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Old 09-27-2004, 01:48 PM   #1
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I'd like to know what others do to make cooking everyday a little easier. I'm home full time, have no kids. But I do cook at least one, usually two meals a day, 7 days a week. We love to go out to dinner, but do not like fast food and convenience food --- not much bang for the buck. I do have a lot of short cuts, and wonder what yours are.

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Old 09-27-2004, 01:53 PM   #2
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One of my favorites is to buy a pork loin roast, freeze for a few hours, then slice very thin and place wax paper between the slices. Now you have slices of lean pork to pound for almost any schnitzel recipe, to slice and chop for stir fries, etc.

I can buy leg and thigh portions of chicken for next to nothing. I make soup stock, I make tandoori chicken, pot pies, etc. Even if we didn't eat the meat (so many folk don't eat dark meat chicken nowadays) the stock alone would be a fraction of the cost of packaged.
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Old 09-27-2004, 02:57 PM   #3
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Claire, hello from a fellow Illinois resident.

I work have young kids and still cook about 5 of the 7 days. Well somedays we eat leftovers but I personally like to make something each day. I have even managed to spoil my kids by cooking everyday.

My shortcuts are as follows:

I buy meat in bulk from a butcher. When I bring it home I clean whatever the butcher has not, trim the fat etc and then place portions in a large ziploc bag. I do this with chicken, beef etc. When I need to take something out to cook all I have to do is to place it in the refrigerator and wash and cook it (no time consuming prepp work required)

I also like to use a Pressure Cooker for cooking stews and curries (I am from India so you figure I will cook some gravy based things). The Pressure cooker cooks in no time and that along with some rice I have a healthy and flavorful meal for my family in no time.

I also like to clean, wash and dry my herbs before refrigerating them in a moist towel and placing them in a ziploc bag or plastic container in my refrigerator. This way the herbs last a lot longer as well.

Sometimes when I make spaghetti. I boil more noodles than I need. I drain the noodles and then place them in a container and refrigerate them. After a couple of them I use them to make a Chinese noodle stir fry dish.

I also like to make ginger garlic paste and keep that in a tightly closed bottle or container in my refrigerator so I can use it in not only curries but any other dish that I want to add a little pizzaz.

Being Indian we make Roti (similar to Tortillas) and I make a lot of them one day and then freeze them in individual serving size packets. I remove one packet and viola we are ready to eat.
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Old 09-27-2004, 02:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire
One of my favorites is to buy a pork loin roast, freeze for a few hours, then slice very thin and place wax paper between the slices. Now you have slices of lean pork to pound for almost any schnitzel recipe, to slice and chop for stir fries, etc.

I can buy leg and thigh portions of chicken for next to nothing. I make soup stock, I make tandoori chicken, pot pies, etc. Even if we didn't eat the meat (so many folk don't eat dark meat chicken nowadays) the stock alone would be a fraction of the cost of packaged.
I for one prefer dark meat chicken.
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Old 09-30-2004, 02:45 AM   #5
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Claire, it sounds like our situations are similar.

We are two people who like food and to cook, but there are not enough mouths to eat everything we enjoy making.

We have never been able to adjust to cooking for two people, and many of the dishes we crave cannot be reasonably made for the two of us (how can you make a two person pot of chile?).

Take Thanksgiving for example. Do two people need a sixteen or eighteen pound bird? Heck no, but we go for it every time.

Now we like turkey. After the turkey day feast comes the turkey sandwiches that, with all their variations, are sublime. And then there are the turkey pot pies, ambrosia, and finally the turkey soup.

But we do get to the point where just the sight of leftover turkey can provoke a 'run for the border'.

And we do give food away to friends.

We purchased a second fridge, but that only retards the cuisine from turning green.

I suppose cooking is a hobby that is cheaper than many.

But we hate to toss good food.
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Old 09-30-2004, 05:36 AM   #6
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freezing leftovers from roasts for beef and gravy, (or pork and gravy) sandwiches. just throw it into a freezer bag. just gotta pour that leftover juice and the drippings into a baggie or a little container, freeze it, then make a quick gravy while the meat warms up.
i use beef and chicken base sometimes, too. beef base is nice for a pot of veggie-beef soup (use the frozen roast, a bag of frozen vegetables, and viola! i'm a Northerner, so i can also accept a pot of frozen or canned greens tossed into a pot with some hot sauce and ham base when i'm throwing together a 5-minute meal for my babe. and if you're really hungry, a little chicken base in a pot of kluski or egg noodles, a little parsley, some dried minced onion, some celery leaves, and some garlic can make a pot of soup in like 8 minutes. it's not the BEST of all soups, but it fill up the stomach.
canned beans are another thing. they are great for reducing the amount of time spent in the kitchen when you just don't have the time to cook.
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Old 09-30-2004, 11:49 AM   #7
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I have recently created a menu chart to streamline both meal prep and shopping when I am working. I loathe having to be the one to decide "Whats for dinner?" every night. I love the cooking, just sometimes get pretty tired of the planning. My kids and husband each choose two meals per week, leaving me with only one decision to make. I give them parameters like one chicken dish each or hamburger...you get the idea. Then I pull out my trusty menu plan and slot in their choices. This menu has a spot for ingredient list...so I can highlight on there any ingredients I am low on and shop for only those. It really makes life easier around here for me. I got this idea from a cookbook someone gave me, and then sort of created my own little menu plan. If any of you want a copy to check out, let me know and I will email it to you.
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Old 09-30-2004, 05:55 PM   #8
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For me, it's the creative use of leftovers. Saves on cooking time and effort.

I'll fry up several pounds of chicken for dinner one day. Next day, I'll put some of the leftovers into the oven for leftover fried chicken. Next day or so, I'll put some in an oven proof dish and smother with mushroom soup and bake it until the meat falls off the bone. If I have leftovers of that, I'll mix it with frozen veggies and put it into a pot pie.

I'll grill a minimum of 5 lbs or ground beef along with my steaks for dinner. Steaks are eaten that night and if there are leftovers, the next night too. The beef patties are then used for lunch or following dinner. Any leftovers are put into a pot with veggies and made into a stew.

I'll roast a whole pork butt and have roast pork a couple of days. Then I'll smother the leftovers with bbq sauce and place back in the oven. Then leftovers from that will be quite tender and can be easily shredded and add more bbq sauce and you have pulled bbq pork.

I feel as though I've failed if I don't have leftovers for at least one or two meals.

I like cooking, but I have better things to do with my time. So the sooner I'm out of the kitchen, the better.
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Old 10-01-2004, 01:13 PM   #9
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I keep a spray bottle of approx 3:1 water & vinegar handy to spray on greasy stovetops, counters, etc. Really gets the gook off, and to me smells better than the commercial scented stuff.
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Old 10-02-2004, 02:06 AM   #10
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Did you know that carbonated water (selzer water) makes an excellent window cleaner? It cleans better than Windex and doesn't leave any streaks or residue so long as the rag you're using is clean. Believe it or not, you can even use a sponge and the glass will be sparkling clear.

Carbonated water is a mild acid, so it cuts through the dirt. Even greasy finger prints don't have a chance.
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