I seem to spend a large portion of my life keeping track of food.
How much food is in the fridge? How is the food doing in the garden? Is there food in the pantry? Writing missing food down on lists. Keeping track of where that food list is in the house. What will I make for food today? When’s the last time I pooped out my food?
It’s time consuming. So a few days ago I figured I should do something, anything, to cut down on the amount of time I spend keeping track of food.
I did that, by … keeping track of food.
Whenever I make meals, I often have food leftover. A lot of people with only one or two people in the household see this as a problem. They think this is one of the downfalls of cooking for one. The fact that one person can’t eat a whole pan of lasagna.
Those people are stupid.
First of all, one person can totally eat a whole pan of lasagna, and the fact that you think you can’t really means you think you shouldn’t which proves you are a person of superior willpower. Good for you.
Second of all, a whole pan of lasagna never needs to be wasted, it needs to be frozen!
Cooking for one or two is the best thing EVER because you almost always have leftovers. And if you have even just 3 or 4 braincells remaining after a day at work you should have the mental capacity to remember to freeze the leftovers.
My one piece of advice with freezing leftovers? Do it RIGHT AWAY. Do not stick the leftovers back in the fridge, click your heels and walk away thinking “I‘ll take care of those tomorrow“. Because you won’t. They will get pushed further and further back into the abyss of the refrigerator until one day, 7 years from now you’ll look behind that jar of sweet pickles to discover something that’s now fur covered and has almost mastered the basics of language.
So the freezing of leftovers I’ve had down pat for a while. I even threw them into the same general area of the freezer so I knew where to root around if I didn’t feel like making dinner.
But my method seemed inefficient. I know this because I found a container of frozen pizza sauce dated 2001 last week. (that’s another tip, write the date you packaged the item with a Sharpie on your Foodsaver bag, freezer bag, mason jar or tupperware container)
So, even though it was a pajama day, I threw on my shoes and ran to the Dollar Store to pick up some containers for organizing. I pretty much blended into the rest of the Dollar Store shoppers pajama outfits.
This is what I ended up with.
In the main portion of my freezer (I have a small upright freezer in my mudroom, but this method can be used with any regular refrigerator freezer) I labelled bins for the various meats I keep on hand. Steaks, Ground beef, Chicken, Roasts.
For the freezer door I bought small plastic bins and put them in the door shelves. I have no idea what idiot thinks these door shelves should be designed like an enormous hole with a single inch wide bar holding everything in place, but as I said … those people are idiots. Unless you have a large carton, things inevitably slip out and crash onto the floor.
On each bin I’ve attached a note that says what’s in that specific bin and how much. When I take something out and scarf it down, I cross it off the list. When I add something new to the bin (like I did yesterday with Curried Cauliflower Soup) I write it on the list.
Not only are my leftovers easy to find, I know at all times exactly what I have in there.
I don’t mean to brag but I feel like a better person than everyone else now. I walk among the rest of you with the knowledge I am … s l i g h t l y … better. And with a few bins, a pen and a piece of paper you can be better too.
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