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Well, that’s an improvement.

It’s time for a freezer-challenge report!

(Here’s the start of my challenge and the rules I made up for myself.)

The state of the freezer

Remember how crowded my freezer was initially?

messy kitchen freezer

Here’s what it looks like as of this morning:


From a week and a half ago:


And now:


It is so, so, so nice to be able to open and close the drawer properly.   And getting ice cubes is way simpler now.   😉

What did I use up this week?

I mixed thawed leftover taco meat in with freshly made sloppy joe filling (I made a little extra sauce).


Last night I made corn chowder to use the salt pork. It was a pretty fussy recipe and I thought bacon could have been used just as easily as salt pork.

So I don’t think I will buy salt pork again, especially since I’m probably not making the soup again.

(The corn chowder also used up a jar of turkey bone broth from my chest freezer.   Bonus points!)

We had fish cakes one night this week to use up some bread crumbs, but I had so many crumbs, even a double recipe of fish cakes didn’t use them all up.

I’m ok with that, though, because I know I’ll make fish cakes again in the not-too distant future, which means these crumbs are not going to go to waste.

Also used since my last report:

-chicken leg quarters
-leftover pulled chicken
-two hamburgers
-the lime juice (I put it on some Tex-Mex leftovers from our last date night!)

What I have left

-corn tortillas
-two packages of breakfast sausage
-slow-cooked beef, which I think has some Mexican seasonings
-a small amount of bacon
-a package of broccoli
-a package of peas
-a partial package of Mexican cheese

freezer challenge

The one package of breakfast sausage is unopened and pretty darn new, and I think I’m just gonna put it in the chest freezer for future usage.   The other is partially used and I feel like I should just finish that one up.

I feel pretty good about my chances of using most of this up by my self-imposed Wednesday deadline.

Except for the peas.

I’m considering throwing a ziploc bag around the peas (the bag has a hole) and putting it in the chest freezer for use as a flexible ice pack.

None of us likes peas anyway (whyyyyy did I buy them???) and they’ve been sitting there with a hole in the package for who knows how long.


I’m really happy I decided to take on this freezer challenge and I’m also really glad I gave myself the freedom to buy new ingredients to help me use up the old ones.

This simple bit of grace has helped to make our freezer challenge significantly more delightful that it would have been otherwise.

Less stress, more deliciousness.

I highly recommend it.

I know some of you are doing this along with me, so, tell us!   How’s it going?   Have you managed to make something good out of your freezer odds and ends?

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Sunday 28th of September 2014

I don't really have much in my freezer, although I am constantly thinking of buying meals that will end up with leftovers that I CAN freeze and use as a meal later on

Freezer right now: lima beans, okra, bag of broccoli cuts (just bought), bag of mixed vegetables (just bought), rice, small bags of freen pepper and onions (birds eye recipe ready) and 1 piece of Salmon. These are left overs...not my actual meals I buy each week.


Sunday 28th of September 2014

You know I didn't know you could freeze cheese?

I just recently learned you can freeze butter. Which is good because there was a great deal and I snatched some up.

I guess you can freeze anything but not all things will be amazing after the fact. I'd be interested in a post about what you freeze and don't and when. I know it's good to freeze fruits when you'd rather have them in a smoothie because they're almost not desired texture for regular eating. I've seen you talk about freezing peaches. Anyway just an idea - Things which freeze well which you might not think would. I hope you're well. Keep up the great posts =)


Saturday 27th of September 2014

The beef, cheese, and tortillas is just screaming for enchiladas :).

Sandra (Sam) Myers

Saturday 27th of September 2014

Desperately need a good inventory and plan to use up freezer, fridge , and pantry. I'm focusing on a simpler and more focused way to live and am ashamed at the state of my garbage bin due to food waste. Love your ideas and thanks for sharing.


Saturday 27th of September 2014

In our upstairs freezer, we keep "ingredients": frozen veggies, frozen raw chicken, raw ground beef etc. In our chest freezer in the basement, we keep "meals": lasagnas, casseroles, ziploc bags full of soups, etc. About once every 6-8 weeks or so, I have a freezer-cooking day and completely fill the basement freezer, then we eat til it's empty and it's time for another freezer-cooking day.

Bits of leftovers (that one piece of lasagna, etc..) get packed for lunches the next day, but not refrozen.

A lingering challenge: bits of condiments. What to do with bits of bottles of fish sauce, a smidge of dressing, a bit of keffir lime paste. Stuff that was bought for a recipe but I only used a bit? My fridge door is jam-packed.


Saturday 27th of September 2014

There are a few different things you can do with bits of condiments.

1. Assuming you didn't like the recipe you tried, look for other recipes - likely from the same cuisine - that would use it as well.

2. Give them to someone else.

3. Use them as a topping or marinade. Salad dressing can go on a small bit of salad, or to marinate a bit of meat. Fish sauce can be added to many stir fries to make them of SE Asia rather than East Asia. Maybe the lime paste could be used to flavor a baked good or like jam?

4. Decide that keeping it is excessively burdensome, and throw it out. (Compost pile? And of course recycle the contain if possible.)

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