Saturday, December 24

The Freezer: Cooking For One

Cooking for one adds an extra dimension to the difficulty of being frugal. While you want to eat fresh and healthy food you simply can't justify going shopping every single day. However, buying in any quantity forces you to risk throwing out food because you haven't used it all.

One of the best solutions to this problem is the freezer. Meat is one of the few products that can't sit around for week waiting to be cooked and eaten, unless it is frozen. In order to make my life easier in this respect I've bought some of those reusable Ziploc containers.

Now, when I bring home a huge package of ground beef, pork, chicken, turkey or whatever, I simply break it into serving sized pieces and drop them into a bowl. If necessary you can use an erasable marker to write on the bowls, so that you know what each one contains.

This strategy gives you meal sized portions of food in a microwave ready container, so that you can take advantage of larger meat purchases. Obviously, you can also use these bowls for leftovers, which is handy since they can be popped in the microwave anytime. Finally, because every bowl comes with a lid, say goodbye to plastic bags and wraps!

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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a really good idea, I started doing it when I first moved out on my own. It's still very handy when it comes to freezing smaller quantities of food, even with a large family. Bacon especially, that way you can freeze them singally or in small packages. Instead of freezable, microwavable bowls, I use Glad Freezer Press-N-Seal, it's so simple, not that expensive, and can last quite a long time.

Debi said...

Excellent way to save for single folk. When my mother passed away, my dad had a difficult time cooking for himself. Between grief and learning his way around the kitchen, he was resorting to eating almost nothing but take-out, drive-thru and frozen TV dinners. Not exactly the most frugal -- or healthy -- way to eat. I took it upon myself, as I cooked for my family, to take out a single serving and freeze it for my dad. At the end of each week, I'd take him over a grocery bag of homemade freezer meals (often including the main dish and a side or two ... although not salad ... lol). He really appreciated the meals, and it was such a simple thing to do.

Anonymous said...

hi. i like your blog, you have nice ideas i can take...
i am a student and dont have a lot of money, so i have to keep an eye on my budget. so far, and maybe this sounds a bit extreme (it really is not, i'm serious), becoming first vegetarian and then vegan has been very effective when it comes to cheap meals and saving money with food.
i don't pretend to convince everybody to stop eating animals or animal byproducts (which are expensive, as this is the case), but at least you could try some other protein sources, high in quality and flavour. you'll find a bit more money in your pocket the next time you go shoping!
thanx for your ideas once again!

isis

A-Jay said...

Wow going vegetarian for frugality... that's a hard one, but good for you.

Anonymous said...

This was a great idea, at the holiday time meats are so cheap here in Tx. my freezer is stuffed to the gills. no room for even jello.. thanks for the wonderful tips. in each topic..

leslie

Frugal Guy said...

Hi,

Thanks for the great comments, notes and additions.

I know it's a little thing, but not ending up with a 5lb chunk of frozen meat is a big deal!

:)

Ness said...

Totally agree - I find having a few standby meals in the freezer really helps me stay on track with my diet too - less temptation to head out for takeaway because there's nothin gin the house to eat! I've recently been blogging along the same topic.

Melissa said...

Great ideas. However, please do not microwave in plasic! Do a google search on that. Definitely not healthy.

Frugal Guy said...

Melissa, thanks for the note. There is actually a potential concern with respect to plastics and their ability to leech estrogenic factors... but I don't know whether or not the concern is truly justified.

Jan said...

This is when I would like a larger freezer!! Good post.

You may enjoy the helpful hints about freezing individual portions on another blog called Lunch in a Box. The post is at Speed tip: Make individual portions in freezer bags. This helps this single make it easier to remove the small portions.

Even though I don't blog yet, I so appreciate all the info you all share!

Ronan said...

I used to buy nice seedy bread to cut up and freeze, meant you could enjoy fresh slices all week - popped in the toaster while soup cooked, it was v.tasty.

Frugal Guy said...

Jan, Ronan,

Good ideas! I really enjoy heavy and hearty breads -- white bread is a waste of time, in my view.

Ginny said...

I just discovered your blog!! I'm in love! Loved your chat about the freezer. I use my freezer as a closely guarded savings account. I'm cooking for two--my husband and I, on a fairly tight budget. And we eat very healthy. I look for sales and stock up. I'd like to share a couple of healthy frugal ideas.
#1 sprouts--so easy and so delicious and healthy, and very inexpensive. I buy my seeds from Mumms in Canada.

#2 I don't throw anything away. I freeze little bits of various foods because I have a three day rule in the fridge. Then once a week or so I pull a few containers out and-voila--I have the makings for a wonderful soup.

#3 We eat salads every day and if I have greens that need to be used ASAP I freeze them in a gallon plastic bag. And then I crunch them into little pieces in the bag and throw a handfulor two into my soup just before serving. No waste and healthy! I'm linking to you on my blog. Thanks! Ginny

Anonymous said...

First off great blog, i also am new here.

I did love that last comment about greens going bad, because i was just wondering what to do with them.

thanks again.

Frugal Guy said...

Ginny, Anon,

Welcome to the blog... and thanks for adding some more ideas for everyone.