Freezer status…

no, this is not my freezer. šŸ™‚

Menu planning is one of the ways I try to economize at home. suitNtie and I are very blessed that I am able to stay home with our kids (and even now, attend school part time in the evenings), but I can’t see spending money where it isn’t necessary.

Growing up, I remember watching my grandmother run her home, and later on, my mother do the same. Sure enough, once suitNtie and I were living together, Nana was one of the first people I called. She gave me the run down on what prices were the best for different cuts of meat, poultry and fish. I wrote it down and stalked weekly circulars for the prices I was looking for, purchased a stand freezer for storage, and my journey began.

Cooking has always been a hobby for me. suitNtie presented a challenge. He grew up differently than I did, and had different food preferences and tolerances. While he has sometimes restricted me, for the most part, his ideas about food have forced me beyond my cooking comfort zone and I’ve found (and shared) some lovely recipes along the way.

In any case, I got sidetracked…long story short, one of the ways I economize these days is stretching meals. Because our children are so young, I’m really cooking for about three full servings per meal. Rarely does a recipe calculate like this. I end up with leftovers.

For a few years, suitNtie brought those to work for lunch. Now, though, his company buys lunch every day. I find more and more times that I split a recipe and half goes into the freezer and half goes onto the table. Which is fine, but I need to come up with some sort of way to inventory my freezer. I end up pawing through it every time I make a meal plan.

Right now, for example, off the top of my head, I know I have pasta e fagioli (minus the macaroni), the filling for orange beef lettuce wraps, a baggie of swiss steak, two containers of butternut squash and corn soup, one container of plain, cooked ground beef to be used at a later date (the other half was used in a recipe and it was already defrosted- use it or lose it!), one container of homemade spaghetti sauce, one baggie of banana nut muffins, and the packaged and portioned meats and poultry and fish I’ve gotten on sale.

Today, I am making a chicken soup. We’re not having it for dinner, but I am making it and freezing it for later use (see chicken fricasee on the menu at the end of this month, for one).

If you have any ideas on how I can (neatly) keep a running inventory, I’d love to hear them in the comments.