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Category: From My Kitchen

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

Make some room in your freezer because after you read this list of 10 things you didn’t know you could freeze, your life—or at least your refrigerator and your grocery budget—is about to change for the better!

I’ve been freezer cooking for years and I’ve experimented with freezing just about anything I can. Some were major fails, but I’ve discovered that you can actually freeze a wider variety of items than you probably realize!

I decided to put together this list of 10 out-of-the-ordinary things you can freeze. I’ve tried all of these and they have all worked for me! Just follow the links below to find the freezer tutorial for each item.

Here’s my list of 10 things you probably didn’t know you could freeze…

1. Cottage Cheese

Frozen cottage cheese doesn’t taste great plain once it is thawed, due to it being a little watery. But I love freezing cottage cheese to use later in my smoothies. It works perfectly!

I usually like to divide the containers into smaller bags so I can just thaw out a little bit at a time as needed. This also allows me to freeze them flat in plastic bags to save space in my freezer!

2. Taco Meat

Taco meat is one of my favorite things to make during a freezer cooking session. You can whip up a huge batch of taco meat at one time, and it’s SO versatile!

Taco meat can be used in all kinds of different recipes and it thaws really quickly, so it makes for a great last-minute dinner idea if you forgot to pull something out from the freezer earlier in the day.

Go here to see how I like to freeze taco meat, some of the frugal ways I stretch it to feed more people, and some of our family’s favorite recipes!

3. Milk

I’m often able to find organic milk on clearance that’s close to the expiration date. We use what we can until the expiration date and then I freeze the rest. By buying it on clearance, we’re able to buy higher quality milk without spending a fortune to do so.

While I don’t recommended using frozen and then thawed milk for drinking (due to the changes in consistency and flavor), I do freeze milk frequently for all kinds of other uses! For example, it works beautifully in pancakes, waffles, french toast, or other baked goods.

I’ve never had a problem freezing it in a cardboard container. It will expand some when it freezes, so you might want to drink or use a half cup or so before freezing. But otherwise, just stick the milk in the freezer in the paper carton!

When you’re ready to use it, you can thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Or, you can stick the carton in a sink full of cold water for 15 or 20 minutes.

4. Waffles

While I know that some people like pancakes and waffles fresh, I’ve found it’s so much more convenient to make a big batch of waffles and then freeze them for breakfasts later in the month!

This is one way we make sure we have filling, healthy breakfasts on busy mornings. We love trying different varieties and mix-ins, such as Carrot Cake WafflesPumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles, Gluten-Free Waffles, or even Red, White, & Blue Waffles!

5. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

I first happened upon the idea of freezing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when Jesse was in law school and we were eating a LOT of PB&J.

While it doesn’t really take that long to make PB&J, it can still help speed things up a bit when your time is really crunched in the morning. Plus, it’s nice to have sandwiches at the ready if you end up needing to go somewhere unexpectedly and no one has eaten any lunch yet.

6. Pizza, Cookie, and Biscuit Dough

Our family loves homemade breads, and one of the easiest ways to speed up the process of bread-making is to make the dough when you have time and freeze it to bake later!

There are all kinds of different doughs I’ve experimented with freezing, but these 3 recipes are my favorite: Pizza Dough, Cookie Dough, and Biscuit Dough.

This pizza dough recipe has been my go-to recipe for years. Keep it on hand and pizza night will be a breeze.

Even if you’re not a fan of most freezer meals, I encourage you to try making cookie dough and freeze it! I can almost guarantee you won’t be able to tell a difference between frozen cookie dough and fresh cookie dough.

It makes it so easy to make a batch of fresh-baked cookies when you have drop-in guests or need to bring a dessert or snack to some event at the last minute. It’s also very handy for those times when you get a late-night craving for chocolate! 😉

These chocolate chip cookies are SO good and the dough freezes beautifully!

This biscuit recipe is quick, easy, inexpensive, and so practical! Say goodbye forever to canned biscuits with this winner recipe — especially when you freeze the dough ahead of time to make it even easier.

Freeze fresh herbs with this quick and easy method!! They'll never go to waste again!

7. Fresh Herbs

This a super simple way to preserve fresh herbs so that they don’t go to waste before you have a chance to use them! Frozen herbs work especially well in sauces, stews, and soups.

8. Avocados

I decided to try freezing avocados when I found clearance bags of avocados for just $0.99 at Kroger. I couldn’t pass up that price, so I bought 6 bags and was determined to not let them go to waste once I got them home!

It was a little hesitant to try freezing avocados… and I honestly didn’t love how they turned out when I thawed them. However, I have heard from many readers who have had great success with freezing avocados. I froze mine with salsa and lime juice since that’s the way I love to eat my avocado. You could experiment with all kinds of different seasonings and flavoring, though. (And if you’ve found a great trick for freezing avocados, let us know!)

9. Onions

I really do not enjoy chopping up onions (does anyone?), but I do love how they taste in recipes, so I often chop them in bulk and freeze them for later use. It’s such a time-saver!

10. Cooked Beans

Dried beans are much more economical than canned beans. Unfortunately, since they need to be soaked and softened, they can be inconvenient to prepare them on the same night you want to use them in a recipe.

Freezing them ahead of time is a huge time-saver — especially if you freeze a bunch of different types in bulk at one time!

Looking for more ideas?

Be sure to check out this post for a list of 15 more surprising things you can freeze!

Enjoy experimenting with some of these freezer-friendly foods on this list, and you’re sure to see a reduction in food waste and an increase in the amount of money you save!

What crazy food items do you like to freeze? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below!

We Spent $56.49 on Groceries This Week (+ here’s what we ate)

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to . See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our .

I got back from my girls’ beach trip on Sunday night and we left last night (Thursday night) for a family road trip to AL, MS, and LA. We are staying at hotels that offer free breakfast and then we brought much of our food and snacks, so we don’t plan to spend that much extra on food on this trip.

However, we’re under-budget again this week, so I’m using the extra $39 we had in grocery money last week to cover an extra dinner out for our road trip.

Note: When you see the groceries and meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries in these shopping trips that I used to make all of the meals we ate. And  it also means we didn’t use all of these groceries up this week — because some of them will be saved for later weeks!

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. 🙂

Kroger Shopping Trip #1

Kroger Shopping Trip #2

  • 5 dozen Simple Truth Eggs — marked down to $0.49 per dozen
  • 2 bags of cinnamon/raisin bagels — marked down to $1.49 each
  • 3 Simple Truth yogurts — marked down to $0.49 each
  • Oui Yogurts — marked down to $1.19 each, used
  • Artisan Lettuce — marked down to $1.49
  • 2 bags of grapefruit/oranges — marked down to $0.99 each
  • 1 bag of apples — marked down to $0.99
  • Stayfree pads — $1.79 when you buy 5 participating products, used , got $0.50 back from iBotta rebate = $0.39
  • 4 Suave Shampoo/Conditioner — $1.99 each when you buy 5 participating products, used + $1/1 coupon that Kroger had sent to me (I should have just bought 3 bottles — for some reason, I got mixed up and thought it was a $1/2 coupon… oh well!) = $0.99 each
  • 2 Speedstick deodorant — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating products
  • 2 Gillette Shave Gel — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating products
  • Colgate toothpaste — $1.99 when you buy 5 participating products
  • 2 Suave Kids’ Body Wash — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 Huggies Baby Wipes — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items, used = $0.74 each after coupon
  • 2 Honey Nut Cheerios — $1.79 each when you buy 5 participating items, used = $1.29 each after coupon
  • 4 packages of Goldfish — $0.99 each when you 5 participating items
  • 8 boxes of Quaker Granola bars — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 packages of Oscar Mayer lunch meat — $2.79 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • Used $10/$40 coupon that Kroger mailed to me recently (make sure you always have your address correct on the Kroger site — they often mail out great coupons!
  • Total with tax: $39.84

The best deal of the week by far (at least to me!) was the Simple Truth Cage-Free Eggs for $0.49!!!!! I have never seen cage free eggs this inexpensive and was so excited for this deal!

Since we already had 4 dozen eggs from recent deals, I shared two dozen with a friend and we plan to have lots of scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and hard boiled eggs over the next 2-3 weeks.

I don’t usually freeze eggs, because we can easily eat through 3 dozen in a week, but I will be making French Toast or Egg Casserole if we really need to use them up and aren’t seeming to eat through them quickly enough. I never have had any issue keeping eggs in the fridge for 2-3 weeks past their sell by date, so I’m not too worried about us being able to use them before they go bad.

I was also excited because I earned 436 points on Fetch Rewards for my second shopping trip! If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards yet, I highly recommend signing up and scanning your receipts. It’s such an easy-peasy way to earn free gift cards!

(Want more details on Fetch Rewards and how it works? Read this post on How I Earned $5 in Free Gift Cards in 3 Weeks — just for scanning my grocery receipts.)

What I Spent This Week

Total spent: $56.49

Cashback Earned This Week: 461 points from Fetch Rewards for scanning my receipts + I earned $0.60 back from iBotta for scanning my receipt and purchasing Stayfree.

What We Ate This Week

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Banana Bread with Peanut Butter (Everyone is on their own for breakfast!)

Lunches:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs, Avocados, Salad, Grapefruit, Cottage Cheese, Lunch out with a friend (she insisted that she pay for my lunch!), Apples, Pumpkin Waffles (Jesse & Me)
  • Turkey Sandwiches, Fruit, Veggies, Banana Bread, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Cookies, Capri Sun (For the kids — They are in charge of their own lunches.)

Snacks:

  • Banana Bread, Oreo Cheesecake (that Kaitlynn made), Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Fruit/Veggies, Cookies, Hard Boiled Eggs, Turmeric Milk

Dinners:

  • Saturday: Jesse and the kids went over to our friends’ house for dinner since I was gone
  • Sunday: Leftovers/Fend For Yourself
  • Monday: Sausage/Peppers/Onions in the Crockpot
  • Tuesday: Fend For Yourself (Silas had a baseball game) — The kids had cereal, I had a muffin, egg, and apple, Jesse can’t remember what he ate!
  • Wednesday: Pumpkin Pancakes (recipe coming this next week on the blog — these were a hit!)
  • Thursday: Lasagna Casserole (from the freezer) Salad
  • Friday: Dinner Out

This Week’s $31 Grocery Shopping Trips + What We Ate This Past Week

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to . See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our .

I left on Thursday morning for a much-anticipated beach trip with two of my closest friends. So I didn’t do as much grocery shopping this week, as a result. We were pretty stocked up on food from the extras I had bought the past month and stuck in the pantry and freezer, so I didn’t need to buy much.

And I’ll just roll over the money I didn’t spend this week to next week’s grocery budget.

Please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries in these shopping trips that I used to make all of the meals we ate. And  it also means we didn’t use all of these groceries up this week — because some of them will be saved for later weeks!

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. 🙂

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

5 boxes of Quaker Oatmeal Packets — $0.99 each when you purchase 5 boxes

Total with tax: $5.31 

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

What We Ate This Week

Breakfasts:

Lunches:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs, Avocados, Salad, Cottage Cheese, Lasagna Casserole, Turkey Burgers, Apples, Pancakes (Jesse & Me)
  • Turkey Sandwiches, Fruit, Veggies, Banana Bread, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Cookies, Capri Sun (For the kids — They are in charge of their own lunches.)

Snacks:

  • Banana Bread, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Fruit/Veggies, Cookies, Hard Boiled Eggs

Dinners:

  • Sunday: Leftovers/Fend For Yourself
  • Monday: Lasagna Casserole, Peas, Grapes
  • Tuesday: Turkey Burgers & Spaghetti (Fend For Yourself Night again since everyone had different things going on)
  • Wednesday: Lasagna Casserole, Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
  • Thursday: French Toast
  • Friday: Dinner Out

What I Spent This Week

Total spent: $30.77

Cashback Earned This Week: 75 points from Fetch Rewards for scanning my receipts

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Pumpking and doughnuts mixed together? Yes, please!!

Pumpkin and doughnuts mixed together?? Yes, please! If you love muffins and you’re looking for a new recipe to try, put this one at the top of your list!

This recipe is the perfect marrying of two of my favorite things for fall! The muffins were a little drier than I expected and the batter was thick, but when rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar, they were pretty much perfect! And my family agreed!

 

More Pumpkin Recipes:

What is YOUR favorite pumpkin recipe to make? I’d love to hear!

Our $70 Grocery Shopping Budget + Menu Plan

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to . See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our .

I’m trying something new this week! Instead of posting a menu plan at the beginning of the week and then sharing my shopping trips throughout the week, I’m sharing what we actually ate and what groceries I bought this week.

Please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries in these shopping trips that I used to make all of the meals we ate. And  it also means we didn’t use all of these groceries up this week — because some of them will be saved for later weeks!

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. 🙂

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • 3 Family-Sized Boxes of Nabisco Ritz Crackers — $1.99 with the Kroger Friday-Saturday Digital Coupon
  • 2 boxes of Raisinets — marked down to $0.19 each
  • Naked Juice — on closeout for $1.79, used $2/1 coupon — they deducted it down to $1.79 = FREE after coupon
  • 4 jars of Yoplait Oui Yogurt — marked down to $2.39 total
  • Bananas — marked down to $0.39/lb. = $1.88 total
  • Total with tax: $12.46, Got a $3 catalina back

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • 1 Kroger Cottage Cheese — $1.89
  • 1 Johnsonville Sausage — marked down to $2.29
  • 5 packages of Kroger Ground Turkey — marked down to $2.29 each
  • 1 package Johnsonville Italian Sausage — marked down to $1.99
  • Used $3/$15 meat coupon Kroger mailed to me
  • Used $3 catalina earned in shopping trip above
  • Total with tax: $12.72

Kroger Shopping Trip #3:

  • 1 Salad Kit — marked down to $1.89
  • 1 bag of oranges — marked down to $0.99
  • 1 bag of peppers — marked down to $0.99
  • Oui Yogurt (2-pack) — marked down to $1.19
  • 1 dozen eggs — marked down to $1.19
  • 1/2 gallon chocolate milk — marked down to $1.39
  • Grapes — on sale for $0.88/lb. = $2.15
  • 3 cans of Kroger pumpkin — $0.99 each
  • 1 gallon milk — $2.69
  • King Arthur Flour — $3.89, used $1/1 Kroger Digital Coupon = $2.89
  • Oats — $2.49
  • Butter — $2.99 when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 bottles Palmolive dish soap — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items, used 1 $0.50/1 Kroger Digital Coupon
  • Colgate toothpaste — $1.99 when you buy 5 participating items, used $2/1 Kroger Digital coupon = FREE after coupon
  • 1 bottle Head & Shoulders — $1.99 when you buy 5 participating items, used $1/1 Kroger Digital coupon = $0.99 after coupon
  • Total with tax: $29.75

Note: I forgot to buy the second bottle of Palmolive the first time around, so I had to go to customer service and add it to my order to get the $5 off!

Kroger Shopping Trips #4 & #5:

  • 1 Kroger cottage cheese — $1.89
  • 1 bottle Naked Protein Smoothie — marked down to $1.79 (not pictured; I picked this up for Kathrynne to have for lunch since she can hardly eat anything right now because she just got her expander put in in preparation for getting braces)
  • 2 packages of Pitas — marked down to $0.79 each
  • 4 dozen Simple Truth eggs — $1.77 with Kroger Friday-Saturday Only Digital coupon
  • 1 dozen medium eggs — marked down to $0.49
  • 1 Yoplait yogurt — Free with Free Friday coupon
  • 2 yogurts — marked down to $0.29 each
  • 2 packages of butter — $2.49 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • Yo Crunch Yogurt — $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 bottles Simply Lemonade — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 1 bag of apples — marked down to $0.99
  • Total with tax: $23.71

What We Ate This Week

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Baked Oatmeal (from the freezer), Toast/Eggs, Banana Bread with Peanut Butter (Everyone is on their own for breakfast!)

Lunches:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs, Avocados, Salad, Banana Bread, Turkey Burgers, Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti Noodles & Sauce, Leftovers, Apples, Peppers (Jesse & Me)
  • Sandwiches, Fruit, Veggies, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Cookies, Capri Sun (For the kids — They are in charge of their own lunches.)

Snacks:

  • Banana Bread, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Fruit/Veggies, Hard Boiled Eggs

Dinners:

  • Sunday: Leftovers/Fend For Yourself
  • Monday: Turkey Burgers, Pickles, Peas, Grapes
  • Tuesday: Chipotle (School Spirit Night Fundraiser)
  • Wednesday: Pumpkin Waffles, Grapes
  • Thursday: Spaghetti Casserole, Steamed Peas
  • Friday: Spaghetti Casserole, Banana Bread, Steamed Broccoli (yes, we made enough to have it two nights in a row!)

What I Spent This Week

My grocery week runs from Saturday to Friday. However, I had $11.85 leftover from this past week, so I’m subtracting it from this week’s total.

Total for all these groceries minus the extra grocery money from last week: $66.79

Cashback Earned This Week: 125 points from Fetch Rewards for scanning my receipts

Help me out! Do you like this new format of me sharing my grocery shopping and menu plan? I’d love to hear your honest thoughts!

Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

These Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Waffles are SO delicious and perfect for fall!

It’s that time of year when I just want to bake anything and everything pumpkin! It makes me feel like fall is in the air — even if it’s still mostly shorts and t-shirt weather here in Tennessee!

These waffles are so easy to make, they are good for you, and they are just the right blend of hearty but not too dense. I made them yesterday and they were a hit at our house! If you want to add a little fall flavor to your menu this week, try these!

More Pumpkin Recipes:

What is YOUR favorite pumpkin recipe to make? I’d love to hear!