Frozen Assets


Help! My Freezer’s Too Small!

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

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 you get used to the method and learn ways to efficiently pack your freezer, you may eventually be able to store the entire month’s worth of entrees in your fridge-top freezer.

When I first began cooking ahead, we only had a small refrigerator freezer. It was at least a year before I finally had a second larger freezer to store my Frozen Assets — so it can be done. It just takes careful planning.

  • Before you do a big day of freezer meal cooking, clear out all the various non-essentials from your freezer.
  • Wait until the freezer empties later in the month before stocking up on frozen bread, ice cream, etc.
  • To save freezer space, use heavy-duty freezer bags for storing most of your frozen meals, rather than baking dishes or disposable foil pans.
  • When using freezer bags, remove all excess air (suck the air out with a straw, or press the air gently out of the bag from the top of the food toward the opening of the bag); freeze the bags flat; and then pack them in the freezer carefully.
  • To prevent a possible landslide of stacked freezer meals, store your frozen bags of food standing on edge—much as you’d stack old-fashioned record albums (I’m dating myself a bit, aren’t I?).

Another way to conserve freezer space is by preparing meals of sauces to pour over pasta or rice. Prepare the pasta or rice on serving day so it doesn’t take up precious space in your freezer.

If you’re in the market for a separate freezer but can’t afford to buy a new one, don’t despair.

  • Ask friends, relatives and neighbors to keep an eye out for people moving out of state or updating their kitchens. I’ve known many people who have found perfectly good freezers for FREE just by making a few phone calls.

  • Check your local newspaper’s classified ads under Appliances, and also look through Garage Sale listings for any that are selling appliances.

  • Keep a look out at yard sales, tag sales, appliance repair stores, and auctions of dented whitegoods.

Happy infrequent cooking!

~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 – more than 30% off!)

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4 Comments so far
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My problem is that I never know what all I have in the freezer. What is down in the bottom? How many packages of hamburger do I have left, etc? What is a good method of organizing and knowing just what all is in the freezer?

Hi, Rhonda …

I usually recommend that people keep a list of what’s in their freezer on a small whiteboard that’s hung either on the freezer or next to it. As you take something out, cross it off the list (or change the amount you have left if there’s more than one of the same item).

I also have a top-opening freezer, so I find that I like to use plastic milk crates to keep things separated and organized. Meat in one, bread items in another, frozen dinners in another, frozen veggies in another. The open sides on the plastic milk crates allow air to circulate, and you can just reach in and grab whichever bin you’re wanting to look in at any particular moment.

I also tie tags/labels to the tops of the bins so I don’t have to “guess” or remember what’s in each bin. Hope that helps!

~Debi

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Comment by Ronda Martinq

I am currently following the South Beach diet. Alot of the recipes I see for OAMC are not SB friendly. Do you have any good suggestions for people who are on a “good carb” diet?

Thanks!

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Comment by Tara

This is an extremely old post, but I will comment so that future folks who are on limited carbs/grains can get good ideas: remember, pre-cooking foods can be done with any food ideas, not just pasta, etc. I suggest getting a good low carb cook book and do trial and error with it. No site is going to be for all people, but this site is friendly to all diets, even raw foodies can work with this site with much modification. Freezing is just suspending the food, and most food can be frozen well. I sincerely hope this helps,
Mary

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Comment by Mary Miller

I used to do freezer cooking with just a small freezer. I am finding myself in need of streamlined meal planning, and limited funds, again, and am looking into re-starting this for my family.

Thank you for the great tips.

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Comment by Shannon




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