Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

Time & Cost Saving Tips

With 4 kids, I need to do as much time saving as I can & the kitchen is one area I find great success in that. My husband comes home from work at 4:00 & I don't like being in the kitchen cooking at that time, therefore I do all I can ahead of time. One of my biggest time savers & a huge cost saver is by doing a baking day 1-2 times a month. I bake & prepare meals for the entire month in one day. I will share more on that at another time. Today I just wanted to jot down some easy ways to save time in the kitchen. Feel free to add to the comments on what you do!

I often purchase the 3.5 lb. bags of frozen chicken breasts. I will throw the entire bag, frozen, into a crockpot & let them cook all day. We love how the chicken turns out, it is so tender. We then usually use half of that chicken for a meal that night, then cube the chicken & pop it into the freezer for the next meal. If I am running behind on time & know we need the chicken that night to speed up the process, I will defrost them in the microwave for 20 min. before putting them into the crockpot. Also - be sure to spray your crockpot with non-stick spray before putting in the chicken.

We always purchase the large size packages of hamburger. I will do one of 2 things, I will divide it as soon as I get home from the store & put it in freezer bags. Or, I will cook it all, then divide & freeze. To take it a step further, I often take half of it, make it into a meatloaf to freeze & the rest will usually make 2 - 1 lb. packages.

I really do the same sort of thing with several things I get at the store. Aldi is my favorite place to buy fresh produce, especially pineapple. I will buy 6-7 pineapples at a time when the have them for .99. I bring them home, cut them up into snack size bags & put into the freezer.

When I make spaghetti sauce or fettucine sauce, I like to make a double batch & freeze half.

A great way to make kids lunches easier, is to make up PB&J sandwiches & freeze them individually. My kids will just pull one out of the freezer & put it into their lunchbox. By lunch time, it is thawed out.

To save money, instead of buying the single serving sized snacks (which are incredibly handy to take on the go), I buy the larger sizes & divide it up into snack sized Ziploc bags. This is also an easy job for the kids to do.

And to save time, I do alot of crockpot cooking!

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