Frozen Assets


Power Outages and Freezer Safety

If you suffer a power outage, keep your freezer closed!   Little or no thawing should occur within the first twelve to twenty hours.

If you know a storm’s heading your direction, fill empty milk jugs with water and freeze them solid before the power goes out.  A full freezer will stay frozen longer than a partially empty one.

A simple way to know if things have thawed and perhaps refrozen during a power outage is to put a bowl of ice cubes into the freezer prior to a problem.  If the ice cubes have melted and become just a bowl of water (or refrozen into a bowl of ice), you’ll know that the contents of your freezer have experienced the same thing.  Your frozen goods would no longer be safe to eat in that case.

It’s actually a good idea to keep a bowl of ice cubes in your freezer at all times in case the freezer comes unplugged or if the power goes out at some point when you’re not home or on vacation.  I keep my ice cube “indicator bowl” inside a freezer bag so the ice doesn’t dry out and evaporate.

If your freezer is full of food and the power will be out longer than one day, you have two options.  You can either move the contests of your freezer to a rental frozen food locker, or you can purchase dry ice for your freezer.

If you use dry ice, lay cardboard over the packages in your freezer and place dry ice onto the cardboard.  Never place dry ice directly onto your packages of food, and always wear heavy safety gloves when handling dry ice.  A 50-pound block of dry ice should keep your food frozen for two to three days.

Stay safe!

~Debi (author of Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month)


 You can order your copy of Frozen Assets right now from Amazon.com by clicking here. (Currently discounted!)

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“Help! My Freezer’s Too Small!”

One of the most common concerns I hear about preparing meals for the freezer is this: “I only have the small freezer above my refrigerator — how can I still do a full month of cooking ahead?”

 For someone with only a fridge-top freezer, I usually recommend starting with twice-a-month cooking, or just doubling and tripling recipes as you go about your regular cooking during the week. As Continue reading



Never a dull moment around our house …

Over the past few years people in our home have developed various food allergies, and have required special diets for things like Celiac, etc.  Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more complicated food-wise, my son and I both developed an inability to digest meats (beef for me, anything flesh-related for him).  Crazy.

So now in order to make a meal to feed all four of us at the same time, it needs to meet the following criteria:

  • Gluten-free (essentially only rice noodles and rice bread)
  • Sugar-free (no honey or fructose, either)
  • Aspartame-free (no Nutrasweet)
  • Vegetarian (or at least beef-free, but then my son needs something else to eat)
  • Peanut-free
  • Mushroom-free (including mushroom soup)
  • Carrot-free
  • Apple-free
  • Light on the eggs (can be an ingredient, but not the main thing such as in omelettes or scrambled eggs)
  • Mint-free (not usually much of an issue except with teas and desserts)
  • Green tea – free

I think that’s all. LOL! 😎

I’ve decided to try to figure out a list of menus I can prepare that we can all eat so I’m not preparing separate meals for our various special diets.  Sadly, doing bulk freezer meal cooking has sort of fallen by the wayside as one after another of our regular recipes have bit-the-dust.

So, any suggestions for cheap eats that meet the above requirements?  And of course freezer-friendly recipes and ideas would be ideal!  🙂



Marinated Lime Chicken

Here’s one of my family’s all-time favorite chicken recipes. The instructions include directions for preparing ahead of time for the freezer. So if you find chicken on sale at a good stock-up price, you can take advantage of the sale prices and have this delicious meal waiting in the freezer for a busy evening later in the month. If you want to bake without freezing first, be sure to allow at least an hour or two to marinade in the refrigerator.  

MARINATED LIME CHICKEN (from Frozen Assets Lite & Easy)

6 servings

  • 6 chicken breast portions (about 8 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 limes (or 4 tablespoons bottled lime juice)
  • 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 9 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons basil

Preparation: Squeeze limes into a medium sized bowl. Stir in vinegar, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Place chicken breast portions into labeled freezer bags. Pour lime sauce over top; seal and freeze.

To Serve: Thaw completely. Pour marinade into small saucepan. Heat to boiling. Place chicken pieces into shallow oven-proof dish. Pour boiled marinade over chicken. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh basil sprigs if available.

I hope your family likes this recipe as much as my family does!

~Debi



A Secret to a Relaxed Holiday Dinner

thanksgiving-plate-entert1106-de1Can you imagine a relaxed Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without needing to actually cook a turkey on the big day? You’d be able to enjoy the festivities as much as your friends and family!

Believe it or not, it’s possible to roast your turkey ahead of time and store the cooked meat in the freezer to reheat and serve on the big day. If this sounds a bit too much like eating leftovers, let me assure you that by following these simple freezing and reheating instructions, you’ll have moist, delicious turkey — and not one of your guests will suspect you didn’t spend the entire holiday slaving away in the kitchen keeping watch over a hot oven.

Feel free to use your own favorite turkey recipe if you prefer, and then follow the freezing/reheating instructions at the end of this article (but I personally don’t think you’ll find a tastier turkey recipe!).

TO PREPARE TURKEY:

  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 6 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine (or water)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 3 cups chicken broth, canned (reserve for freezing process)

In bottom of a deep roasting pan, place two quartered onions, four celery stalks, the carrots, bay leaves and white wine (or water). Remove turkey giblets, rinse bird inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Stuff turkey loosely with remaining quartered onion and celery stalks. Brush turkey with olive oil mixed with salt, pepper, sage, and thyme. Cover turkey loosely with a large sheet of foil coated lightly with olive oil, crimping foil on to edges of roasting pan. Cook according to chart below. During last 45 minutes, cut band of skin or string between legs and tail. Uncover and continue roasting until done. Baste, if desired.

Turkey Roasting Chart (loosely wrapped with foil):
12-16 pounds / 325 degrees F / 4 – 5 hours
16-20 pounds / 325 degrees F / 5 – 6 hours
20-24 pounds / 325 degrees F / 6 – 7 hours

Testing for doneness:

About 20 minutes before roasting time is completed, test bird. Flesh on thickest part of drumstick should feel soft when squeezed between fingers, drumstick should move up an down easily, and meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of leg should read 185 degrees F. (Or follow manufacturer’s instructions.)

– FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS –

DRIPPINGS: Pour liquid and drippings from roasting pan into a bowl. Remove vegetables. Allow bowl of liquid to cool in refrigerator until fat congeals on top. Scoop off fat with a spoon and pour drippings into a labeled freezer bag. Thaw to use for making gravy on serving day.

TURKEY: Allow turkey to cool in pan for 1/2 hour; then place turkey and its roasting pan into refrigerator. Allow to cool completely (several hours). When fully chilled, slice turkey as usual. Remove all meat from bones. Place breast and dark meat slices into labeled freezer bags. Pour canned chicken broth into bags over meat. Freeze.

TO SERVE: Thaw bag of meat and broth, and place into a covered baking dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Or place turkey and broth into a microwave-safe dish, cover with plastic wrap, and heat until hot (the time will vary with different microwaves, so check manufacturer’s instructions). Drain off broth (reserve to make more gravy, if needed). Arrange the heated turkey slices attractively on a serving platter. Serve hot.

**Excerpted and adapted from the 10-Day Holiday Meal Plan in the bestselling book, Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month (SourceBooks).

~Debi


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