I haven’t been able to set aside five seconds to get any freezer cooking done over the last few months, but I do like to try to be as efficient as possible when I am in the kitchen. It’s pretty rare that I make a single batch of anything. I like to be able to throw an extra meal or side dish in the freezer, just by doubling the amount of ingredients I am already chopping or measuring. Cleaning up once and eating twice is amazing!
I have also started going to the gym in the afternoon (which I swore to holy heck in a hand basket I would never do), so my time to get dinner on the table is very limited. It helps so much to be able to pull something quick out of the freezer that isn’t a pizza.
I picked up two 10-pound bags of russet potatoes at Yoke’s about a month ago for just $.68 each and knew I needed to put them to good use. I used one entire bag to make a batch of these yummy Oven Fries. I was able to get three freezer bags of french fries from one bag, which means I paid just $.68 for all of them!
Scrub, wash and cut the potatoes into 1/2″ fries. Toss them with olive oil (or coconut oil if you just love it that much), salt and a pinch or two of sugar. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or olive oil and bake fries in single layer for 20 minutes at 475 degrees.
When fries are cool, flash freeze them on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes. Place them in labeled freezer bags. When you are ready to eat, spread on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes at 450 degrees.
Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock
I roasted a whole chicken last week and saved the carcass and all the bones (and goopy extras) in the fridge. I have made chicken stock on the stove top, but wanted to try it in the crockpot this time. Pretty sure I will never do it any other way.
I threw the carcass, about 4 cups of water (enough to cover), one medium diced onion, three peeled and crushed garlic cloves, a pinch or two of salt and a handful of fresh dill in the crockpot. Set it on high for five hours (or you could do low for 6-8 hours) and let it sit and sit and sit.
When the stock was done, I scooped out all the solids I could snag and threw the entire pot in the fridge. The next morning, all the fat had risen to the top and was close to solid, so I just scooped out what I could. The final step I took was to run the stock through a fine mesh strainer and DONE. One 4-pound chicken carcass yielded five cups of delicious stock. Super easy.
Peppermint Fudge Cookies
I LOVE to bake and love handing out cookies and desserts to neighbors, family, my husband’s coworkers. It seems like there is always something coming up where I need to send dessert or something yummy and I don’t always have the time to throw something together. This year I got smart.
I was dying to make these Peppermint Fudge Cookies again this year and decided to make a double batch. I cooked up a few baking sheets of cookies, but then flash froze the rest of the dough. I rolled it into balls, placed about 1/2″ apart on a baking sheet and froze for about 30 minutes. After they were done, I threw them in a labeled freezer bag and now I can just pop a few out to bake when needed (or to eat frozen, whatever). Make one big batch and clean once. Brilliant.
What do you find helps keep you sane and efficient this time of year? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!