Couple little tips

Couple little tips

Everyone buys in bulk. Everyone cooks with rice. Everyone freezes EVERYTHING. I do a couple other little things that help me out a lot.

I make my own soup stock. There are a couple rice recipes I make pretty frequently that require it, and it's always good to have on hand for actually making soup. You can whip up a delicious batch really easily. I made and froze 5 cups this weekend. Just save all your vegetable "waste" - carrot peels, onion tops/ends/unused chunks, mushrooms that are just barely over the hill, pepper stems and seeds and trims, celery trims, garlic that's getting spotty, etc. Don't use really potent veggies like broccoli or cabbage, that would make broccoli-stock, not soup stock. When you have about a quart of them (I stuff an old 1 qt takeout container until it can't hold any more), roughly chop it, cover it with cold water, and add any spices you may like. Salt and pepper at least. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes. Like I said, mine worked out to be approximately 5 cups. I scooped it into plastic freezer-safe bags with a one-cup measure, so all I'll have to do when I cook is take out one or two packages and voila - I'm all set!

Stale bread? Make croutons! I keep my bread in the fridge, which makes it last about 3 times as long in the first place. But it was starting to go stale by Saturday, so Sunday while I was cooking dinner I chopped the bread into little squares, buttered a pan, spread out the pieces and sprinkled them with garlic powder and "italian seasoning." They're yummy! And they encourage me to eat more salad, which is another major plus. You can do stuffing with stale bread too, but I haven't had occasion to try that yet.

I've found buying in bulk is more effective when I repackage it before I freeze it, too. DUH, I know, but still. It's a heck of a lot easier to grab a plastic bag of frozen veggies or chicken out of the freezer than to try to finagle a huge bag with a zipper top. I'm more likely to use it if I take an extra half hour the first time I want to use the veggies (or whatever) and repackage it into sensibly-sized amounts.

Finally, again probably a little obvious - cook with what you have. Normally, I do a lot of cooking with rice and pasta, obviously (there's a reason I'm in this community, after all). However, when I wanted to make a veggie plate for guests this weekend on New Year's Eve, I bought carrots and celery and broccoli in bulk from Sam's Club, knowing they'll keep well over a week in my fridge, which we keep set super-cold for that very reason. The last two nights we've had veggies, salad, cooked veggies and I've used all that extra "waste" to make stock. Fortunately my roomie loves veggies, and I do too! So, if you have a ton of them in the fridge, USE THEM! Rice and pasta will always be there, like a faithful lover - produce is more fickle and you must enjoy it quickly ere the love spoils.

Ok, I think that's all I was compelled to say. I hope this is useful/interesting to people here, and not too repetitive. :)
Stylish Bargains.

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