Changing Our Habits to Stretch a Dollar and Save a Minute

With one income now it has become more important to try to use our resources wisely were food is concerned. We definitely used to toss a lot more leftovers when we were both out of the house most of the day. We’ve also been trying to come up with ways  to spend less time cooking and cleaning and more enjoying time as a family, especially with my husbands odd workday schedule.

I accidentally came across The Frugal Girl and the first post was about using leftovers. I skimmed over it and she mentioned using her left over take out rice for rice pudding. This is just one example of something that ends up sitting in the fridge with the best intentions but nothing ever happens. I had never thought of that. We sometimes end up mixing it in to stretch the fried rice but, unfortunately, we usually end up throwing it out. We had some in the fridge so after a quick recipe search, I found this one and I have to say it was a nice little sweet treat that reminded me of home. (Next time, I’m going to try just mixing and right into the dish and oven. Some of the egg cooked when it hit the warm rice and water.)

We’ve been trying to intentionally cook to have multiple servings, which isn’t too hard since most recipes are for a small army and it’s just the two of us eating “big people” food right now.

One trick we’ve picked up along the way has been to combine slow cooker cooking with freezer cooking. We used to toss the leftovers in containers and in to the fridge. However, no matter how good the chilli is, no one wants to eat it for three days straight. It finally occurred to us to pop them into the freezer instead and we have it a few days or even a week or two later instead. My mother actually introduced this when she did a bunch of batch cooking and freezing when my husband had to go out of town for a month and a half right after Kelsey was born but it some how took us a few months to remember how well it worked out!

One of my new favorites for slow cooker recipes is The Crockpot Girls. They have videos along with recipes so you can see what it looks like.

We’ve also made a big batch of dahl and froze small portions along with stocking up on some frozen naan. We love this for those late night munchies, watching a movie after the baby goes down for the night.

We have also tried some freezer cooking recipes from Money Saving Mom. We haven’t ventured into too much batch cooking but our favorite so far has been Baked Oatmeal. Of course I also do a batch or two of something every 1-2 weeks of baby food which then gets frozen and pulled up as needed.

Following Crystal Paine’s, the Money Saving Mom, website has taught me a lot about being a little more efficient around the house and helps me enjoy my time at home which is why I’m excited to check out her new book, Money Saving Mom’s Guide to Freezer Cooking.

Interested in getting a free e-book copy? Visit her post about her offer, available until November 17, 2011.

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