Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cooking from Scratch

Amy from Redhead Diaries asked some great questions about cooking from scratch and saving money. I posted this comment on her blog and thought it might be useful to some you as well. I've been asked to give a presentation on this at MOPS in a couple of weeks, so I've been really thinking a lot about how I make cooking from scratch work. I may post more later, so I don't overwhelm you all. Here goes:

Making things from scratch is a huge money saver, plus it is better for you. The trick is, if you are going to make something from scratch, make a ton of it! You'd be amazed at what you can freeze. I freeze barbecue sauce, marinades, pancakes, waffles, tortillas and all kinds of meals. I seriously only cook dinner a dinner from scratch maybe 3 times a week. The rest of the meals are from the freezer because I almost always make enough to freeze. I hate eating the same thing twice in a row, so this really helps.

Also, add soups and stews to your menu. It is a great way to use up leftovers and you can make several gallons at a time, then freeze them in meal-size increments. In no time, you'll have a great selections of soups to choose from in your freezer on those busy night that you just don't have time to cook. A little bread and a simple salad and there is your meal.

Also, it is absolutely essential that you come up with a meal plan before you go shopping. I only plan one week ahead, but it keeps us from going out. I just had to get in the habit of looking at the meal plan before I go to bed at night to see what I need to thaw out for the next day. I just let things thaw out in my sink over night and I'm good to go for the next day. I use a small, magnetic dry erase board that I stick to my fridge. I can't tell you how much this helps me stay organized and save money.

Good luck!


Cat said...

Good girl for cooking from scratch. We like to eat the same thing for a dinner and lunch the next day. I don't have much room in my freezer so I wouldn't do much soup, for example, but I have the ingredients like shredded zucchini for Thai coconut zuke soup which can be cooked up in about 10 minutes. The crockpot is the horse I ride most.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks for leaving a comment! I'm really using my crockpot, more and more.

I wanted to let you know that I absolutely adore your Thia rolls! Our family is addicted to them now.

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Good post, Jack! I'm making twice as much and freezing them for when the baby comes.

Rachel said...

Do you freeze already cooked pancakes, waffles, tortillas, etc. or just the batter?

I learned to have a "soup bag" in the freezer that I add all the little vegetable tidbits from dinner too. Instead of just putting it in the fridge and throwing it out when noone eats it.

I love my dinner menu plans! I just have to do better at lunch menus! Do you make lunch menus too?

Amy said...

Thanks for your tips. I really want to try the bread but I don't have a bread machine so I'm trying to figure out how to do it with just my Kitchenaid mixer. Do you freeze the pancakes seperatley and just reheat in the microwave? I would love to give my kids something besides cereal in the mornings but time is tight. I have done the 30 day freezer cooking with some friends in the past but I haven't worked up the energy to do it again. I was awesome having all those meals in the freezer though.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

The soup bag in the freezer is a wonderful idea, thanks for sharing it. Yes, I cook up a double batch of pancakes, waffles or tortillas (actually I just half cook these in my electric tortilla press), then I flash freeze them on a cookie sheet, then put them in a freezer bag and pull out only what I need for meal. I do a meal plan for breakfast and dinner only. I usually do either left overs (only if I don't have enough for a full meal for the whole family), chef salads, sandwiches or left over soups. I always try to keep lunches light and easy because I work from home in the middle of the day.

Bread machines are not all that expensive anymore and you can get them really cheap at thrift stores or yard sales. They will more than pay for themselves in just a short amount of time. Also, I don't have a microwave because of the health risks (look it up on the internet) so I just reheat my waffles and pancakes in the oven which surprisingly doesn't take all that much longer.

Great questions everyone! Thanks leaving feedback and comments. I hope this has inspired you.

naturally country said...

I love your blog it is such an encouragement.Im young 20's and not married yet,soon God willing but I love your blog.I cook everything from scratch and I love your tips. I started a blog the beginning of the year to be an outreach to young women. Thank you.


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