Cooking · Food · Meal Building Blocks

Why Didn’t I Think Of This Earlier?

Or, tips and tricks to make Summer meals a lot less, less.

I’ve had a few ‘head-slap’ moments lately and thought I should share. After all, you might not have thought of these, either. šŸ™‚

Batch Cooking

As you contemplate your weekly meals, if you are planning on using, say, a lot of oven-baked chicken across many meals, why not put it all in the oven at the same time and use the oven once instead of several times heating the kitchen when it really is too hot already?

My range has a convection oven and, along with all the other bells and whistles, has a dedicated button for chicken nuggets. Yeah, really. I used to chuckle a lot at that, too. But you know what? Filling the oven with baking sheets full of chicken to be cooked and used for several different meals saves time, energy (i.e.: money), and work. You can even prep different flavor profiles if you want. Even if it really is just chicken nuggets.

If you are able to find a flat of meats you will be able to use in a variety of meals, take advantage of pre-prepping and batch cooking. You can fill up the slow cooker in addition to filling up the oven or making use of your grill. You’ll save money and time.

Think Ahead

If you like to make tuna or chicken salad don’t forget to put the tuna or cooked chicken in the fridge before you start making the salads. I keep my canned tuna in the fridge so when I’m ready for a tasty lunch, the tuna is already cold. All I need to do is make the salad and eat. No waiting for the mixture to cool off.

Batch Prepping

I recently picked up a bag of sweet mini peppers to see if I would like them. I don’t care for hot peppers and while I enjoy sweet bell peppers many times one is just too much. On top of all of that, I hate waste.

I liked the sweet mini peppers but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat them all before they went bad, so I pulled out my mini chopper, grabbed a paring knife along with a couple of small freezer containers and started in. I split each pepper after I took off the top, cleaned the seeds out and then cut into smaller pieces that I put into the chopper. Once the chopper was full, I pulsed it until the peppers were coarsely chopped and then moved the chopped peppers to the freezer containers. I can now use what I need for a recipe without waste!

Do you have ‘issues’ with green peppers? As I got older my digestive system no longer tolerated green peppers. Until I learned this secret: Peel the peppers. Yep, pull out your vegetable peeler and remove that outer skin. No more uncomfortable tummy!

If you find a good deal on onions or other vegetables but don’t want to let them go to waste why not prep them and tuck them away in the freezer?

Best Tip: Use an ice cube tray to create cubes of these veggies. When they are frozen, pop them into freezer bags and put them away. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean the ice cube tray for the next round! You can use this trick for left over wine, tomato paste, fresh herbs, and probably more things than I’ve thought of here.

Start looking at different eye levels.

It is easy to forget than there could be great bargains on your grocery shelves just waiting to be found. All you have to do is look up and then look down.

Many grocery stores stock shelves based on what they want the buyer to purchase. They know shoppers don’t always look above or below eye level. What can you gain by looking up or down? Better prices. Better quality. Better options.

Don’t get caught up in purchasing brand names, either. You’ve probably heard that store brands are often the same as name brands other than the prices. That is true more often than we think. By trying off brand items you could find something you like better – and at a better price.

There is a time and place to purchase name brand items. But it might not be a bad idea to check around and see what you are missing, especially when there are limits on what you can find on the shelves.

I hope these few tips are helpful. If so, please click on the ‘Like’ button below!

Enjoy!

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