Monday, February 7, 2011

Freezers and Frozen Tundra

It's a GREAT day to be a Packer fan, Cheesehead, or lover of all that is Green and Gold! What a fantastic football game. The Green Bay Packers (in case you haven't heard) won Super Bowl XLV! Fourth Super Bowl win, 13th NFL Championship! Our team worked very hard, through much adversity to perserve and come out on top. So here's to the Frozen Tundra and the world champions-the Green Bay Packers!

And speaking of frozen....freezing... freezers...

I spent part of the weekend with my daughter, cooking in the kitchen and making meals for her freezer. She works for the American Cancer Society and has a very hectic schedule-sometimes working 10-12 hour days. She doesn't have a lot of time to prepare meals so a few times a year, we get together and stock her freezer with breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees. This time we even made a few desserts. I think we made almost 30 breakfast meals (waffles and french toast), and about 50 lunch/meal entrees, (chicken, beef, pork). We used the "Debbie Meyer Genius bags" which works great for preserving and freezing. The bags come with a hand held tool that sucks out the air and really seals in the freshness. Plus the bags lay flat and take up less space in the freezer.

Here are a few tips if you want to maximize the space in YOUR freezer:
1. Label everything. Keep a marker and freezer labels handy.You won't have to guess how long it's been in the freezer if it's labeled.
2. Wrap it up. Use durable, leak-proof containers or heavy duty plastic freezer bags. Press to remove all air and store raw meats on the bottom shelf to minimize contamination.
3. Follow the FIFO plan. (First in, first out). By using oldest foods first you will waste less.
4. Do monthly check-ups. throw out food that has been frozen too long, or use up food that you might have forgotten about.
5. Pack it flat. Always allow food to cool to room temperature before freezing; once cool, freeze immediately. Freeze in a single layer and stack them after they're frozen.
6. Make single servings. A pound of bacon or an entire batch of cookie dough can be too much to thaw at once. I purchase bacon, separate the slices; lay them between layers of wax paper on a cookie sheet; and freeze. Once frozen, I place them (still between wax paper) in a large freezer zip lock bag. This way I can cook 1-2 slices of bacon as needed. Works great!

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