Before moving on to other topics this month, I’d like to share some ideas about the best appliance to cook budget-friendly meals. The best answer would be “it depends.” The Asian community would certainly prefer a wok because it is so versatile. Others would choose a frying pan over gas heat or casserole dish in an oven. My preference would be to use the slow cooker, which is not commonly used in many parts of the world. So why would I want to use it? I like soup and casseroles and these can be cooked easily in a slow cooker. I can set it and forget it. But there’s more to it than that. Continue reading
1 Skillet Meals
How could I forget cooking 1 skillet meals in my college dorm? Well, I did until reading the manual for the WSU Nutrition Education Program. Their manual outlines ways to cook one skillet meals on the stove top. Other small electric tools can be used if a range is not available. Cooking an easy meal in an electric fry pan, electric wok, or crock pot is simple, flexible and easy on your budget. Continue reading
If you are serious about tightening your food budget and saving time in the kitchen, using planned-over food will help do both.
Cooking once for several meals takes a little extra time and ingredients on the first day but the second meal is a breeze. With a little imagination and help from the family, the meal possibilities are endless. Here is an example:
- Using a roaster or slow cooker, cook a 3 lb roast with lots of root vegetables and onions. Using a large pot, cook a double batch of pasta. Set aside 1/2 of the roast, drippings, pasta and veggies for meal #2.
- For meal #1, make gravy, with some of the meat drippings, dice a pound of the meat and combine it with the gravy. Spoon the gravy over the pasta and serve with veggies on the side. Green salad and planned-over soup complete the meal.
Use the remaining pasta to create a pasta celery salad. Dice the cooked meat and veggies. Store these planned-overs in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Oh, label these packages to keep hands out of your prepared meal.
Make stew for meal #2. Simply combine the drippings, diced meat and chopped veggies in a pot. Add some vegetable broth, celery and chopped onions, heat and serve. With the pre-made pasta salad, harvest bread, and an easy dessert, your meal is ready in no time.
- When making your New Year’s Resolutions, keep them realistic and appropriate. Many people already cook once for several meals but it’s probably not planned. The appropriate resolution could be “to make better meal plans in 2014.”