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Mise en Place in your freezer - what are you stocking your freezers with, Chowhounds?

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sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 06:59 AM

We've all heard of Once a Month Cooking. The horrors of badly reheated meals, the luxury of the occasional no-cook night... it all depends on who you're talking to, and how they're doing it! As chowhounds, we probably love cooking too much to really buy in to only doing it in crazy one-day marathons, but what about those freezer staples that you swear by? For me, I'm talking about the stash of Twice Baked Potatoes (courtesy of A Turtles Life For Me), the blocks of frozen pie dough, and the caramalized onions that are chilling in my freezer, ready to make cooking a little faster and a lot more delicious at a moments notice!
What are your favorite stand-bys to make extra of and freeze?

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  1. c
    cleopatra999 RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 07:03 AM

    I often have some sort of home made tomato sauce in the freezer.

    Your post made me automatically think of mire poix. I use so much of that. I wonder if you could freeze it in portions? That would be handy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cleopatra999
      Crockett67 RE: cleopatra999 Feb 19, 2013 07:16 AM

      Yep, I do it all the time.

      1. re: cleopatra999
        p
        pine time RE: cleopatra999 Feb 19, 2013 08:46 AM

        Just be aware that the frozen onions will look 'wrong' when you first begin to heat them--they'll lose a lot of water, but eventually they will return to a perfectly fine onion.

        1. re: cleopatra999
          k
          Kontxesi RE: cleopatra999 Feb 19, 2013 10:35 AM

          What an amazing idea. I'm going to be making mire poix for a soup tonight. Perhaps I'll multiply it and freeze!

        2. Crockett67 RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 07:22 AM

          I make meal kits.

          For instance, I bought 5# of frozen crawfish. So I split it up into 4 bags with a quarter of a diced onion, an andouille linked cut up, and small pouch of flat beer. I always have corn on the cob in my freezer so when I feel lazy, I can do crawfish boils very quickly.

          Another kit would be my oxtail kit. When I get low I start searching the meat departments and when I see them reduced for quick sell I pick them up and toss them in my freezer which I pair up with round steak also on sale. So when I make my soup, they are bagged together for ease of use.

          But mostly it's pre-bagged veggie mixes I blended as I like them.

          1. d
            Dirtywextraolives RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 08:38 AM

            I like to make marinated or rubbed meats in ziplocs that I can just defrost and cook when ready. They work beautifully as ice blocks in a cooler on camping trips.

            I recently have made pork vindaloo package. Fajitas, hamburgers, steaks and ribs have all been frozen with a rub or marinade.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Dirtywextraolives
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              pine time RE: Dirtywextraolives Feb 19, 2013 08:47 AM

              re: ground beef--I sometimes will brown a large package, take out what we need for the night, then freeze (unseasoned) the remainder in portion-size baggies. Saves some time when we next want some tacos or somesuch.

              1. re: pine time
                s
                sweetbea RE: pine time Feb 19, 2013 08:51 AM

                That's one of my husband's favorites! I like to -pardon the pun- beef up our ground hamburger with whatever vegetables are around and leave them for him when I'm out of town... It gives him a great shortcut and some options for his notoriously "creative" cooking.

              2. re: Dirtywextraolives
                k
                Kontxesi RE: Dirtywextraolives Feb 19, 2013 10:37 AM

                We didn't do it this winter, but my fiance usually adds spices to a few of the venison steaks before they go in the freezer. Usually its just something simple like garlic powder and lemon pepper, but its nice for when he's cooking for himself. Just thaw and throw in the skillet.

              3. e
                ellabee RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 09:10 AM

                Chicken stock, cooked chickpeas or black beans, and lasagna (which rarely stays there long).

                1. juliejulez RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 09:34 AM

                  Whenever I make manicotti or stuffed shells, I always have extra to put in the freezer. I portion out the stuffed shells into individual portions and freeze them that way, but with the manicotti I do an entire 8x8 foil dish. I've also done mini meatloafs (meatloaves?)

                  I also freeze leftover wine (I know, a travesty, but I can't drink enough before it goes bad) and pesto into ice cube trays. Once frozen I dump them into ziploc bags. Each cube is about 2 tbsp.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: juliejulez
                    juliejulez RE: juliejulez Feb 19, 2013 09:56 AM

                    Oh I forgot I also freeze chipotles in adobo. I can rarely use up the whole can before they would go bad, so I freeze them in little baggies of 2 along with some sauce in each one.

                    1. re: juliejulez
                      biondanonima RE: juliejulez Feb 19, 2013 10:37 AM

                      I do this with chipotles and tomato paste, too. If you flatten out the baggies, you can easily break off a chunk when you need it, since neither of them seems to get really rock-hard in the freezer.

                      1. re: biondanonima
                        weezieduzzit RE: biondanonima Feb 19, 2013 10:48 AM

                        Me three with chipotles in adobo, I puree a can or two at a time and put it in a container in the freezer. Its easy to scrape out what I need with a spoon.

                        1. re: weezieduzzit
                          juliejulez RE: weezieduzzit Feb 19, 2013 11:14 AM

                          Ooo pureeing them is a great idea.

                  2. c oliver RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 09:43 AM

                    It varies. Always stock of some sort. Right now, in addition to the stock, I have cannelini beans and meal-sized portions of chorizo. With some kale, I'll have easy and good soup.

                    1. LindaWhit RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 09:51 AM

                      Roasted tomato sauce; roasted red pepper strips, a lot of homemade chicken, beef and (some) pork stock in 1/2 cup and 1 cup quantities; roasted garlic in 2 Tbsp. containers.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: LindaWhit
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                        sweetbea RE: LindaWhit Feb 19, 2013 10:32 AM

                        Roasted garlic is genious, LindaWhit! Thanks for the idea!

                        1. re: sweetbea
                          LindaWhit RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 11:02 AM

                          I usually roast 3 heads at a time and then put them in small 2 Tbsp. Tupperware containers called "Midgets". Lots of them lining my freezer door - also put the rest of a can of tomato paste in the Midgets.

                      2. k
                        Kontxesi RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 10:39 AM

                        The only thing I do this with at the moment is bacon. We buy a five pound package, and I separate it out and freeze it. Usually it's about 4 slices to a bag. That way I usually have bacon on hand for a recipe, and it keeps my fiance from frying up a whole pound of bacon for breakfast!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Kontxesi
                          LindaWhit RE: Kontxesi Feb 19, 2013 11:03 AM

                          Ahh, forgot the bacon - I also separate them out into 3-4 strips and freeze that way.

                          1. re: Kontxesi
                            c oliver RE: Kontxesi Feb 19, 2013 01:31 PM

                            Oops, me too. I like to have it on hand for last minute carbonara.

                          2. biondanonima RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 10:42 AM

                            I freeze pesto, garlic confit, tomato paste and chipotles regularly, but when we were doing the October COTM (660 Curries) I also picked up the author's tip about making and freezing caramelized onion paste and ginger paste - they come in very handy for Indian cooking, but for many other non-Indian dishes as well.

                            I also freeze breadcrumbs (made from homemade loaves that either didn't turn out well or didn't get eaten), buttermilk (in ice cube trays) and yogurt (for starter when I make my own).

                            1. weezieduzzit RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 10:55 AM

                              The only things that are in the freezer at all times are stocks (always chicken, sometimes beef,) and chipotles in adobo pureed and put in a tight closing container (though I really don't worry about freezer burn because we go through it so fast.)

                              Meat changes with our moods, we don't really buy frozen veggies or freeze them very often(mild climate, we grow year round and fresh veggies are cheap and easy to get.) We only have the freezer that is part of the refrigerator so space is limited and I work at home so items that take a long time to make like caramelized onions aren't a problem for me. I enjoy having things simmering on the stove all day. There's great info in this thread so far, though- it's great to know what I can freeze if I need to!

                              1. ipsedixit RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 11:12 AM

                                What are your favorite stand-bys to make extra of and freeze?
                                _____________________

                                Ice cream.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  Crockett67 RE: ipsedixit Feb 19, 2013 04:18 PM

                                  +1 Can I come over?

                                  1. re: Crockett67
                                    ipsedixit RE: Crockett67 Feb 19, 2013 07:19 PM

                                    Anytime.

                                    As long you as you bring the spoons.

                                2. m
                                  mwk RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 11:17 AM

                                  Around Thanksgiving time, I go crazy buying whole frozen turkeys when they are on sale for 50 cents a pound. I roast one and then cut it up into portions which I freeze. Having the frozen slices of cooked turkey meat available is a great timesaver for lunches and quick dinners. I still have one 22 pound bird left in my freezer to roast soon.

                                  Yesterday, I made a gallon of black bean chili and froze single serving containers of that, which I can bring to work for lunch.

                                  1. steve h. RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 11:24 AM

                                    Our freezer is a hodgepodge of stuff but some of the constants include lobster shells for both stock and bisque, plastic bags with baguette ends, hamburger patties I made from freshly-ground chuck/short rib/brisket, butt ends of Parmigiano Reggiano. I also keep a stash of deep dish pizzas that I order from Lou Malnati's in Chicago. I order 'em six at a time.

                                    1. CindyJ RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 01:47 PM

                                      Pasta sauce. Right now I have several 24-oz. containers of meat sauce and duck ragu stashed away. Also stock -- chicken stock and beef stock in 16-oz. containers. Come summer I'll replenish my supply of lobster stock.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                        c oliver RE: CindyJ Feb 19, 2013 01:54 PM

                                        Oops, again. Hazan's Bolognese sauce. I make a 4x or 5x recipe and freeze in two cup portions.

                                      2. s
                                        sparky403 RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 01:53 PM

                                        Freezer:

                                        Soup / stew - I normally fill my 3 gallon pot with what ever I am making and freeze for the days I don't feel like cooking.

                                        Chicken Bones for making stock.

                                        Sofrito (Daisy Marteniz's recipe) Freezes very well.

                                        Frozen chicken stock in both containers as well as in ice cube trays.

                                        Basque Chorizo - I pick them up or my mom buys them for me back home.

                                        Bacon Ends and Pieces - I just saw off a bit when I need bacon flavor for something... it's a great trick.

                                        Ginger - I rarely use the whole amount I am buying so I find it freezes really well (though soft when thawed in stir fry etc I can't tell the difference in stir fry's etc).

                                        Kaffir Lime Leaf.

                                        Fridge:

                                        Dejon Mustard,

                                        Roasted Garlic

                                        Wooster sauce, fish sauce, chilli garlic sauce, several types of hot sauce.

                                        1. v
                                          Violatp RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 04:25 PM

                                          You've all made me very jealous of your freezer space.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Violatp
                                            c oliver RE: Violatp Feb 19, 2013 05:05 PM

                                            Somthing that's really helped me with freezer is to put the food in zipping bags, lay flat on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen they're little flat packs that don't take up nearly as much room.

                                            1. re: c oliver
                                              v
                                              Violatp RE: c oliver Feb 19, 2013 05:36 PM

                                              Yup, I do that with my bone broth. But even so! Someday my large chest freezer will come... (sung to the tune of Someday My Prince Will Come)

                                              Had to edit as I didn't give myself enough credit. Besides the ziplocs of bone broth, I do have ziplocs of mashed avocado (for smoothies) and ziplocs of ham bones and leftover sliced ham waiting to become bean soup. I also have a quart container of the ham juices I saved from baking the aforementioned ham.

                                              Seems like I'm set for some stuff after all!

                                            2. re: Violatp
                                              s
                                              sparky403 RE: Violatp Feb 19, 2013 10:06 PM

                                              Thanks - I don't have much of a freezer (wish I did) but these are the things that I like to have round.

                                              the bacon log is key - for 4 to 5 bucks you can flavor so many things...

                                            3. j
                                              jammy RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 05:38 PM

                                              Stocks: Chicken, beef, mushroom, duck, pho base
                                              Tomato sauce
                                              Pizza shells - a modified version of Batali's.
                                              Candied cherries and citrus rinds
                                              Duck breasts - I usually butcher 4 at a time, making confit, stock and rendering fat in one fell swoop.
                                              Pastry bases
                                              Leftovers that reheat well.
                                              Butter. I buy in bulk when it's on sale.
                                              Ice packs. Good for impulse buys in the warmer weather when a thermal pack is part of the shopping routine.

                                              I like the idea of the onions.

                                              1. tim irvine RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 05:54 PM

                                                Stock (beef, chicken, and vegetable)
                                                Pounded chicken breasts and hamburger shaped in patties
                                                Ginger
                                                Big bag of potstickers from Costco
                                                Tub of home made gelato
                                                ziploc of vegetable trimmings to make more stock
                                                Sometimes an extra loaf of bread
                                                limoncello

                                                1. t
                                                  tastesgoodwhatisit RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 07:04 PM

                                                  How much I have depends a lot on space, but it can include:

                                                  Pre-cooked meat (sauteed chicken, roasted pork, stewed beef shanks, bacon, sausages) that can be used as the base of a quick meal. Ditto for cooked chickpeas and beans.

                                                  Sauces of various sorts - tomato sauce, bolognese sauce, romesco sauce, pesto sauce.

                                                  Stock.

                                                  Flattened baggies of tomato paste, reduced stock, adobe sauce and pesto, so I can easily break off a small amount to toss into another dish.

                                                  Roasted red peppers, ready to toss into a pasta (I get the peppers when they're on sale, and roast a batch). Roasted, mashed squash or pumpkin, ready for a side dish, or the base of a soup. Various other roasted and chopped or pureed vegetables that can go into soups or sauces.

                                                  Frozen pizza dough, rolled out into individual pizza sides. With a pizza sized portion of sauce frozen in a bag, it makes a quick base for a meal.

                                                  For premade, heat and eat stuff - homemade dumplings, perogies and/or ravioli, lasagne, various soups and stews.

                                                  Plus bits of leftovers. I'll freeze Thai curry or and coconut milk if I don't want to use a whole container of each, for example, or the end of a loaf of bread, for use in bread soup or bread pudding.

                                                  1. r
                                                    ratgirlagogo RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 08:16 PM

                                                    Stock/soup.
                                                    Ravioli/pierogi/potstickers/samosas/paos de quejo/tamales.
                                                    Veggie burgers. (Amy's Chicago)
                                                    Smoked pork neck bones.
                                                    Spinach/kale/molokhia/turnip greens/mustard greens/okra/peas/corn.
                                                    Butter. (and ice cream..)
                                                    Savory pot pies.
                                                    Pre-made pie crust.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                      c oliver RE: ratgirlagogo Feb 19, 2013 08:18 PM

                                                      How long can I keep ravioli frozen? Please.

                                                    2. MidwesternerTT RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 08:39 PM

                                                      lemon zest, lemon juice - I buy a small bag of lemons and keep 2-3 in the fridge, then zest, juice & freeze the rest.
                                                      orange zest (for orange scones when the mood strikes)
                                                      sliced raw green peppers - 5/6 slices per chili soup recipe
                                                      diced raw red peppers - add color and flavor to anything
                                                      raw bacon - slices cut in half and 4 half-slices per package. Just enough for a solo breakfast or one BLT sandwich.
                                                      Rice - for stir-fry's, rice pudding;
                                                      Wild Rice because it takes just as long to cook the full pound (an hour or more) as it would to make a cup.

                                                      1. nomnomnoms RE: sweetbea Feb 19, 2013 09:46 PM

                                                        I like to make buckets of bolognese sauce and pack them into little containers. Spaghetti one day, lasagna another, use it as bao filling...
                                                        I do the same with pomodoro sauce (pasta! Pizza! Soup!) and puréed soups too.

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