(Originally posted at Associated Content, May 16, 2008)
Grains: When you buy rice (not instant), cornmeal or any kind of flour at the store put the bag(s) in your freezer for 48 hours. This will probably work with oatmeal too, though I haven't tried it. After that, you can keep it in an airtight container or the original packaging and it will last “forever.” The freezing kills any vermin that may infest the grain if left at room temperature. I've had flour that lasted for months and never had a problem with it after it comes out of the freezer!
Ground beef/ground turkey: Mash 1 can kidney beans or black beans. Mix the mashed beans with 2 pounds of ground meat.
For meatloaf: add bread crumbs, crushed corn flakes or regular oatmeal (uncooked) and an egg, spices, ketchup; mix all ingredients together.
For hamburgers: add enough ketchup or barbeque sauce to hold together (not too much or they'll fall apart); add some spices, shape into patties, place a square of waxed paper between each patty. These can be stored in an empty bread bag in the freezer.
For tacos or casseroles: Brown meat, adding desired spices such as taco seasoning. Store in 1 cup portions in freezer bags. Bags can be flattened to take up minimum freezer space. Be sure to label your bags!
Eggs: Crack the eggs and place one or two each in freezer bags. When you're ready to bake, take out of the freezer several minutes before use. If you make quiche or other egg based dishes often, bag up the eggs in the appropriate quantity per bag.
Milk or Juice: Buy it on sale. Pour out 1/8 cup (give it to one of the kids to wash down a cookie) reseal carton or jug and freeze. To save even more money, switch to powdered milk or frozen concentrate juice (add water when you're ready to mix it up). If you mix up powdered milk, refrigerate it for several hours before serving (in other words, nice and cold) I bet no one will even notice the difference.
Potatoes: Peel, boil and mash. Allow to cool, store in gallon freezer bag. You can press the bag flat, and it won't take up much room in the freezer.
To save even more money: use coupons for your freezer bags or buy them at the Dollar Store. You can rinse/wash plastic bags and reuse them as long as they did not have eggs or uncooked meat stored in them.
FYI: a 5 lb. bag of flour fits perfectly in a one-gallon ice cream tub.
Click on the links for more Frugal Kitchen Tips, Creative Storage and Cost-cutting Tips for Buying in Bulk and check out Richmond Frugal Family at Examiner.com for current information on frugal deals and steals.
I consider frugality an art form and a religious conviction. I learned about paying cash for purchases, recycling and reusing just about everything and being generous to friends and those in need from my parents.
My faith instructs me all things are gifted by God and so I am compelled to be a good steward of my gifts. [The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man. Psalm 115:16]