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Freezer Diving

The end of the Christmas Beast.
Diced into a stew with mustard, onion, celery, paprika, curry, beer, broth, barley, celery root, rutabaga, potatoes, carrots.

And you?

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  1. 2 lbs of cod ceviche, frozen after a holiday party :) Add vegetable broth, diced tinned tomatoes, dried vegetable flakes, splash of vermouth, chili flakes, dried bell peppers. A few meals from the pantry/freezer. Good stuff.

    4 Replies
    1. re: KarenDW

      I may need to add some dried vegetables to my pantry!

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          The choices were: (1) discard; (2) freeze. Eating 2 lbs of ceviche within the next day was not an option.
          Drained the dressing off, and popped the fish into a zip bag. Flatten and freeze. Totally fine in the soup.

          1. re: KarenDW

            That is an awesome idea. I would never have thought of freezing ceviche. Then again, it doesn't last long around these parts!

      1. We are on a "mission" of sorts. Well, at least I am. There is no protein to be purchased for the rest of the week. DH is a confirmed carnivore; he considers sauteed onions a "vegetable side". haha.
        Hopefully, we can keep this up for a few weeks, purchasing only a little fruit and veg. Time to rotate inventory!

        3 Replies
        1. re: KarenDW

          I'm trying to do the same! I have a freezer full of meat but can't resist a good cut when I see it.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            we are also saving money on food; which means more money for wine!

          2. re: KarenDW

            I've been trying to do the same thing since Christmas. I did buy two HUGE rib steaks/roasts yesterday at the grocery store but I couldn't help myself because they were so ridiculously cheap.

          3. 3 Northern Pike, which I guess will go into another try for quenelles with sauce Nantua.
            Berkshire pork fat

            1 Reply
            1. re: wattacetti

              Ha I've got some moose and deer to use too (along w/ elk and antelope). My moose is a roast so I was told to slow cook it for 18 hours in red wine. My plan was to do it for our super bowl party for sandwiches but when I told one of the guests about it, she seemed to think a lot of people wouldn't be into it (she's had moose before). So, there goes that idea.

            2. I've got a half of a braised brisket with onions, half a roasted pork shoulder that i made into carnitas and a batch of meat sauce from make a lasagne bolognese. Don't think I'll use these yet, though, as I took out some chicken breasts for chicken Marsala and some ground beef for a meatloaf for this weekend's dinners.

              7 Replies
                1. re: Bellachefa

                  My kids don't like chili, one especially doesn't like beans, and I like beans in my chili, so... I only make small batches for the hubs & I. No, I'll probably just reheat it and make some mashed potatoes one night. Then make sliders with the remaining meat the next day.

                  Here's a question for you : made a huge pan of four cheese macaroni & cheese last weekend. We ate about 2/3 of it. I should be able to freeze it, right? I've never frozen Mac & cheese before, I always thought the cheese sauce would break. But Stouffers does it, why can't I? I'd hate to toss it, it was just so good.

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    I'd freeze it, defrost it and bake it in the toaster oven with a splash of milk and a cheese topper.

                    1. re: Bellachefa

                      Yes, I should add some milk to it before reheating. Thanks!

                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      I made Mac and cheese and froze it to take to our Navy son's apartment for Christmas eve dinner. I popped it into the microwave, and it came out perfect.

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        Ha! Making extra mac and cheese is SOP in our house! Package in individual servings and freeze, ready for late night snacks or lunch, etc. I like to use foil pans, or glass, and reheat in the oven.

                        1. re: KarenDW

                          Great news! Thanks so much, I feel better now that it won't go in the trash!

                  2. We are trying to empty the thing out before defrosting season is over here. Nice thing about living in MN is in the winter, put all your stuff in sealed rubber maids, set it in the snow, and you have a freezer.

                    Have to pull out some chicken thighs to complement some Ethiopian veggie stews for tomorrow. A container of "soup, not gluten free not vegan" is also up for consumption this weekend.

                    1. Hubby did a freezer inventory last week. The bag of frozen unknown something or other that he thought might be turkey from Thanksgiving turned out to be a big bone that my sister had given me left over from one of her meals. I think it was a spiral sliced ham bone. Anyway, I made it into stock, then used it for sausage, tortellini and spinach soup.
                      Yesterday's frozen surimi became a California Roll salad, without the rice.

                      1. I just used some frozen leftover turkey to make a double batch of tamales (leftovers actually go back in the freezer for quick re-heated lunches).

                        1. I found a pound of lamb shoulder in the freezer that had been there two years! I made the Frugal Gourmet's lamb with orzo.

                          1. I need to do some high diving this weekend. I know there is a frozen savory pie crust in there somewhere.

                            For this long weekend, I have my eyes on a small package of frozen sliced beef for pho and a large package of pork shoulder, treatment TBD.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tcamp

                              My experience with pho was that previously frozen beef didn't sing for me. Please report back.

                            2. Thanksgiving Revisited: How can anything that was so boring by the end of November be so welcome in January? Sliced turkey and gravy atop sage and onion stuffing--sweet potatoes mashed with pineapple---and a pint of cranberry sauce. Thank God for freezers.

                              1. For me turkey stock. Too many vegetable scraps and turkey bits. Now I have turkey pickings and 8 cups of stock for a gumbo and black bean soup later.

                                1. Getting ready to move in a month or so... need to figure out what to do with 3 lbs of frozen cranberries (I always stock up at Thanksgiving so I have cranberries for muffins through the year).

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: firecooked

                                    Unless you're moving across country :) why can't the cranberries move with you????? Also I made a cranberry, orange, jalapeno relish that pretty much last forever.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Car space is being prioritized for some of the better wine, and typically the small ice chest gets filled will homemade dog food (first world problem for sure).

                                    2. re: firecooked

                                      I've been using them in kefir smoothies. Being so tart, I mix with banana and other berries. You can also use in muffins or cakes.

                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        I've started loving them in kefir smoothies, just pair something sweeter with them. Frozen cherries work very well

                                      2. re: firecooked

                                        Cranberry syrup.
                                        Throw yourself a Cosmopolitan going away party.

                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                          Hmmm.... have liquor to use up too. Suggestion on water:sugar:cranberry ratio?

                                          1. re: Siegal

                                            i chop them in the food pro and add them to blondies or chocolate chip cookies. the tart is a great offset to the other sweet ingredients. i also make cranberry confit with orange juice and ginger which lasts forever in the fridge and is delish mixed into plain yogurt.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              Ooh, I think I'm going to add some ginger to my 'relish.' Good idea.

                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                Both sound good.... I due to make some oatmeal cookies, and have yogurt most mornings

                                          2. In my large freezer there are (among many many other things) two whole pork shoulders bought on sale for 98 cents a lb (impossible to resist) and one deceased Siamese cat (my son's roommate's beloved pet - double-bagged and waiting for spring burial on our property). I really hate rooting around in there - everytime I find Seamus I get creeped out.

                                            Also 10 pies that are destined for the soup kitchen where I volunteer - I won't tell them that the pies are sharing freezer space with, um, a corpse.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Nyleve


                                              I thought the chicken feet in my freezer were off-putting.

                                              1. re: Nyleve


                                                It is with great regret that we will not be able to attend your dinner party and pie buffet.

                                                I've wrapped beef more then that cat. Paper, foil, cellophane and then double bagging to prevent freezer burn. I really hope you don't lose electricity before the thaw!

                                                1. re: Bellachefa

                                                  Last winter we were away for about a month, returning in mid-February. While we were gone our beloved STANDARD poodle died. Our housesitter wrapped him up and put him in that very same freezer. This was a big dog. Anyway, luckily last winter was relatively mild so we were able to chop through the layer of frozen ground to dig a hole and bury him the day after we got back. So I didn't have to spend the winter avoiding going into that freezer. But this year I'm sure the ground is frozen right to the core - we won't be doing any burying until June. Ugh.

                                                  I don't care if he gets freezer burn.

                                                  1. re: Nyleve

                                                    Is it bad that I am now thinking of my dogs in relation to the cuts of meat they'd displace?

                                                2. I have a yard sale Foodsaver. Have to do an occasional freezer reorganization, but dont find mystery food that's FBBR (freezer burned beyond recognition) anymore.

                                                  1. I have to go through my apartment freezer and start cooking down some things. I have pork neck bones and a separate fresh ham hock in there. I'm thinking of getting a couple of smoked ham hocks so I can make one pot of smoked hock and pork stock and another of regular pork stock. I'll use the former for split pea soup and the latter as stashes in the freezer for soup bases.

                                                    I'm really concerned about having too much food in my freezer as someone who lives alone though. I'm worried I'll get sick of it and won't eat it but hrm.

                                                    Also, can anyone recommend containers to keep stock in? I've just used Hefty quart or gallon freezer bags in the past because they tend to stack nicely. I'm just wondering if there's a better or different way without it getting too expensive. I also feel like getting some chicken feet and backs from a local meat place and doing a run of chicken stock too and just stock up on stock :). Sorry, couldn't resist.

                                                    About the chicken stock, I recently bought even the high quality chicken stock from the store and was just "meh". It hit home to me that I needed to make another batch again to get that richness and depth of flavour.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: cornedhash

                                                      no store-bought can compare to home-made. i use the plastic bags as storage too, but i reduce all stocks down A LOT so they do need reconstituting to use but take up far less space.

                                                      we each just have a small condo fridge, so i need to be judicious about what goes in there. definitely no cats.

                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                        How would you reduce down a very gelatinous stock, just keep simmering/boiling it?

                                                        1. re: cornedhash

                                                          Simmer. I prefer a pot with a wide opening to increase the surface area. You want to approach demi glace.

                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            Thanks. I've always left my stock with more volume. I've reduced it to a demi glacé before.

                                                    2. I pulled out a package of chicken leg quarters and cooked them in my crockpot a couple days ago; they were stored in the fridge and tonight I made a pot of chicken & rice soup for dinner using bits of celery I had stored in a freezer bag I keep for veggie scraps, some onion, thyme, sage & a few other spices. It was so delicious!

                                                      I also gathered four pint bags of assorted frozen veggie scraps and put them into the slow cooker this evening for a 12 hour simmer. Tomorrow, it'll be strained and some of it will go into the freezer for future soup/sauces/gravies, etc. The rest will be used over the next few days.

                                                      1. I'm a freezer hoarder, so pretty much all my meals come from the freezer.

                                                        But, aside from the usual meat-stuff (chicken, pork, beef) I also have some game meats to use up... moose, elk, venison, antelope. I'll likely use the ground elk to make meatballs for super bowl. Some of the antelope is sausage so I'll just cook that up next time I make a big breakfast. Already did one package of that and it was good.

                                                        I am almost all through the ham I bought after Thanksgiving. I've used it to make pineapple ham pizza, baked potatoes with ham broccoli and cheddar, and to top chicken for a cordon bleu-esque dinner.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                            Oh yes, it's never ending. I think I'll get at least 2 more meals out of it.

                                                        1. Last year I bought an upright freezer to replace my very, very old chest freezer...at least that was the plan. Of course we had to run both until we'd moved all the items from the old freezer into the new one. Again, the best laid plans...

                                                          Needless to say what happened was we ended up filling both. The worry of losing all that food during the recent ice storm-related power outages was a big wake-up call.

                                                          No meat or other items are to be purchased until I have that chest freezer cleared out.

                                                          It's amazing what I'm extracting from the depths of that beast. Yesterday I unearthed veal shanks and one pound of roasted salmon. So, tomorrow I'm making a braised veal dish from Ottolenghi's Jerusalem and I'll prepare salmon cakes that we can heat and eat on 2 weeknights.

                                                          Tonight we're dining on gnocchi in marinara (left over from a past meal) and chicken saltimbocca (already made and leftover from a November dinner).

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            We came home from 2 weeks in Germany/Austria/Switzerland to a dead chest freezer. All I was looking forward to on the drive home from the airport was throwing a frozen pizza in the oven for mindless nutritional biomatter. We were able to salvage some cookies and 2 steaks.

                                                            One freezer is now plenty for me. Granted it's easier to leave the upright freezer door ajar just a bit (good bye frozen pumped breastmilk supply) That was a good freak out cry...

                                                          2. Anyone have any ideas for like 5 lb of dates. These are fresh dates that were frozen off a tree. They have skin that kind if bothers me though I have to peel it. Any thoughts on what to do with FRESH dates? Most recipes have dried....horse of another color

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Siegal

                                                              I'd dry them somehow and make a ton of date nut bread. You'll have gifts for every occasion for the rest of the year.

                                                              1. re: Siegal

                                                                Date paste (literally pureed with just a splash of water) is a great alternative sweetner.

                                                                Outside of palm springs CA they grow tons of dates and make an amazing date shake- dates and vanilla ice cream!

                                                                This link has a bunch of recipes for fresh dates too:

                                                                1. re: Siegal

                                                                  Not to use up the entire 5 lbs but perhaps 1/2 pound...peel & roast them in the oven with some brown sugar & onion then puree it in a food processor with Dijon or whole grain mustard, some fresh jalapeno or your favorite spicy pepper until smooth. Scrape into a jar or any covered container and keep in the fridge to slather on grilled sandwiches, or roasted chicken and pork dishes.

                                                                2. We pulled a five pound brisket out of the garage freezer early this week, got Joy off the bookshelf, and DH made up the marinade for Sauerbraten and set the brisket
                                                                  a' soaking.
                                                                  Finished it all up yesterday for our pals for dinner. The recipe calls for gingersnaps to go in at the end as an option.
                                                                  My friend just happened to be bringing gluten free gingersnaps that she regularly makes for her GF husband, so that worked out perfect.