Wow, the past week was a very ordinary and ‘normal’ week. Nothing much exciting happening other than getting some time to finish up the deck by building a new set of stairs, and clearing up the garage.
Of course, plenty of time is spent with the family, reminding the kids about homework, working, and commuting. Again, nothing titillating or new. Most families do this every day. Just a normal week.
I do like to explore new ways of cooking and using my Traeger grill. A few of the great outdoor chefs I follow have excellent videos on Youtube. Yes, perhaps not the most exciting way to spend my time, but I want to learn. A couple of cool guys you need to check out Kent Rollins (aka Cowboy Kent Rollins) and Matt Pittman (aka Meat Church).
I should probably mention that my cool nephew recently became a dad, and last week they had the christening of their daughter. And, to surprise all the guests, they got married. Such a great story and all the best wishes to the new family.
The Glory of Leftovers
The beauty of making food at home comes in many disguises.
Firstly, you get to play with all the adult gear in the kitchen, stuff that you wanted to stay miles clear of when you were a kid. Boring things like pots, appliances, spices, and produce.
Secondly, you pick up on your recipe reading skills and start seeing patterns when cooking certain types of dishes.
Thirdly, you get to “travel” the world as you explore kitchens from around the world.
Despite all these learnings, I still have some problems measuring out the right portion sizes while cooking. I look at a recipe and think “we need to add a little extra meat or vegetables”, only to discover that we have plenty of leftovers.
And that is the fourth benefit of home-cooking. You have leftovers that can feed the family in the future if you have a busy week. Or, if you just want to clear out the freezer like we do once every two months.
A Freezing Story
Believe it or not, the actual freezer did not appear on the world stage until after WW2. It is hard to fathom that something as vital to the modern kitchen has only been on the market for less than 80 years. It goes to show we can still invent something and humans are amazing.
Refrigerators are a little older than freezers, but still rather young inventions. We would not be able to produce and consume so much food as we are today, without these two technologies.
Commercial freezers can reach much colder temperatures, and use various techniques to do what’s called ‘deep freeze’. It is essentially a method that freezes the product solid, giving it a longer ‘life’.
Freezers and refrigerators are essential to preserving food a little longer, storing food so it does not spoil, and helping us to eat healthier.
Life before technologies
Very few people remember a time before refrigerators, but back in history, people came up with alternative methods of cooling food to prevent it from going bad and to keep it for a few days longer. Storing food cool slows down the organic breakdown process, but it also helps families have to hunt/gather less.
By hunting less, people could learn new skills and explore the world better. They optimized hunting techniques, or even more comfortable with cooking over the fire, and allowed them to move into farming.
People would leverage water streams to keep food cool. Dig deeper into the caves where it was cool and dark, and in some parts of the world, they enforced these cooling rooms to prevent other animals from stealing their food.
As people evolved, the iceboxes were introduced, in the more modern history of course, where people would place ice in wooden boxes, and then store food in there. As you can imagine, this can be messy with meltwater, and you constantly have to purchase ice – and where did all the ice come from?
Today, our kitchen and food habits are built around freezers. Families are spending a lot of money on freezer meals, and food companies use deep freeze technologies to make food last longer.
Refrigerators and freezers are part of every household today. These kitchen appliances have evolved a lot in the last decade, although I find the older units last longer than the more modern units. It must be all the odd computer stuff that fail easier than the good old energy-hungry units.
Is it safe to freeze and store food for longer periods
I know there are scientific calculations and recommendations for how long you can store food safely in your freezer. Despite the fact that you are freezing meals and meat, the natural process for ‘dead’ organic stuff continues. Food will continue to deteriorate further while in the freezer, at a much slower pace.
Sure, you can’t keep food in the freezer forever, but certainly longer than what some people suggest. It all depends on the freezer you have, the food you freeze, and how you package it.
You need to make sure that your food is stored in sealed freezer bags, tightly sealed storage containers or vacuum-sealed bags.
I use containers and store-bought freezer bags for short-term freezer storage.
I can highly recommend investing in a vacuum sealer from Weston. not the industry version, but the consumer version. That sucker will suck out moist air from the bag and reduce the likelihood of food getting spoiled in the freezer.
Do not attempt to use the vacuum sealer for soups, chili-con-carne, bread, or other liquidy or pastry foods. The vacuum sealer will attempt to remove the air and will draw the soups to the opening and you will have it all over your sealer and kitchen counter – I speak from experience LOL!
Time to get cooking
Cooking is perhaps not the best phrase for this week’s meal plan. It’ll be sandwiches and defrosting meals.
I have “found” a couple of meals in the freezer that I forgot to label. It’ll be a nice surprise for the family when we defrost these meals, and hopefully, they are nice meals.
Our youngest daughter has requested pasta and meat sauce, which is nice and easy to make.
I might make a lasagne for the family too. it’s a nice dinner and you can load it with vegetables that are close to expiring.
So, less cooking this week, but we will have an opportunity to free up some freezer space and clear out produce that is almost gone.
This is a valuable method for making money and food last longer. Make dishes that use leftovers and fewer fresh vegetables.
Fire up the Traeger. Ready your Dutch oven. Go shopping, and let’s start cooking—another Sunday in the Kitchen with music on the magical Demerbox and wonderful aromas filling the room.
|Weekday||Snacks n’ Breakfasts||Lunch||Dinner|
|Monday||Fruit cups||Turkey sandwich with melted cheese||Surprise freezer meal #1 with boiled rice|
|Tuesday||Brownies||Egg mufffins with peperroni||Spaghetti with meat sauce|
|Wednesday||Veggie sticks||Melted cheese sandwich||Surprise freezer meal #2 with salad|
|Thursday||Crackers||Tuna salad with crackers||Meat lasagne with vegetables|
|Friday||Veggie sticks||Probably a sandwich with eggs||Traeger Grilling feast|
One day, I might get so organized that I will link the meals below to my recipes. We can only live in hope!
Have a fantastic week, my friends. I hope you enjoy these meal plans. It is so much easier to make food in advance, although you need to invest several hours during the weekend to prepare the meals.
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