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Foodsaver and deep freeze. Now what?

We spent our Christmas money on a small deep freeze and a food saver. So far I have meat, veggies,pasta sauce and chicken stock. I'm making chili tomorrow. What do you recommend for stocking up our freezer?
I mostly cook Midwest American, Italian and French. No food allergies.
Thanks for your input!

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  1. We have a few cooked items in our freezer, in one- or two-portion packages: confit duck legs, duck fat, slow cooked roast pork, soups. I like to keep about 1/4 to 1/3 of the freezer available for seasonal fruits and veg.
    If you like to entertain, and cocktails are part of the fun, you may also want to keep a stash of ice handy :)

    1. A garden?
      That's what fills my freezer and keeps my food saver busy!
      Really though, be careful what you ask for. When I finally got around to getting a big freezer, I couldn't imagine what I would ever do with all that space. Now, even though I am in dire need of sides of both pork and beef, I can't order either because there's no room!

      I always, always freeze bread. Homemade mostly--larger loaves cut in half and individually wrapped because there is only two of us, but I also find it's handy to have a spare loaf of sandwich bread stashed, too. I routinely freeze spare pans of breakfast rolls, quiches and croissants. Cooked meat is an AWESOME thing to have on hand, frozen. Pulled pork is my favorite because it's so versatile, but roast beef is good, too.
      A 4x batch of tamales has been serving me well for a while.

      1. splatgirl, that's what happened with me too. It's just two of us and it took a while for me to fill the thing up, thinking I never would. Now I'm considering a second one! I don't know how I ever managed without it.

        We use it for many of the things already mentioned. Soups, breads, stock or stock ingredients as they come along, chili, burgers, etc. Any kind of saucy thing. I'm not big on reheated meat unless it is in a sauce or smoked on the grill. It just tastes funny to me. When we fire up the grill I just hate to waste all that heat so we do burgers, chicken, sausage until the fire goes out. Those freeze nicely and reheat well in the toaster oven.

        A big portion of the freezer is also devoted to flours (especially whole grains), pasta, corn meal, rice, beans... pretty much anything weevils will eat or hatch from. One bout with those things taught me that.

        2 Replies
        1. re: thymetobake

          I like to shop the big box retailers and "family size" sections of the grocery stores and look for things we like/use a lot-whole chickens, center cut pork chops, blocks of good cheese, pounds of butter, expensive cuts of meet when on sale, bagels, etc. I then break them down into sizes that make sense for our family and vacu-seal/freeze.

          My son makes himself lot of chili, burritos, tacos etc when he gets home from sports so I also like to get a blocks of good cheddar and colby jack. I then shred it and vacu seal small bags of it. He can then grab a bag out of freezer and have freshly shredded cheese with all the stabilizers, anti-caking agents etc.

          I also do a lot of batch cooking so when I make waffles I make triple batches and freeze, same with pancakes. Makes for fast easy breakfast in the AM. When I make cookies I make extra, form into balls and freeze so we (OK my son) can a throw a few in at a time and have freshly make cookies.

          I also shop the produce sections and buy fruits and veggies when in season (cheaper). Some need to be prefrozen before vacu-sealing but it is so worth it. We had some local summer corn recently and it was SO good.

          1. re: thymetobake

            Flours and grains, +1. Even if it's not to stay there permanently I always freeze beans, rice, lentils, etc. for a couple of days just to kill anything that may have come in on it.

          2. I have a second-hand Foodsaver that I use alot. When something like boneless/skinless chickn breasts are on sale, I'll buy a few packages. I'm cooking for one so a package is usually 4 pieces... WAY too much for one meal... would get tired of eating the left-overs. I seal/freeze individual portions. When I get home from school, can plop one (frozen rock hard) into a container of room temp water and it's ready to be cooked in less than half an hour.

            Bags can be washed and reused. Have started makiing LONG bags to vac several portions. Then can open, take one out, and reseal.

            1. Since I only have a 7 cu.ft. one, just the sale meat items, frozen vegetables, and a few bread items.

              So like when St. Patrick day rolls around, 3-4 corned beef. Thanksgiving, two smaller turkeys, oxtail or beef tongue on reduced quick sale, I pick up a few. It all depends. While my freezer still has some room, not much.

              I have to have room for the sale items, but for the most part, by the time those sales swing by, I have used up my stock of the item.