I want to share a quick kitchen tip with you today – a easy way to store and preserve leftovers in single-serve portions. This frugal food tip will work with any scoopable or pourable recipe that also freezes well. I use it with shredded meats, batches of chili, stews, soups and gravy’s! It’s likely that you likely have everything you need in the pantry – so you can get crackin’ with this money saving kitchen tip as soon as tonight!
- Muffin Pan (or multi-cavity bake pan of your choice)
- Cooking Spray (or alternative greasing method)
- Plastic Wrap
- Freezer bags (or plastic containers if you don’t get down with plastic baggies)
- Grease a multi-cavity bake pan. (I’m using a standard muffin pan for my leftover shredded BBQ Pork in the images.)
- Scoop, spoon or pour your leftovers into the cavities.
- Cover with plastic wrap. If you prefer to use tinfoil, give the foil a mist of Cooking Spray so your leftovers won’t stick.
- Place the covered pan on a level surface in the freezer.
- When the leftovers are frozen through remove and let the pan sit on counter for 5 minutes. Overturn the pan on a clean surface and give it a few taps. The nuggets of leftovers should fall out easily, if not, wait another 5 minutes and try again. In the event that you forgot to grease pan entirely pry them out at this point with a fork but take care not to scratch up your pan!
- Mark a freezer bag with the what’s inside and the date then fill it up with your perfectly portioned leftovers.
- Store the bag back in freezer and remove a frozen chunk whenever you need it without thawing the whole shebang!
These are great to take for easy lunches. I take a one of the
meat cupcakes chunks to work in a plastic container along with a roll. By the time I remove the container from my work fridge its ready for the microwave or toaster oven. If you cook for one this is also great way to keep some variety in your meals for the week without a lot of waste, or attempts to alter your big batch recipe’s. I use a muffin (cupcake) pan for shredded meats, an 8 cavity mini loaf pan for chili’s and soups, mini tart pan or icecube tray for leftover wine for gravy’s. Note: if freezing wine for sauces and gravys you can skip the cooking spray!
For my fellow calorie counters:
- Standard mini muffin bake pan (standard cupcake) – approximately 1/4 cup liquid (per cavity)
- 8 cavity mini loaf pan –approximately 1/2 cup liquid (per cavity).
If you need to calculate the volume of a different pan to count your calories, fill a measuring cup with water and record the number of cups. This is your starting number. Next, pour some water into one cavity of your pan leaving a little space at the top. Record the new volume in your measuring cup. Subtract this new number from your starting number. The result your pan’s per-cavity volume. Also remember, 1 cup of water = 0 calories, whereas 1 cup of Orange Juice = 100 calories. So be wise when counting calories for different foods in this freezing method.
So, what recipes will you freeze? Or maybe you have tried this before? Leave me a note in the comments, we’d love to hear!
Stay crafty my friends,