Freezer Foods & Tips (it’s a big one!), plus Chowder, Meatballs, Sesame Green Beans and More!

Batch Cooking, Y’all!

Wow! My last post got LOADS of attention. People loved the detail, story, and menu plan in my previous post. If you didn’t read it, take a gander. It’s all about batch cooking. The idea being, you cook 10, 20, 30, 40 or even more meals, all in a quick one to two-day session. Cook enough food for a month, then package, stash, relax, and enjoy over the next month. Then, do it again!

It also included a story of friend whose lifestyle changed as the result of doing just such a cook.

All this resulted in a landslide of emails, questions, comments and compliments. Clearly, this touched a few nerves with y’all. If you didn’t get a chance to read last week’s post, I highly recommend it. People loved it. Plus, this post is a bit of a continuation, suggesting the batch cooking post is somewhat required reading.

Soooo…. What freezes?

As stated in the post on once a month cooking, pretty much anything will freeze. However, anything delicate might not survive the trip through the freezer. Just because it freezes doesn’t mean it’ll maintain quality when defrosted.

I typically freeze hearty vegetables, some fruits, baked goods, (raw, cooked, braised and smoked meats), heavily cooked stews, and soup/sauce bases. Most anything hearty will survive. Anything cooked in a slow-cooker is perfect for freezing. Anything that’s still tantalizing after spending hours in slow moist heat will freeze and defrost quite well. To cut down on food waste, leftovers are always good in the freezer. Purees and baby food, too!

Anything with a sufficient water content will freeze. Fats don’t always freeze rock hard, but they freeze. Alcohol lowers the freezing temperature. Low alcohol items will freeze, but high alcohol liquids probably won’t (in a standard home freezer).

Most anything will freeze, but the unfreezing (defrosting) process can lead to some mushy floppy failure.

See, when foods freeze, the water inside the food crystalizes. The slower the food freezes, the larger the ice crystals. The faster the food freezes, the smaller the crystals. These crystals somewhat damage foods, ruining the texture. In fact, the crystals damage all foods, but in some foods, it doesn’t really matter.

I think it’s important to acknowledge the idea that all frozen foods do lose some quality. The goal is to minimize the damage and/or freeze foods where that damage is irrelevant. One can’t really ruin a puree, for example. At least, not in a way that’s meaningful to our enjoyment of it. It’s already been as shredded and torn apart as it can be! Even so, some of the water may eek to the surface and result in a wet puddle on top, as it defrosts. Stir it in and you’ll be fine. Slow cooked meats are also great in the freezer as the meats have already been rendered somewhat mushy by time and temperature.

Because the rate a food freezes can alter the quality, it should be noted that flash frozen foods are the highest quality. A very low and slow freeze, right around 32 °F (0 °C) will increase that damage.

Fruits and Veggies

Things that won’t freeze are delicate items such as lettuce or other leafy greens. Many hearty herbs will freeze (thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano), but the more delicate herbs like cilantro, basil, chervil, mint and parsley will turn black. Some people will chop their heartier herbs and freeze them and just toss the frozen chopped herbs into whatever they’re cooking. They won’t last forever, but it CERTAINLY extends the shelf life of fresh herbs!

Berries are fantastic frozen. In fact, these can often be found pre-frozen at a substantial saving. I typically freeze my own simply because I find processed frozen veggies have extra water and ice crystals. I’m not sure why, but I do find that there are some expensive small batch producers with quality products. Nevertheless, I typically freeze my own goodies.

High water percentage fruits and vegetables won’t freeze very well, without defrosting into a mush-puddle. Cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, radishes, oranges, zucchini, etc. Although, be aware that if you’re just going to later cook it down, it probably doesn’t much matter (although many also claim flavor is lost in the process). If you plan to just turn peak of season oranges or tomatoes into marmalade and sauce, their mushy texture doesn’t much matter. Flavor loss may be a factor, but it could also be that these are better than the hard as rocks tomatoes at the local bodega.

For more thoughts, see tips below.

Dairy and Eggs

Emulsions can be tricky. Emulsions are a combination of water and fat, where one contains evenly dispersed super fine droplets of the other. Homogenized heavy cream, butter, mayonnaise, etc. are all emulsions. They’re smooth blends of liquid and fat. When frozen, the water freezes into crystals larger than the original droplets. When they defrost, the water oozes out and leaves behind a bit of a partially emulsified mess. This is true of water heavy dairy, like milk, cream, yoghurt, sour cream, etc.

HOWEVER! While these kinds of emulsions and dairy products are tricky, it doesn’t mean they can’t be frozen or that they can’t be used. If they’re frozen quickly and defrosted slowly, it helps maintain much of that smooth togetherness. Also, in many cases just stirring it back together will work. Some of the time, some of the water will come out, but most will stay and the emulsion will stay intact. Stir the water back in and you’re good! Your miles may vary…

I am currently living in an area where heavy cream is hard to find. Mexico has no lack of dairy, but the local crema is closer to a mellower funky sour cream. The heavy cream I so adore is a challenge to find and requires a healthy round-trip drive to a distant Walmart. As such, I typically buy more than I need and freeze some. It defrosts into a weird mélange of whey and micro-butterfat curds. It’s not the most attractive thing, but I don’t usually use it for making whipped cream. I typically use it in homemade ice cream. As I’m building my frozen custard base over a double-boiler, I re-emulsify the broken cream into the eggs. In my case, I’m still able to use the cream and have a specific plan for it. I’ll also blend it into hot cream based soups in the blender. This also re-emulsifies it. I know how to deal with broken dairy. So, in my case, it’s fine because I’ve got uses for it and I’ve thought through the defrosting process.

Typically drier cheeses will be ok, but they can lose a bit of their cohesion. Even those cheeses that become a bit brittle after defrosting, will grate up ok and are great for melting. In fact, a lot of people freeze grated cheese. Sliced cheese, though? Probably not…

Egg dishes are another area where strange things can happen. If I freeze a frittata, flan or custard, the water inside will freeze, then flow out into a puddle while defrosting. I can still eat and enjoy it, but it definitely loses some of its smooth-as-eggs luster. It’s up to you to determine your own personal level of acceptability. Because I know this can happen, I skip freezing egg dishes.

Raw eggs freeze fine, though. Don’t freeze them in their shells, but it’s not uncommon for people to crack an egg or three into individual containers and freeze. Vacuum packing raw eggs works, as well for long term freezer storage.

Meats and Seafood

Meats and seafood can be frozen, cooked or raw. That said, I wouldn’t expect a perfect butter poached lobster tail or perfectly cooked double-cut & wood oven roasted porterhouse steak to bounce back to its former glory. The more precise and delicate the nature of the beast, the harder it will be to exactly restore.

Most meats and seafoods can be frozen in their wrapping, straight from the store. However, most of this is done with simple plastic wrap and is permeable to air. If I plan to use something within a month or so, I typically don’t stress it and toss it in the freezer. However, more often than not, I’m buying in bulk. Interestingly bulk cuts are often vacuum packed in thick plastic material, preventing air exposure.

In most cases, I’ll open the meat cut, ground meat or baggie of fish/seafood and clean, butcher, and/or portion out more realistic portions. Depending on your goal, don’t hesitate to use parchment paper to separate ground meat patties, fish filets, etc. All this work is best done in a very clean environment and with the freshest possible meats. From there, I’ll vacuum pack my goodies.

Further Tips:

Be aware of expansion

Don’t forget that anything you freeze will expand. Anyone that’s cleaned out a freezer full of frozen beer (or water) bottle shrapnel knows this. Allow some room for expansion. Yes, this means opening that bottle of water and drinking (or donating to your homies) the top ounce. Squeeze out some of that excess air, put the top back on and freeze. Even when I do something like a soup base in a plastic container with lid, some of the time there’s so little space between the soup and lid that the soup expands and pushes the lid off. Allow some space. Be aware of expansion.

Don’t Freeze, Defrost and Refreeze

Imagine flying a great distance. You’re on vacation and you want to fly from San Francisco to New Orleans. You felt great when you got on the plane, but by the time you emerge on the other end, you’re kind of broken down and mushy. NOW, imagine if you had to turn around, get right back on the plane and return to San Francisco. By the time you get back to California, you’ll just be a puddle of goo.

Freezing damages food. Once is typically fine, especially with heartier foods frozen quickly and defrosted slowly in the fridge. However, a second time through that process will just damage it further.

Also, imagine you were sitting next to a sticky and disheveled 6-year old who continually sneezes, sniffles and bumps your elbow. Some of that sneeze might have stuck.

When foods are frozen, they’re preserved at a temperature so cold that bacteria cannot grow to cause spoilage or spread illness. However, when they’re in a refrigerator, that bacteria can grow. Slowly, but it’ll grow. Sitting on the kitchen counter? This can grow quite quickly!

Imagine you buy a full pork loin log. You come home and freeze it in its entirety. A week later you defrost it on the kitchen counter (don’t do this). You open it, cut off some chops, wrap the rest in plastic wrap and toss it back in the freezer. While that loin was on the counter, it was defrosting. The ice crystals in it were returning to liquid form, leaving behind very slightly damaged muscular tissue. Also, while it sat, any bacteria on it grew and multiplied. The meat took a subtle step towards spoilage. Opening it will expose it to even more harmful microorganisms floating around your kitchen, as well as air… aging it. Tossing it back in the freezer doesn’t kill off those microorganisms. It just retards them, freezing them in their tracks. They’re all set and ready to go back to work in warmer temperatures. Also, this pork loin’s water will freeze back into crystals… which when defrosted will damage the meat, just a little bit more.

It would be better to come home, immediately open and portion the loin into reasonable portions, in a clean kitchen. Package them in an air-tight an environment as possible, then freeze quickly. Later, only pull out and defrost what you need.

Blanch and Shock Veggies

The first question is… Should I even freeze veggies?

I don’t know. Sure! I mean, ultimately, it’s up to you.

I know I do!

I do it because I can prep a lot at once, portion it, and freeze it. Later, when I eat it, it typically takes a minute to heat and revive. In the long run, I personally find it far easier… while increasing the likelihood I’ll get some green beans in my mouth.

Many people process their fruits and veggies based around seasonality. Local, organic, homegrown produce is often far higher quality and more affordable than off-season vegetable flown in from the other side of Earth. In this case, they’re capturing something at its particular peak of existence. They’re probably saving some money, too. I definitely buy into this. I mean I’m a fan of affordable quality pinnacles, but what really sells me, personally, is… see paragraph above. (It allows me to be lazy, in the long run)

Then, there’s the question… is it healthy to eat frozen produce?

Sure! Why not? It’s certainly better than nothing!

Strolling a bit deeper into the question suggests… it depends! Different foods react differently to processing (be it freezing, pureeing, cooking, etc.). Some lose their nutrient values, some become degraded, others actually boost the nutrient profile. I could get into the specifics of which vegetable is best in which conditions, but that’s a subject for another time (and probably another blogger). However, from a relatively basic standpoint, a head of broccoli grown in Wisconsin in a pesticide riddled environment is harvested. As soon as it’s harvested, it starts to break down. Between the harvesting process, handling, transportation, time, plus more time kicking around the crisper, by the time this is eaten, it’s lost roughly half of its nutrient value. In this scenario, frozen may actually be better! (I can’t believe I just wrote and co-signed that!)

Again, do I freeze veggies because it’s better for me? Nah… I do it mostly because I’m lazy and it increases the chances I’ll eat a Brussels sprout. But, I think it’s safe to say that there are some compelling reasons to do it… at least some of the time!

Which is better? Freezing at home or store-bought?

Again, it depends! I personally freeze at home (except spinach… and sometimes berries). This is because I don’t like the big sloppy baggies of wet-watery ice crystals and loose veggies. I don’t know if it’s related to the freezing process, condensation, improper drying by the manufacturer, or I simply have experience with low-grade frozen veggies, but I’ve long gotten out of the habit, and just freeze my own. It does stand to reason that in 2017, some manufacters are putting out super quality frozen produce.

I do think a lot of this is also personal preference, combined with your own personal habits, lifestyle and proclivities. I’m of the mind that believes variety is the spice of life. Mix it up! Eat frozen broccoli on one day and fresh the next! Keep it moving. Keep the body guessing. Eat it all.

There are producers who grow organic vegetables in small batches, specifically to flash freeze them minutes after harvest. This will be expensive and found in fancy stores, but probably fantastic and better than anything we can do at home. This strongly appeals to the lazy in me, but it kinda somewhat freaks out my inner cheapskate.

OK, I’m sold. I want to freeze my veggies… what do I do?

Blanch and Shock. Blanch and Shock, then freeze. Quickly.

Blanching, in essence, means to cook in a large body of water, until juuuuuuuuust short of perfect.

Shocking means to plunge the veggies into a big vat of ice water. This stops the cooking process in its tracks. It’s an almost perfectly cooked vegetable, frozen in time. It just needs 60 further seconds of heat to peak.

This is something I’ve done three-hundred kazllion times, with pretty much everything. Working in restaurants, the goal is to cook super fresh food, as quickly as possible. This means a lot of the food is already cooked, right up to a point juuuuuuuuust short of perfection, where it’s instantly cooled and saved, trapped in time, to be later brought to that final point of perfection… in 60 seconds or less (Ã la minute). You can just reach in and grab a handful of chilled and dried almost perfectly cooked asparagus spears and slap them on a grill for 60 seconds with a bit of oil, salt and pepper. A moment later you’ll end up with bright, vibrant, sweet, slightly crispy and flavorful asparagus. At the same time, you’re leaving behind a big backup stash of asparagus, almost ready… waiting, waiting, and waiting to be brought that final distance to perfection.

Here’s a quick video that shows the process of blanching and shocking. It’s actually a perfect little video and covers most of what you need to know:

Blanching and Shocking Video

I have one comment, a note, and a minor criticism on the video above.

Comment: Yes, the water should be salty. The video suggests it should be like seawater. I echo this. While it does help regulate the salts and maintains the vibrancy of color, it also goes a great distance towards seasoning the food. Keep in mind that the produce won’t be in the water long and that most of the salt will be on the outside, which you’ll wash off during the shocking process. In order for that seasoning to really permeate the flesh and matter… that water should be salty.

Note: It should be noted that it’s a small amount of green beans and a great big vat of water. If there are too many green beans, it’ll cool the water too much to cook quickly and the green bean more kind of fester in hot salty swill, rather than blanching. If you have a lot to blanch, do it in batches. Do a batch, shock them, wait for the salty water to boil, then proceed with the second batch.

Criticism: Holy Mole! I can’t believe he put a plastic container that close to a burner. How did it not melt?! For shame!

Finally, here’s a really solid article on freezing vegetables. I could rewrite all of this, but… it’s actually written quite well! Notes and variations below…

Variations and Alternate Thoughts

Firstly, after blanching, shocking and drying, I personally vacuum pack my vegetables. I do this for space savings in the freezer, longevity, and portioning. I also feel like less water gets trapped in there, but I admit that I don’t have loads of experience with store-bought frozen veggies. The experience I do have, isn’t super great. I just like creating my own stash, anyway. I also find that if I freeze, THEN vacuum pack that the sharp corners of green beans and vegetables don’t puncture the bag. I vacuum pack while chilled and dry, but not frozen. Then, I scatter the bags around my freezer, so they freeze quickly.

This is just me, though. Most everything I read suggests spreading things evenly on trays, then place into some kind of plastic bag and remove as much air as possible. Certainly, this would work, too!

Choose your own adventure…

The other key piece of information is the speed by which things freeze. Faster is better. Some freezers have “quick-freeze” shelves and drawers. Use that option if you have it. If you don’t, then… evenly spread things around. Freezing “stacks” of food will take longer, creating larger ice crystals, which will damage the texture that much more when it defrosts. Whatever combination of equipment, space, and quantity you have to maximize the speed by which things freeze… take advantage of it.

There are certain vegetables which are more porous than others. For example, the above article suggests freezing mushrooms, eggplant and summer squash/zucchini. It suggests blanching and shocking. Because these are all so quick to absorb water and retain it, this just seems like a great way to make big mushroom flavored ice cubes. In these instances, I would rather sauté them, then quickly chill them on a single layer on a tray in the refrigerator. Season well, sauté hot and quickly chill. Once chilled… vacuum pack. You may lose a little color on a brightly colored zucchini, but not a lot and the taste benefits would be worth it.

Other than that, it’s a great article!

Vacuum Packing

I love vacuum packing. Well, that’s not entirely correct. I actually find the process to be a bit tedious, but I LOVE the end result and find that it’s more than worth it.

I cover a lot of this in the first post on batch cooking. The point is, only vacuum pack cold and thoroughly chilled soups, sauces, produce, etc.

What is vacuum packing? It’s a method of packing items (food, clothing, bedding, etc.) in an environment with zero air. Packed in a vacuum. This is done for a few reasons, from removing oxygen to extend shelf life to allowing for more efficient space savings. Typically, something is put into a plastic baggy, the air is removed and the bag is sealed, sealing your items in a bag along with whatever else is being sealed in the bag (which can be good or bad, depending on what’s trapped in there!)

I’m going to focus specifically on vacuum packing food.

Imagine a raw steak sitting on a plate in the fridge. I don’t think I’d eat it after even just 24 hours. Under the right set of circumstances, you can “age” meat in a manner similar to this, but I wouldn’t trust it without a more controlled environment.

Plastic wrapped, it could last several days and still be tasty.

A vacuum packed raw steak in the fridge? Upwards of 6 weeks.

Vacuum packed in a freezer? Years! Imagine that. YEARS!!

I actually find that what kills my own stash is my own doofy clumsiness; dropping the frozen bricks on the floor from overstuffing the freezer. Things fall out, hit the ground and poke holes in the bags. This eventually causes freezer burn around the perforations. Hey, I’m getting better about it, but I still drop a bag or three from time to time.

Mostly, though… an untouched steak, sitting in one unaffected spot in the freezer, vacuum packed… Will be edible for a GOOOOD long while. I’ve seen estimates of up to three years!

Realistically, if someone wanted to go absolutely bananas with all of this, they could invest in a quality vacuum sealer and a substantial deep chest freezer. One could buy things like a half cattle or 250 chickens and really get some stellar deals, boosting the quality of their purchases, and have excellent ingredients lying around for years to come! That is, of course, if you’re crazy like a fox and have backup power, just in case.

I tried to find some videos showcasing tips and benefits of vacuum sealing and vacuum packers, but there’s a shocking dearth of both quality and quantity. The best videos are largely just commercials for specific products. They’re a bit “salesy”.

Here’s a decent example that isn’t overwhelmingly like a commercial (no affiliation, but good info, nonetheless):

Vacuum Pack Uses

Here’s a nice video of just two people using theirs to package lots of chicken:

Vacuum Pack and Freeze Chicken

I like this one because it’s honest and shows a real world example of someone using these machines, as well as showcasing a really great reason for using one!

I confess that I’m actually kind of curious if I’m waaaay out in left field with this one. I love mine and use it regularly, but with the lack of coverage on YouTube… it makes me wonder if I should bark up a different tree. Anyone care to weigh in?

No matter… I mine.

Again, here’s the one I use:

Vacuum Sealer

I’ve used these in restaurants for things like cooking sous vide. I’ve also used them for packaging meat and charcuterie items at various markets. You can get big ones and small ones. Expensive ones and cheap ones. I do suggest getting one and really trying to stick with it until you see the light. Then, upgrade as necessary! I just use a simple middle of the road one. My last one lasted a good 5 years. I just grabbed the same model and am likely on year 2. Still going strong. I love these things!

Get one!

Avoid Freezer Burn

Freezer burn happens when it’s exposed to air in a frozen environment. It’s like a combination between dehydrating and aging. It occurs as temperatures fluctuate (door opening and closing) and surface ice instantly converts to gas and wanders into the kitchen (a process called sublimation). It damages the food, altering tastes and textures. While you can still eat it, freezer burned foods are not usually something I want to enjoy.

Because the issue is related to air, the goal is to remove as much air as possible. This is done by vacuum packing (see above), or by packing things in as air-tight and oxygen free environment, as possible. Put foods in correctly sized containers. Push out as much air as possible, before sealing. With bags, you can suck the air out with your mouth, or by inserting a straw into the bag and sucking the air out. At the very last second, you can remove the straw and quickly seal.

All of these are steps in the right direction, but none are as good as removing every last bit of air (vacuum packing).

Typically, when I package something with air in it, I know that it’ll have a “sell-by” date, which is generally 3 months from the date it was packaged. For the most part, you can see freezer burn, but it doesn’t hurt to collect a bit more information. With a permanent marker and some freezer labels, you can label your goodies. When the date is close… eat up! If it’s passed? Well… when in doubt, throw it out…


Defrosting should be done in only one of three ways:

  1. Slowly, in the refrigerator.
  2. In cold water.
  3. In the microwave.
  4. It’s a secret.

In my opinion, the best way to defrost is… gently… slowly… painstakingly… in the fridge. All those little ice crystals will convert back into water as the temperature drops. The more gradually this occurs, the more likely some portion of that water will be reabsorbed back into the flesh of your food, rather than escaping to the surface and melting out. This will help retain the moisture, while also decreasing the chances of damage to the food. This can take 24 to 72 hours (or more for things like Turkeys). Be prepared.

Again, because I’m such a vacuum pack nerd, I just have a few random bags bumping around the fridge at any given point. It gives time to defrost, as well as increasing my selections on any given evening…

The cold-water trick is typically if you’re in a hurry. In restaurants all over the world, someone is defrosting a brick of frozen shrimp by putting it in the bottom of a big bowl, placing the bowl under a faucet, then turning the water to a cold and very slow stream. This allows the water to slowly fill and gently raise the temperature of the frozen brick. Because the water is still streaming, eventually the bowl will fill and overflow. This is good as it carries any excess shrimp sweat over the edge of the bowl, while also ensuring the bowl stays full of cold water. A bucket of cold water with a shrimp brick runs the risk of eventually stagnating and becoming warm enough to breed bacteria. The surface of the water can be warmer than below, and also breed hazardous microorganisms. A constantly slow stream of cold water increases the likelihood that the food will stay sanitary. Also, someone will eventually go over and shake up the shrimp brick, knocking some free and allowing the water to permeate deeper into the shrimp brick, speeding the process even further.

It’s not as good waiting 24 hours, but it’s common and done all the time.

Finally, if you must and are in an absolute hurry, you can always defrost in the microwave. This can actually cook some portion of your food, which may not be great if it’s a delicate item. However, if it’s something like a stewed chili, it probably doesn’t matter anywhere near as much.

And, this brings us to the secret fourth acceptable option, which is to go straight from the freezer to the stove or oven. There are some freezer casserole recipes around the recipesphere. I’m sure I’m not the only one to grab a brick of frozen soup and throw it in a covered pot on low. As long as the food itself won’t suffer… you’ll be fine.

See, there’s something called “The Danger Zone” (sounds like the type of cheesy Kenny Loggins song that might get attached to a movie where Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer play volleyball!).

The danger zone, as applied to food, is the range of temperatures where foods LOVE to grow bacteria. The goal with any and all of this is to limit the amount of total time that foods spend in the danger zone.

As a general rule, food should never spend more than 4 hours at a temperature between 39 to 140 °F (4 to 60 °C). As long as your defrost method happens in an environment above or below this range of temperatures, you’ll at least be safe to eat it. Alternately, if it’s done within that range of temperatures, it needs to happen within 4 hours, but preferably much more quickly.

Again, freezing and vacuum packing foods essentially traps foods in the state it was in the moment it entered the freezing vacuum. So, if it enters the freezer rotten or full of bacteria, it’ll defrost with that same bacteria. As it warms, that bacteria will grow and prosper. So, it’s incredibly important that all foods are cooled quickly and properly and packaged as cleanly as possible. It’s also vital the food is defrosted appropriately.

Wash your hands, people!

In closing…

Whew! Sorry that one was so long! I should’ve split it into 3 posts. It’s all very important stuff, from a health standpoint, but also quality of the food experience, efficiency and finally… saving some money. All things people love!

Next week should be a bit smaller and focused strictly on quick meals. 15 minutes or less!

Now, here’s this week’s recipes. I hope you love them!

Freezer Friendly Recipes!

Stir-Fried Sesame Green Beans and Mushrooms

This recipe makes certain assumptions. It assumes you have frozen blanched green beans and cooked mushrooms. It’s also intended to be wicked fast and a nice little side dish. Throw a piece of fish on this and it’ll be an outstanding little dinner! Green Beans: To get to the point … More >

Stir-Fried Sesame Green Beans and Mushrooms

Super Versatile Freezer Meatballs

Anyone who has taken a look inside my freezer knows I love sausages. Sausages come in a seemingly infinite variety of flavors. They’re as varied as there are a huge number of uses for them. They great alone, in sandwiches, in salads, in soups, etc. Such an interesting and versatile … More >

Super Versatile Freezer Meatballs

Thick & Comforting Chicken-Bacon Chowder

To me a chowder is typically a thick and chunky soup, almost always cream based (Manhattan Chowder, notwithstanding). It’s usually made with seafood, but not always. It also often has potatoes or corn, but not always. It’s also very often thickened beyond what the original ingredients will create, usually with … More >

Thick and Comforting Chicken-Bacon Chowder

Beef Bourginon

When I cook, I’m always confident the end result will be delicious. I’m not always as confident in the appearance, but I’m always certain it’ll at least be tasty. However, I never know HOW tasty. Some of the time things are just ok. It’s just a blend or combination of … More >

Beef Bourginon

Book Time!

Finally, don’t forget that I’m running a pre-sale on my brand new book! A grain-free, sugar-free quick bread guide.

The reviews are starting to come in. Here’s one from the endlessly talented and prolific Martina Slajerova ~ Ketodiet App

Martina Slajerova ~ Ketodiet App“DJ has done it again! I was impatiently awaiting the release of his new cookbook, and it didn’t disappoint. DJ has a wonderful skill of combining healthy ingredients to create tasty keto recipes, all wrapped up in witty sense of humour. Apart from several sweet and savoury recipes, there are numerous tips and techniques for low-carb baking so that even a complete novice can learn how to master grain-free bread or muffins (the Deep Dish Pizza and Chocolate-Chocolate Chunks with Chocolate Ganache are on top of my list!). “The Fakery” is a must have for every health conscious foodie!”

~ Martina Slajerova ~ Ketodiet App

The Fakery

An Easy Guide to Grain-Free Quick Breads

The Fakery (Easy Guide to Grain-Free Quick Breads)

Taking Out the Carbage

AKA The Big Book of Bacon

The Fakery (Easy Guide to Grain-Free Quick Breads)

PSA: Help Me… Help You

Ultimately, I see myself as being here for you. I’d love to know some topics you’d like me to cover. Clearly, I’ll hit things like major holidays and bacon, but what are some topics, questions, themes and topics that you’d like to know. A LOT of people really seemed to enjoy last week’s meal plan. That’s great information! It will help me build this blog and its future around your needs. The more feedback I get, the better I can customize my content to your needs. None of this works for any of us, unless it’s working for you. What would you like to see me do?

More batch recipes? More meal plans? More Thai? More sweets? More quick breakfasts? A detailed look into the cheese of Trappist monks? The history of nutmeg?

Take a moment to drop me a note. Let me know what you’d like me to cover down the line. Thanks!

~ DJ

……… Aaaaaaand Next Week!

Next week will be A LOT shorter, but also devoted to balancing out these past two posts. Batch cooking combined with quick fresh meals is really the way to harmonize. All meals will be 15 minutes or less!

Freezer Meals

Freezer Meals

Freezer Meals

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