Over the last
weeks months year, our freezer has become a receptacle for quite the manner of things. A bit of this, and a bit of that, hidden within the icy depths. And while the additions are always placed there with good intention, generally when we have leftovers or something that is about to shortly expire, I don’t tend to keep an eye on what we have placed inside. Meaning a lot inevitably gets thrown out in a year’s time.
But not this time. For I was determined to use up what we could from the freezer before adding anything new. I did have to throw some items away (apparently I am an expired puff pastry hoarder from way back??), but I was pleased to be able to pull together a weekly meal plan recently that used up some of the bigger items just nicely.
Day 1 – Leftover Calzone
We made batch of spinach and feta calzone a month or so ago, and I forgot to halve the recipe.
So I froze the (cooked) leftover pastries, and after 30 minutes or so in the oven they reheated beautifully. Topped with some passata and grated mozzarella – and baked for an extra few minutes, then served with a side salad.
Day 2 – Teriyaki Chicken Bowls
Not only did this dinner use up some leftover chicken thighs I had in the freezer, it also used up a little portion of ramen noodles that I had in the pantry.
And while I know that ramen noodles are traditionally used in soups, I went with a noodle / salad bowl instead.
Chicken, grilled with a little teriyaki marinade, served with the pre-cooked ramen noodles, carrot, grilled zucchini, greens, coriander and sesame seeds.
Day 3 – Potato and Leek Soup
Yes, this nondescript tuppaware container held a quick and easy soup dinner for one when my husband was out for the evening.
Just reheat and eat. Served with a toasted English muffin (also from the freezer!!), one half topped with cheese and tomato, the other topped with ham and avocado.
Day 4 – Veal with Marsala Sauce
I was so pleased to find a use for these veal schnitzels that I were tucked away in the freezer.
Last time we crumbed them, but this time I went with something even simpler. Just defrosted and pan-fried, and topped with a marsala sauce (made simply with a good splash of marsala and cream, seasoned). Served alongside potato mash and steamed beans / zucchini.
Day 5 – Savoury Mince with roasted sweet potatoes
I found some portions of savoury mince hiding at the back of the freezer too, that were the perfect base for dinner on day 5. For the kids I used the mince in tacos, which were a big hit, as always.
While for the adults I added some extra spinach to the mince and used it as a topping for a roasted sweet potato. Drizzled with chilli sauce and served with a side salad.
Easy dinners all round!
Day 6 – Beef Massaman Curry
Since discovering that you could freeze roast meats, and that they reheat quite wonderfully, I’ve never looked back. It’s not unusual for us to have portions of roast beef or lamb in the freezer, or even some pulled pork after I’ve made a batch. Tonight’s inspiration came courtesy of one such portion – a portion of frozen roast beef.
I defrosted the beef overnight, then reheated it gently in a frypan, before adding some store bought massaman curry sauce, zucchini and beans. Simmered until cooked through and the meat was back to its tender self. Served with brown rice, spinach and fresh coriander – and you’d never have guessed that the beef had been in the freezer only the day before!!.
Day 7 – Chorizo Pizzas
We love these pizza bases, but they come in a packet of 4 (and we don’t always get around to finishing them all). They do, however, freeze wonderfully – and offer a quick and easy dinner at a later time. So day 7 saw us cooking up a couple pizzas – with the added bonus that we could also use some chorizo that was tucked away in the freezer also.
These pizzas ended up being a great way to finish off leftover veggies we had in the fridge too – zucchini, spinach, tomatoes and pineapple. All topped and ready to bake!
Day 8 – Souvlaki Bowls
I couldn’t resist adding an extra freezer-inspired meal to our meal plan, when I discovered half a packet of Lebanese bread in the freezer.
On the menu? Souvlaki bowls! Filled with grilled lamb (that I had marinated in lemon, garlic and oregano), pearl couscous and roasted vegetable salad and greens. Topped with some natural yoghurt and hummus and, of course, the Lebanese bread – which was perfect for dipping!
And so – our “Eat the Freezer” week came to a close – with our freezer looking emptier (but happier!) after our efforts. While I’m determined to keep a better eye on things so we don’t get quite the stockpile in the future, I suspect there is also a very real likelihood that I will be doing a Part 2 to this series in 6 months’ time….
What about you? Do you have a favourite ‘freezer’ meal?
8 thoughts on “Our “Eat the Freezer” Week”
Absolutely loved this post Lisa! You have inspired me to plan an Eat the Freezer week myself! I have green veg soup, pulled pork, Texan pulled beef, spinach and lentil soup, bolognaise and various cuts of chicken in mine that all need to be used. Stay tuned 🙂
Brooke D x
Do it!! you wont regret it! And I felt so much better actually USING things up (and not letting them go to waste like I normally do!) 🙂
Lisa, I’ve been enjoying your “eat the freezer” exploits on Instagram. You’ve done a fantastic job and all your meals look terrific.
Wow what a great week of a bit of freezer inspired creativity. Pastry is one of my freezer problems but since Sylvia discovered the joys of two pieces of pastry baked with cheese in between it seems to go much quicker. Our freezer is so small that I tend to have to clear it regularly or I can’t fit anything else in – and there are benefits in that.
Oooh I think my girls would love the pastry + cheese combination too! 🙂
Lots of great inspiration here to turn freezer surprises into simple, tasty meals! BTW, nice to know I’m not the only expired puff pastry hoarder
(It’s been a while since I stopped by – hello 🙂 )
I am trying to stock our freezer at the moment but relate to forgetting about things once they are in there. This is a nice reminder of how much you can get if you remember to (1) stock it well and (2) use up the things you put inside!