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Thread: 2012 Pantry / Freezer Challenge

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    West Chester, Ohio
    Posts
    239

    2012 Pantry / Freezer Challenge

    Well, it's that time again and I didn't see the Pantry/Freezer Challenge thread, so I'm starting it.

    I've been fairly good this year, and still noticed that I have some venison sausage and venison round steaks in the freezer that someone had given me. Also would like to use up some of my spices so that I can replace them with organic or Penzey's.

    Over this past week I used up some venison summer sausage by subbing it for kielbasa in a chicken/sausage gumbo. Worked great. Also tried Italian Beef Stew (CL) using up some rather tough sirloin my DH had bought. Used the crock pot instead of the dutch oven and it turned out great. DH loved it.

    Since he travels a lot for his job, I tend to focus on soups or casseroles, so I can make ahead, and then reheat when he is home.

    I'm going to be working on special recipes to use up some of my spices, like the last of a big, big Costco container of cinnamon, a jar of pumpkin pie spice, some allspice, and a lot of dried parsley, to name a few.


    Anyone else up for the Challenge this year?

    Juli

  2. #2
    Yes!

    I need to make a list of what I want to use up and then try to pick out recipes - meant to do it today, but didn't get to it.

    However, I did get a jump start on the project by using about 1/2 of some red quinoa to make quinoa burgers last week.

    Today I used up some Rancho Gordo Vaqueros beans to make a pot of drunken beans.

    I also used up a bit of corn meal that's been in the freezer a while to make corn bread.

    I really need to be more mindful of what I purchase. I tend to go on jags where I cook certain things and then I stock up and then don't feel like cooking that anymore and the ingredients sit around. I also tend to be a bit impulsive - if it's something that is hard to find, I'll buy it even if I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it.

    Looking forward to using up more stuff!

  3. #3
    I certainly need to do this. I think I'm going to throw some chicken, salsa, and various beans (I think I have refried and black and/or pinto) in the crockpot and serve it over brown rice with some sour cream and cheese.

    I have some frozen Copper River Salmon that can easily become dinner by just adding some seasonings and pan-cooking.

    I have various assorted fruits which I will use to make some smoothies for breakfasts.

    No idea what else is in there. I know I have some various meats and I really don't know how old they are. And a turkey that is about 3 years old. Some of it is just going to have to go in the garbage. When its all cleaned, I'll get some casseroles and soups in there.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JuliN View Post
    Well, it's that time again and I didn't see the Pantry/Freezer Challenge thread, so I'm starting it.

    I've been fairly good this year, and still noticed that I have some venison sausage and venison round steaks in the freezer that someone had given me. Also would like to use up some of my spices so that I can replace them with organic or Penzey's.

    Over this past week I used up some venison summer sausage by subbing it for kielbasa in a chicken/sausage gumbo. Worked great. Also tried Italian Beef Stew (CL) using up some rather tough sirloin my DH had bought. Used the crock pot instead of the dutch oven and it turned out great. DH loved it.

    Since he travels a lot for his job, I tend to focus on soups or casseroles, so I can make ahead, and then reheat when he is home.

    I'm going to be working on special recipes to use up some of my spices, like the last of a big, big Costco container of cinnamon, a jar of pumpkin pie spice, some allspice, and a lot of dried parsley, to name a few.


    Anyone else up for the Challenge this year?

    Juli
    I am going to pick away at the freezer gradually but take on the mother lode in the cupboards asap. Will start from the freezer tonight with turkey in broth left from T-day and curried fruit compote from Xmas that I froze into small amounts to make my favorite chicken curry that usually is done with apples.

    Also in the freezer is leftover peas from Thanksgiving that are now overcooked. Thought I would add them to split pea/barley.lentil soup.

    Also have a casserole I froze from leftovers of cumin-scented samosas and kaddo bourani. The samosas are in phyllo triangles and I used half for a bottom crust and remainder as top.

    Have some sweet corn pudding from T-day that will make a good soup.

    Then I hit the pantry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    San Ramon, CA
    Posts
    444
    I am climbing on this cooking challenge wagon. A new move is planned and I want my shelves close to empty by the time it happens. I just finished my soy sauce from the last move. I have a ton of very hot giardiniera to use up. Time to get out Italian Beef recipe. Every kind of rice And beans you can imagine. I will be checking here often for ideas.

    Happy New Cooking Year!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    3,155
    I've got a lot of various frozen soup stocks - venison, grouse, duck, and vegetable (made from otherwise unused parts of vegetables like onion peel, leek greens, sprouting tops from root vegetables, etc.) that I often forget about. I'm planning on making soup at least once a week and actually using these.
    Anne

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,139
    I'll play!

    I actually did a pantry/fridge/freezer clean out tonight. Made Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine (CL 03/06) to finish off 1/2 a 32-oz container ricotta cheese (instead of cottage cheese), some mushrooms, an almost-spent bell pepper, the last of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey, and a box of whole wheat penne. Was happy to see those odds and ends used productively

    Any suggestions for the frozen carrot/pea/corn/green bean mix? My 2 year old isn't "into" veggies much anymore, so no one is willing to eat them. Aside from shepherd's pie, I'm drawing a blank.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Alleycat View Post
    Any suggestions for the frozen carrot/pea/corn/green bean mix? My 2 year old isn't "into" veggies much anymore, so no one is willing to eat them. Aside from shepherd's pie, I'm drawing a blank.
    How about this creamy veggie chowder? It's creamy, but light. You could use the bag of frozen veggies and maybe add some potatoes.

    I haven't made it in a while but I remember really liking it - I think I usually jazz it up with some red pepper flakes, etc.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Alleycat View Post
    Any suggestions for the frozen carrot/pea/corn/green bean mix? My 2 year old isn't "into" veggies much anymore, so no one is willing to eat them. Aside from shepherd's pie, I'm drawing a blank.


    Alleycat --- first time I used a quote in one of my replies, only took over three thousand posts to give it a try. How about a chicken potpie to use up the veggies.


    I'm in once again for the freezer/pantry challenge since I've participated in the CLBB challenge the last few years, and often do my own challenge throughout the year (have a rather small freezer/kitchen so not too tough).

    Tonight I needed an easy and quick dinner..... in the freezer, I had some brown rice, cooked diced chicken, and some walnut cilantro pesto (love this, a great way to use up cilantro that I would often freeze and never use, or simply toss). I stirfried some red peppers and other veggies, toasted some walnuts, added a few other things, added the chicken etc and dinner done. I was tempted for a bit to pick up something to eat, but then I thought that I could wing something and not have to spend more $$.

    I would like to use up a few odds and ends in the freezer, a few canned goods that have been languishing in the cupboard a bit long, some condiments etc, and then stock the freezer with some more quick meals, soup, chili, pasta sauce, perhaps some meatballs, some oatmeal choc chip cookies etc.

    I try to be good and think what I have in my fridge/freezer before menu planning (when I do it) and/or food shopping. Love when I just need to buy some fresh veggies, fruit, yogurt and milk for the week.
    Last edited by applecrisp; 01-03-2012 at 05:50 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    2,285
    Quote Originally Posted by Alleycat View Post
    Any suggestions for the frozen carrot/pea/corn/green bean mix? My 2 year old isn't "into" veggies much anymore, so no one is willing to eat them. Aside from shepherd's pie, I'm drawing a blank.
    I made this recipe recently, and we all liked it. It makes a ton though, so beware! I was pretty sick of it by day 5 or so. The recipe calls for frozen peas and carrots, but says any frozen vegetables that size will work.

    Chicken and Rice Casserole
    Cook's Illustrated
    Ingredients
    4 tablespoons butter
    1 medium onion, minced
    Salt
    3 medium garlic cloves, chopped fine (about 1 tablespoon)
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
    16 oz bag frozen peas and carrots (any frozen veggies this size are fine)
    8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 recipe toasted bread crumb topping (about 2 ¾ cups)
    3 tablespoons parsley
    Directions:
    Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and cook onions and 1 teaspoon salt until soft and lightly brown (5-7 minutes). Add garlic and cayenne and cook until very fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in flour and stir constantly until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and the cream.
    Add the chicken, partly cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover completely, and cook until the thickest part of the chicken registers 160, 10-15 minutes (or just check to make sure that it’s cooked).
    Remove the chicken and set aside. Stir the rice into the pot, cover, and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid (some remains) and is just tender (20-25 minutes). When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred/cut into bite-size pieces.
    Remove the pot from the heat and stir in chicken, veggies, cheddar, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch casserole, and sprinkle with the topping.
    TO STORE: wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil, and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month (if frozen, thaw in fridge 24 hours before baking). TO SERVE: Put oven wrack in medium position, heat oven to 400, unwrap casserole and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until the casserole is bubbling and hot, 1 hour (I did it for 40 minutes), remove the foil, and bake until the crumbs are crisp, 15 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. TO SERVE RIGHT AWAY: Bake at 400, uncovered, until the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are crisp, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

    Crumb topping:
    Preheat oven to 300. Pulse 4 slices white sandwich bread, quartered, and 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Spread the crumbs in a rimmed baking sheet, and stir once, until golden and dry, 20-30 minutes. Let cool, and toss with 2 tablespoons minced parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    843
    Quote Originally Posted by Alleycat View Post

    Any suggestions for the frozen carrot/pea/corn/green bean mix? My 2 year old isn't "into" veggies much anymore, so no one is willing to eat them. Aside from shepherd's pie, I'm drawing a blank.
    Vegetable soup?
    Vegetable-beef soup?

    I've used up a mix of frozen veggies for both of the above. We like them, but no 2-year-olds here.

  12. #12

    Heath English toffee brickle bits

    I found a package in the cupboard and don't remember why I bought them. Do you have any great cookie recipes using them?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by margeslp View Post
    I found a package in the cupboard and don't remember why I bought them. Do you have any great cookie recipes using them?
    I made cookie dough dip using them! I can post if you are interested!
    Exploring the restaurants in my backyard and cooking up a storm at MassachusEATS!
    http://massachuseats.com/

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by RebelYell18 View Post
    I made cookie dough dip using them! I can post if you are interested!
    Please

  15. #15
    Here you go! Enjoy!

    Cookie Dough Dip
    from: Add a Pinch blog
    http://addapinch.com/cooking/2011/10...gh-dip-recipe/

    1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips)
    1 cup toffee bits

    1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
    2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until well-combined.
    3. Serve with graham crackers or apple wedges.

    I refrigerated it awhile after mixing so the flavors could meld. Take out at least 10 minutes in advance of serving to soften up. Served mine with chocolate graham crackers. YUM
    Last edited by RebelYell18; 02-15-2012 at 12:19 PM.
    Exploring the restaurants in my backyard and cooking up a storm at MassachusEATS!
    http://massachuseats.com/

  16. #16
    Thanks Rebel Yell, crying more. more, more

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