Emptying My Freezer: Week 1

While I was in the middle of writing my recent series on freezers, I saw that Keeper of the Home was starting an eating from the freezer and pantry challenge.  What great timing!  I’ve been realizing how full my freezer is and that I should really concentrate on finishing up what we’ve got, especially as I begin to consider what bulk purchases I’ll be making for this coming fall.

So I’ve decided to join in for the next four weeks and make it my goal to create my meals out of the items in our freezer and pantry.  My focus will be especially on the freezer.  I don’t have an actual pantry and so have designated just one cupboard and the top of the refrigerator as my “pantry.”  That helps on keeping food from building up in there too much!

Fortunately for me, I know exactly what’s in my chest freezer based on my handy system of keeping track of its contents.  The freezer in my refrigerator, on the other hand, needed some help.  I went through it all a couple of days ago and made a list of the contents.  Now I just need to create a spreadsheet for that part, too.  I should have that done later this evening or tomorrow.

I have a general idea of what’s in my pantry, as I mentioned above, but I do really need to go through it still and make a list.  That’s on the docket for tomorrow.  A bit late for the start of the challenge, but I’m okay with that!

My main goal for this challenge is to use up the contents in my chest freezer. Over the past few months, even though I have lots of meat in the freezer, I occasionally find myself picking up fresh meat at the farm store, farmer’s market, or grocery store.  Usually it’s either due to poor planning or impulse purchases.  If I don’t menu plan, then I don’t know what I need to defrost in advance.  And it’s really hard to defrost meat quickly if you don’t use a microwave.  Or I see delicious looking meats when I’m out and decide to purchase some on a whim.  Either way, it’s time to use up my already-purchased meat.

Another goal is to help reduce the amount I spend on groceries for the next four weeks.  This should help me put some money aside for larger bulk purchases in the coming months.  To be honest, I don’t have a specific amount I’m hoping to save.  That probably doesn’t bode well for meeting it!  As I said above, though, my main goal is to reduce the amount of meat in my freezer.

Meal Plan
So the meal plan I’m sharing with you this week is just a partial one starting with yesterday.  I’m creating my meal plans based on the what’s in my freezer, of course, but also on the fresh produce available at the farmer’s market.  I typically shop at the market on Wednesdays, so my meal plans will be from Thursday-Wednesday for the following weeks.

Oh, and you’ll notice quite a bit of repetition for dinner this week.  My hubby is out of town and I’m going for quick and simple!  Just click the picture below to view a larger image of my meal plan.  The items in bold are from my freezer or pantry.  Below the meal plan I’ve included some links to some of my meals.

Recipe Links
Spaghetti Squash with Sauce
Sautéed veggies
Beef stock
Chocolate chips
Grass-fed hot dogs (source)

A Little Help
If you need any help with meal planning, Stephanie of Keeper of the Home has all of her e-books discounted right now, including Plan It, Don’t Panic: Complete Meal Planning Resource.  I have that e-book and it has a lot of helpful ideas for making meal planning go more smoothly.  You can use the coupon code CHALLENGE25 to take 25% off any single ebook, OR use code BUNDLE50 to buy all 3 of her ebooks at 50% off!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  I appreciate your support of my site!

This post is part of Eating from the Freezer Challenge, Monday Mania, Fat TuesdayReal Food WednesdayWhole Food WednesdayPennywise Platter ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayFight Back FridayFreaky FridaySunday School.


  1. Bonnie says:

    oh wow … i love your meal planner ! what a great idea having ‘prep’ on the actual menu ! i like that … am going to add it to mine !

    and is ‘ingredients’ ones you need to buy ?

    i’m doing this challenge too ! just popped over from Keeper of the Home ….

    • Mindy says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Bonnie! That’s great that you’re doing the challenge, too. I need to go check out everyone else’s posts too!

      Glad you like my meal planner. Adding a prep section made a huge difference for me. Otherwise it’s way too easy to forget to defrost meat or make staples to have on hand!

      The ingredients are what I need to add to my grocery list for the meals I added to my plan. I don’t typically add staples, unless making a certain meal reminds I’m getting low on something. Usually I add items to my grocery list throughout the week as I notice them getting low.


  1. […] my quest to empty out my freezer before making my large fall purchases of meat.  You can see my first week’s plan here.  Are you doing the same?  I’d love to hear about your successes (or challenges) in the […]

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