What’s for Dinner?, Part 3—Tips & Tricks in the Kitchen

Once we return home from The Big City and unload the groceries, we keep stretching our dollars and our time by using a few tricks we’ve developed through trial and error:

1.  If you’re heating the oven up anyways, why not bake two things?  For instance, if cornbread is on the menu, I often wrap up a bunch of potatoes and bake them for lunches or hashbrowns once the cornbread is done.  Or, if baked potatoes are on the menu, I mix up a batch of muffins to bake and then freeze.

2.  Making extra = lunches for the next day—Another of my favorite tricks is to make extra portions for supper and then pack them up for school lunches.  One of my favorite meals to do this with is spaghetti.  When the table is cleared after dinner, instead of boxing up the leftovers, we portion the food out in individual containers and making lunches the next morning is a snap.

3.  Mix one, mix another—Every time I make baked goods like biscuits, muffins, or cornbread I measure out the dry ingredients for a second batch into a Freezer Ziploc bag.  On the outside of the bag I write its contents, plus the wet ingredients that need to be added when it is used, and the baking temperature and time.  Then, into the freezer it goes until I’m in a hurry or just don’t feel like mixing up a new batch. 

The same thing can be done with macaroni and cheese, eggplant parmesan, or other easily freezable dishes.  Simply cover with tinfoil, write the baking temperature and time on top, and pop it in the freezer. 

In the future I plan to print labels on the computer for recipes I freeze frequently so that I don’t have to handwrite the instructions out on each bag.

Wishing you happy, efficient, and frugal cooking!

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