The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 15, 2014

Amanda Stone: Forgotten foods from the freezer

CARTHAGE, Mo. — This chilly time of year we have to look a little harder for inspiration in the kitchen. The freezer seems like a long shot for winter creativity, but you may be surprised by what's lurking in the ice crystals. Forgotten food awaits.

Now is a great time to plan meals from the freezer in order to make room for farmers market finds and garden excess. I felt much more at peace with my freezer once I took an inventory. I'm not dealing with much space, but if you have a cavernous freezer or multiple units, keeping a running inventory makes sense. A map isn't a bad idea either.

During warmer weather, I curse my lack of freezer space. I don't have a chest freezer, a deep freeze or a spare fridge in the garage. It's just me and my over-the-fridge freezer battling it out for space. When I choose to think positively about my freezer situation, I'm glad that it's small enough to keep track of what's taking up space. Sometimes the bag of ice has to go.

Once you take inventory of your frozen finds, plan some meals around them ... slowly. Start clearing out the extras. My freezer and I have an understanding about certain items for which there will always be space reserved, such as meat and cheese. My dad keeps me in pleasant cheese excess, so I have come to terms with a quarter of my freezer being occupied by cheese. I can't complain. The extras, however, need to be eaten.

I realized I needed to start eating up my freezer foods when I couldn't make room for a large water balloon. Pinterest had the magical idea of making big, colorful snow marbles with food coloring and water. Dinner was inspired by the kale I had to dig out to make room for the balloon. If you decide to try this, just make sure your ball is frozen solid before you take it out of the freezer, otherwise you will have a horrid, drippy food coloring mishap on your hands. It's another example of why Pinterest is ruining me.

I'm now planning my meals around my freezer's forgotten food. I hope these recipes will inspire you to start clearing out your freezer.


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