Sometime during the week I create a menu for the following week. I try to take into account what we have in the fridge that needs to be used before it goes bad or starts growing things (corn tortillas in this week), what we've had the prior week, how busy my days will be and how much we have left in the checking account. Also, how inspired I'm feeling. If I'm craving an easier night (or week), I peruse my freezer spreadsheet as well (more on that below). I keep the menu on my 'To Do' notebook next to my computer so I can reference it easily. It's also completely flexible of course. This week we had so much leftover polenta from the short rib ragu on Monday that I'm using it in two meals this week in order to use it up. Luckily bolognese over polenta with melted cheese was a hit since we had it Tuesday and we're having it again tonight. The bolognese was a frozen leftover from making lasagna sometime last year.
In order to keep my leftovers in order and remember what is actually in my freezer, I keep a spreadsheet (geek!) on my laptop that lists the item (chili, stew, sauces, etc) and how many I have on hand (this I do just by making an 'x' for each one). When I take something out, I delete an 'x', when I add something to the freezer, I add it to the list. The hard part is remembering to do delete or add. A couple of times a year, I'll take a freezer inventory to make sure everything is current.
We have three freezers, the one in the house I use for frequently used or random things (flax seed, nuts, or pieces of meat and cheese rinds saved for soup). The side by side in the garage is used exclusively for leftovers. The large freezer (21 cubic feet) is the one we use to store our grass-fed beef order from Leftcoast Grassfed and pork from Early Bird Ranch. If D ever catches a fish (keep trying honey!), we can vacuum seal it and store it in there too.
|Our meat storage|