Friday, November 20, 2009

Frugal Fridays...Buying & Cooking in Bulk

Tip #1...Avoid unnecessary trips to town.

Tip #2...Whenever possible, buy and cook in bulk.

Even if you do not have a large family, cooking in bulk can be a time-saver. If you are already frying up some hamburger for a casserole, it's just as easy to double it and bag it for the freezer. Next time you make minestrone, the hamburger can just be dumped into the pot!

One bulk item that I LOVE cooking up in large batches is pinto beans. After soaking the beans overnight, I cook them in a very large pot, remove enough for dinner that night, then separate the remaining beans (and liquid!) into freezer-friendly containers.

Before stacking in the freezer, make sure to write the date on top!

Bean burritos, enchiladas, chili and soups are easy to throw together with beans that are pre-cooked, waiting in the freezer.
A 25 lb. bag of pinto beans cost me around $7. That's less than 30 cents a pound! In the grocery store today, I found a "deal" on canned pinto beans. 2 for $3.oo. Those cans were a lot smaller than my freezer containers! Some "deal".
Another food that is good for bulk cooking is brown rice. We all know that brown rice is a healthier choice than white, but it takes twice as long to cook! Sometimes, I don't have that kind of time...or burner space. Pre-cooked, frozen rice can be added to anything, but is especially good when added to soups. How's that for fast food?
During the summer months, I like to visit the farmer's markets and local farms for fresh produce. When I find a good deal, like red peppers, I'll buy as many as a dare (or can afford), dice them up and freeze. I've even sliced the peppers into strips, to enjoy during the winter in fajitas!
July, in the Pacific Northwest, means blueberries. There is a local farm that has hundreds, if not thousands, of blueberry bushes. It's a U-pick farm, and by taking our family, a couple of hours of picking yields us enough berries to last the entire winter!
And remember, leftover turkey freezes very well.
If there is any!

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