Frugal Cooking - Cook 1 Day and Eat for 2 Weeks!
Meal planning and bulk cooking are both wonderful techniques you can utilize and modify to fit your families needs. The idea behind this is simple. The principle is that you cook and or prepare your meals ahead of time and then preserve them by either freezing or refrigerating them. Also, meal planning you can cook one large meal and get 2-3 other meals out of it! The key here is to make every meal you cook count! When you are going to prepare a family favorite, double, triple, even quadruple the recipe if it will keep in the freezer. Sound wonderful doesn’t it? Why not give yourself a much-needed break -- cook ahead today so you can relax tomorrow!
The first step
in meal planning is always the most challenging. To make it less
challenging I suggest that you grab the following supplies: Pen,
paper, your personal recipe collection or your favorite cookbook and
a comfortable chair. Start by writing down a list of your favorite
meals and plan on preparing a grocery list that will coincide with
your list. Now, since we are talking bulk cooking here – if you
normally would serve up one pot of spaghetti – plan to serve 2 (that
would mean that you will have to double the recipe – so be sure to
alter your shopping list accordingly) – It will take the same amount
of time to cook – just a little extra planning is needed. Next you
can use a blank calendar and simply write the meals down on the day
you will serve them. I personally post my meal plan up on my
refrigerator for the entire house to see. This also helps to prompt
me for the next day of meals that will be served.
Here are a
few essential and widely used meal planning techniques and tips:
One Cook Wonder ~ With this strategy you would cook one main course recipe that can be used for different meals. For Instance, let’s say you just baked a large turkey. You could slice some of the turkey off and serve the breast with gravy, dice some of the turkey and prepare a turkey gumbo and use the rest for either a soup or turkey salad. Mind you, you do not have to prepare all of those meals on one day. After the Turkey has been cooked and cooled, you can freeze and refrigerate the turkey that you cut off the carcass and prepare your other Turkey related meals at a different time.
Quick and Easy meals ~ Be sure to incorporate those quick and easy meals into your planning process. If your family loves Sloppy Joes – cook up the sloppy joe meat in bulk and freeze it – then all you need to do is defrost the meat, grab some buns and viola. What about Hamburger Helper? Why not cook 2-3 boxes of it, separate it into 3 separate large containers and freeze them. That idea alone allows you to prepare 3 meals in just 30-minutes.
Designate a meal for a particular night ~ Every Friday night
in my house is either Pizza or burger night. The idea here is to
choose any night of the week and just designate a meal to go with
that night. I always make sure that I have plenty of Frozen Pizza’s
with a variety of toppings on hand in my freezer. The same
those Turkey burger patties (my family doesn’t eat much ground
beef). The idea behind this process is that you now have one night’s
meal already planned. You can also stock up on that meal when the
products are on sale. If you see Frozen pizza’s being sold in bulk,
grab them up!
Use the sales paper ~ everyone loves a good sale and I use
the sales paper to help me in my meal planning. When I see our
Family favorites on sale – instead of buying one, I will purchase
3-4 of the same items and simply come home and prepare the meals or
freeze the food that I purchased. My family and I love Chicken. When
I spot whole chickens on sale I’ve been known to purchase up to 5-6
at a time. Keep in mind that I have a family of 6 and in my family
of six; there are 3 teenagers (and you know how much they can
consume). By shopping like this, I actually save hundreds and
hundreds of dollars a year in food alone!
Now, let’s get Cookin’!
Aurelia Williams is the owner of Real Life Solutions, a Family Resource site that was created to help you lead an emotionally & physically healthier, more productive and less stressful life.
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