When Bad Freezers Happen to Good People

by Katy on May 31, 2011 · 17 comments

If you came to my house, I would proudly show you the organized beauty that defines my closets, the non-junkiness of my kitchen junk drawer as well as my hat and scarf organizational system. Heck, I’d even show you my underwear drawer! But the one place I would bar you from would be my kitchen freezer. Long a repository of bread ends, slimy banana halves and mystery whatnot, it has now officially reached the point of maximum mayhem. I have no idea what’s in there, and frankly I’m scared to find out.

Anyone in the mood for a little sub-zero spelunking?

Luckily, the task of eating through one’s freezer can be spread out over a couple of weeks, which is why I took the first step and prepared a big ol’ pot of chicken soup. I have started keeping a large plastic container in the freezer, to which I add dribs and drabs of food that would other wise go bad. (I got this idea from readers!) And this soup was entirely concocted from said dribs/drabs.

Chicken bones, carrots, chopped potatoes, rice and even some jicama.

A couple of hours later I had a hearty pot of soup, (to which I added dumplings) as well as some happy kids.


The finished product.

Next in line to get eaten up from the freezer are the three or four half-empty bags of corn tortillas, (I’m thinking enchiladas!) And when I mentioned to my husband that we were overly flush with bread crusts, he was quick to scream the word “meatballs!” which truly put me over the moon, as this dinner is one of only two meals that my husband can cook, (the other being teriyaki chicken.) Cause let me tell ya’, my favorite meal is always other people’s cooking. And if we create a little elbow room in the freezer by preparing said meal, I consider that to be better than a night on the town.

Yeah, I’m a cheap date. But you already knew that.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Kate May 31, 2011 at 4:27 am

I can totally relate. I have been working on not replenishing the freezer. I never did get it defrosted last winter.


HeatherS May 31, 2011 at 5:01 am

I feel much better this morning knowing that it’s not just my freezer that looks like that. Yesterday something fell out and just missed my foot when I opened the door. Guess it’s time for a little clean out here too!


Lizzie May 31, 2011 at 5:40 am

Freezers! They are the origin of entropy if you ask me. This weekend, I took an hour to actually pull everything out and inventory my freezer. I posted a list on the freezer door of everything that’s in there in 4 categories: fruit, veg, meat, meals. (Meals = food I’ve prepped, not processed food as the name might suggest. E.g. leftover chili) Everything is listed with a quantity and when I use something up, I cross it off. It’s part of my effort to “eat down” the freezer this month, and it makes it easier to “see” what’s in there. I’m not very consistent about using this method – this is an exercise I undertake a few times a year – but I really should take it on as a normal part of life. I’ve found it to be really handy.


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl May 31, 2011 at 5:47 am

This is funny…my 365 post today is about my husband cooking!


No Debt MBA May 31, 2011 at 6:09 am

We definitely make time to have a few “clean the fridge out” meals every few weeks. It’s easier if you stay on top of it and fortunately neither of us mind a couple of funky combinations in our meals occasionally.


Tina (Tightwad Mom) May 31, 2011 at 7:21 am

Sad thing is I am working my way through a large stand up freezer! I’m trying to use up last year’s garden bounty, so I can add this year’s garden produce. Plus, I went freezer jam crazy last year, and still have 30 pints of assorted freezer jam to use (Oops)! PB and J, anyone? I do have to say my fridge freezer is stuffed full of hot dogs, right now. I currently have 30 packages stacked in there. No, I am not a creepy processed meat collector; I bought them for $.98 a package for Oscar Mayer hot dogs and my neighbor and I are hosting a 4th of July block party/ Bar B Q. There will be about a bazillion kids there, so I figure the stash will go down considerably on the 4th (if not my family will be eating Beanie Weenies for about two weeks straight ;))!


sandy May 31, 2011 at 10:01 am

Homemade jam is also great on ice cream and pancakes and in smoothies. Heat it to make a sauce for just about any dessert.


Claire June 1, 2011 at 8:23 am

Also buy or make natural yogurt and swirl a few teaspoons of jam through. It will taste just like the posh store bought stuff.


Alicen May 31, 2011 at 9:44 am

Your post made me smile. I noticed as I was pulling a couple things out of the freezer last night that I have almost an entire shelf of our side-by-side freezer devoted to stale bread and rolls. I should definitely whir them up into bread crumbs and make them easily used. Otherwise they’ll probably hit the bin in 6 months when I get around to cleaning out the freezer well.


Darcidoodle May 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I’m eating down my freezer, too! I’ve got lots of bits and pieces and parts of meals and it’s been fun to make up meals based on what I have on hand. Of course, I’m doing it to save money, but I also hear that we’ll EVENTUALLY have nice weather here in PDX, and I’ve got to have room for my Kitchenaid ice cream maker! Bacon ice cream anyone? 🙂


Tracy May 31, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Ha ha….We just cleaned out our chest freezer (garage) and the side by side (kitchen). We ate plenty of leftovers during the week. My hubby and kids call it “freezer burnt surprise”…terrible name but they still ate it. I like to cook dry beans and brown rice in large quantities for quick meals when I really don’t feel like cooking….thawing is not cooking to me. I make a burrito mix 1 jar beans (any kind will do) one jar brown rice and some ground beef with taco seasoning. My kids will put some in a tortilla with grated cheese and my husband and I will put some on salad for a “taco salad”. Quick and easy meal.


Indy May 31, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I’m doing the same thing. I just used up some leftover ground chicken and rice from last week, and a nappa cabbage to make an asian inspired dish with a bit of frozen minced ginger,soy sauce, and oyster sauce it’s pretty good.

I’ll be having left over perogies and leftover marinara tomorrow for dinner. I’ll be making broth with all the left over vegetable bits I store away in my freezer too. I make it very concentrated and freeze it in an ice cube tray for later meals.


Practical Parsimony May 31, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Katy, my freezer over the refrigerator is worse than my Shelf of Shame on my blog–spices all over. The freezer stuff falls in an avalanche on me and floor. Ex bf comes up once a week to help me with yard and heavy work. Often, when he is indoors, he hears me scream and runs in as I shriek his name. Yes, he knows the freezer stuff has attacked me again. He arrives to find me pressed against the appliance with food trapped between me and refrigerator door. He pulls all the food out from waist and chest and refrigerator and gets the stuff I caught with my chin and crooks of my elbows. At least YOU have that nice little shelf. Mine is just a cavern up there. And, most things stored in the freezer are not box-like so they stay in well.

The only way I was able to clean out that freezer was to have him stand nearby. We relayed food from freezer/to me/to him/to counter while I tried to hold back the avalance with the other arm and hand.

What I had was a refrigerator on the bottom, bought in 1967. I want another. It at least has a basket so things won’t fall out. If I were flush with money, this thing would go to the basement and I would get the $2000 one I want. Not happening soon.

My upright freezer with shelves is so much easier to manage. But, it is too far away in the house to be handy to use. I just transfer things back and forth between the two.

I do feel your pain.


Tracy Balazy May 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm

The only old, weird thing in my freezer right now is a freezer-burned package of wheat pita bread. I keep debating whether I should eat it, (but I know it’s passed its prime and will have a weird, soggy texture when it thaws), tear it up for the birds, or compost it. The Lebanese bakeries around my house don’t use preservatives, which is why I buy these, so they’ve got to be eaten fresh or frozen right away; they don’t keep well in the pantry or in the refrigerator.

The only other things in my freezer are the terra cotta wine chiller I got at a garage sale for a buck and which works nicely for white wine, and three pints of Ben & Jerry’s. My husband and I go in streaks where ice cream is concerned, and right now, we’re not turning the suggested four servings into one as we sometimes do.

Other than ice cream, we don’t buy frozen food, and I don’t freeze leftovers. We cook from scratch, but even if we’ve overdone it and made an enormous pot of soup or chili, I’ll just keep eating it until it’s gone. For some reason, I have a weird phobia about freezing food. I feel like it’s going to come out flat and tasteless. Neurotic, I know.


Claire June 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

Try fattoush salad – it’s Lebanese and uses pitta bread brushed with oil and garlic and roasted in the oven. Then tossed into a salad with onions, tomatoes, red onion, salad leaves, parsley, lemon and olive oil.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary June 1, 2011 at 5:29 am

We recently did a partial freezer cleanout (eat-out, I should say) in order to make room for ICE CREAM! We don’t eat much ice cream in the winter, but as soon as the weather changes we eat out of the freezer and then re-fill it with ice cream. Happy Day!


Paula in the UP June 1, 2011 at 1:48 pm

My hubby does all the grilling, so in summer I plan LOTS of grilled meals! As much as I like to cook, I like having the break and also less dishes to be done!


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