winter hibernation cooking
January 3, 2015 11:42 AM   Subscribe

I hate grocery shopping so I like to buy a lot of food at one go. I went all doomsday prepper this week and may have overdone it this time on the perishable stuff. I need your help in using these things before they go bad: Gala apples, onions (white, red, yellow), carrots, red potatoes. Stuff I can freeze for later is the best.

- The obvious choice for apples would be "pie" but I don't have a pie pan
- I have a good amount of staples and spices including rice, beans and pasta
- Really trying to avoid further trips to the store, so please avoid or limit other fresh ingredients
- I don't have a blender or mixer
- I do have a crockpot and microwave
- No dietary restrictions so feel free to suggest things with meat and cheese (I have pork chops, chicken breasts, bacon, and a variety of cheeses)
- I have a normal-sized apartment fridge and freezer
- I'm usually only feeding myself, so small quantities are best
- I'm an intermediate-level cook at best and prefer to bake when possible
posted by desjardins to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
You can make baked or stewed apples or applesauce. Apple cobblers might be nice too.

Onions can be chopped and frozen. Use them like fresh in recipes. Parboil the potatoes and the carrots and freeze them. (Parboil, cool, freeze on a cookie sheep, pop into freezer bags.)

This way you've preserved the raw ingredients and can use them as needed. You're limited by freezer space on making things in bulk. If you cooked it all, you wouldn't have room to store it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:52 AM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Here are tips for storing apples. They should last for months on a shelf.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:53 AM on January 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

That sounds like soup or stew to me. You can totally freeze soup. You could probably make a nice soup with onions, carrots, and potatoes. And maybe bacon, chicken, beans.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:56 AM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

You can cook up apple pie filling and freeze it for later (note: you can use that pie filling for things like enhanced cinnamon rolls, or hot over ice cream, so you may want to freeze smaller portions). You can also make pie in a casserole dish or oven-safe skillet. How to Freeze Apple Juice, Whole Apples, Apple Slices and Apple Pies.

You can just chop and freeze onions. You could just halve or quarter them and freeze those, but freezing takes the crisp out of them so you might as well chop first so you can freeze flattened zip-top baggies of 1/8 or 1/4 cup portions. You could caramelize a batch, but one onion equals about a tablespoon of finished product so it depends on how many onions you got.

I would also chop and freeze the carrots in portions to add as needed to ingredients.

Potatoes do a weird thing in the freezer, but if you like hash browns, latkes, etc you can grate them and freeze that. Or you can make mashed potatoes and freeze.

You should be able to store some apples, onions, and potatoes for months. Perhaps under your bed, or maybe just in a cool cabinet.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:56 AM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Apples, potatoes, and onions will last for a very long time. Cool and dark is what they need.

Off the top of my head:

- French onion soup (for extra noms, cook down the onions for 12 hours in your slow cooker.IN BUTTER. Drain off all the liquid, and reduce that in a small saucepan. Then toast the crouton with that butter before topping the soup. Don't use the red onions for soup, they don't work as well)

- Applesauce. Leave it unsweetened, and then you can sweeten to taste for desserty things or use as a sauce for your porkchops. You don't need a blender or food processor, just chop up and cook down in your crockpot

- Carrot latkes are delicious! Add shredded cheese.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:02 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Apples make lovely homemade applesauce! Peel and slice, and either simmer them gently on the stove with a teeny bit of water, or microwave them. Mash with a fork: no need to purée. A bit of butter and cinnamon makes them even better. A squeeze of lemon is good to maintain color if you have it. Goes great with pork chops!
posted by telepanda at 12:04 PM on January 3, 2015

You can also roast up a big batch of carrots and potatoes and onions with an apple - large-dice all of them, toss with a glug of olive oil, salt, pepper, spread out single-layer into a casserole dish or onto a baking sheet in 400* oven, let 'em go 35-50 minutes (get some actual brown edges before you pull it).

This is good as-is with any protein, or you can toss into rice and/or beans, save and freeze some for later, etc. They shrink up so much that one big cookie sheet is only about 3-4 side-servings' worth when you're done.

You also have pretty much everything to make shepherd's pie, which is meant to be made of leftover whatever-you-have anyway so don't feel like you must have every single ingredient.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:12 PM on January 3, 2015

Nthing applesauce, and then clean out the crackpot and make a big batch of chicken stew with the carrots/onions/potatoes. Freeze this into portion sizes and you've got easy dinners for the foreseeable future.
posted by spinturtle at 12:13 PM on January 3, 2015

Potato latkes with grated onion. Serve homemade applesauce on the side, plus sour cream if you have any.

Also, you don't need a pie pan to make apple pie. You can make a rustic pie on a baking sheet. Just roll out the dough, put filling on it, and fold the sides up and partially over the filling.
posted by hazyjane at 12:13 PM on January 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you want pie, you don't need a pie plate. Just do a fold-over pie (I think they have a more formal name but it escapes me at the moment.)

Please note, I've never tried that recipe, and it seems a bit over-complicated to me (I wouldn't pre-cook the apples or filling) but I just wanted to show you an example of what I was talking about.
posted by sardonyx at 12:18 PM on January 3, 2015

Or what hazyjane suggested. That method works as well.
posted by sardonyx at 12:19 PM on January 3, 2015

Also, you don't need a pie pan to make apple pie. You can make a rustic pie on a baking sheet. Just roll out the dough, put filling on it, and fold the sides up and partially over the filling.

That works well; you can also make pie/cobbler/crisp in pretty much any oven-safe pan, pot, or dish of almost any size or shape. Also, I've never made it but I've seen many recipes for stovetop cobbler, so even if you have no oven-safe dishes or your oven isn't working, you should still be able to make something tasty.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:30 PM on January 3, 2015

You can freeze onions without blanching. Chop them up to a size you'd like, freeze on a tray with silcone paper on, put into ziplock bag when frozen, pull them out when needed. The texture is a little different so not great in salads, but in any cooked dish you shouldn't see any difference.

I also make creamed onions with normal not pearl onions, gently simmer onions until all nice and sweet, make a white sauce on them. Freeze them. This is a great filling for a savory pie.

Apples will last for ages in a cool dark place, as will the potatoes. Just don't store the onions, potatoes or apples together as they will off gas & make each other rot.

You can also freeze carrots without blanching, but don't keep them for more than three months or so this way, again the texture goes a little funny but they are fine in stews, stirfries etc.
posted by wwax at 12:31 PM on January 3, 2015

Crockpot caramelized onions froze for later.
posted by Mitheral at 12:41 PM on January 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Just to add to Mitheral's suggestion, you can form a big batch of caramelized onions into a log shape using plastic wrap (put the whole thing in a freezer bag to avoid burn), and then when you want to use some for a recipe, you can just slice off what you need. So easy.
posted by mireille at 1:37 PM on January 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm thinking something like this. You can use up all or a lot of your veggies, you have pasta and cheese, and you can throw in some sliced chicken pieces if you want. She also has a risotto primavera which is basically the same except for a change in carbs.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 1:54 PM on January 3, 2015

If you've got the right spices in your cabinet, maybe you can try out some curries. With the pork chops in the freezer, you may be able to make a simple pork vindaloo. Or with the apples and chicken, a Japanese-style curry.
posted by thirdletter at 2:59 PM on January 3, 2015

I would caramelize those onions in a big batch in the crockpot! Freeze them divided into small quantities and then defrost as needed. It will get your onions down in volume a LOT and will contribute a ton of flavor.

For the apples, I would make apple pie filling with the apples, and then put together a big bag of crumb topping that could go in the freezer separately. Then you can assemble individual-sized apple crumble whenever you want it! Yum.
posted by rainbowbrite at 3:00 PM on January 3, 2015

Do you have a casserole pan or any non-metal baking dish? Apple crisp or a unique-shaped pie can be made in that instead of a pie dish. If you want to eat healthier, just skip the crisp or pie crust and bake bite-size pieces of apple after tossing them in some sugar and cinnamon. I can eat a whole giant bowl of this for dinner, maybe with some yogurt and honey on top.

Carrots, potatoes, and onions all last a long time, if stored in the fridge. You have at least a week for the carrots (check to see if they're starting to get soft after a week). You have at least a few weeks to use the potatoes and onions.

Roast the potatoes in 1 inch chunks (don't peel them, just scrub them). Eat roasted potatoes for dinner, then make little baked breakfast bowls by sauteing some onions, mixing them with the potatoes, putting them in oven-safe bowls or dishes, cracking an egg over the potatoes and baking until the egg is done to your liking.
posted by at 3:21 PM on January 3, 2015

Pork Normandy! This recipe is a little fussier then I make (cider? Hard cider? Apple juice? Whatever is handy) and I tend to add a little cinnamon to it, but since it's basically a stew you can adapt it, add mushrooms along with the onion for example. I omit the mustard cause I like it sweet but it's really hard to do "badly". You can even omit the flour if you don't mind a watery sauce. Serve over egg noddles or any pasta really. I like to make buttered egg noddles and poppy seed for it and you can fridge whatever is uneaten and it keeps forever.

One fun thing to do is after you sear the pork and put it aside (they say keep it in the oven but I let it sit covered in the apple-sauce simmering so so long it breaks apart anyway so I never bother, I just put it on another plate until it's ready to add) cook a piece of bacon in the pan before adding the onions, cook it slowly to render the fat out, then eat it yourself while you finish the rest of the meal. You can peel and core the apples before hand if you place them in ice water (a little bit of lemon juice will keep them longer but is optional.) if you don't have brandy, a splash of white wine will work.

If you like sour cream and paprika, chicken Paprikash is another type of this kind of cream and meat stew, just as variable, and it just sucks up random vegetables you have in.
posted by The Whelk at 3:51 PM on January 3, 2015

I make apple pie in tiny mason jars, put in the freezer uncooked, then you just take the top off and pop the jar directly in the oven and BAM freshly-baked pie for one.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:57 PM on January 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

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