Cooking on a budget has become important to many family households. In fact, many experts recommend meal ideas that involve freezing components to save money and avoid waste in the kitchen. But because most Chicagoans' kitchen freezers are already filled to the gills, finding extra room can be daunting. For those facing this problem, purchasing a second freezer can be a wise investment, as it allows families to buy in bulk, save money and have family favorites at their fingertips. Here are 10 cooking staples that can be frozen and used when it's time to get cooking.
- Sofrito: Sofrito can be used in a variety of Spanish dishes, whether it’s soup, stew or rice. Use an ice cube tray or Ziploc bags to store in the freezer and you’re set.
- Tomato paste and tomato sauce: Oftentimes, tomato paste is called for in a recipe in small doses. Rather than throw away the rest of the tube or can of tomato paste, put it in individual plastic freezer bags in the freezer for future use. Cans of tomato sauce can come in handy in a variety of recipes, but it’s not always necessary to use the whole can. Place the excess tomato sauce in a Ziploc bag in the freezer and use it for another occasion.
- Vegetable, chicken and beef stock: Save the juice from cooked vegetables in a labeled sandwich bag to add to soups or to use as a sauté for future use. You can also save the leftovers from a roasted chicken that contains spices and onion. This can also be done for canned or boxed chicken stock. Beef stock can be saved for later use. Make sure to use smaller increments in the freezer because it’s unsafe to thaw and refreeze meat stock.
- Pesto: Pesto sauce can be great for adding to pasta or drizzling over fish. Make your pesto in a large batch and put ½ cup increments in Ziploc bags for the freezer.
- Puree: Purees have a multitude of uses, whether it’s cauliflower puree to add to mashed potatoes to create a creamy and nutritional recipe or pureed baby food to replace pricey jars.
- Rice: Rice can be used as a filling side or to add to any stir fry dish. After allowing it to cool, store cooked rice in a freezer bag and thaw in the microwave when needed.
- Soup: A number of soups can be frozen for future use, whether it’s your split pea or simple tomato. Make sure it’s thoroughly covered and then thaw it for future use.
- Breads and rolls: Buy sandwich bread and hamburger rolls on sale and freeze them to enjoy for lunch or dinner later.
- Sugar and flour: If flour is kept out too long, weevils (little bugs) can form. To keep those little critters out, freeze your flour and sugar in portion-sized freezer bags.
- Herbs: Freeze fresh herbs in ice cube trays or freezer-safe bags to add to sauces, soups and marinades.
Those strapped for time should also choose a freezer model that can convert into a second refrigerator, like the Frigidaire Convertible Freezer/Refrigerator. So if you decide to cook all your meals for the week on a Sunday, it’s a simple way to keep them fresh and ready-to-eat in moments. Frigidaire freezers provide flexible storage options with its accessible design, are low maintenance with its frost free automatic defrost, and are built here in the USA.
For more information on this Frigidaire Freezer, other Frigidaire freezer models or home appliances, or to find a retailer in your area, visit www.Frigidaire.com.
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