Hello, Pounds4Pennies readers! I’m so excited to stop by for a visit today. I’m Emily from That’s What I Eat, where I blog about how I lost 70 pounds using real, unprocessed food. I’m a wife, mom, blogger, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, and lover of all things health and nutrition. It’s nice to meet you!
Learn How to Cook Once Eat Twice
There are two main complaints I hear all the time when people come to me for help. No one seems to have enough time or money anymore, and they certainly aren’t going to waste either on being healthy. I love to spread the good news that it is possible to have it all! Or at least it is possible to have healthy, delicious food on a budget without spending a lot of time, and that’s pretty much the same thing, right?
My favorite trick for saving both time and money is to cook once, eat twice (or three times, or four!). There are two different ways that I do this.
First: When making meals that freeze well (lasagna, enchiladas, etc.) I always make two pans and freeze one. Back in my processed food days my freezer always was stocked with frozen pizzas, lasagnas, and other premade meals. Now we still have our freezer stash of a lot of the same foods, but the meals are homemade with ingredients that I trust! It really doesn’t take much more time to make two of them than one, and nothing beats the convenience of just grabbing something from the freezer to pop in the oven on those busy nights.
Bonus: Making them from scratch is way cheaper than buying the premade, processed meals, hooray!
You can also do this with the individual pieces of meals. Did you make extra rice? Freeze it! Refried beans? Freeze them! Made too much green smoothie? Freeze it in a popsicle mold and give it to the kids when they ask for a treat! Way too much soup? Freeze it in individual sizes for later lunches! Make that freezer work, baby!
Second: I love to recycle, and not just paper, plastic, and aluminum cans. One of my favorite things to do is cook a whole chicken in the crock pot one day, then use the leftover chicken for two or three other meals. For example, Wednesdays are our crazy days, so some time as I’m dashing through the kitchen that day I’ll throw a chicken in with some onions, carrots, and potatoes in the crock pot. I’m always tempted to hit a drive-through at the end of those exhausting days, but of course I don’t do that when I know I already have dinner waiting for me at home!
Then, as part of the dinner cleanup after I’ve taken the remaining meat off the bird, I put the bones back into the crock pot with an onion, a couple of carrots and a few stalks of celery. I add salt and pepper, any herbs/spices that sound good, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and enough water to fill that baby to the top, then turn it on low.
I let that run all night, then all the next day, and I have delicious, easy, unprocessed chicken stock all ready, so easy! When it’s time yet again to drag myself to the kitchen to make dinner, I quickly chop some veggies and saute them in a pan, add the leftover chicken from last night and the “stock, along with some noodles or rice or quinoa, then boom! Delicious soup. Soup is basically the perfect food. What else is delicious, comforting, dirt cheap, fast and easy to make, and super nutritious? It’s just the best stuff ever, I tell you!
Over the next few days I’ll use the rest of the leftover chicken for a few other quick and easy meals, like chicken fried rice, chicken macaroni and cheese, or chicken with warm mango salsa. I will even sometimes add it to my daughter’s lunches for school. Stretching the meat out this way saves me lots of money, and because it’s already cooked, I can toss dinner together very quickly! And, we get to enjoy yummy, unprocessed food all week. Win!
This is an example using chicken, but you can do this with any leftover meat. In fact, any time you are in the kitchen you can make your time and money work for you by “recycling” your leftovers into new meals.
What are your favorite ways to save time and money when feeding your family?
Emily discovered her passion for health and nutrition as she went through her own transformation, losing 70 pounds through the power of diet and exercise. She is dedicated to sharing that passion with others, beginning with her website at www.thatswhatieat.com and now through her new life as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. You can find Emily on Facebook at That’s What I Eat, or follow her on Instagram or Pinterest.