Remember those new year's resolutions? If any of them included eating healthier, saving money or being more efficient, then consider some of these options in the kitchen to help you achieve all three.
Bulk Buying: Keep an eye out for good sales at the grocery store and stock-up on frequently used items like tuna, pasta and rice and store them on an unused shelf in the kitchen or basement.
Double-Up: Next time you make a tuna casserole or chicken pot pie, double the recipe and make an extra one to pop in the freezer for another time. It’s not that much extra work and helps stock the freezer with home-cooked meals to use when you’re in a hurry.
Go Bigger: When choosing large portions of meat like roasts, hams or poultry, consider ones that are a little larger than you would normally buy to provide adequate leftovers for use in other dishes. Chop leftover pieces of baked ham into a breakfast frittata or layer roast beef pieces in a whole grain bun topped with cheese under the broiler for a quick and yummy beef melt.
Big Batch: Better prepare yourself with base ingredients that are all ready cooked. It can take a little more work on the weekend but pays off during the week when you’re contemplating take-out. Cook large quantities of ground beef, sliced chicken and beans and freeze in various portion sizes for use in your standard recipes like fajitas, pasta, and soup. You can even chop and freeze fresh vegetables like peppers and green beans to quickly throw in a stir-fry or casserole.
Bake and Freeze: Cookies and muffins are also great for freezing…pop them into your child’s lunch bag and they will be defrosted by the time they are ready to eat it. We always triple our weekend waffle recipe and individually freeze them to pop in the toaster for a quick and healthy breakfast any day of the week.
A few tips to consider when freezing items:
Label it. Not just so you’ll know what it is, but also with the date so you can be sure to use it within a few months.
Make it flat: when freezing items in freezer bags, try and spread the food out inside the bag so it's as flat and even as possible. This helps for faster defrosting and also helps save space in the freezer.
First in, first out. Try to organize the freezer items so older items are always closer to the front and used first.
Cool it. It’s important to make sure you let foods cool completely before putting in the freezer, but don’t leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours.