Thursday, November 6, 2008

I never thought the day would come...

I am actually happy that it's turning cold. There is something in the air when the leaves and temperatures are falling that makes me want to hunker down in the kitchen and cook. I'm thinking that today is the day I make some bread and muffins. Then, there is a chicken to be roasted and while all of this is in the oven I may try and organize the pantry.
Being a Virgo, I like things neat, orderly and uber-organized but, striving for perfection is the surest way to disappointment. I just try to keep it from being an avalanche zone most of the time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leftover Intervention

I know you've seen those books on Once A Month Cooking. Heck, I even own a few. But who has an entire day to set aside to cook? I don't. The best way I have found to stock my freezer with meals is to make double batches. This is a simple, straight forward strategy. Some important things to remember when doing this is to pull out half the pasta when it's only half cooked. This will keep it from getting mushy when it's reheated. If you are using canned vegetables in a recipe, add them at the very end and immediately divvy up what you want to freeze. Canned veggies are already cooked so if you cook them and then freeze them, when you reheat they will turn to goo. When using fresh veggies, pull out what is to be frozen half way through so that they will retain color and crunch when reheated.
Another way to stock up that is great is to reinvent leftovers. Meat sauce for pasta can be turned into stuffing for peppers or acorn squash. Roast chicken leftovers can be turned into chicken salad, enchiladas, tacos, pot pie, chili and soup. Pork chops can be made into stir fry or pork and beans. Hamburgers can be chopped up into meat sauce, converted to Salisbury steak, used for topping a pizza or made into chili. Ham can be chopped and put into freezer quiche, casseroles or ham salad.
Next time you have leftovers think about what else you make that has similar ingredients.