stocking your freezer http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12464/all en-US What to Stock in Your Freezer Before Baby Arrives http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-stock-in-your-freezer-before-baby-arrives <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-stock-in-your-freezer-before-baby-arrives" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stuffed freezer.jpg" alt="Freezer full of food" title="What to Stock in Your Freezer Before Baby Arrives" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have less than two weeks before my baby girl is due, so things are really coming down to the wire. Most of the preparations for the baby are done &mdash; the nursery is decorated, the newborn clothes are washed, the diapers are stashed, and my hospital checklist is taped to the front door. Now, I have the luxury of time to stock up on a supply of food for after the baby arrives. Based on talking to other moms and devouring pretty much every Internet article on the topic, I&rsquo;ve started to organize my freezing frenzy into a few simple categories. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-tips-for-having-a-baby-without-going-broke">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>Proteins</h2> <p>Breastfeeding moms say that high-protein snacks and meals are all-important in those first months when your body is consuming vast amounts of energy to produce milk for your little one. Anticipating this, I&rsquo;m cooking and freezing plenty of protein-rich foods.</p> <p><strong>Bolognese Sauce</strong></p> <p>Cook a big batch of meat sauce and freeze it in individual-size Tupperware or plastic baggies. Stack them in your freezer, and you&rsquo;ll have something quick to microwave and throw on some pasta or even on a slice of toast for a quick protein-rich meal.</p> <p><strong>Quiche</strong></p> <p>Quiches freeze well, and it&rsquo;s pretty easy to make several of them at once. Bake them in individual foil pie pans, and then freeze them for an easy meal. Even your non-cooking partner can figure out how to warm up a quiche in a preheated oven for 25 minutes while baby nurses.</p> <p><strong>Chili</strong></p> <p>A healthy beef or turkey chili, bulked up with beans, freezes really well. Be aware, however, that some babies are sensitive to beans or tomato sauce, so make sure you freeze a variety of foods.</p> <p><strong>Stew</strong></p> <p>When cooking dinner, make a double batch of beef or chicken stew, and freeze leftovers in individual portions.</p> <p><strong>Burritos</strong></p> <p>Make your own gourmet version of frozen burritos for a meal you can grab and eat. Heat them up in the microwave or oven (definitely go for the oven for better-tasting burritos).</p> <h2>Baked Goods</h2> <p>In addition to protein-rich meals, you&rsquo;re going to want snacks throughout the day. Muffins and quick breads freeze well &mdash; just thaw them, and they&rsquo;re just as moist and good as they were when you made them.</p> <p><strong>Muffins</strong></p> <p>Stock up on fiber-rich muffins that are hearty and will fill you up. Oatmeal muffins are a great choice because oatmeal is said to help your breast milk come in. Corn muffins and whole wheat muffins with antioxidant-rich berries are also delicious and healthy.</p> <p><strong>Quick Breads</strong></p> <p>Breads with fruit and vegetables in them will help you get fiber and nutrients and stay moist when frozen. Banana and zucchini bread, as well as carrot cake, are good choices. Cakes made with oil instead of butter are quicker and easier to make big batches of, and are healthier too.</p> <p><strong>Breads</strong></p> <p>Place a few loaves of your favorite sliced bread in the freezer so you don&rsquo;t have to go shopping for it when it runs out. You can thaw the entire loaf, or just pull out a couple frozen slices and pop them in the toaster for a quick <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-update-peanut-butter-and-jelly">PB&amp;J sandwich</a>. You can also freeze your favorite flour tortillas and artisan breads for thawing later. Pre-slice bagels and freeze them so they&rsquo;re ready to be warmed up in the toaster.</p> <p><strong>Granola Bars</strong></p> <p>If you like to make your own granola bars, be sure to freeze a stash of them for a quick postpartum snack. Beef them up with nuts and dried fruit for a more nutritionally complete snack (or meal, in some cases).</p> <p><strong>Cookie Dough</strong></p> <p>Just because you know you&rsquo;re going to miss fresh-baked cookies in those first few weeks.</p> <h2>Soups and Casseroles</h2> <p>Soups and casseroles are great dishes to stock up on because they can be complete meals in one dish. You&rsquo;re likely to receive a lot of lasagnas from helpful friends, so think about other casseroles that you can freeze for a little variety.</p> <p><strong>Soups</strong></p> <p>Pureed soups that are bulked up with a potato or two (and perhaps a smidgen of cream) are filling and healthy. Try a creamy cauliflower soup, leek and potato, butternut squash or pumpkin, lentil soup, or a filling edamame soup. Chowders are also hearty &mdash; try making an easy corn chowder with cream of corn, bacon or ham, veggies, and chunks of potato. Freeze them in individual-sized containers for easy reheating. I run them under the hot water tap for a minute, pop the frozen soup into a saucepan, and heat it up on the stove.</p> <p><strong>Casseroles</strong></p> <p>Tuna casserole, chicken and rice, shepherd&rsquo;s pie, baked ziti with sausage &mdash; these dishes are entire meals in one dish.</p> <h2>Store-Bought Frozen Foods</h2> <p>I&rsquo;d love to be able to stock my entire freezer with homemade foods, but given that D-day could come along any time now, I made a run to Costco and a few of my favorite grocery stores to stock up on premade frozen items.</p> <p><strong>Frozen Ravioli and Tortellini</strong></p> <p>Big bags of frozen stuffed <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oodles-of-noodles-25-ways-to-prepare-pasta">pasta</a> are cheap and easy to cook &mdash; they cook even faster than dried pasta and because they&rsquo;re stuffed, they don&rsquo;t need a whole lot more other than a jar of sauce.</p> <p><strong>Frozen Meatballs and Sausages</strong></p> <p>Precooked meatballs are a favorite in our house because all you have to do is thaw them and throw them in some sauce. Sausages, even uncooked ones, are also easy to cook once thawed &mdash; 12 minutes in a covered skillet with a bit of water and the bratwurst is ready. I separate the meatballs and sausages into meal-size portions in plastic baggies for the freezer. To thaw them quickly, I submerge the plastic bag in a cold water bath.</p> <p><strong>Frozen Vegetables</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;d prefer a fresh salad every time, but in a pinch, good quality frozen veggies can be steamed, stir-fried, or tossed with some pasta. No grocery store trip required.</p> <p><strong>Frozen Dumplings</strong></p> <p>Whether it&rsquo;s a giant bag of potstickers or simple cheese and potato pierogies, dumplings are just as good after they&rsquo;ve been frozen. Steam or fry them, and add a salad or some steamed veggies for a quick meal.</p> <p><strong>Burgers</strong></p> <p>Get your partner into the habit of grilling you a meal by stocking hamburgers, salmon burgers, and veggie burgers in the freezer.</p> <p><em>What quick meals do you have stocked in your freezer?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-stock-in-your-freezer-before-baby-arrives">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-stuff-and-coupons-for-new-parents">Free Stuff and Coupons for New Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-rules-thatll-save-you-big-in-babys-first-year">5 Money Rules That&#039;ll Save You Big in Baby&#039;s First Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers">5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes">9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Hot Breakfast Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-dinner-stress-pay-someone-to-plan-your-meals">Avoid Dinner Stress: Pay Someone to Plan Your Meals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Food and Drink baby make ahead meals new parents stocking your freezer Mon, 12 Mar 2012 10:48:20 +0000 Camilla Cheung 909889 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Money at the Butcher's http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-butchers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-money-at-the-butchers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/449275825_7988a06e2f.jpg" alt="butcher shop" title="butcher shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might be aware of the local butcher shop but hadn't given much thought to ever stopping by to check out what they have to offer. Recently, we moved into a new house that is within walking distance of the local meat shop, one which I have never shopped in before. What I found there was quite surprising. It turned out to be good for my wallet and my freezer. If you opt to buy your meats at the grocery or super store, not only are you missing out on savings, you may be missing out on quality.</p> <h2>Check Price by Pound</h2> <p>When you are price checking between regular packages and that special &quot;family saver&quot; larger package, make sure you are checking out the price per pound and not relying solely on the total price. In some cases, the regular packet is cheaper than the family pack. You can buy multiple packs of the smaller size for less than the supposed family saver packages.</p> <h2>Cut to Order</h2> <p>A butcher shop gives its customers so many more options for meats than just prepackaged, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. For instance, you can save up to $2 a pound on boneless pork chops by purchasing a whole boneless roast. The butcher can then slice the roast into chops suitable for your family dinner. Additionally, butchers can cut out your work time by providing other services like trimming the fat from meats, slicing or grinding meat, and then repackaging it to be freezer-ready &mdash; at no additional charge.</p> <h2>Ask for Substitutions</h2> <p>You can find additional savings in the meat shop by deferring to your butcher for recommendations on meat substitutions for your favorite dinners. Often, they can recommend a less expensive cut of meat, an alternative meat, or a new way to prepare a tired dish. For the adventurous, you can also get expert advice on less pricey cuts of meat that do not look appealing to the eye but are more than acceptable for your stomach. You may not know that some of the most flavorful meats are those that you may not normally look at twice.</p> <h2>Know Your Labels</h2> <p>When shopping for meats outside of the butcher shop, make sure you don't look just for designer labels. The only sticker you should concern yourself with besides the price is the tag from the USDA. Look for meats with &quot;Quality Grade&quot; stickers. You should also understand what the other labels mean to your mouth and your wallet. For example, &quot;prime&quot; is the best cut and the most expensive. The next cut is &quot;choice,&quot; then &quot;select,&quot; followed by &quot;standard.&quot;</p> <p>It is also key to remember that even if a label proclaims the meat to be 100% natural, it is likely that it has still been injected with something unnatural, such as carbon monoxide, to keep the meat from turning brown. Read the ingredients label to see what else is in your meat product.</p> <h2>Choose Fresh</h2> <p>Never go for meats based on price. Grocery stores typically will place the nearly-expired meats at the lowest prices. It is a good choice if you plan on cooking the meats immediately. But if you are looking for the freshest cuts, select the packages furthest from the front and stacked at the bottom of the pile.</p> <p>A trip to the meat market can be much less expensive and much tastier than what you find in your usual grocery store. Don't be afraid to ask questions for a better idea of how to stock your freezer. Also, inquire about meat packages some butcher sell specifically for the freezer. You can select from several packages that are cut, packaged, and freezer-ready to keep your freezer stocked for all your cooking needs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-at-the-butchers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-grocery-store-secrets-only-the-pros-know">10 Grocery Store Secrets Only the Pros Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/negotiate-better-prices-on-these-6-grocery-store-buys">Negotiate Better Prices on These 6 Grocery Store Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-tasty-ways-to-use-chicken-stock">25 Tasty Ways to Use Chicken Stock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-save-with-amazon-prime-pantry">Can You Really Save With Amazon Prime Pantry?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping beef butcher chicken grocery store meats stocking your freezer Mon, 13 Sep 2010 13:00:12 +0000 Tisha Tolar 232846 at http://www.wisebread.com