Shopping In My Freezer - Penny Lane Blog at - 267184

Penny Lane

Shopping in my Freezer 
Feb. 11, 2012 1:40 pm 
Updated: Feb. 22, 2012 7:14 am
It is weeks like this that I am happy to have a well stocked freezer and pantry. Between Super Bowl and Valentines Day the supermarket ads have offered next to nothing. Leading up to Super Bowl the ads were mostly about processed foods. Then along comes the Valentine's Day ads....Lobster, Steaks, chocolate and roses. No thanks!

Now don't get me wrong, I love a good steak. The key word here is 'good' and the select grade steaks from the market aren't a good deal and they aren't the quality that I would like.

So it has been "shop in the freezer week". A month or so ago I picked up a large pork loin at Costco. Brought it home, cut it into several chops and a few roasts - brined the whole batch - dried - wrapped and froze everything in individual packages. I have chicken stored the same way making it easy to pull out just what I need.

Pork Brine   This is the ratio I use for brining pork and turkey.  If you don't want to use juice or sugar - don't, just use all water.  The important thing is the liquid to salt ratio. 

In keeping with my goal of making faceless recipes I went on a hunt for recipes that met my criteria. First - it has to sound like something we would like, second - I have to have all (or most) of the ingredients on hand, third - it must need a picture.

To be honest I was bound and determined to use that ham bone instead of letting it sit in the freezer for months on end then ultimately tossing it in the trash. My search unearthed this Split Pea Soup recipe. Perfect!

I didn't cook the ham bone with the peas as directed as I like to make a ham stock cool it and skim the fat off the top. So that is what I did and had enough ham stock for the Split Pea Soup with plenty left over.

My pantry abounds with a variety of dried beans. In keeping with my "rules" I searched out this Ten Bean Soup recipe.

Again - this made a ton, as bean soups tend to do. Dinners, lunches and some for the freezer. At this point I was sick of soup! It was time to step away from the soup selections.

In my hunt through the freezer I unearthed a package of ground turkey. Blech! I don't like ground turkey very much - which is exactly why it was still in the freezer. I think I bought it to make Turkey Chili for a client and they changed their minds. No Baking Papa loves Taco Salad and I found a recipe that met the criteria.

I was unsure what he would say about the lentils and to be honest I didn't tell him and I don't think he noticed. His only comment was "It's OK" Good enough, I guess. We got dinner for two out of this the first night and lunches the next day.

Remember that pork loin I told you about? I found a great recipe to use one of my pork roasts. YIPPEE - not soup!

This recipe sounded really good to me and it needed a picture and it only had one review.

I did handle making the gravy different but stuck to the recipe other than that. It was a hit!

So good that I had to say, "Step Away from the Pork Roast!" I kept slicing off little pieces and munching on them.... This is dangerous, as I could easily eat the whole thing that way!  One little slice at a time..... 

In the process of freezer diving I discovered a package of ground beef and I knew exactly what to do with that. No Baking Papa would much rather have a slab of meatloaf than a T-Bone. I had made and photographed this meat loaf recipe before and decided to give it another go.

I am the mushroom lover in the family and I have been dying to make Chef John's Mushroom Gravy. It didn't disappoint and was perfect with the meat loaf.

Meatloaf in this house calls for mashed potatoes and I had seen these faceless "Tempting Taters." No, I didn't make 10 lbs of taters. I used the last of the russets in the pantry and they were perfect.  I know why these didn't have a picture ....nobody wants to admit to making these!  

No Baking Papa wanted to know if it was his birthday! He scored his favorite meal.  I think he is still wondering what he did right to deserve these.

So there you have it. I went to Cardenas Market for milk and vegetables - I spent $21.83 for a ton of veggies and shopped in my pantry and freezer for everything else.

Not a bad week at all.

Hopefully there will be some better deals at the market next week or will trying to figure out how to cook this Ostrich egg that the grand kids brought me.

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador(a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Penny Lane. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Penny aka Baking Nana.
Feb. 11, 2012 1:43 pm
OK - I give up. I have no idea why the font changed in the middle of the blog. Sigh.... Sorry, will have to do. :/
Feb. 11, 2012 1:58 pm
"No Baking Papa wanted to know if it was his birthday! He scored his favorite meal. I think he is still wondering what he did right to deserve these." Laughed out loud! My husband would wonder that, too! Mashed potatoes have become a rare, special occasion delicacy around our house!
Feb. 11, 2012 2:01 pm
All the recipes looked really good anyway! Last Tuesday I had one of those days where I wasn't going freezer diving but working with what I had. Oye, what a challenge!
Feb. 11, 2012 2:03 pm
Love it Baking Nana! Would you mind sharing your secret to bringing pork? Also, do you brine the chicken?
Feb. 11, 2012 2:05 pm
Bibi - we call those mashed potatoes "Twice a year taters" He scored big time. He was SO HAPPY those needed a picture!
Feb. 11, 2012 2:06 pm
Oh Cat - it is a challenge for sure. But rewarding when you pull it off!
Feb. 11, 2012 2:07 pm
KGora - I should have included that - sorry. I will get the brine ratio & recipe for you.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:08 pm
Oh - and I brine turkey but don't brine the chicken....I don't know why, I just don't.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:09 pm
I also love mushrooms, I remember when I was a Kid some 50+ years ago and my grandfather, my dad and I would go out mushroom hunting for Puff ball mushrooms some times we would get one that was over 12 inches from one side to the other and slice it up into large mushroom slices that would cover a large cast Iron skillet. I am not an expert so would not do that now, but I like to have mushrooms at least once a week in one form or another. The mushroom gravy looks very good.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:11 pm
Oh, BN everything looks delicious. I can only go so long without my mashed potatoes. I have also been "shopping in my freezer." You will have to let us know what you did with the ostrich egg. :)
Feb. 11, 2012 2:12 pm
Very nice blog, Baking Nana! I totally agree with you regarding steak. I really need to purge my freezer, for it is super filled to the brim. But then it always is! I love your photos.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:15 pm
I'm doing the same thing this week, not because I really need to or because there wasn't anything on sale (I did also see a lot of lobster, chocolate and flowers in the ads here though), but because I have realized I really don't need to keep buying stuff every week. My mom was here last weekend and I asked for her help organizing my freezer (just the little one above the fridge) as things were falling out, thrown in haphazardly, and I am not an organized person. Mom is. She agreed to help, but wondered "Why the h*ll do you have all this stuff?!" I don't know... because my parents are stock-the-freezer kind of people and I have that mindset I guess! I keep buying meat when it's on sale, portion it out and freeze... and then I don't cook much of it. So I'm determined for the next couple of weeks, no matter what's on sale, I really don't need to buy meat. It'll be on sale again and I might actually need it then.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:18 pm
Feb. 11, 2012 2:18 pm
I will add that to the blog too - but there is the pork brine recipe. Use all water if you want to instead of apple juice.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:29 pm
King Sparta - My brother and his father-in-law and I would go mushroom hunting - I was pretty young and didn't learn enough - I was just along for the hike. Now I am old enough to know that I don't know ANYTHING! My neighbors lawn used to grow the most amazing looking mushrooms....I was so very tempted! But sanity prevailed.....
Feb. 11, 2012 2:30 pm
shopping from the freezer-love it and live it:) If I did not need some fresh veggies and fruit in the winter months and dairy products (including my ice cream) I could shop 3-4X/year for my staples-flour, sugar, rice, pasta, coffee, yeast, etc and I would be fine.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:31 pm
Susie - I have no clue what I am going to do with that egg. They were so proud! It weighs a ton! The shell is so hard. I think they what me to cut it open and decorate it for Easter. I will have to post some pictures of the eggs I have done. Honestly, that egg could feed a small Army!
Feb. 11, 2012 2:31 pm
Baking Nana, the pork loin looks delicious. I had to laugh when you said step away from the pork. The mushroom gravy brings back memories of my mom's mushroom gravy-that I don't have a recipe for. So this mushroom gravy ingredients sound a lot like my mom's. Thanks!
Feb. 11, 2012 2:32 pm
this summer I am going to get in touch with a local mushroom picking group. They pick several variieties and I want to know which ones are good. We have many mushrooms in the area, all LOOK edible but I too must keep my sanity in touch and LEARN which are good
Feb. 11, 2012 2:34 pm
Marianne - When we moved last October I was ashamed to how much "stuff" I had in my freezer. I vowed to label better - use more and buy less. So, four months later I have managed to fill it again. Yep - it is time to start using all those good deals.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:34 pm
the ostrich eggs are a hot commodity at flea markets-some women paint them for Easter, others use a dremmel (sp) and make beautiful designs with tiny scenes inside the eggs. I have always wanted one, but in a house full of men, I fear it would be broken in no time. Tupperware, corelle and stainless fill my life
Feb. 11, 2012 2:38 pm
Alex - you need to become the organized person and use what you have - it isn't a deal if it doesn't get used. Especially if you are cooking for one. I wrap each portion of chicken or pork in plastic wrap and then into a big zip lock bag. Small portions defrost in no time. Make a game of how many meals you can make without going to the store.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:38 pm
Hi BN, thanks for sharing. I have been trying to shop my freezer too. It's finally full again after the whole thing defrosted during a power outage. It's taken me 6 months to stock it well again. I feel very protective of the freezer and sometimes don't want to use up what's in it. ;)
Feb. 11, 2012 2:41 pm
Looks good Baking Nana! Mmm, I like 'shroom gravy! Because the wallet has been on the tight side lately, I've been eating out of the freezer quite a bit. Soon I'll have to pack it full of wondrous new finds.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:43 pm
RNG - I thought about Petey and her being so far from a store....what to do? Well, use what you have! I am blessed to have Cardenas market for fresh veggies and a more than fair price. Also - our road side stands are open now and so I stop there too. Friends bring me eggs - those are 'eating eggs' - I buy a flat of 'cooking eggs' from the egg farm for $3.35 a flat. (30) I really set out to avoid the local markets and it is saving me big bucks.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:46 pm
Great blog ~ I have two Huge walk in pantry's, 3 freezers. All bursting to the seams and guess what, I just got home from the grocery store. I need to take some advice from you and start to shop at home for the next few weeks!!!
Feb. 11, 2012 2:49 pm
I do not live as far as Petey to get my groceries, but I still make a full day of a trip to the city. I hate going, the hussle, and traffic. We have a small town close by, prices are a little higher but buying local is so important to keep our town functioning. Selective buying becomes important.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:54 pm
Lela - I loved that pork! I could stand there and slice a little ...nibble a little - next thing you know I have eaten more than my fair share! You have to make that gravy - if you do - a good low sodium beef broth - you will not be sorry.
Feb. 11, 2012 2:59 pm
RNG - I do decorated eggs at Christmas as ornaments and again at Easter. I got the grandkids doing it now. Farm fresh eggs have a harder shell and are easier to use the Dremmel on - the commercial eggs are too thin (says a LOT, doesn't it?) I have been given duck eggs and goose eggs but this is my first Ostrich egg!
Feb. 11, 2012 3:03 pm
AllieGeekPi - I can't imagine the sorrow of loosing everything in the freezer. :( I really what to get a pressure canner and start processing the stock I make so it doesn't take up so much room and is easier to use. I have 3 freezers - probably one too many but I keep them stocked. Now to use what I have so I can go buy more "goodies"
Feb. 11, 2012 3:08 pm
Interesting blog! I only have a refrigerator freezer at the moment and use it mainly for frozen soups and frozen vegetables, but well remember heading for the freezer the second I got up (worked nights) to get out meatballs, lasagna, or some other dish to put into the oven for supper if supper wasn't already in the Crock Pot. My short-term vegan diet is a challenge, but keeps me from stocking the freezer too full, except when mixed vegetables are on sale. (I have a month to go!) I try to rotate three types of soup so I don't eat the same one each day, so keeping the freezer organized isn't a problem. I have the 15-bean mix, and it isn't that good without the ham....need to find a better recipe for the half bag I have remaining! And REDNECK GRAMMA-I understand what you're saying. It's 23 miles to the next grocery store, so I try to buy local whenever I can, even if it costs more. They do a great job with meat and produce, which makes it easy to shop there. Just wish the rest was a little less expensive. Sigh.
Feb. 11, 2012 3:09 pm
Lissa - I can't tell you the number of times that I have thought .... do I have room for this in the freezers? I need to use what I buy - and buy what I will use. Doing this personal challenge has been good for me. It has made me step away from the impulse run to the market for one ingredient and then buying $50. worth of "stuff". No more! I do keep a list of items I am either out of or running low on and then I will make a run to WinCo and Costco and stock up. It is amazing what you can find in the freezer and pantry.
Feb. 11, 2012 3:23 pm
apple.strudel - there was a time when I would call myself a recreational shopper - I could wander through Target or TJMax and walk out with a ton of "deals" - I could shop online with the best of them - then I realized it was just "stuff". Still, I felt good when I got "deals" at the grocery store - and then I became the grocery store shopper - hence the reason, I too have multiple pantries and freezers. This personal challenge has been good for me. :)
Feb. 11, 2012 3:36 pm
Elle - you really need to report the results of your short term Vegan diet. I love vegetables but as you can see I love a good cut of meat! I buy local when I can.... but local to me doesn't mean supporting Albertson's, Von's or Ralph's, our three major markets. It means stopping at the roadside stands, buying eggs that are locally produced. As for beef, I have given up on the major markets - I either buy from Costco or our local butcher, Hottingers. This takes some planning but is well worth it. In my freezer I have some great cuts of meat - I just have to find the right recipes to make. I am not prepared to sacrifice a great cut of meat to a bad recipe. :(
Feb. 11, 2012 4:28 pm
All of these recipes look like winners and your blog is very inspiring. I am on a quest to empty my freezer, it is surprising what jewels get lost into the hinterlands! I found a gorgeous rump roast last weekend that I had forgotten all about. What a wonderful dinner we had!
Feb. 11, 2012 4:32 pm
Tomorrow is our day to empty our freezer and inventory what is in it. We do that about three times a year to make sure everything is accounted for and to make sure nothing is old. Usually, it takes half of a day. This often results in a few days of soup or stew and a week free of shopping at the stores.
Feb. 11, 2012 4:57 pm
Mike Harvey - I need to keep an inventory AND a list of recipes that inspired these purchases! My recipe box overflows with great ideas. Now to use all those good ideas!
Feb. 11, 2012 5:03 pm
Wyattdogster - There are indeed hidden treasures in my freezer - things I bought with good intent ---- then comes the part about remembering that they are there and what I wanted to use them for. AR - is full of "inspiring gems" now I need to make sure I use them all.
Feb. 11, 2012 6:39 pm
Everything looks so good! I need to dive into my freezer too and purge the contents.
Feb. 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Hi Magnolia Blossom - You might be surprised what you can create! You might be surprised to find what you have in there! :) Happy diving!
Feb. 11, 2012 10:24 pm
I need to clean out my freezer - thanks, I will get on that tomorrow.
Feb. 12, 2012 4:45 am
I do that freezer shopping every once in a while. In fact I just did it right before Christmas and have re-stocked again. It was amazing all the great finds I found - some things were not even edible; things like a "well-wrapped in freezer paper" deer hide???? A couple of whole ducks waiting to go to the taxidermist. A turkey carcass that I guess I saved to make stock, don't remember so it must have been really really old. I go thru my pantry items as well from time to time, too.
Feb. 12, 2012 5:39 am
Good morning Mother Ann - boy you have some real treasures in your freezer! I do understand that turkey carcass, it is like those ham bones. I save them with good intentions and then promptly forget about them. But deer hide? Was it labeled? Good reminder about the pantry too. When we moved I found 2 cans of coconut milk that were expired. I am sure that I got a "deal" on them. But it was such a deal when I had to throw them in the trash. :(
Feb. 12, 2012 5:41 am
Welcome, goodcook. I hope you find the makings of some good meals in your freezer.
Feb. 12, 2012 7:06 am
Delicious blog! Saved the loin roast to try. We do like spicy... The Ostrich egg is a beauty! I see a blog in that egg somewhere, I hope?!
Feb. 12, 2012 7:09 am
I keep an inventory of my freezer and love it! I have begun to keep a note of what recipe I had planned to use it for as well. It helps me plan since I bought (or thought to make) something with however many pounds it is. Saves me time searching up recipes when I unearth something I forgot about in the dark corners of the freezer.
Feb. 12, 2012 7:22 am
WFDM - I don't quite where to start with that egg....she is a monster! (are eggs female? I think so.) I like the idea of noting what recipe I had planned to use my deals for. I will something generically label packages "Beef for Stew" etc... but then I forget what recipe I wanted to try. The AR menu planner has a "add notes" feature that would be good for this. Then of course, I would have to remember to check my notes!
Feb. 12, 2012 8:32 am
Baking Nana, Why do you brine meat before freezing it? Most of what I read says that it will be detrimental to the taste and texture.
Feb. 12, 2012 9:01 am
Strid - I brine first for a couple of reasons. First pork these days is very lean and the brining really does help relax the muscle creating the pockets where the juices can collect. Makes for juicy pork - if I don't brine the pork when I get it home, I probably won't and then I will be sorry. I just need to be able to grab what I need. One large pot of brine will take care of the entire loin instead of making up separate batches of brine and wasting a lot of time and Kosher Salt. I have never had a problem brining before freezing. I take the meat out of the brine - rinse well under cold water. Pat dry - tightly wrap in plastic wrap and then into zip locks or food saver bags. Works great for me.
Feb. 12, 2012 9:36 am
BN - Re: "The key word here is 'good' and the select grade steaks from the market aren't a good deal and they aren't the quality that I would like." Costco carries "Prime grade" meats. Once in a while I splurge and buy the prime New York strip steaks and cook them on the BBQ. They melt in your mouth. A little on the pricey side but a whole lot cheaper than going out to a restaurant (most don't even serve prime cuts) and I get to eat them in the comfort of my own home.
Feb. 12, 2012 10:11 am
bd.weld - I totally agree! Costco has great meat - all their beef is Choice or better. Prime is a treat for sure and you are is still cheaper than going to a restaurant. My Albertson's supposedly has a line of choice beef - I have paid top dollar and been very disappointed with their "choice" grade meat - so much so that the last time I went back and complained. I vowed to stick to good meat from Costco or the local butcher. For Christmas I bought 3 Tenderloin roasts - total about 10lbs. They were wonderful and it fed 20 people - no waste at all. I have paid more than that for dinner for two at some high end restaurants. Besides, I consider it a 'gift' to my family and myself.
Feb. 13, 2012 7:54 am
You do such a good job with this, BN! I really need to clean out my freezer and use what I can. Then I plan to begin keeping a list when I add something, including the date. I hope that helps me keep track of what I have. We have 2 small chest freezers and the one in the fridge, and, at the moment they are all packed. I'm going to check out that mushroom gravy now! My local natural foods store (the only place I will buy meat--we don't have a Costco) was offering a Valentine's special of 2 lobster tails and 2 filets for $36...less than we would have spent on one meal in a restaurant. A splurge, yes, but one we almost never do...and that mushroom gravy sounds perfect for the filets!
Feb. 13, 2012 9:50 am
I think this is a great idea.....but lately my freezer has become the black hole. I fear what I may or may not find LOL
Feb. 13, 2012 9:52 am
Thanks for stopping in wisweetp. That special sounds like a great deal. If you make that mushroom gravy I would recommend using low sodium beef broth. It is really good gravy though. Good luck working your way through the freezers - I am great about putting things into the freezer, it is taking stuff out to defrost that I struggle with.
Feb. 13, 2012 10:03 am
Hi Mauigirl. Thanks for stopping in. Don't you sometimes wonder why you saved some of those gems in the freezer? When we moved and I emptied the freezer - it was an eye opener for me. Even though I vowed to use what I have I couldn't pass up a great deal on shrimp this weekend....yep, into the freezer went a 2 lb bag of frozen jumbo shrimp. I just can't help myself. :)
Feb. 13, 2012 11:49 am
Thanks for the tip, Baking Nana. I always buy unsalted or low sodium, so I'm good there. I have all the ingredients in my pantry, so that one is definitely making an appearance at my Valentine's day dinner!
Feb. 13, 2012 12:05 pm
Enjoy your dinner wisweetp - it sounds fabulous.
Feb. 13, 2012 7:16 pm
Great blog as always, BN! Just last week I went through one of the refrigerator freezers and had to throw some OLD chicken out. Chicken breasts are on sale every other week it seems, I am not sure why I think I need to stock up!??! And the store is only about 8 blocks from my house, not like Petey. AND there are only 2 of us!! Old habits die hard, I guess. I am trying to break myself of buying and hoarding chicken breasts....I think it is an illness. Maybe there is a 12 Step Program. "Hi, my name is Chris and I hoard chicken breasts." "Hi, Chris".
Feb. 13, 2012 7:41 pm
"Hi, Chris ... I'm Baking Nana, Penny and I too am a chicken hoarder." Every other week - if not every week those breasts are on sale for less than $2. lb. What am I 'worried' about? Is there a chicken shortage? Let's not talk about the pumpkin shortage.... there is no shortage here!
Feb. 13, 2012 10:06 pm
Yes, that too! Last Fall everyone had me panicked that there would be no pumpkin. I have a hoard of that, also. Maybe I need some chicken with pumpkin recipes. MODERATION is my word for 2012. I am trying!!!!!
Feb. 15, 2012 7:40 am
I love shopping from the freezer, though I do that every day. I actually have 4 freezers including one in fridge, but don't use the one in the garage. Small upright is used for meat (and each shelf gets it's own kind of meat) and butter/margarine, and small chest is used for bread, fruit, veggies, juice concentrate and other misc stuff. Fridge freezer gets used for daily use stuff. I cook about 90% of our meals from scratch and try to use very little pre-packaged convenience foods (plus those take up lots of room in the freezer). Baking Nana, my hubby is the one who makes the gravy in our house, so much so that I usually don't even attempt making any if he's not home. We don't use pre-made broths or buillions because he's allergic to MSG (makes week day dinner-making an adventure if I can use MSG-laced foods).
Feb. 15, 2012 4:18 pm
Great blog! I too cook most of my food from scratch for myself and my husband. He's diabetic with a heart condition and it's a challenge to find things with low salt, sugar and fat. I love to cook/shop in my freezer and just did that for the past month. I have a 25 cu ft side by side in the kitchen and a chest freezer in the laundry room. I cooked so much this past month and have a small shopping list for the rest of this month. Enjoyed swapping stories with you'all. My grandkids call me Nana, too.
Mrs. C 
Feb. 15, 2012 6:15 pm
Feb. 16, 2012 7:38 am
I have 2 small freezers, so not much to hoard, but I did find myself laughing at the "chicken breast" hoarders! Those things DO last a long time! I usually buy mine at Costco since they are individually sealed and you can just take out what you need each time.
Feb. 16, 2012 8:07 am
Mrs G - You sound far more organized than I am. I like the idea of having a shelf for each kind of meat. I too try to cook from scratch as much as I can. MSG is an issue for a lot of people. I can't eat most Chinese restaurant fare. The Fast Food & Buffet ones are the worst for me. I get a terrible headache. My hubby loves Asian flavors so I am trying to get better at home made "take out".
Feb. 16, 2012 8:14 am
Good morning Helene. It is virtually impossible to eat out and watch the sodium levels let alone the fat and sugar. Low fat salad dressings are loaded with sugar - making my own allows me to control that. Isn't it nice to know how to cook from scratch? There are many who can't or have never been inclined to do so. I firmly believe it is cheaper and healthier in the long run.
Feb. 16, 2012 8:21 am
Hi Mrs. C. It seems that pork and chicken are the two most affordable types of meat available. Something bad has happened to the price of beef - even poor quality "Select" grade beef has sky rocketed. I would like to hear what you do with all that pork.
Feb. 16, 2012 8:27 am
yellowzealot - Thanks for stopping in. On the rare occasion that I find my freezer bare of chicken breasts I am stunned! I like the breasts that are individually wrapped, they work well for us too. By individually wrapping the pork chops and steaks I achieve the same result - easy to grab just what we need and quick to defrost too.
Feb. 16, 2012 10:35 am
Really fun to read blog. That mushroom gravy made me drool!Have you thought about getting a FoodSaver? They are amazing if you do a lot of buying on sale and portioning to freeze. Can I share my tip for those pork loins? Slice some into thin strips add some soy sauce and freeze for stir fry and chop suey. I also grind and season some for Italian dishes and some for really lean breakfast sausage. IMO, ground lean pork is WAY better than ground turkey.
Feb. 16, 2012 10:43 am
Freezers are a must-have. I like to buy fresh chicken breasts, pork chops,etc. when they are 5# for__ at our local store, which has a real butcher section. I put them on cookie sheets, freeze them, then put them in large freezer bags, so I can take out what I want. (The already IQF packaged chicken has additives, which add weight, and taste.) I have "defrost" on my microwave, so I can decide what to fix early afternoon, without a problem thawing. It'll soon be time to make freezer space for garden produce!
Feb. 16, 2012 8:00 pm
Hi hazelnut - I have a food saver and am not the biggest fan. The seals don't always hold - at least for me That is why I double wrap in plastic wrap. I like the idea of pre-slicing and marinating for stir fry....I just need to remember to label it well. I also need to include the price per lb as well as the date. I am shopping in the freezer again this week - I will let you know how it goes.
Feb. 16, 2012 8:04 pm
Mamaw1 - Aren't those stores with real butchers a blessing? I don't use the microwave to defrost - had a couple of really bad experiences with that years ago - I have never tried since then. I want to hear about your garden produce / freezing techniques. Thanks for stopping in. :)
Feb. 17, 2012 5:01 pm
Yes, our local butcher counter is the hub of the small grocery store. We usually have our own beef, and occaasional deer meat. Sometimes i manage to raise our own chickens. For freezing, I do nothing special. Here's some of the things I do, working pretty steadily in the spring, summer, and fall: In IN, we don't have fresh garden produce year 'round, except what I get from the stores, "imported". When I have access to my garden or local fruits and veggies, I can or freeze them. Some freezer foods get rinsed, bagged. Others get IQF, then bagged. (love my shallow sheet pans for this) G. beans, corn, get blanched, then frozen (corn on and off the cob). We prefer frozen fruits to canned. Some fruits get sugared, some get Splenda sweetened, others just plain. I try to put sugared fruits in serving portions, so they can be used at will. Fresh peaches are blanched to peel, sliced into citrus water, sugared or sugar syrup, and frozen. A fav. of grands = "sugar peaches". Peppers get pre-sliced and IQF, then accumulated in bags by color, ready to grab a handful. Greens are canned or blanched and frozen. Freezer slaw, using cabbage, carrots, peppers, and a vinegar-based dressing is usually made, bagged in family-serving sized portions. I experiment at times, doing 1 "batch": If it doesn't work, I don't do it that way again. We love canned applesauce with cinnamon. I tried pearsauce with the abundance of pears, which only some of us really loved.
Feb. 17, 2012 11:11 pm
B.N., been away due to computer down, just loved your freezer shoping notes. I picked up some great additions to my own, and was happy to note some one else does similar things. Here locally after the holidays Safeway had a sale on turkeys for $.39 a lb so I got one for $7.00. I sectioned it, cooked it in crock pots, saving the stock. After deboning it all, I took the all recipe BBQ recipe w/pineapple, adding a feww additions, slow-cooking and then dividing into gallon bags for freezer future use. I had experimented with an orange bread made w/whole oranges,barley,molasses,and bread flour in the processor, it came out very well, even the neighbor kids like it. I also make nonfat greek yogurt that I jazz up with different things and add a variety of things for flavor, using the processor to blend and fluff. The kids even offer to take my dog for a walk and take the trash down for me. I use past used tofu containers to freeze the yogurt in,and the kids bring back the containers. They want to hel me make it sometime, and when I feel well, I'll let them, but as I always told my daycare kids, they have to also help their folks. I Am definetely an experimenter, I found pears complement other fruits better than by themselves, tho this year the growers here said it was a great pear year, and they were delissh,umum $7.oo
Feb. 18, 2012 6:06 am
Great blog, Great pics! XOXO I'd love shopping in your freezer!
Feb. 18, 2012 6:38 am
Hi Baking Nana: I am always on the hunt for the best deal to keep my freezers stocked. I work in a bakery/catering business and I am learning that the food prices have had 3 increases since Christmas and more are expected. Apparently beef is supposed to see more increases because of (ethenol), they want corn for fuel and cows want corn for feed, this is pushing the pricing up on beef in particular. I consider myself a smart shopper and an even smarter cook to get the most bang for my buck these days, hopefully sharing recipes ideas and knowledge help others through these blogs. I rarely eat out, but the other day I had dinner out with some girlfriends, I had a small shepher's pie, veggies and small salad, water and coffee and it cost 18.10 for that meal. The meal wasn't fantastic by any means, I could have purchased much more in groceries for the freezer!
Feb. 18, 2012 7:08 am
Wonderful blog. And it is great to see so many other people who still cook....So many now think that if they work, have kids or other responsibilities, then they shouldn't have to cook. I try and explain about the cost savings, that is better for you, but many don't want to hear it! We are very lucky, we raise our own beef and are butchering our hog this weekend. (I got online to find a chile verde recipe for "the crew") We have two freezers; one large and a 3/4 size one. Beef goes in the big one, pork in the small one. The only meat I buy is chicken, and occasionally pork steaks when we have a big BBQ. I feel your pain about the price of beef, but believe me, while beef is up, cattle farmers are not seeing that large of an increase in profit! Some years we record a loss. My suggestion is to find someone who will raise your beef or hog for you. You usually will pay market price, and then have it processed at the butchers. In Missouri right now, I think it is about $3-4 dollars a pound for beef. It may be expensive for burger, but a great deal for steaks and roasts. And the quality of the beef will be better than what you can buy in the store or at a restaurant. This all depends upon the way they are fed out, so you need to develop a relationship with a cattlefarmer. Ask questions, they usually love to talk about their job. Believe me, they have to love it, it isn't a job for wimps! And remember, it takes time to finish out a beef. You will need to ask 6 months to a year in advance. You can do the same with pork, (shorter time period, though) and your meat will taste soo much better. We split our beef and only get 1 side of beef. It lasts us all year, but we are only two people. You can also split a side, and only get a quarter of beef. Thanks for the wonderful visit while I enjoyed my morning cup of tea! I plan on following your blog and look forward to "visiting" more often.
Feb. 18, 2012 9:46 am
Mamaw1 - Thanks for the information of freezing the bounty of summer. When peaches are in season they are WONDERFUL but the season is short and over before you know it.
Feb. 18, 2012 10:42 am
Am & Ad's Gram - Great deal on that Turkey! I have one in my freezer waiting for the right time. :)
Feb. 18, 2012 10:45 am
Hi Cindy! Thanks for stopping in. You can shop in my freezer any time! (((Hugs)))
Feb. 18, 2012 11:30 am
Janet: I too cook for other families and cater parties. I had to raise my prices to keep up with the rising costs. I forgot to mention that I usually write on the package what I paid per pound so that I know what my actual costs are. I know what you mean about the cost of eating out. Even with just the two of us it really adds up and I spend to much time thinking about the quality of the food, could I make this? I can't imagine what it costs a family to eat out. Bottom line is that you MUST know a deal when you see it.
Feb. 18, 2012 1:07 pm
wmears - I have looked into buying a side of beef - you are right, it isn't the farmers that are getting rich. I really have to see if I can get a friend to go in with me - there are local dairies who will raise it and take it for processing locally - but that is too much meat for just us, even with my personal clients. Boneless Top Round is $3.99 this week, as is ground beef. I think in the long run a side of beef is a great deal. But seriously, for those living week to week - trying to feed a family this isn't really an option. My daughter has a large family, I am going to talk to her about splitting this with me. Thanks for stopping in.
Feb. 18, 2012 2:42 pm
BN I am fortunate to have friends who have chickens and are raising baby hogs that I am contributing left overs to by saving them in the freezer so they do.n't spoil.We also trade off little things to each other as we need them so we help each other keep spending down. We are planning to help each other in their garden, as I live in an apartment. They are blood sisters living on farm land, w/goats, pigs, chickens,and such, I provide cards, a little garden work, egg money, pig food, homemade bread and fruits & veggies from time to time. It works wonderfully well, we sure like the time we ge together.
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Baking Nana

Living In
Corona, California, USA

Member Since
Aug. 2009

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Healthy, Quick & Easy

Gardening, Hiking/Camping, Camping, Boating, Walking, Fishing, Photography, Music, Charity Work

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive! Visit me at If you would like to contact me directly please use the 'Contact Me' on my site.
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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