Thursday, 10 September 2015

Cooking for the Freezer

DH is settling in fine at the school in Deal and has the contract for 12 weeks, so up until the Xmas holidays. At least we'll be okay for a few weeks. He's still receiving calls and turning down offers from agencies asking if he's free so I don't think it will be a problem for him to find work once this contract ends. In the meantime he's still looking for a permanent position if possible. 

Our car, Minty (she's a metallic green VW Polo so what else would we call her?) is still at the garage and we have no idea when she will be fixed or how much it will cost. As a 1999 model parts aren't so easy to come by. She needs a new exhaust (we already knew that and it has nothing to do with her breaking down the other day), but at present we still don't know what else will need doing. She's due her MOT at the beginning of October so we might as well have anything that needs fixing fixed so she'll stand a good chance of passing. According to the Green Flag guy, despite her age she only has 70,000 miles on the clock and should be good for another 100,000, but that's if her bodywork etc holds up. Fingers crossed the bill won't be too exhorbitant. 

I had a fill-the-freezer cooking day yesterday...also fill-the-oven while I had it on. In the freezer I had  2 x 750g bags of mixed pork and beef mince, 2 trays of 20 beef meatballs I got reduced to £1 a tray in Asda, and a pot of tomato-based sauce I'd made a while a go. Using one pack of mince I made 2 x 1lb meatloafs by adding a pack of sage and onion stuffing mix (4 for £1 from Approved Foods), 2 beef stock cubes, a tablespoon of tomato puree, a diced onion and and a large beaten egg.  While the oven was on for the meatloafs I made the most of the space and heat by spreading the other mince and the meatballs in baking tins to brown, and I also tucked in a tray of quorn sausages for my lunches (love a crispbread sausage sandwich).

Once they were browned, I drained the excess fat from the mince and meatballs and transferred them to my two slowcookers and left the sausages to cool. The meatballs got cooked with the tomato sauce I'd already had in the freezer and were served with pasta for last night's dinner (they were very small meatballs once cooked so I had 6 and my 2 adult sons and DH shared the remainder). 

To the mince I added a bag of frozen 'vegetables for bolognaise' on offer for 50p at Tesco, 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (4 for £1 in Poundstretcher), tomato puree, 2 beef stock cubes, frozen crushed garlic (89p for a box of frozen cubes in Tesco, each cube is equal to 4 cloves of garlic), and approx 200ml cheap red wine and made a big pot of spaghetti sauce. I now have 2 meatloafs and 3 tubs of meat spaghetti sauce in the freezer, each making a meal for 4 people. And I have enough quorn sausages cooked for 4 lunches for me. 

There isn't much else in the freezer at the moment, a tub of Hoppin' John (blackeye beans and rice), 2 bags of homemade chilli cheese cornbread, 3 large chicken breasts, 16 chicken drumsticks, a pack of smoked bacon, and another tub of spaghetti sauce plus various frozen veg, sliced bread, milk, frozen fruit and odds and ends. I do have quite a few tins of various types of beans on the shelf and I also have lentils, split peas and scotch broth mix. I have vege sausage mix and vege chilli mix and other oddments in cupboards or on shelves. And I have 2 tins of stewed steak, and there's ready rolled pastry in the freezer and a sachet of pastry mix from AF on the shelf, so that will make 2 pies. Oh, and I have at least 8 tins of tuna in brine. 

The more I think about it the longer the list grows. It's easy to forget what I already have in the house so every now and then I do a stocktake and write down what's in all my various hidey holes. I can say that there's no chance of us starving, I just need to be inventive sometimes with what I do have. Unfortunately, I just love a bargain so it's hard to resist when I see something on offer or vastly reduced and it gets added to my stockpile or gets used first when I should be using what I already have. The trouble is, I spent so many years catering for a family of 7 (plus friends) that I still find it difficult not to bulk buy.

But...I swear I am going to use up as much of what I have in as I can and not panic when my supplies start to dwindle. In the meantime I will put a little money aside each week/month and then when things get really low (or I can't stand the empty shelves any longer) I will be able to go out and restock. We''l see just how long my resolve lasts...when I tried it a few months back the demon Tesco tempted me with an amazing money-off code. 

That's enough of my rambling for today. I need to go out and make the most of some increasingly rare sunshine and warmth.  

Wishing you all a good day. Love Helen xx


  1. My freezer is chokka at the minute because I keep finding bargains! I need to stop and use them up!! I love roasting off the mince first as I find it gives it a nicer flavour than dry frying in a pan x
    Good news on the job front x

    1. I generally 'brown' meat in the slow cooker but I did it in the oven this time since it was on to cook the meatloaves. Thanks for the good wishes.

  2. We are on 'freezer emptying'. This means we eat the strangest combinations of foods just to use them up. We want to do a really good 'meat shop' as soon as we have the space. It will see us well into the New year now that there is just the two of us at home.

    1. Like you we're trying to use up what's in the freezer before doing a meat stock up. It does make for some interesting meals.