Monday, May 28, 2012

Ice Cube Trays - A Versatile Kitchen Helper

It's time for another mom tip! I am so thankful for all of my friends and my family who have given me wisdom and advice over the years. Some wisdom and/or advice has become a staple in our home, and other advice has not. It didn't make the advice wrong necessarily. The advice usually just didn't work for myself or for our family. So, this blog is geared towards giving you something that works for me, and if it works for your family then that is great too!

In the age of automatic ice makers in refrigerators, the ice cube tray might not be an item you use anymore in your own kitchen.  It is an item I use frequently that helps me out in the kitchen.

One way I love to use my ice cube trays is to freeze cookie dough in them.  When I make cookie dough, I sometimes make a double batch to save time.  I will make half of the batch and bake them right away, but I will freeze the rest in ice cube trays. 


Once frozen, I pop the frozen cookie dough pieces into a plastic freezer bag.  When I have a hankering for cookies, I just go to the freezer, place the cubes on a cookie sheet, and bake as directed.  It does take a few extra minutes to cook the cookies over what the original recipe says, because they are frozen.

Another way I like to use ice cube trays is to freeze tomato paste.  When I buy a can of tomato paste, the recipe will always just call for one tablespoon or two.  What was left in the can used to go to waste.  Now, I will put the rest of the tomato paste in an ice cube tray.  Each cube is about one ounce or one tablespoon.  Once frozen, I will put them into a freezer bag I have marked "Tomato Paste".  That way when I have a recipe that calls for tomato paste, I just put in one cube for each tablespoon called for in the recipe.  For example, this week I made Sloppy Joes.  It called for 3 tablespoons of tomato paste.  I pulled my bag out of the freezer, plopped three cubes into my simmering sauce, and stirred.  Done.

My daughter and I love to freeze ice cubes in the summer with summer fruit.  We get Sprite (you could also use ginger ale or club soda) and freeze it in ice cube trays with raspberries, strawberries, or lemons.  You can also make ice cubes out of cherries and use the cherry juice in your ice cube.  You can put the ice cubes in lemonade, sprite, or make cherry cokes.  It is a fun summer thing to do.

I used to use ice cube trays all the time when my babies were little.  I used to make their baby food.  I can't express how easy it is to do and so much less expensive than buying it.  I used to buy frozen vegetables (look for no salt in the ingredients).  Steam or boil in as little water as possible to keep as much of the nutrients as possible.  Puree soft, cooked vegetables in a food processor or blender and add water to your baby's needed consistency.  Freeze in ice cube trays.  When frozen, store in freezer bags with the name of the vegetable clearly marked on the bag.  Each ice cube is one ounce so you will still be able to estimate how much your baby is eating.

If you don't have ice cube trays and would like to start using them, dollar stores usually sell them in sets of three for one dollar if you don't have any.  I have surely loved and used them.  They have been a versatile kitchen tool for me.

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