Monday, August 4, 2014

A few Quick Tips

I wanted to share a few quick tips with you... Money saving tips as well as maximizing what you buy.

Tip #1: When you buy meat, buy it on sale and buy extra. Freeze portions so that you always have a nice lean meat on hand for dinner. This also helps when meal planning because you can go to the freezer and say I have this, this and this to use this week, so I will only buy 1 protein to use 1 and freeze 1 this week. It is going to save money in the long run.

If you shop at places like costco where you can buy in bulk some of the meats to stock up on are pork tenderloins and pork loin roasts. The tenderloins have a total of 4 to a package. That is 4 meals for just a little more than you pay at the grocery store for 2 tenderloins.  The pork loin roast looks intimidating. It is very long and looks like a HUGE piece of meat. This is one that can be cut into 4 or 5 portions and serve a family of 4 easily. These are two pieces of meat I buy often and keep in the freezer for a yummy meal.

Tip #2
HERBS: summer time is great because herbs are in abundance and they are cheap to buy at the store. When you see that they are on sale for $1.00 or less STOCK UP! Bring them home and chop up the herbs, place them into ice cube trays and then pour a little water over them so they will freeze into cubes. You are freezing it at the peak of its "ripeness" and can have fresh herbs when cooking all year long.

Fill the tray with chopped herbs
  cover with water and freeze
 Once frozen you can remove the cubes of herbs
 Place them into a freezer bag and label them. 
Now you have fresh herbs to use all year long! 

Tip #3:  ZEST
Lemon, Lime, Orange... I am finding more and more recipes that are using the zest of these three fruits. I don't always have them on hand, or I let them go bad in the fridge before getting to use them. Anytime I have a recipe that calls for the juice of a lemon or lime etc, I will zest it first. I have a ziploc bag of each on in my freezer and I will add the zest to the bag and stick it back in the freezer. This way I always have zest when it is needed. It freezes perfectly. 

Tip #4: 
I always find that when I buy a bag of onions, one or some of them sprout before I get to use them all. I try to notice when my onions are starting to get a little soft right before they are going to sprout. I will dice them up and put them into a ziploc bag in the freezer. They freeze well and it is a perfect way to add already diced onions to a recipe that you are cooking. (I would not add it to a recipe if the onions don't get cooked, they will end up a bit soggy) 
Green onions are another onion that freezes really well, and can be a bit expensive when not in season. I usually can't use them all before they start to get slimy in the fridge, so I try to chop them up and freeze them. 

Tip #5:
Chicken stock is the easiest thing in the world to make! Any time I go to the store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, I will take the chicken off the bones and put everything into a crock pot. I will add celery, (the stock or pieces you cut off, onion the paper part and all, just cut it in half and throw it in, and a handful of baby carrots) Put it all into the crock pot and fill it to the top with water. I will do this at night before bed and cook it on low all night. When I wake up the house smells like a wonderful meal has been cooked. I let the crock pot cool down, put it into the fridge so the fat will rise to the top, then the next day I scrape the fat off, and put it into ziploc bags in 8oz (1 cup) portions. I lay them flat in the freezer and stack them on top of each other. I usually get 12-14 bags per crock pot. Next time I make it, I will post pictures of the process. 

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