The Freezer Challenge

By ERIN TURNER

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile then you remember that February is when our family does our annual Pantry Challenge.  We take the month to use up items on our pantry and in our freezer.  By doing this, we don’t go to the grocery store thus save oodles of money!  Check out these blog links for the details on how we’ve done the challenge, important tips and the results of our challenges:

This year we decided to shake it up and do a Freezer Challenge instead.  The challenge is to make sure that at least one item on our dinner plate is from the freezer but ideally it would be more than one item.  So our focus is more on the freezer than on the pantry.

We chose this challenge this year because it seems that our freezers have gotten too full and items are getting lost or forgotten.  So, this is a frugal and smart way of cleaning out our freezers.

The Freezer Challenge

This year’s challenge seemed like the perfect way to deal with our overflowing freezers and lost or forgotten frozenitems.

To start the challenge, I first took an inventory of everything that was hiding out in our freezers.  Some things had freezer burn, so they got tossed into the compost bucket.  I also found lone popsicles and a bag with 1 ½ waffles.  Well, those got taken out and used up immediately.  Then I organized the freezer shelves so I could navigate through them easily this month.

Every morning this week I opened up the freezer in the kitchen and sorted through for some inspiration for dinner.  It forced me to be creative and to really think outside the “icebox” for some items.  But it was a fun week and I’m looking forward to the rest of the month to see what new creations I can come up with.

At the bottom of the freezer, I found a package of chicken breasts.  Too much for one dinner but not quite enough for two dinners, so I took them all out and cooked them all up.  Once they were cooked, I chopped all the meat.  Now I had plenty for two meals.  The first night I made Chicken and Dumplings with mixed veggies that I found in the freezer too!  My family LOVES this meal, so they were delighted with this Freezer Challenge.

The next night I did a Chicken and Rice dish that was delish.  On our third night, I combined the leftovers from the Chicken and Dumplings and the Chicken and Rice into a soup.  Perfect on a -20 F night!  Plus, I pulled out a bag of homemade bread dough I had forgotten about in the freezer.  Fresh bread and hot soup?  You can’t go wrong with that winning combo in wintertime!

This next week, I will finish up “cleaning” out our kitchen freezer and then move on to our back- up freezer.  I’m looking forward to having some space in my kitchen freezer for usable items and also knowing exactly what is in there. I was amazed how I had forgotten about certain things once they were placed in the freezer.  It’s like they enter a black hole and get sucked to the very back or very bottom, never to be seen again.

Despite just focusing on the freezers, we still are attentive to the rest of our consumption and are making sure that whatever we don’t use from the freezer for a meal is at least coming from the pantry.  We have avoided the grocery store except for some milk and cheese.  Our wallet likes this Freezer Challenge too!

The next couple of weeks I’ll give updates and any tips I have learned while doing this Freezer Challenge.  Feel free to join along…I love hearing about other people doing these challenges and how creative they get with their meals and different things they learn and share along the way.

**********

 Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, sticking to a budget, and living sustainably in her blog archive.

*******************

Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

Follow Me on Pinterest

 

MIM NewsletterLike this blog? Don’t miss another one. Sign up for our E-Newsletter.  It provides you with a list of all the week’s stories/blogs and is delivered to your inbox every Tuesdaymorning.