Frozen convenience foods

by Farmer Liz
I have to admit that I used to buy a few items in the frozen isle of my supermarket.  I used to buy chips, battered fish, crumbed chicken breasts, frozen veges, pastry, ice cream, pies, frozen meals etc.  It was so handy to be able to just pull them out and reheat them quickly.  Since I discovered real food, and what is in those processed frozen foods, I don't buy any of that any more, but my freezer is still stuffed full of convenience foods.  By that I mean, food that is convenient to me :)  Here is a photo of our freezer.  It is starting to get empty now in preparation for our next steer getting butchered, so I wanted to share what it usually looks like before it was too late (until recently it was full floor to ceiling!).

In my freezer you will typically find:
  • left over meals so we can grab a quick lunch or dinner, often deliberately or not, we cook far too much and eat the same meal for several days, when we get sick of it we put a few servings in the freezer for later.  Chow mein, bolognaise, casseroles and rissoles freeze really well.
  • left over rice and pasta to go with the meals, I keep these separate because sometimes you have some in the fridge already and just want to pull out the meat part of the meal.  I always cook double rice as its so handy to have in the freezer.
  • soup - also very useful for lunches and dinner, and so much easier to make a large batch than try to make a little bit of soup!
  • left over bread - if we don't finish a loaf in a week the rest goes in the freezer for a week when we run short.
  • extra veges from the garden - cherry tomatoes and beans so far.
  • extra fruit - if we can get cheap strawberries, mangoes or bananas, I put some in the freezer for smoothies before it goes off, Farmer Pete find the smoothies are too cold, but I like them.
  • a bag or two of vege and meat scraps for stock (as explained here).
  • litres and litres of stock, although I use a couple of litres a week, so I do get through it!  Pretty much everything I cook has some stock added.  I freeze it in old butter containers.  As soon as a few clean ones accumulate on the bench I know its time to make more stock!
  • yoghurt and cheese-making bacteria
  • bacon - we buy a big pack and split it into 2-4 slices per bag.
  • wurst - if anyone we know has spare wurst we will happily buy/swap for it and put the extra in the freezer.
  • grated cheese - when we open a homemade cheese I usually just grate the whole thing on the fine side of the grater and put it in a bag in the fridge, then it is used to sprinkle on anything that requires cheese (duck egg frittata, pizza, spaghetti, baked beans.....)
  • MEAT - but that's in the big chest freezer, there's usually most of a steer and various amounts of pork and chicken (and until recently there were turkeys, so glad we've eaten all of them finally!).
We have such a good store of food that we can live for a week out of the freezer if we have to (as we have been doing recently to clean it out in preparation for the next steer).  This is great when my husband occasionally has to work long hours and takes extra food to get him through a 12 hour shift, or if I go away for work and leave Farmer Pete home alone (he can cook, but sometimes he will run out of time with all the farm chores when I'm away), and even if we both come home late from the farm and don't feel like cooking, there is always something to heat up so we don't need takeaway.

We always take something from home for lunch at work, which has to be a huge saving as well as being healthier than our work canteen (options include fry and .... fry).

So what's in your fridge/freezer and what are your convenience foods?  Any tips?

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