“Perfect Portions” for Cheap!

I will not deny the perfect portions baggies by Ziploc are extremely handy, but they can get pricey. I have been using sealable sandwich bags, but they can also get expensive and messy. But do you know what is super cheap and easy?? Fold to close sandwich bags! I paid $1.50 for a box of 150.

I do not like the fold bags for sandwiches and snacks because they never stay fresh (and I like using re-useable tupperware), but they are perfect for freezing portions of meat, refried beans, burritos, hamburgers…the uses are endless!

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Above are my perfect portions of chicken breasts. And to make this super-saver extra happy the chicken was on sale because its sale by date was the next day. I scooped up the chicken (now regretting I didn’t buy more), and popped it in the freezer after getting home.

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Freezer Burritos!

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It is a busy, busy week so I am going to send you to a trusty source this week….Martha Stewert. She has a simple recipe for bean and rice burritos including instructions on how to freeze and reheat them

Freezing Bean and Rice Burritos

I have to admit that I tweeked this recipe just to use up what I had in my fridge. Remember I made red beans and rice recently? Well two people can NOT finish a whole pound of red beans successively, so I have turned them into burritos. Anything that I can easily grab and heat up at work makes my day so much easier!

Enjoy!

Menu 3

Sunday

Breakfast: Snickerdoodle Scones 

Prep: Rosemary Crackers for soup

Dinner: Whole chicken (made in crockpot) with baked potato and veggie.

I find aluminum foil in the crockpot messy and unnecessary. I like putting my chicken on large pieces of onion and celery. I also like seasoning my chicken with a garlic butter/oil rub or sage and thyme. 

Mexican Monday

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas with Refried Beans

“Tofu” Tuesday

Vegetable Minestrone with Rosemary Crackers (use leftover parmesan rind in soup!)

Wednesday

Coconut Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers (Baked in oven)

Thursday

Fettucini Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli

Friday

Leftovers

Saturday

Turkey Burgers and Parsnip Fries

Turkey Burgers will pop up A LOT on our menu. I have a hamburger loving husband, but if I let him loose in the kitchen with ground turkey he makes AMAZING burgers that make both of us happy. 

 

Breadcrumbs

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I haven’t bought breadcrumbs in about 4 years.

My husband and I rarely get through a whole loaf of bread before I have to chuck into the fridge to keep in from going bad. At that point we rarely touch the bread until it is time to make breadcrumbs. After a couple months I have collected the “butt” ends of bread and a few normal slices too. It is then time to make a big batch of breadcrumbs. You’ll see in the picture above that I keep my whole wheat and white breadcrumbs separate. It is pretty rare that I have white crumbs, but I had a lot of leftover hamburger and hotdog buns.

Breadcrumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place bread directly on oven rack that is set in the middle of oven.
  3. Dry out bread for 20-30min. [Some pieces may have to dry in oven longer than others. The “butt” ends of bread tend to dry out faster. The bread is done when it snaps cleanly when you break it in half. Sometimes I get too impatient for regular slices of bread to dry out and I use them anyways.]
  4. Let bread cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Throw bread into a food processor or blender. Process until you reach your desired texture.
  6. TO FREEZE: Dump crumbs into a freezer safe container or bag and freeze. *Don’t let bag of crumbs sit out once you have frozen it. Crumbs thaw REALLY FAST*

Enjoy!

Menu 2

Sunday

Breakfast: Amish Oatmeal

Prep: Whole chicken (made in crockpot) to use in meals throughout week

I find aluminum foil in the crockpot messy and unnecessary. I like putting my chicken on large pieces of onion and celery. I also like seasoning my chicken with a garlic butter/oil rub or sage and thyme. 

Dinner: Sausage and Potato Soup

It doesn’t look pretty, but it is yummy and just what I need to use up some leftover breakfast sausage and the big bag of potatoes the husband brought home.

Mexican Monday

Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas with Refried Beans

“Tofu” Tuesday

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Herb Dumplings

Wednesday

Cottage Pie

Be sure to rinse the beef after cooking or you will end up with a greasy mess that resembles dog food.

Thursday

Chicken Parmesan with noodles and salad

Friday

Leftovers

Saturday

Garlic-Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

This is a recipe that I will shop for the day I cook it. Fresh shrimp!!

Lemons, Limes and Oranges…Oh my!

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Some of my favorite fruits to buy are lemons, limes, and oranges because you can use virtually every single part of the fruit. There is almost no waste, which means more bang for your buck. This post has two parts: How to freeze the different parts of citrus fruits and how to use them.

Freezing Juice

  • Pour into ice cube trays or silicone muffin cups. 
  • Once frozen (6-8hours) store in a freezer safe container or bag.
  • To use: thaw in fridge.

Freezing Peel (two ways)

  1. Grate the peel and spread on a covered baking sheet or plate. Once frozen store in a freezer safe container or bag.
  2. Remove insides from fruit (kitchen scissors work well for this) and freeze peel on a covered baking sheet or plate. Once frozen store in a freezer safe container or bag.

Freeze Whole

  • Slice fruit and freeze slices on a covered baking sheet or plate.
  • Once frozen through store in a freezer safe container or bag.

How to Use

The juice and zest are great to use in recipes (obviously). You can use whole pieces of citrus fruit in cooking or in Natural Room Scents. Use scents immediately if using frozen fruit.

You can also throw frozen slices or the peel into your garbage disposal for a quick clean. **It takes a LONG time for your disposal to process fresh peels.**

I like to use the peel for making citrus infused vinegar, which I then use for cleaning. Drop peels from one whole lemon, lime or orange into a wine sized container and cover with white vinegar. Let sit for one month. Strain. Add to a spray bottle with water (1:1 aka same amount of vinegar and water).

 

Bell Peppers

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I love vegetables and peppers are excellent. Unfortunately, bell peppers can be pretty pricey compared to other vegetables (especially if you want any color besides green), and I honestly don’t use them very often. I was lucky enough this past summer to obtain a few peppers, for free, from a friend of a friend’s farm. I knew I would never be able to use my beautiful orange peppers before they started to go bad so I froze them. The great thing about bell peppers is you do not have to blanch them before putting them in the freezer (more on blanching vegetables for freezing later).

Prep for Freezer:

  1. Remove and discard seeds and stem
  2. Cut into slices.
  3. Lay out slices on baking sheet/plate covered with parchment or wax paper/silicone mat.
  4. Drop slices into freezer safe container or bag when frozen through (6-8hours).

Using from Freezer

  • Let thaw and then use as fresh peppers. You may need to towel dry.
  • Use frozen! Peppers are easy to chop while frozen and thaw rapidly while you prep them. I also drop them frozen into soups that won’t be affected by a drop in temperature: chills and Speedy Cassoulet (you HAVE to try this, it is so easy to make!!)

Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of wikipedia (no judging)