Monday, March 5, 2012

Half-Eaten Bowls of Chicken Soup, and The Wonders of a Deep Freeze

All week, various members of our family have battled a stomach bug of some sort.  It has hit us in different ways, at different times, but it's really all the same - nasty.  When I think of food, the only thing that sounds like it could remotely be good, is soup, and preferably a pretty mild version of chicken noodle.  Thankfully, yesterday I had everything in my freezer ready to make a stomach soothing version, and though most of us only got half a bowl down, at least it was something, and at least it wasn't from a can, or Chick-Fil-A.  Thank you, deep freeze.
About three years ago, my husband decided that if he was going to ask me to join him in entertaining/hosting/hospitality adventures constantly, he would need to make it very easy for me as the keeper of the house and kitchen.  Smart.  :)  So, we purchased a deep freezer from Sams, put it in the basement, and have never looked back.  Last week, it was full to overflowing with bags of cupcakes in preparation for his surprise graduation party (more on that later), and the week before that I had spent the better part of a day after grocery shopping, preparing bags and containers of food, which represent quick dinners in the midst of homework, piano practice, and play-dough fun after school, not to mention showers & chores!  Here's a quick run down of what I filled the freezer with, plus my super easy chicken noodle soup recipe:

 Roasted tomatoes I bought on sale at Homeland, (see this post) - can you tell by the pan that I kinda forgot about them in the oven?  No matter - better flavor!  ;)

 I took advantage of the $1.99lb sale on organic roasting chickens Whole Foods had that week, and purchased 4.  Two I used for dinner that night, as it was a very special occasion - we were sending Dad off to defend the thesis he'd been writing for the past year!  (My first time to ever roast chicken!).  The other two chickens I shredded after boiling them for about an hour, and strained the broth to save for soup and other things...
 Here's one pan of shredded chicken.  I froze it for about an hour, then scraped it into a large zipper bag to save in the freezer for soup, casserole, and maybe even chicken salad sometime soon!

 Okay, you're right, this fruit didn't go into the freezer, but I did take the time to wrap it in tissue before I put it in the drawer in the fridge.  Your fruit will last longer if it isn't touching each other, and since most of this fruit was to be used over the next two weeks, and some for even longer down the road, I didn't want to take any chances with it!

 That day we had tacos for lunch, which I made with some of the hamburger meat I was cooking with chopped onion to freeze.  There was leftover seasoned meat, so I quickly made and wrapped up some soft tacos to freeze for lunchboxes later on.  The rest of the cooked meat, I left unseasoned (except for the onion), and froze just like the chicken, on trays for awhile, and then in bags.  That meat can be used for tacos, spaghetti, pizza, or something else later on.

 I typically buy a half gallon of buttermilk when I'm doing a big shopping trip, to use for pancakes or desserts, but even though I love it, I don't go through it very quickly.  I froze three cups for later use, so none would go bad!

Crest had begun their annual anniversary sale when I was there, so they had some of their meat marked down.  I bought two large packages of pork chops, because one of my girls loves breaded pork chops!  I went ahead and breaded them according to my favorite recipe from Cooks Illustrated, with flour and dijon and egg whites, and toasted bread crumbs and garlic, and flash froze these as well - before I put them in bags for the freezer.  Two meals plus leftovers for lunches!

Along with these, I have sandwich bread, frozen veggies and blueberries in the freezer, and even cheese I bought on sale, to save for a pizza night later in the month.

The recipe for chicken soup, from the top of my head:
4-5 cups of thawed chicken broth (I use the microwave, and my handy "defrost soup" button!)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t rosemary
2 bay leaves
leaves from celery stalks
Set on high heat, and cover for 20 minutes.
Broth should be boiling, so add the following:
2 cups chopped chicken, from the freezer
2 cups frozen corn
about 1/2 cup macaroni noodles, or whatever other noodle you have on hand
Cover pot and bring to boil in about 5 minutes, then turn down heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes longer, or until ready to eat!

No comments:

Post a Comment