Here’s a different kind of prompt, one that might lead to more spring cleaning than actual cooking but that will help keep you cooking in the long run: get rid of the leftovers in your freezer.


So what’s hiding in that freezer of yours, anyway? Could be a good time for a spring sweep, before everything gets freezer burn and winds up in the trash. Also, you’ll need room for blueberries when they come in season, so best get cleaning.

Likely finds might include a pizza, the two leftover chicken breasts from that five pound package, a half bag of flash frozen shrimp, last summer’s lima beans (or berries, or corn), the other half of the pot roast (or lasagna), and perhaps a bag of meatballs or some bacon. Tonight, Friday, start with the easiest dinner available from your freezer. If you have a pizza in there, you’re in luck. If the only thing that doesn’t require thawing, prepping and cooking is ice cream, then make a spinach salad and have dessert.

To cover the rest of your weekend, get the other things thawing today and be thinking about what you’ll do with them tomorrow and Sunday.

Here are some ideas:

Love to Cook: Tapas dinner. Since you may not have enough of any one thing to make a full meal, fix several different small plates (piri-piri chicken, sweet & sour meatballs, lima bean salad, etc.). Need more hints? Here are some, from Food & Wine.

Weeknight reality: Stew. Again, without enough of any one thing you’ll need to combine the freezer finds into one meal. Think gumbo, jambalaya, green chile chicken, vegetable soup, etc., or just make up your own

Need a miracle: Use this weekend to clear out what’s hiding in your freezer that you’re never going to use because it doesn’t work for your life at the moment. Restock with a few things that will actually help you on a regular basis. If you’re constantly in ‘need a miracle’ mode but don’t want to eat prepared foods, bags of mixed vegetables will be your best best. They work for a quick stir fry, soup or even some chopped salads.

Parting Thought

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

Calvin Trillin, via goodreads