Friday, January 7, 2011

The Deep Freeze

I have become obsessed with my deep freeze.
Over the past 2 months, I have spent lots of time filling that sucker up for the inevitable arrival of Baby Gaines.  I don't regret a moment of it because I know how handy it will be for us those first few weeks.

Again, I don't have pics because of my laptop being in the shop and I didn't want to download pics at the library.  So, I decided to go ahead and share what I've stocked us up with...not that you are at all interested, but, I know that I am always interested in this type of topic and I thought I would share.

So, my first step was to organize the freezer into categories.
We have a wonderful hand-me-down, standup deep freeze that was Matt's grandparents.
I think they bought it in the late 80's.  We simply had the rubber seal (that goes around the door) replaced and it was as good as new!  The only downfall is that its not frost-free.
But, we didn't have to buy the thing and its not that big of a deal to let it "defrost" a couple of times per year.  I think its probably a good thing for us because it forces us to clean that sucker out, see what has been hidden in the back and scour it with bleach.  Well, techinically, Matt does all of those things;)

So, my deep freeze is organized as such:
1. The Door: I have 28 quarts of goodness stored in the door of the freezer,
 Vegetable Beef Soup, Spaghetti Sauce & Chili. 
     2.  Top Shelf:  22 quarts with the following variety: Gumbo, Red Beans & Rice,
White Chili, Broccoli Cheese Soup
3.  2nd Shelf: Vegetable Shelf with Whole Green Beans, Broccoli Florets &
Stir Fry (all purchased at Sam's Club), Turnip Green Casseroles, Squash Casseroles, Hashbrown Casseroles.
4.  3rd Shelf: Prepared Meals (or almost prepared meals), Turkey Tettrazini,
Stuffed Bell Pepper Mix, Taco Meat, Shepherds Pie Mix,
 Poppyseed Chicken Casseroles, Lasagnas, Beef/Bean Burritos   
5.  4th Shelf: Protein that includes: Ground Chuck, Stew Meat, Pork Chops, Steaks,
Chicken Swirls, Fish & Whole Chickens
6.  Bottom: This is my overflow area: Butter, Ice Cream, Bread and extra Veggies

I know this seems crazy.
But, I feel so prepared after completing this task.
If preparing a meal is the only thing I don't have to worry about when Baby Gaines comes home from the hospital, I think that's a good thing!

So, pretty much all Matt has to do is look at the spreadsheet (yes, I made a spreadsheet....I didn't do all of this to forget what I had in there!) in the morning and choose a main dish, take it out of the freezer and put it in the oven when he gets home.  The only things he will need to restock us on are the basics like fresh fruit and veggies and milk, etc.  So, I think we are ready, at least in this department.

You may ask, how I did all of this and it be cost effective.  Well, I'm not a couponer.  I should be, but I'm not.  I think I would get completely obsessed with it and let it take over my life.  So, I pretty much just shop the outside ailes of the grocery store.  We don't really eat "prepared" foods, i.e. frozen prepared meals, things in cans, etc.  So, I watch for proteins to go on sale and when they do, I stock up.  For instance, if ground chuck goes on sale at the Winn Dixie for under $1.99 per lb, I get about 10 lbs.  When I get home, I cook half, portion out in ziplock bags, freeze and then I have cooked ground beef ready to throw in soups, make taco salad, Shepherds Pie, whatever really.  The remaining 5 lbs, I portion out raw in ziploc bags and freeze as well in case we are making hamburgers, etc.  I do the same with other proteins but don't cook them, such as pork chops, chicken, etc.  If I find a good deal, I buy a couple of packages and then portion out and freeze.  Its easy.

I have been on my hands and knees for 2 days cleaning out closets and attempting to organize our life.
Nesting has take over my world:)

Hope everyone is doing well!


Christy Ross said...

we do the same thing with ground beef. But we don't have a deep freeze yet, so to maximize space, when I put the ground beef to freeze in ziplock bags, I use a rolling pin to make the meat as flat as possible and then I have a stack of flat meat that thaws out REALLY fast when I'm ready for it.

your freezer stash made me hungry!

Sarah Barry said...

nice. how awesome is it going to be to NOT COOK on many of the nights during the first few weeks! I'm not a couponer either and need to start stocking up when meat goes on sale! and I can now b/c I have a FREEZER!!!! great tip.

Sarah said...

I am so jealous of your great ideas and efficiency! I am learning a lot from you. A type-A, organized planner like me is always looking for new ideas. :)