Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Filling the Freezer/Saving on Groceries

saving on frozen foods
Frozen Foods Can Add Up
Avoiding the frozen food section of the super market is vital to saving money on groceries. We shop the frozen food section last, not just because we live in Arizona where everything melts fast but because frozen foods are convenience foods and they fill up the cart and empty the bank account. For every box of frozen foods you put in the cart you can count on adding another $5 to $10 to your bill. That doesn't mean that we don't buy an occasional pack of pizza rolls or a box of Breakfast on a Stick, but we have found that it is quite easy to make some of these foods ahead in bulk and save money.

Use Gallon Zip Locks

I like to use my Food Saver for packaging meats and a few other things but for convenience foods I buy gallon size Zip Lock freezer bags. Sometimes we will make chicken nuggets ahead and freeze them in these bulk re sealable bags and other times it might be fresh fruits. This week I am making a double recipe of egg rolls by request. They are healthy and ready to go for any night of the week and you can snatch the recipe below.

Plan Ahead

I also like to buy bulk berries and freeze them for smoothies. I can buy a case of strawberries for under $10 and usually get three gallon bags full for the freezer. These bags of fruit run $12 per gallon for organic frozen berries at the store so by taking a little extra time to do it myself I am saving approximately $26. If you can just knock a few things off your frozen foods list you can save quickly and you will be eating healthier to boot. Other ways we like to fill the freezer are by making double batches of pancakes or enchiladas.

Home Style Egg Rolls
1 package large Won ton Wrappers
1/2 head of cabbage
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 peeled carrots
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 stalks celery
1 egg
The trick to a great egg roll is in chopping the vegetables evenly and preferable a good chop that will wrap well. I like to precook my mixture to control the moisture content but we actually had some egg rolls at the local Asian festival that were made with uncooked cabbage and they tasted great. My point is this is kind of a no fail recipe in that you can try it and it will taste good and then you can adjust it to taste for the next time. Once I have chopped my veggies I cook them down in a little oil and let them cool. In a small bowl I mix a little bit of water with the egg and set aside. As you stuff and roll each egg roll you will want to seal them shut with the egg mixture. I oil a cookie sheet and place the egg rolls about 2 inches apart as I get the rolled. Don't put them too close to each other or they will steam instead of crisp. Once you have a pan full, brush each egg roll with the egg mixture and then back until slightly crispy turning once; 375 degree oven. I freeze them in gallon Zip Locks in one row and then reheat in the oven at 375 for about 15 to 20 minutes. Sometimes in the summer we will reheat on the grill and they are great that way too. If you would like a variation you can add cooked organic sausage or chicken and we have also tried them with shredded cheese and they were yummy.

Read how to Make Your Own Organic Chicken Nuggets and how to make pizza crust.

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

Legal Disclaimer

While it is true that I am working on a PHD in Psychology and very smart and frugal, I am not a medical doctor, criminal, personal or accident lawyer. I do not sell insurance nor am I an accountant or mortgage advisor. While some of my posts may offer good ideas on home, health and business solutions, I am not personally responsible nor is Considering frugal for any advice, ideas, recipes or menu plans that you decide to use. This blog is intended to be helpful and fun. Any products you purchase from my Amazon store or any other retailer advertised on my blog must be returned to them. I may sometimes endorse a product that I love. This is simply my opinion, you must try all products at your own risk. While I personally do not use tracking cookies or share information, my affiliates are third parties and they may do so. Please click, travel and purchase at your own risk.

frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8