Jun 30, 2005

Making The Most of What You Have

With all the great sales on meat right now (4th of July weekend), I have really got to thinking about freezer cooking. Although I already have menus planned for the next two weeks, I am always planning ahead and gathering ideas. One strategy I used to use quite a bit is to cook extra of whatever I am making and freeze it. Granted, some foods don't freeze well. Some things I find work great for the freezer are:

cooked ground beef
cooked chicken
bananas (freeze them whole, still in the skin) - to use for smoothies, pancakes, muffins, bread, cake, etc.

There's a really great book about freezer cooking called Cook Once, Eat for a Week. There are other books that help you cook for an entire month but I'm not up to that level quite yet :)

Besides freezing, I also enjoy making my own spice blends and mixes. This is a HUGE money saver. I have found some of my best recipes in the book The Complete Tightwad Gazette. This is not a cookbook, per say, but throughout the pages you can find lots of great ideas for saving on groceries as well as recipes. Some of the recipes I have used from this book with great success are:

Cream Soup Mix
Hot Cocoa Mix
Ranch Dressing

Another great spice mix I created is for Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. I love Jerk Chicken but it's normally too spicy for me so I made up a seasoning that is a bit milder than the usual Jerk seasoning but with all the flavor. This is great on any kind of meat and great for the grill!

Jamaican Jerk Seasoning

1 Tbsp. ground allspice

1 Tbsp. thyme

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamom

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 Tbsp. sugar

Combine all in an airtight container and mix well. Store away from heat and light. This makes enough for 1 recipe of Jerk Chicken (with the following recipe) or you can use it as a sprinkle or rub for any meats you'd like.

Jerk Chicken

4 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat

1 recipe Jerk Seasoning

1/4 c. olive oil

1/4 c. soy sauce

3/4 c. white vinegar

1/2 c. orange juice

juice of 1 lime

1 c. chopped white onion

3 scallions, minced

Place chicken in a shallow baking dish. Combine rest of ingredients and pour over chicken. Marinade at least one hour. Cook on grill. Or if you prefer, you can bake, crock pot or broil.

No comments: