Monday, February 18, 2013

QUICK TIP-What's for dinner?

How often do reach the end of your day and realize you have no idea what to make for dinner? All the kids start popping in, one by one, asking that dreading question, " What's for dinner?" If you're like me, it happens more often than you would like to admit. Here is a quick tip to help remedy that situation in a hurry.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Leftovers- where do they come from and how do we use them?

I love leftovers. How can you not enjoy having a great meal for a second time the next day? A tasty bowl of soup, a plate of jambalaya or cold, fried chicken are all great treats to eat for lunch to break out of the sandwich routine. Sometimes there are some leftovers that are just a little hard to enjoy on their own or you are really not in the mood for, so what do you do with it? Having a small army to feed, I usually wind up with a little something that wasn't consumed and winds up sitting in the fridge. Sometimes I will come across a bowl of "something" and have no idea when I made it and why it has hair on it. That one gets tossed.

Then there are other items, such as pasta, baked potatoes, other veggies, baked chicken, steak or pork chops. These can all easily be assimilated into other dishes. Meats can be chopped or sliced and added to soup, made into shepherd's pie, pot pie, fajitas, or chicken salad. Pasta can be made into pasta salad or baked pasta, spaghetti into sesame noodles. Leftover veggies can be added to soups, toppings for baked potatoes, added to pasta salads, served cold over tossed salad or used for stew. Baked potatoes can be cut in half, guts scooped out and stuffed with cheese, bacon and broccoli for potato skins.

These are only a small sample of what you can do with those leftovers besides just reheating them. It is certainly not all inclusive and limited only by your imagination. The point to remember is that as long as the food has not gone bad, why throw it away? If you can rework it into a dish, you should. No matter how much saving you had when you bought the ingredients, the cost goes up if you have to throw portions away. Find recipes that call for veggie portions to be added, diced meat as the main part, cold pasta or whatever it is you have that can be disguised from the original. Don't be afraid of the leftover. If you saved it, it has to be good or your too cheap to see it thrown away, unless forced to because you think it may save your life.

Friday, February 15, 2013

When life gives you lemons...

QUICK TIP- How often do you have a recipe that calls for lemon zest and realize that there is not a lemon to be found in your house? Here is a way to be sure you always have some. Whenever you have a recipe that calls for lemon juice, before you cut the lemon, wash and then zest it. Take that zest, put it on a sheet of wax paper, fold it into an flat envelope and then put it into a zipper bag. Put the bag in the freezer and then whenever you need some for a recipe, simply pull out an envelope. Each envelope is the zest of one lemon, so it is already measured out. After you zest, go ahead and juice the lemon. By doing this, you are getting the full use out of your produce and you'll never find yourself short of a needed ingredient.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chicken fingers

Quick Tip- This one comes from tonight's dinner. You want to serve your kids a healthy, nutritious meal, but want to avoid all of the unhealthy stuff in their favorite- chicken fingers. You feel really motivated today and decide to make homemade ones. You can start with chicken tenderloins and you notice the price. That's a whole lot more expensive than the premade ones. How do you save a few dollars on this one? Take a look a little further down the meat case and see if they have boneless chicken breast on sale. If they do and it is less expensive than tenderloins, buy the breast and cut the breast into strips resembling a tenderloin. Most people won't tell the difference and the tenderloin is part of the breast anyway so the meat is the same. I saved $2 a pound today by using this tip, since the breasts were on sale. Always use this tip for you meat purchases, especially when looking for stir fry meat, stew meat, etc. Buy the larger cut and do you own cutting down to size. A few minutes extra work is well worth the additional savings.