This is less than exciting, but it’s how I keep myself from saying a lot of bad words out loud at the end of the day. We have a few easy shortcuts to getting dinner on the table. It’s not just a way to speed up getting dinner on the table – it’s also one way we reduce food waste and manage to keep our grocery bills low. We can keep eating from our garden all winter long. It’s also great if you find onions and peppers on sale – buy enough to keep you going for a while. We keep the veggies chopped in baggies in the freezer. I chop them individually and combined in mixes. Mirepoix mix is one we rely on a lot.
Mirepoix is the impressive sounding french word for chopped carrots, celery and onions in a ratio of 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery. I assemble all the necessary components, run them seperately through my food processor and mix it all together in a big bowl in the approximate proportions. I usually freeze 1 or 1 1/2 cups in each freezer bag, label the mix and the amount, lay them flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer until they are frozen, then stack them away in a little corner of the freezer until they’re needed. It saves time in chopping and washing up. And I really do say less bad words in my head. Mostly.
The same basic idea can be used for freezing individual veggies – I freeze chopped green, red and jalapeno peppers, onions, and just about anything else. If the stuff in the veggie drawer is starting to look a little dicey, I chop it up and throw it in the freezer for later use. I usually freeze them on a cookie sheet for a few hours and then scrape them into a freezer bag for storage afterwards – it helps keep them from all sticking together in a clump. I’ve even done it with fresh spinach that I knew I wouldn’t get around to using. I can always hide it in a sauce or pasta dish later on. The peppers, onion and spinach are great to sprinkle on pizza before cooking.
Don’t forget that you can freeze whole tomatoes too – keep them in freezer bags and run them under hot water for a few seconds until the skin slides off, then use them in any cooked dish that calls for canned, stewed or diced tomatoes.