Pantry raid: banana bread

Have you ever opened the freezer and had to dodge cannonball-sized projectiles cascading out the door? No? Then you are a better freezer manager than I. This past weekend it became obvious that it was time to go on a pantry raid and clean out some of the food I’ve been saving for another day.

The result? A buffet dinner of warmed up bits of Martin’s terrific cassoulet, some weeknight pasta with tomato sauce and the like. And for dessert? A pretty tasty banana loaf made from some skanky, black peel covered bananas.

Although this was definitely not the best dinner I’ve served, it was satisfying on other levels: As a housekeeper, I felt great about organizing the freezer and having a heat-and-eat dinner was a nice break from meal planning, too.

How often do you need to clean out the freezer? When you do, is it more like a treasure hunt or a step into the mysterious beyond?


17 Responses to Pantry raid: banana bread

  1. Rosa says:

    I’m just like you! my freezer literally explodes with food… I’m a real squirrel when it comes to stocking food. I never throw anything away! But, I know what’s in it…

    I hate cleaning my freezer, so I do it only when I have to (no more than once a year)!



  2. Terry says:

    I always have great plans for my freezer things but often I end up throwing things out that have been in there too long. Occasionally I have a night like you did, where you hit the jackpot and can just heat and serve something wonderful you made a week or two ago (occasionally! lol)

  3. Beth says:

    My freezer is a mess! I have the best intentions but then I get into trouble by not labeling things and having no idea what they are when I find them in the depths. The ice cream is the only thing in there that gets replaced regularly!

    Plus, I wish Martin Kouprie’s cassoulet was in my freezer. It would be a much more inviting place then!

  4. dinnerwithjulie says:

    I actually get excited about cleaning out my freezer. How sad is that? My plan is to buy a dry erase board and write the contents on it next time, so I can erase/add to the list and always know what’s in there. Something goes in, I add it. Something gets used, it comes off. I always forget what goes in!

  5. danamccauley says:

    Julie, you are inspired and inspiring! I’m good at using my sharpie so that I can find things easily (read more about that here: so I can easily read the names on the food but I have to look through it. A dry erase board would keep the inventory more top of mind.

    Beth, you’re right! Having Pangaea leftovers is more of a treat more than a burden.

    Terry – good to have company in my pantry challenges!

  6. I am not naturally an organized person. My freezer reflects this. We have an apartment-sized fridge and things get shoved to the back. I label things, when I think of it, but have tossed more mystery food than I care to admit.

    Because space is at a premium, we tend to go through the freezer about once a month. I tried keeping a running tally of what was in the freezer, but the system fell apart quickly. We might try again in the new year when the Christmas rush is over and we’re all on our best eating behaviors (at least for a while).

  7. Cheryl says:

    I love the dry erase board idea. That’s really genius.

    I just cleaned out my freezer and threw out a bunch of stuff from last Thanksgiving (turkey stock) and New Year’s Eve (ham). I even cleaned out my fridge a week ago, too. There were some very exciting moldy bits in various containers of tomato sauce and cream cheese. Nothing like opening a 4-month old tub of cream cheese and jumping back 10 feet in horror.

  8. Cindy H says:

    I love the idea of the dry erase board, too! Just last night I took inventory (again!), and wrote it on a piece of paper so I could transfer it to my Word Document entitled “Main Freezer Inventory”… lol

    Of course, I’m never up to date, so I think I’ll move my dry erase board down by the freezer and begin again! I love organizing tips……especially when it’s food related!

    Cindy H

  9. adrian says:

    I love banana bread – can you recommend a recipe? (Sorry – did I miss the point of the post?)

  10. Cakespy says:

    I love banana bread too–and it’s an awesome feeling to use the nasty bananas that you couldn’t stomach on their own! I know what you mean about cleaning house. It feels so good!

  11. danamccauley says:

    Hey Adrian, I didn’t actually use a recipe and, although this banana bread was good, it wasn’t an ultimate recipe. Perhaps now that I have my buttertart quest complete I should tackle banana bread?

  12. adrian says:

    You didn’t use a recipe? Oh, you’re good.
    I think an ultimate banana bread recipe would be excellent – there’s so many variations out there. (I’m about to start on an ultimate corn bread recipe quest. Wish me luck).

  13. Amy says:

    Sadly, my most recent freezer clean out was the result of a disaster. While I was away in Europe, my chest freezer kicked the bucket and I was left with a very soggy, smelly mess to deal with. I will never let my freezer get so unorganized again.

    By the way – I got to try some of Dana’s banana bread and it was de-lish!

  14. Aran says:

    i have to clean out my freezer constantly! and banana bread is something i make A LOT with all my dark, dark bananas that I freeze!

  15. danamccauley says:

    I was going to make banana bread last night – using a recipe so that I could post it here for Adrian and giving the loaf to my mom since she complained that she handn’t had any banana bread when I made it!- and when I got home my skanky bananas were missing.

    Turns out my husband had thrown them in the freezer so that I’d have them when I wanted to make banana bread! Too funny!

    Anyhow, I’ve thawed my skanky black bananas in the refrigerator today and I will try my recipe tonight and hopefully find it worthy of your high standards and post it next week.

  16. Maris says:

    I think some of my best recipes have resulted from “clean out the fridge” dinners! But on the other hand, I’ve also had some pretty bad ones 🙂

  17. […] I posted this picture of banana bread, I had no idea that it was going to lead to a series of posts! In fact, I snapped this pic just to […]

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