Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Saving Time in the Kitchen - Cook it Once, Serve it Twice

Today marks 38 years being married to my wonderful husband! It has been a wonderful ride and keeps getting better! Now on to our post for today ...

Since my husband and I are empty nesters, I have been experimenting with new recipes to stave off cooking boredom. You certainly don't have to be empty nesters to get bored with what you're cooking, though. If putting a meal on the table gets to be tedious, here are a few ideas to make it easier:

Double your recipes. When I cook, I try to make twice as much, so I don't have to cook every night. Thankfully, my husband likes leftovers (more than I do!), so it works for us.

If your family can't stomach leftovers, you can still cook something once and serve it twice. Cooking extra meat gives you a head start on another meal - an entree salad, stir fry, fajitas, wraps, fried rice, soups, sandwiches, and more. You may want to remove the extras before you serve dinner, though, so there will actually be extras!

You can do the same with veggies as well. Add cooked carrots, cabbage and/or broccoli to fried rice. Add cooked veggies to a stir fry or soup. Serve a veggie platter one night and use the leftovers in a stir fry, salad, or soup the next night.

When I make rice, I usually make a large quantity. It can easily be turned into a pilaf the second time around, used in fried rice, or turned into a main dish by adding meat and/or veggies. My gluten-intolerant husband uses it for breakfast instead of bread. And, just reheating it in the microwave is an obvious option, too

Extra beans can be make a second appearance in salsa, salads, soups, vegetarian tacos, etc.

Cooking extra takes a little more time, but at least you don't have to start from scratch when it's time to put another meal together.

I try to plan my meals a week at a time in order to be intentional about using food twice.

Here's one of my favorite recipes in which leftover chicken and rice can be used: Cashew Chicken. It rivals restaurants!

Cook It Once, Serve it Twice @ 1-2-3GetOrganized.com/blogCashew Chicken (from my Hassle Free Dinners)

1 lb. Boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
4 Celery stalks
2 c. Carrots
1 Onion
2 T. Sesame oil
4 T. Soy sauce or Tamari
4 T. Chicken broth/bouillon
2 T. Cornstarch
4 T. Cold water
1 c. Cashews
Optional veggies: snow peas, green beans, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cabbage, red or green peppers

Microwave covered chicken on high 5 minutes or until no longer pink inside. (Or use leftover chicken.)
Slice celery and carrots; chop onion.
In wok or non-stick skillet, heat the oil on medium high and briefly sauté vegetables.
Add soy sauce and broth. Simmer until vegetables are just tender.
Dice cooked chicken.
Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and add to the simmering mixture. Allow to thicken.
Add the chicken and the cashews.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve piping hot over rice.
4 servings

More about saving time on dinner:
Hassle Free Dinners
Three Steps to Planning Dinner eWorkbook
Organizing Dinner - Double or Triple a Recipe