We are now starting the latest round of what I like to call "The Freezer Game".
There are a few reasons that make me decide it's time to play.
One is when I look in the freezer and decide that it's way too full of stuff that needs to be eaten up and rotated out. Another reason to play would be that money is tight that month and we need to save on groceries for a while.
This time we are playing because we thought the price of orange juice would go way up so we bought two full cases on sale last week. When we got home we realized that it was not going to be easy to fit it all in the freezer. We need to free up a lot of space so we can actually see what we have in the freezer.
Here's how to play the game:
You look in your freezer and see what you have to work with. If you find anything too old, freezer burned, or that you don't know what it is, ideally you would throw it away. Sometimes I do this. Sometimes I also throw away fish that my brother-in-law has caught and given to us because if it's been in the freezer too long it is not very pleasant to smell, especially as it cooks. I don't even like trout on a good day. I make Hal cook it for the kids if I'm not going to be home.
Next you make a note of what is good that is in the freezer that you have to work with. I used to be able to make a mental note. These days that is not a good idea.
Then I try and figure out how to make meals out of what we already have without buying too much else, mainly just fresh fruits and vegetables. I usually have frozen vegetables that need to be used up so that works too.
One rule I have is that every meal needs to have at least one thing from the freezer in it. At desperate times like this one I try to make everything with items the freezer (or food storage) except for one thing that can be fresh or bought. We have some big financial obligations coming up fairly soon so I am trying not to spend any money unnecessarily for the next little while.
It's a good idea to get the kids involved in the game because then they are more likely to actually eat what I come up with. Again, as with husbands, it's always nice if you can make anything you do (or cook) seem like their idea.
If we are lucky, sometimes we find good food that we forgot about, like steaks or frozen convenience food from Sam's Club, like potstickers.
Right now the most exotic thing we have in the freezer that must go ASAP is some frozen whole (I think they're dungeness) crabs that Hal's friend gave him from the week he borrowed Hal's truck for "the weekend" and returned it well over a week later. He was going to Alaska fishing and forgot to mention that fact. I guess the crabs were a sort of a consolation prize. Every time I open the freezer I think "What is that rotten smell?" and then I remember it's the crabs. We have some friends we have invited over to eat them with us but we can't find a date that will work for all of us yet.
Maybe if they're lucky they'll get some potstickers too.