At long last, we are the proud owners of a GE 7.0 cubic square foot chest freezer! Isn’t it just splendid and gorgeous?
The only little glitch in the design that I didn’t notice/think about before we bought it is the fact that the temperature controls are right at crawling baby level. Fortunately, we won’t have to worry about that for a good while yet, but we will want to devise a way to cover them up once he becomes independently mobile, because it would be a disaster if he turned the dial down and an entire freezer full of food spoiled.
All that aside, we’ve got big plans for this thing. If you don’t have a newborn in the house or on the way, this will be a bit of an over share, but one reason we bit the bullet and bought it was for breast milk storage. But that’s only going to take up a small portion of the room in there; likely in the two baskets that came with it.
The main attraction will be half a hog and an eighth of a steer. We’ve been wanting to buy bulk meat from a farmer for years now. It’s important to know where your meat comes from, and we like to support the raisers/growers of our food as directly as possible, as much as possible. The cost savings is pretty good too. For one cash outlay, you’ve got enough meat to last you a year. No worries about prices fluctuating beyond your budget or running out to the store. For the hog, we plan to get most of the meat ground, but we’re going to get a couple of roasts out of the shoulder, some ribs, pork chops, ham, belly (to make our own bacon and pancetta) and a couple of hocks for soups. The steer will be a good split between ground and roasts, with some steaks and soup bones thrown in. We’re also thinking about getting some whole chickens as well.
I’m also excited to be able to put up some freezer dinners to prepare for the baby’s arrival. It’ll be so nice to have prepackaged home cooked meals that all we have to do is heat up. There are a few family favorites that I’m going to do in the next few weeks –
Super-Pumpkin Pumpkin Bread (in mini loaves)
Looks like I need to post our recipes for Norwegian Meatballs and Meatloaf too. They’re really good, so I’ll try to get those online soon. I also thought I’d browse the internet to see if there were other good meals I might like to freeze, and I found a couple I might try out –
Party Meatballs (basically sweet and sour meatballs – one of husband’s aunts make a similar version that’s really good)
Taco Filled Pasta Shells (I’ll probably omit the cream cheese from this recipe – that just seems a little weird to me)
I’m also thinking about doing up some shredded chicken and chicken stock. Shredded chicken is great to have on hand, because you can do so many things with it – add it to salads, soups, pasta or casseroles. Or even mix it with a little barbecue sauce for a simple sandwich. And we can never have to much chicken stock at our house.
I’ve got a few packages of disposable metal baking pans with paper lids in the cupboard that will be perfect for most of it, as well as gallon sized freezer bags. I need to get some pint sized freezer bags for smaller portions, as well some kind of container that would work for soup, since I can’t spare any of my quart canning jars for the freezer this year. And I’ve got a roll of freezer labels around the house here somewhere; I just have to remember where I stashed them.
So, it’ll be a little work in the kitchen and a little up front expense from the bank account, but it will be so worth it to have a good chunk of our groceries squirreled away. I’m excited about filling it up as soon as possible!