freezing

All posts tagged freezing

Utilizing Your Ice Cube Trays

Published February 14, 2013 by jenmatteson

Do you ever need just a little of something, but don’t know what to do with the rest?  It happens to me all the time with tomato paste.  Recipes frequently call for 1-2 tbsp at a time, but not an entire can.  I don’t want a bunch of open cans in my fridge, or the stress of trying to use it up before it goes bad.  So, this is a wonderful alternative!  Spoon it out into ice cube trays.  Once they are frozen, pop them out and place them in a zip top freezer bag.  Viola!  When you need just a little, you’re all set.
Freezing tomato paste in ice cube trays

Freezing tomato paste

You can use this trick with many things other than just tomato paste.  Here is a list of great ways to use this same strategy:

  • Homemade Pesto: I made a huge batch last summer and froze it in ice cube trays.
  • Chipotle in Adobo: Be sure to blend or chop the chipotle, otherwise you might not get some pepper in all the cubes.
  • Coffee: Makes for great iced coffee.  Also, I just read this great blog post from my friend, Ashley, who uses these cubes in after dinner drinks.  My coffee-cube after dinner drink is an adapted version of her recipe.  Genius!
  • Leftover Herbs: Chop up, place in trays and fill with water to stock/broth.  Add to soups, sauces and stir fries.
  • Leftover Wine: But seriously, what is that?
  • Stocks/Broths: Great to add to many dishes for extra flavor.
  • Fresh Squeezed Juice: Perfect for when you need 1 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • Heavy Cream and Buttermilk: Great for that little leftover you couldn’t use up before it goes bad.  You won’t be able to whip heavy cream once it’s been frozen, but you can still use it in sauces and baking.
  • Fresh Berries: Freeze fresh berries with a bit of water to throw into drinks and smoothies.

Here’s another helpful tip when using your cubes:

  • 1 cube = 2 tbsp
  • 2 cubes = 1/4 cup
  • 4 cubes = 1/2 cup
  • 8 cubes = 1 cup

What do you like to use your ice cube trays for?

Bacon Blues?

Published July 7, 2012 by jenmatteson

Who doesn’t love bacon?  Seriously.  I generally try to eat healthy, but there are some things that are just better with bacon.  There really is no substitute.  Have you ever tried turkey bacon?  If not, don’t bother.  It really doesn’t even come close to bacon as a substitute.

One thing that isn’t so awesome about bacon is that it splatters grease everywhere when you fry it; it gets all over your stove top, countertops, sometimes even on you.  I hate frying bacon.  But a great way to cook it without the hassle is in the oven.  If you place the bacon strips on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until it reaches desired crispness.  Viola!  Less mess, less grease, and perfectly cooked, crisp bacon.

Another thing that is not always so great about bacon is the way it’s packaged.  If we are eating bacon, we are eating maybe 4-6 slices at a time.  Well, have you ever tried to take just a few slices off a slab of frozen bacon?  You really can’t without destroying the bacon slices, or completely unthawing the entire slab.  If you take an extra 5 minutes when you get your bacon home from the grocery store to separate and freeze the strips, then you’ll be able to grab just one or two slices at a time when you’re ready to use.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.  Lay strips of bacon in a single layer on wax paper and freeze.

Once bacon is frozen, about one hour, you can just peel each strip off the wax paper, throw in a gallon sized zip-top bag, and boom!  Bacon at your fingertips in an instant.

What’s your best time-saving tip in the kitchen?

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