Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Helpful Hints in the Kitchen

Sometimes when I am cooking I have a problem with leftovers.  The problem is not with the finished product, but with the ingredients themselves.  I have tried to save things like chicken broth or wine or tomato paste in the fridge, telling myself that I will use them.  But I don't.  Ever.  My fridge becomes the graveyard of half-used products and opened cans.  This was really brought home after Superstorm Sandy knocked out my power for several days, causing me to throw out the entire contents of my refrigerator and freezer.  I decided at that point that I would keep my fridge spotless from now on (haha) and also find a different method of saving leftover ingredients.

Sitting pretty in my (basically empty) freezer.
So the other day I was maximizing the Thanksgiving leftovers by making Shepherd's Pie with the mashed potatoes and I only needed 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 cup of chicken broth. Which meant that I had 1 cup of chicken broth left over and a whole can, minus 2 TBSP, of tomato paste.  I decided to freeze the broth in my ice cube trays.  We always buy a large bag of ice because we use so much of it.  I only had the trays from when I made baby food for Lilly, and, well, those days are long over.  Then I was hit by genius and decided to measure out and freeze the tomato paste, too.
Frozen chicken broth

Frozen Tomato Paste

My theory is that it can just be popped into the pan, as needed.  I froze mostly 1 teaspoon and some 2 teaspoon portions of the paste and once they were frozen I popped them into a freezer bag.  I was not very exact with the broth.  I simply filled the ice trays and once frozen  popped them into a freezer bag.  I even double bagged them to be safe.  I then labeled the outsides with the date and tossed them back into the freezer.
In the labeled freezer bags, ready for my next cooking adventure!

It really took very little time to do this and I saved money both in not wasting any ingredients this time, and in having them readily available for use in the future.  Who wants to open an entire can of tomato paste for 1 or 2 teaspoons?  I am inspired now to see what else I can save and freeze!  I just have to remember to use it all!


No comments:

Post a Comment