorrow... :)
Feb. 13, 2013 4:02 pm
cupcakes, at the top of this page is a tab called "the buzz". Hover your mouse pointer over that then, in the dropdown menu, point to and click on "Recipe Buzz". Repeat this question there and you will receive much help from some great folks! As for me, I am not a baker, at all and the only cupcake advice I can give is to remove the papaer before eating the cupcake.
Feb. 14, 2013 9:00 am
thank you!!!!!!
Mrs. C 
Feb. 14, 2013 11:24 am
Hi, Mike! I have thought of you and the Allrecipes gang a lot, and have finally checked in. I applaud using freezer accumulation, so have been enjoying February! Only in this house (and this freezer) four months, and, oh, MY! Very little needed at the store... Take care!
Feb. 15, 2013 7:51 am
Thanks for stopping back, Mrs.C! Perhaps a blog post about your busy four months?
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog. http://allrecipes.com/Cook/13101603/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=204609
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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