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Chest Freezer Update | the flank steak story!

You guys, I can definitely see a difference in my chest freezer now! When I open it, there’s….extra space. YESSS.

open chest freezer.

And also because I am regularly going in there and pulling stuff out for challenges, I have a better mental idea of what’s in there.

Which means I used up some other random stuff in these last two weeks, aside from what I officially added to the challenge.


Let’s run through the stuff from last time around. First up, this poor, sad-looking flank steak that was at least 3-4 years old.

flank steak.

Had it been a cheaper cut of meat, I miiiiight have let it go. But I really, really hate to throw away beef.

I read through all of your suggestions, and I decided to go with the idea that many of you had: to marinate it with spices and oil. I think Kristin from Going Country suggested a southwest type of twist, and that’s what I did, using cumin and chili powder along with garlic and salt and pepper.

And oil, since America’s Test Kitchen has taught me that oil is a very good carrier of flavors.

Not gonna lie, when I thawed this thing out, I felt not-that-optimistic.

But I forged ahead, trusting that time + salt + spices can work magic.

spice rubbed flank steak.

I let it sit in the fridge for a solid 24 hours because a 4-year-old flank steak is not a candidate for a quick marinade.

I cooked it in some hot oil, flipped it, browned the other side, and then let it rest for ten minutes before slicing it thinly.

browned flank steak.

The first night, we ate it as tacos, because I figured if it was gonna taste a little off, tacos would help a lot!

steak tacos.

But the meat was actually surprisingly good. I credit the salt + time equation, honestly.

I ate taco leftovers as a salad.

steak taco salad.

I also used some leftover meat to make a taco-ish quesadilla for breakfast.

quesadilla fixings.

quesadilla in frying pan.

cooked quesadilla.

Chiquita was interested, of course. She is a very curious cat.

halved quesadilla.

And I used the very last of it to make a small Swiss cheese/steak quesadilla, which was super tasty. I wished I had one more to eat!

steak and cheese quesadilla.

So, I give myself an A++++ on the flank steak. It was a very successful save.

Hot dog buns

hot dog buns.

I thawed these and used two of them to make some garlic bread for Zoe and me.

garlic toast.

That leaves four still, and I might use them to make croutons.

Sun-dried tomatoes (except not really)

Remember my jar of sun-dried tomatoes?

frozen jar of sun dried tomatoes.

Well…I thawed them and quickly realized that the contents were actually roasted red peppers. Whoops!


But no matter. I added them to some breakfast mashed potatoes for two days, and all was well.

mashed potato bowl.

There are sun-dried tomatoes in that bowl, I promise.

mashed potato bowl.

A+ on this.

Pineapple chunks

I used them up in smoothies and they are alllll gone. Yay me!

bag of frozen pineapple.

Another A+.


I did use some of these in smoothies.

bag of peaches.

But they are not all gone, so I cannot give myself another A+.

I think I’ll have ’em all blended into smoothies by the next go-round though.

Beef Jerky

I have been snacking on this, but it’s not all gone yet.

beef jerky.

Next Set of Freezer Items

Okee-dokee. Time for a rundown of what I’m gonna try to use up these next two weeks!

Leftovers from last time:

  • four hot dog buns
  • the rest of the bag of peaches
  • the rest of the beef jerky
frozen peaches.

The remainder of the bag of peaches

And let’s see what new stuff I want to tackle.

Ham pieces

These are left from a Christmas ham, I think?

ham pieces.

Apple Slices

I think I froze these a few years ago when I was getting tired of making bruised apples into applesauce. I ran them through my apple peeler/corer/slicer, and chucked them in the freezer.bag of apples.I could make them into applesauce.

I could make an apple crisp.

I could fry them up in butter at breakfast to add to oatmeal.


Sweet potato fries

Nothing odd here; just a bag that should be used up.

sweet potato fries.

And you know the drill; I’ll work on this for two weeks and report back.

Is this is an extremely slow way to eat down a freezer? Yes.

Is it maintainable? YES.

Slow and steady is my approach to life. 😉

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Jean C

Wednesday 16th of August 2023

I was thinking today about how Kristin and all of you have inspired me to get creative with using up food instead of letting it spoil. I am much more successful (although not 100%) at using up the food we have on hand. Speaking of labeling - my husband took out a package of "marinated chicken breasts" that had been in freezer. It was defrosting in the fridge. The following day he turns on the grill in preparation for grilling it. I take a closer look at the now defrosted package which turns out to be chicken pieces in a delicious broth! So I made chicken orzo veggie (clean out the crisper version) soup. So maybe I will learn my lesson and label more as my guesswork is not particularly effective.


Wednesday 16th of August 2023

@Jean C, Those labels make perfect sense in the moment you make them, but weeks or months later ... ? What the ...?


Wednesday 16th of August 2023

A great week on the freezer emptying front! Well done, you.


Wednesday 16th of August 2023

You could make a hash with the ham, fries, and apples. Sauteed apples are surprisingly good in savory dishes.

Oh, and put a fried egg on top, of course.


Wednesday 16th of August 2023

Wow, that's a great save on the flank steak.


Wednesday 16th of August 2023

Kristen you have inspired me to try some creative marinating of.... tofu! I stocked up on a ton and froze it (which helps to get the liquid out) and hauled it with me to the new place. I am NOT inclined toward tofu fandom. But....for health reasons I've been trying to serve myself more plant-based meals.

The marinade you described sounds pretty yumola! I will have to see if I can't rustle up a batch to soak my next "deconstructed brick of soy curd!"

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