Friday, March 16, 2012

Tips for Cooking in Batches

I have a friend Amber who works seriously long days.  She swears by cooking in batches.  I would like to try this just so we'll have more to share with people who are sick and so we can have company over on a whim.  Lots of good ideas out there for how to freeze batches.  For liquid and side dishes, food can easily be put into zip bags and frozen flat.  That way they stack easily.

For foods that are baked in casserole dishes or slow cookers, you can line the dish with foil.  Use non-stick spray, and assemble as usual.  Then freeze until firm.  Transfer foil and food into an extra large freezer bag.  Before cooking as usual, you'll need to thaw it for 24 hours or so.

How about a repurposing idea?  Take cereal boxes and the like, and put a zip bag inside, folding the top of the bag over the top of the box.  Fill the box with your food, zip the bag shut, and then you can store the box vertically in the freezer.  Just don't forget to label it with what's really inside.

And here's my favorite tip...  Vacuum sealing is the best way to avoid freezer burn.  If, like me, you don't yet own a vacuum sealer, close food in a zip bag, leaving a 1/2" opening.  Insert a straw and suck out the air until the bag takes the shape of its contents.  Remove the straw and immediately finish closing the bag.  Genius!  Wish I'd thought of it.

Here are a couple of other sources for smart freezing:

Yummy quiche above and other tips at Wise Bread.

I can't believe it, but there are people (read:moms) who only cook once a month!  Here's a guide to getting started at Once a Month Mom .

And, here's the go-to site my friend Amber uses.  Find great tips at A Turtle's Life for Me .

For myself, I'll soon just start cooking double batches of our meals, and freeze 1/2.  I'm a believer in reducing waste, so I plan to wash and reuse my freezer bags.  Freezing should be great for the budget as well as the clock.  I'll keep you posted.  I'd love to hear about your own batch cooking experiences.  Blessings!

Source:  Southern Living, November, 2008 issue

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tried and

Sorry to be behind.  Even though I couldn't get to blogging earlier, I've been trying so many new things, I couldn't skip this feature.  Had a hard time even picking which project to report.  Love to cook and even more to eat, so a recipe wins. 
Ever heard of "Comeback Sauce?"  I hadn't.  But maybe you've eaten at southern chicken strip joints that have great dipping sauce?  Yeah, I am pretty enthusiastic about this stuff. 

Check out the recipe (and photo above) from Syrup and Biscuits blog.  You might find inspiration for other edible creations, too.
My son loved it with his chicken, his hashbrowns, and straight off his fingers.  The sauce was especially good alongside cajun-seasoned hashbrowns.  Y-U-M.  Once you make and try it, you'll know for certain why it's called Comeback Sauce.


Monday, March 5, 2012

A Tale of Two Shirts

I don't know about you, but around here we go through a lot of garments.  And when I say "go through," I mean mysterious stains appear out of nowhere that cripple garments right out of commission.Yes, I remove what stains I can, but there are only so many hours in a day.

So, these two blue guys were waiting to fulfill their rag destinies.  I also had a couple of dollar bin frames.  So, I decided to upcycle them into his and hers dry erase boards.
"His" was very simple.  I just cut the pocket from one shirt and centered it on a swatch from the other shirt, giving it a two-tone effect. 
Special thanks to my friend Gina Frank for showing me how to make fabric rosettes.  If you've never made them, here's a tutorial.  Gina and I rolled the edges in.  But, if you like the frayed look, leave them out.  I hot glued them on, and then I put fabric under the glass.  You could also use scrapbook paper.

Above:  Already using it!

Below:  Photography expirament.