Friday, March 6, 2009

What Do You Stock In Your Freezer?

Down in New Orleans, they’re called the Holy Trinity – onions, celery, and bell peppers. They are staples in many of the dishes I prepare at home, and to the Holy Trinity I often add diced tomatoes. That’s why when there's a sale on any of the four ingredients* at the supermarket, I buy extra. Onions keep for a long time, so I usually just store them in a cool, dry place. The rest, I cut up and freeze in Ziploc bags. Later I use what I’ve put away in my freezer to whip up quick and easy stews and vegetable medleys –- all cooked in one pot -- making cleaning up a breeze too.

On nights when I arrive home at 7:30 -- starving-to-death -- I can throw together diced potatoes, carrots, green beans, tomatoes and a protein of my choice in a pot to simmer on top of my stove. I add the Holy Trinity, a bay leaf, beef bouillon, seasonings, a cup of water and whatever else I have on hand. Sometimes it’s cauliflower, corn, or lima beans. At other times I may cut up a hot, spicy Oscar Meyer hotdog, or use pinto, pink, or red beans. And, I’ve also used firm, diced tofu as the protein.

The possibilities of what goes into the pot are endless … determined by what you’re in the mood for and have in your cupboards. After you simmer your vegetable medley for approximately 10 minutes … voilà … you have a hot, nutritious meal resting in a delicious red sauce that you’ve prepared and cooked in 20 minutes flat. Add some crusty bread and a decent wine, and bon appetit!

*Blanch the tomatoes before freezing.  Green & red peppers and celery can be frozen without blanching.

1 comment: