In the words of the great Lidia Bastianich "waste not, want not". Like Lidia, I really hate wasting food. It genuinely makes me feel guilty, which is why I always try and utilize as much of the animal/vegetable as possible. Whatever scraps I do have I handle accordingly (aka feed to my chickens!)
Sometimes you just need a couple tablespoons of something like tomato paste or chipotle peppers in adobo. Even though you can buy those tiny jars, it's still too much! You use what you need, put the rest in the fridge, and then by the time you need it again you grab it and it's covered in mold. Very wasteful and not to mention inconvenient! I don't know about you, but my local small town grocery store doesn't have a whole lot to offer, and the closest real supermarket is a half hour away. I'm not looking to make an hour round trip for some chipotle peppers in adobo.
So one night after I had whipped up a tasty batch of charred jalapeno, avocado, and cilantro dressing for fish tacos, I stared at the leftovers trying to figure out what to do. It was so good I couldn't bring myself to throw it away, chickens wouldn't eat it, it would burn my dog's insides, and if I put it in the fridge it would get pushed into the back and forgotten about like so many things do. So, freezing was my option. I didn't want to just throw it all in a freezer bag because then it may be too much later on, and I'd be in the same boat again. I wanted small portions, enough to spread on a sandwich, toss in a salad, put a dollop on grilled chicken breast, whatever!
Insert lightbulb moment. Ice cube trays! Small, easy to make portions, can be flash frozen so I can just toss them in a bag and grab them individually to thaw. Such a simple concept, but I felt like I had discovered fire! No more hairy chipotle peppers or tomato paste, no need to crack a whole jar of beef stock if I just want a small amount for a burst of flavor, and if I want to spread some pesto on a sandwich I have the perfect amount. Literally any sauce or dressing you make, and ingredients you buy like chipotle peppers, tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, etc will freeze.
It's so ridiculously easy to do. Give the cavities a quick spray with some Pam so everything pops out easier, and pour in your contents. I would just recommend pureeing the really chunky stuff before freezing, so you can immediately use it once its thawed. Throw it in the freezer (no need to cover) and a couple hours later once everything is solid, pop them out into a freezer bag and label! DONE!
Use your ice cube trays for more than just water, and you will be more organized in the kitchen with ingredients on hand that are already prepared. You'll also save yourself some time and money!
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