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Freezer Tips

Apple Pie

When you have apples for baking pies but don’t think that you will be able to use them before they start to spoil, try this idea: Peel the apples and slice them. Add sugar and cinnamon as well as…

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Basil-Seasoned Oil

When I have a bunch of fresh basil that I can’t use right away, I finely chop the extra, stir it into some oil and freeze the mixture. When I’d like to use the basil-seasoned oil in a recipe, I…

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Berry Flats

I like to store foods in my chest freezer, but I’m not very tall, so it’s hard to reach the items at the bottom…then I had a brain wave. Each year, I buy berries in bulk from local farms…

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Casserole for Two

Cooking for two can be a challenge, but I discovered a simple way to reduce the number of servings in some casseroles. If the recipe calls for a 13- x 9-inch baking dish, I reduce the ingredients…

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Color-Coded Containers

To keep the foods in my freezer organized, I use color-coded lids on my plastic freezer containers. I put green covers on containers of vegetables, red covers on meat and protein foods, and yellow…

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Cooked Pumpkin

In October, pumpkins are usually very inexpensive. I like to take advantage of this by purchasing several pumpkins and seeding and slicing them. I cook the slices in my pressure cooker until soft.…

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Croquettes

When I make croquettes, I cook just the amount I need. I put any leftover mixture into cupcake liners and freeze them. Once they’re frozen, I remove them from the liners, place them in freezer…

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Cutting Cob Corn

Here’s an easy way to prepare fresh corn for the freezer. Place the tip of an ear of corn in the center hole of an angel food cake pan, then use an electric knife to cut down the side of the cob,…

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Egg and Sausage Muffins

Nothing beats egg, sausage and cheese on an English muffin in the morning. But since my husband and I both work, there isn’t enough time to make these tasty breakfast sandwiches. Instead, I…

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Evaporated Milk

My husband and I love mashed potatoes made with evaporated milk. However, the recipe I use only calls for a quarter of the can. To avoid wasting the rest of the milk, I pour it in ice cube trays…

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Freeze Browned Ground Beef

When you have time, brown several pounds of ground beef. Spread on a cookie sheet and freeze. Transfer to freezer bags. On busy days, pull out a bag and add to any recipe that uses browned ground…

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Freeze Extra Mashed Potatoes

I make a big batch of homemade mashed potatoes and freeze individual servings in muffin cups. Once they’re frozen, I pop them out and store in resealable plastic freezer bags. During the week, I…

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Freeze Extra Pancakes & Waffles

On Saturday mornings, I mix up a big batch of pancakes or waffles. What our family doesn’t eat, I freeze to use throughout the week. It’s a snap to heat up individual servings in the toaster for…

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Freeze Leftovers Right Away

The United States Department of Agriculture advises to refrigerate or freeze leftovers as soon as possible after preparation. It’s an old wives’ tale that foods need to be cooled before…

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Freeze Unfrosted Cupcakes

Confectioners’ sugar icing doesn’t stand up well to freezing. For best results, freeze cupcakes and other treats unfrosted and frost them after thawing.

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Freeze Whole Lemons & Limes

Whenever lemons and limes are on sale, I throw a bag of each in the freezer. Later, when I need fresh lemon or lime juice, I just defrost a single lemon or lime in the microwave. —Joan F., Turah,…

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Freeze With Ease

Here's an easy way to freeze individual servings of soup. Line single-serving microwave-safe bowls with plastic wrap, allowing the wrap to hang over the edge of the bowls. Fill with soup; freeze.…

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Freezer List

Because I was tired of digging through my freezer for items I eventually realized I didn’t have, I decided to use my computer to develop a list of frozen foods I had on hand. I keep the list…

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Freezer Odds and Ends

Small bags of nuts, herbs, etc. kept falling out of my freezer or getting buried beneath bigger items—until I bought a large wire mesh bin to hold all those odds and ends. It sits right on…

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Freezing Breads

Both quick breads and yeast breads freeze well. Freeze completely cooled bread in heavy-duty resealable plastic freezer bags for up to 3 months.

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Freezing Carrot Cake

My carrot cake is asked for often, so I bake two and keep one in the freezer. That way, I'm ready for unexpected company and have something to serve for a meeting or to take to a family in need.…

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Freezing Celery for Soup

When I have a bit of extra time, I chop a few stalks of celery or a few onions. After sauteing them in margarine, I spoon them into ice cube trays, freeze, then pop the frozen “veggie cubes” into…

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Freezing Cookies

Cookies can be wrapped in plastic wrap, stacked in an airtight container and sealed for 1 to 3 months in your freezer. Thaw wrapped cookies and breads at room temperature. Always allow cookies to…

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Freezing Corn

Freeze corn on the cob in four simple steps: 1. Husk corn and remove silk. 2. Cut corn off cob (don't cook). 3. Put 4 to 6 cups of corn in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes.…

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Freezing Cubed Cooked Chicken

When chicken pieces are on sale, I buy several packages and bake all the chicken, skin side up, on foil-lined pans. When cool, I remove the skin and bones, cube the meat and freeze in measured…

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Freezing Egg Whites and Yolks

Extra egg whites and yolks can be frozen for use in another recipe. Freeze egg whites in ice cube trays and then transfer to resealable plastic freezer bags. When freezing egg yolks, be sure to…

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Freezing Individual Portions of Soup

I like to make a big batch of soup, then freeze individual servings. I line bowls with plastic wrap, pour in soup and freeze. Once frozen, the soup can be popped out of the bowls and stored in…

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Freezing Leftover Rice

When preparing rice, make extra. Packaged in freezer containers or heavy-duty resealable plastic bags, cooked rice will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. To reheat, add 2 tablespoons of…

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Freezing Peppers

Diced green, sweet red and yellow peppers can be frozen without blanching, so there’s no need to put them in boiling water for a short time. Simply wash and dry the peppers, remove the stems and…

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Freezing Pies

Instead of trying to wrap a cooled pie with plastic wrap or foil, I simply slide it into a gallon-size resealable plastic freezer bag. I squeeze out the air, seal the bag and pop the pie into the…

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French Bread Slices

We find it difficult to prevent a loaf of French bread from becoming hard before we use it up. So now I slice the loaf, return it to its original wrapper, then place it in a plastic bag in the…

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Fresh Broccoli Stalks

When cleaning fresh broccoli, I don’t throw away the stalks like many people do. After washing the broccoli, I use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer from the stalks. I chop the…

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Fresh Crushed Parsley

We love parsley, so I buy three or four bunches at a time, clean them and remove the stems. I put the parsley in a plastic bag and secure it with a twist-tie, making sure to leave some air in the…

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Frozen French Toast

When I have time, I use half of a loaf of bread to make French toast. Once the toast cools, I wrap the slices in serving-size portions and keep them in the freezer. For breakfast in a flash, I can…

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Frozen Fresh Chives

I love to eat baked potatoes with fresh chives. Since chives don’t seem to keep long in the refrigerator, I mince them and store them in a plastic container in the freezer. Every time I want…

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Frozen Iced Tea

My husband likes to take iced tea to work for lunch. At night, I fill a small freezer container about two-thirds full and freeze the tea overnight. When packing his lunch the next morning, I…

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Frozen Sweet Onions

For longer storage, sweet onions can be frozen. Chop and place in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. pan in the freezer. When they're frozen, place in freezer bags or containers and freeze for up to 1…

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General Freezing Tips

Remember to let food cool down before packing and freezing. Hot food will raise the freezer's temperature, and the food will not freeze uniformly. To speed things up, place the pan of hot food in…

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Ham Pan Juices

After baking a ham, I refrigerate the pan juices. The next day, I skim off the fat and heat the juice just enough to pour it into ice cube trays I save for this purpose. I store the trays in my…

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Hamburger Patties

Here’s my time-saving secret for preparing hamburger and fish patties for the freezer. I use an ice cream scoop to measure single portions of ground beef or fish mixture into fold-over sandwich…

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Homemade Garlic Bread

A half of a loaf of homemade garlic bread is usually enough for my family, leaving the rest of the French bread to get stale. To avoid this, I prepare several half-loaves of garlic bread at a time…

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Hot Chicken Salad

Most hot chicken salads will not freeze well if they are made with mayonnaise and/or sour cream—they separate and cause the mixture to become watery.

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Ice Water Vegetables

I like to plunge cooked vegetables into ice water in order to stop the cooking process. I found that if I place a large pot of very cold water in the freezer an hour before I need it, ice crystals…

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Labeled Portions

I divide large economy size packages of chicken, ground beef, pork chops, grated cheese, etc. into recipe-size portions for freezing, then wrap them or place them in plastic bags. Then I store…

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Leftover Containers

After making dinner for my husband, our 18-month-old son and me, I often have leftovers. I pack the extras in freezer containers I have numbered. Then I update a running list that describes the…

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Leftover Onions

I love a slice of onion on my sandwiches but hate wasting the rest of the onion. I realized that many of my main dish recipes start with “chop and saute one onion”. Now I chop, saute and freeze…

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Leftovers List

I keep a list on my freezer door of the leftovers that are inside, and I clearly label each freezer bag or container with its contents. Because my family members eat at all different times, the…

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Marinated Meat

I freeze uncooked chicken and meats in different marinades. I transfer the meat to the refrigerator a day or two before cooking to let it absorb the marinade as it thaws. So we always have…

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Mashed Potatoes

I didn’t think it was possible to freeze mashed potatoes. But when we had some left over, I couldn’t bear to throw them away. I put them in a freezer bag, squeezed all of the air out and popped…

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Meat Loaf Ring

Here’s a fun way to freeze meat loaf and enhance its appearance at the same time. Simply press the meat mixture into a ring mold and freeze it. Once the meat loaf is frozen, pop it out of the ring…

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Meat Loaf Sandwich Slices

I cut leftover meat loaf into thick slices and store each slice in its own freezer bag. Then the next time I make a pizza or a pot of soup, I simply thaw the number of slices that I want to cube…

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Meatballs

Preparing meatballs and other family favorites in bulk cuts back greatly on prep time. I often make as many as five dinners’ worth of meatballs in one evening. To serve, I drop a package of frozen…

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Mini Meat Loaves

Bake your favorite meat loaf in muffin tins rather than in a loaf pan. Freeze these meat loaf muffins in small quantities so you can reheat them one or two servings at a time. They are also great…

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Nuts for Baking

I use lots of nuts in my cooking and baking, and I would get upset when I ran out at a crucial time. Now I buy large bags of walnuts, pecans and other nuts from wholesale stores, pour them into…

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Packaging Food for the Freezer

How well you package your food for freezing will affect its quality. To prevent freezer burn and preserve freshness, try this simple technique. The plastic-and-foil-wrap method is handy for…

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Pancake Batter

My husband prepares Saturday breakfast, so I stir up pancake batter and freeze it in quart-size freezer bags. I thaw a bag in the refrigerator on Friday night. The next day, he simply clips a…

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Pie Crust Dough

I like to bake pies for the potluck suppers I attend. To save time, I make the dough for several pie crusts at once, then store it in the freezer. I found that if I form the pastry dough into…

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Preparing Dried Beans

Many of our favorite recipes call for dried beans, but it can take a long time to cook them. So I prepare an entire bag of beans at once. I soak them overnight, cook them in a large pot the next…

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Properly Storing Ice Cream

When scooping ice cream from the carton, do so quickly and return the unused portion to the freezer as soon as possible, since thawing and refreezing causes ice crystals to form on the surface.…

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Quick Christmas Cookies

Whenever I have a few extra minutes, I mix up a batch of cookies, roll the dough into logs and seal them with my Food Saver before storing them in the freezer. (If you don’t have a Food Saver,…

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Quick Hearty Dinner

I have a trick I’ve used for years to put a meal on the table fast. When I’m browning ground beef for a recipe, I cook extra. When it’s cooked, I take out a few cups, cool it and put it in a…

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Ready-Made Ice Packs

Fill 20-ounce plastic soda bottles half full of water and freeze. Finish filling with tap water, and you have ice water to take with you. Or freeze 2-liter bottles almost full of water to use in…

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Rhubarb and Strawberries

In spring, I clean and chop fresh rhubarb, then place 3-cup portions in a freezer bag. In summer, I do the same with strawberries. With the premeasured ingredients, I can make strawberry-rhubarb…

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Sample Size

I like to double casserole recipes and freeze the extra for busy days. But sometimes I'm not sure if a particular casserole will freeze well. In that case, I make only enough for one meal, then…

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Sausage Perk Up

I buy sausage in large quantities when it’s on sale. I brown it, then pack it in small resealable plastic bags. I put them all in one large freezer bag and label, date and freeze it. Then,…

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Save Leftover Bread for Crumbs

I keep the heels of bread in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, I use my food processor to turn the heels into bread crumbs. This way I don’t have to process…

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Sealing Frozen Packages

If you don’t want to use up a bag of frozen veggies, twist the open part of the bag shut, secure it with a clothespin and put it back in the freezer to use later. To close open boxes of frozen…

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Skillet Sausage

I stock my freezer with two easy main dishes. I buy two links of kielbasa or smoked sausage, cut them into 1/4-inch slices and fry them in a skillet. I find two large microwave-safe freezer…

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Sliced Ice Cream

When serving ice cream from a half-gallon brick, I slice off individual servings with a sharp knife. I find this quicker and easier than using an ice cream scoop, especially for large gatherings.…

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Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

I love spaghetti sauce, so I make a big batch in a 5-quart slow cooker. I don’t add any meat or vegetables (except onions) while it’s cooking. When it’s done, I cool meal-sized portions and place…

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Slow Cooker Steaks

My husband and I take advantage of sales at the grocery store by buying in large quantities. We purchase cube steaks, flour and fry them, then freeze on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. When…

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Smart Shopping for Frozen Veggies

When buying bags of frozen vegetables, examine the packages for signs that they've been thawed and refrozen. Steer clear of bagged vegetables that are frozen in blocks or large chunks. If the…

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Speedy Streusel

To save time when making crisps, prepare the streusel topping in advance and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Thawing is not necessary! —Emily Barss, Pasadena, Maryland

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Split Bagels

After buying bagels or English muffins, I separate each one into two halves and return them to the bag. At breakfast, I can just pull the number of halves desired from the freezer and pop them in…

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Stir-Fry Vegetables

After the fledglings flew the nest and I only had to cook for my husband and me, I began converting recipes into smaller sizes. Many dishes required only a portion of a green or sweet red pepper,…

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Storing Stock

Until recently, I always seemed to be short of plastic storage containers because most of them were in the freezer storing frozen vegetable, beef and chicken stock. Now, I divide the stock into 2-…

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Streusel Topping

We like streusel-topped pies, so I devised a quick way to have the streusel ready whenever I’m baking. After cutting away the extra dough from a pie’s bottom crust, I take the leftover pieces of…

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Surprise TV Dinners

Leftovers became a fun meal while we were raising six children. After each meal, I packaged leftovers into “TV dinners” and put them in the freezer. When there were eight meals made up, I warmed…

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Taco Salad

When making taco salad, I double the amount of ground beef and use two packages of seasoning mix. I use half of the cooked seasoned meat to make our dinner and freeze the rest so we can enjoy a…

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Taking Food to Friends

"I have a few friends who live alone, so I make larger batches of food and freeze leftovers for them. I date and label the contents on the front. This is something any family can do to look after…

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Tomato Paste Drops

Here’s a tip that’s handy when making soups or sauces that call for a few tablespoons of tomato paste. When I purchase a large can of tomato paste, I line a baking sheet with waxed paper. I drop…

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Traveling Frozen Fruit

I keep a small freezer in my travel trailer for camping. Before a trip, I open cans of fruit, pour them into separate resealable bags and lay them flat in my kitchen freezer. When I’m going…

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Winter Fruit Cup

In the winter when grapefruit and oranges are plentiful and inexpensive, I buy a lot. I peel and section the fruit and place it in small heavy-duty plastic bags or freezer containers. That way I…

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