Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cook Once, Save for Later

I'm not exactly talking about leftovers.  Although I love leftovers and we eat frequently, I'm talking about cooking extra and saving part for later. Doing this saves time and money.  For example the other night when I was making Chicken Fajitas Verde I had more chicken then needed for the recipe. Instead of wrapping up and refrigerating or freezing the chicken I cooked it.  I seasoned the chicken and put it in the oven to cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  When it was done I diced the chicken and placed in a freezer bag for use later in a salad, casserole or soup.  With our busy lifestyle I often find that if I am not careful leftover refrigerated raw food goes bad before I can use it.  By cooking the whole package of chicken the same day, but using two methods, I made sure the food won't go to waste but don't have too much of the same thing.  Also, if I end up with enough extra chicken for two or three meals I will make sure to put in separate bags so I only defrost one portion at a time. 

This also works really well with rice.  When planning my menu for the week I will often have two or three nights with rice on the menu.  I will make extra rice the first night so I don't have to worry about cooking it a second time.  I generally like to place theses "extras" in the freezer rather than the fridge so that if plans change I don't have wasted food.  Again, rice was part of the menu the night I made the fajitas but I knew that I wanted to make my Cheesy Ham and Rice Casserole soon so I double the batch of rice. It's now waiting in my freezer for me to use.
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