It’s 23 days until Thanksgiving and somehow we need to fit a turkey in our freezer or our refrigerator – not to mention all of the other special foods we cook at this time of the year.
So here is what I do:
1. Look at what food I have in both freezers (one full size in my garage and one small one on the front of my refrigerator) just to get an idea of how good (oh look, the freezer has plenty of room) or bad (oh my God, we are never fitting a turkey in here!) it is, lol.
2. It’s time to check the expiration dates on our freezer food. You know, I may have found food from a few years ago in the freezer last time I did this. It hides and multiplies 🙂 Take a black plastic trash bag and get rid of the really old stuff. Also, toss that freezer burned half a gallon of ice cream you’ve been saving for your next cheat night – I know you have one.
3. I’d love to say that I plan our meals for a month but I am just not that type of person, lol. So, I look at what’s left and plan our meals for the next 5 days with some wiggle room and try to figure out what I can use in the freezer to empty it some more.
a. Leftovers nights – pull out those frozen leftovers and have a smorgasbord. Fridays work best for this so you can eat them all weekend!
b. Appetizers for dinner – we have quite a few frozen appetizers in our freezer so sometimes we’ll just pull them out and share them for dinner.
c. Chicken tenders overload – I have a ton of them in our freezer so I like to pull out my oblong colorful oven safe plates, fill them with nachos and then layer the tenders on top. I bake them according to the box directions time and when they are done, pull them out so we can put on cheese, sauces or other toppings.
d. Pizza night – get out those big frozen pizza boxes and cook them all up. We actually did this a few weeks ago and while we didn’t eat them for a meal, it was good to have a somewhat healthy snack to grab from the fridge when we were hungry over the next few days.
4. Clean out the refrigerator(s) of old food – I try (emphasize TRY) to clean out the refrigerator in the kitchen at least once a week, usually on Sunday when I am doing food prep. However, I also have another full-size refrigerator in the garage which is usually for drinks but occasionally holds leftovers or extra cold items I bought on sale.
5. Now it’s time to make a list of what you will need to buy before Thanksgiving to make your recipes. It took me 38 years but I finally was able to take the time to put all of my holiday recipes in one place. This is when I pull them out to see what I need versus what I have.
I know this seems like a lot to do but it WILL help tremendously if you start this process now versus, say the day before Thanksgiving 🙂