Since starting the night shift, the amount of time that I have available to devote to cooking has gone way, way down. However, I’ve noticed that if I shop from a menu, our grocery bill is much more manageable. So it’s a quandary – to cook and save, or to spend and have extra time on my hands?
I had five glorious days off in a row this week, so I figured that I had better make sure that some of that time was spent cooking meals that could be frozen. I love the “Taste of Home” publication group, and one of my favorite magazines of theirs is Healthy Cooking.
The food in here is made with busy, health-conscious people in mind. A lot of the recipes are user-submitted, then refined and tested by “field editors”. I like the fact that all of the recipes aren’t created by a chef, but come from everyday people. They also have an online portion which is handy and useful. I can search by cuisine type, meal, ingredients, preparation time, etc. It’s definitely worth the cost of a subscription.
Since I mainly shop from a menu, I don’t have a lot of extra food lying around. I have my staples, of course. These include frozen chicken breasts, a box of pasta, chicken and/or beef broth, a package of freezer rolls or frozen bread dough, a bag of shredded cheese, an onion, lots of spices (I haven’t been able to find a spice rack that comes close to being big enough to hold all of my spices… I love flavor!), garlic, condensed soup, bread, peanut butter and jelly, and of course flour/sugar/oil. I can make some meals from these, but I keep them around for emergencies. I try to incorporate chicken and some other type of meat into all of our meals. This week, my meals include chicken, ground turkey, and pork. Mmm mmm 🙂
Here’s what I decided to make this week…
Rather than making one 9×13 pan of the lasagna, I split it into two 8×8 pans and froze both of them. This way, when Chris wants one he can take out a small pan and make it in the toaster oven rather than having a lot left over. The nutritional value for this meal is 282 kcal, 11 g fat, and 2 g fiber. I’ll add more vegetables to this if I make it again in order to boost the fiber content.
This one called for an 8×8 pan, but I doubled it and make one large 9×13 pan. The thing that I really like about this dish is that it uses chicken, so it’s not just potatoes and cheese. Chris really likes this kind of dish, and I knew that he could eat some for breakfast and dinner meals. I was planning to freeze it, but about 20 minutes after putting it into the freezer Chris pulled it out. He’s already planning to have some for breakfast tomorrow morning! The nutritional value for this meal is 220 kcal, 6 g fat, and 1 g fiber. I modified my version by adding more veggies than called for, so I’m sure that the fiber content in my version is higher than the published version’s.
The last recipe I made is something that my mom has done for years – pulled pork barbecue sandwiches. Here’s a picture that looks sort of like the end result.
This meal is healthy, delicious, and easy to make. Buy a lean pork loin roast and cook in a greased crockpot for 6-8 hours, depending on the size of the roast and crockpot. Be sure to add at least 1/2 a cup of water so that it doesn’t stick or burn. If you’re unsure about the water, just keep an eye on it and add more if you notice that it’s all evaporated. When the time is up, put the roast in a bowl and pull it apart with a fork (it should shred easily). Add enough of your favorite barbecue sauce to suit your taste and obtain the desired consistency. As with many dishes, the flavors are better combined if it’s allowed to sit overnight. I typically make a large amount using a 3 lb pork loin roast, then freeze it in several containers for up to 3 months. This way, whenever we want some we can defrost a small container rather than having a bunch lying in the fridge.
These meals, combined with a garlic chicken penne dish that I have leftover in the freezer, will be more than enough for the next 5 days (and probably longer).
I was going to include the recipes from Healthy Cooking, but then I realized that they are only available in the “subscribers only” section. I don’t think that it would be fair to include them, so I’ll just direct you to the December/January issue or to their website. A subscription is only $12.98 per year. They also offer a trial issue, so you can make sure that it’s something you really want before committing.
Alright, my lovely readers – have a great night!