What we actually ate for the week, making kraut & freezing veggies (or not)

Doing this as a narrative was nuts, so I made it a table.

Saturday2 restaurant mealsLO ham & asparagus risotto w/ peasrisotto used, peas used

Day Lunch Dinner LO/Used up
Sunday ? scrambled eggs w/salami & mushrooms LO = 0, used salami
Monday meatballs (froz), pasta & gravy 2 restaurant meals LO pasta, 1 cabbage
Tuesday fried pasta w/breadcrumbs, gr beans, gravy, etc savory bread pudding w/ham, sweet bread pudding w/raisins used most LOs(lunch) LO bread puddings
Wednesday LO bread puddings, gr beans w/almonds LO bread puddings, soup savory pudding used
Thursday deli end sandwich, 1 restaurant meal fresh pasta, peas LO peas
Friday deli end sandwiches, sweet bread pudding ham & asparagus risotto sweet pudding used, end of ham pkg used, LO risotto

Monday I made (1st time) sour kraut. Not sure about this? I don’t like cole slaw or sour kraut. A good friend makes hers and she doesn’t like commercial kraut, but likes her HM stuff. So I thought I’d try it? It was yummy when first mixed: cabbage, salt, lemon, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and onion. If nothing else, I discovered there’s another way I like cabbage. The recipe makes 2 quarts. It’s supposed to sit out for 3 days and then be refrigerated. We put 1 quart in the fridge right away, since we know I liked it that way (and to see what the difference might be),and I tasted the one that sat out each a.m. just to see how it had changed. (I liked it, but not as much.) Apparently I really like crunchy kraut. I stopped tasting it Thursday when the 2nd jar went in the fridge.

First batch of HM sour kraut

Saturday’s test: I ate a large spoonful from each jar today. The stuff that had been out on the counter was actually less “hot” than the other. Not what I expected!

I will make kraut again, but probably only 1/2 a cabbage/1 quart at a time, I doubt we’ll use up both quarts before they go bad. Also, as a side, like one large spoonful at a time, this is fine. I wouldn’t want to eat a lot of it at once. But as a winter side so you get some fresh or nearly fresh stuff? Cheap! Yeah, I’d do this. I won’t grate the carrots finely next time, they “disappeared” and made the stuff look a little sick (orange) by the time I got the cabbage etc. mashed enough to get the juices flowing. Also, I’m unlikely to make this again until I either 1)Get DH to make me a cheese press (I have plans for a cheap one.) or 2)Get one of those old-fashioned pull-down lever type juicers. Anything that means I won’t stand around whacking cabbage with a wooden meat tenderizer, trying to get it juicy! It would have made a great Lucille Ball schtick, but as real life it was only marginally funny. No doubt I’ll laugh about this at some point, but I’m not there yet!

I’ve been shopping three times this week. The 2nd trip I found ham slices on sale! Also got cookies, biscotti, margarine (all on sale) a cabbage (.10 a lb more!) and orange juice. The third trip I got marked down fresh pasta, a bunch of discounted deli ends and some cheap chicken & beef for the freezer. Also, bought 2 bunches of asparagus, one for risotto and one to freeze, if I can find a way of packaging it? I don’t like frozen asparagus in bags, the tips get broken and what’s the point? I can afford to buy asparagus pieces, canned or frozen. It’s the spears that are so expensive, and so it’s worthwhile to freeze some.

I’ve been reading freezing/preserving books from the 1950s. They talk about buying boxes to package home-frozen vegetables. I can’t find the boxes. One book talks about using other boxes as forms for freezing foods, then removing the box and you have formed frozen brick of (whatever). I’ve heard of this technique with cooking pots, for stews, etc. but never thought to use cardboard boxes as forms? If you buy the brick-type frozen foods could you reuse those boxes as forms if you opened them carefully?

I really want to freeze that 2nd bunch of asaparagus. If I use the box technique above, there’s no real advantage. I’d be stuck with unprotected asparagus spears just like I would if I just froze them and stored them in a plastic bag. The formed bags would be neater to stack, but the fragile vegetables won’t be protected. I’ll just have to “flash freeze” the asparagus and put them in a rigid plastic container or find an aluminum one, like a frozen lasagna comes in . . . if I can?

One other thing that I learned while doing this, we’re still eating out a lot! We used to eat dinner out a lot, but aren’t so much now, but we’re eating out more than I thought. All of the restaurant meals are because one or both of us were out running errands, or some such. Today it was finding a new printer/scanner and stocking the antique booth. I don’t remember what was up on Monday. The single meal was me out and about, meeting friends, etc.

J

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