Freezer Phobia, anyone?


IslandBetz

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I'm gearing up for my next round (Technically, it will be a restart of R1). I now have my Foodsaver, the rolls and bags, the mason jars and attachment, and a ton of meat and veg to prep and freeze. 

 

Since I didn't really learn how to source, cook and meal plan growing up, a big part of the Whole30 for me is redefining my "working relationship" with food. Here is what I've been noticing the past several months: I seem to use the freezer as a place old food goes to die. As I'm trying to get into "freezer cooking", I'm really worried I'll just ignore anything in the freezer, even if I just cooked it myself last week, in favor of something in the fridge. 

 

Does anyone else have this sort of aversion to their freezer? Any ideas of how to change my mindset? 

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The big thing is to remember the time delay of freezer vs fridge.

 

Personally I avoid freezing things in big quantities, I like smaller grab-and-go portions as they defrost quicker.

 

A big part of setting a new routine is to plan, so try penciling out a time plan for your new freezer approach :)

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I used to be awful about actually using foods I put in the freezer until I started buying half hogs. Then I HAD to know what was in there so I could use it in time and not let my expensive meat get freezer burn. That got me going with a good rotation on the other food and I finally have a system that works. Trust me, when you come home EXHAUSTED and you can't imagine cooking, there's nothing like sticking some pulled pork in the microwave and tossing some frozen broccoli in a pot of boiling water. Top with ranch and you are good to go in about 10 minutes but are actually eating a home cooked meal!

 

I have a list on my fridge of everything that is in the freezer (which is out in the garage, so not the first place I look). On the left side are "ingredients" (raw meat, blanched veggies, tomato paste, etc, etc). On the left side are "dishes" (pulled pork, meatloaf, meatballs, turnip soup, etc, etc). Next to each dish is a X1 or X2 or whatever for how many I have and I change this as I take things out (LABEL AND DATE EVERYTHING by the way!). I freeze in the size my family will eat for dinner, plus 1 or 2 extra servings for leftovers for lunch.

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Now that farmers market season is back around here, I am not as adverse to freezing. Plus there are weeks where the idea of meal planning is a little much for me so I'll grab a frozen sausage from the markets and grill it (because I'm currently obsessed with grilling) and add veggies and fat and I'm one happy camper. Depending on what I have on hand, I may throw a bunch of veggies on the grill

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My freezer always tended to be the home of many good half-planned ideas for meals for my family or for entertaining. Nowadays I've been using up all of my frozen w30 compliant foods for myself (mostly proteins) and all of my non-compliant frozen foods (frozen cheeses, some veggie mixes with corn and peas, pie crusts) for my husband who said he doesn't want to participate in my w30. That way, I can stock it with just w30 compliant foods when it's empty and we can all eat the same compliant way! :D

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I think I just need to get back to being very detailed with what I have on hand and planning my meals. I've always just winged it. I had started an excel workbook with lists of what I have on hand, but haven't kept it updated. I think I'll try the list on the front of the fridge as madness does.  

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If you like to wing it or have variety, you can freeze your protein and veggie serves separately, for mix n match :)

 

I like use-by or expiry dates in a list too, to make sure you don't accidentally waste something that's rotated to the back or bottom where you can't see it.

 

You may find an expiry date reminder app, but they don't tend to hold all the other info.

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Yesterday I cooked up a whole bunch of chicken breasts and sliced them up into bite size pieces and put them in individual containers, so when I am working I have protein ready to go. Made about 7 individual packages.  Also made burgers from Whole30 cookbook and froze them as well.  I then put them into two small rubbermaid type containers so I know what they are and are at my finger tips in the freezer.

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