Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scratch Cooking & Convenience Foods

Who has time for that? 

I do. 

Nearly everything I prepare and serve my family is made from scratch.  I seldom purchase already prepared foods and that is a lot of the reason I am able to stick to a slim grocery budget.  Some of the prepared foods I do buy are mostly condiments – ketchup, mayonnaise, some salad dressings, mustard, crackers and chips, pasta and some breakfast cereals. 

I like to say “I don’t buy food I buy ingredients and make my own food.” 

There are a lot of short cuts I take.  When I bake bread I use my bread machine so I am free to do other things while the machine makes my dough for me; same with rolls and pizza dough.  Salad dressings are so easy and fast.  I have made up some homemade “mixes” which I keep on hand in my spice cupboard for days I am really pressed for time. 

There are a lot of ways to make your own “convenience” foods that don’t take a lot of time.  As we go along I’ll be touching on ways to get to it all done: 

Baking Day – schedule a day once a month to bake items and freeze them for future use.  Bake bread, muffins, banana bread, cookies, etc.

Investment Cooking – every few months I schedule a day to pull out the slow cookers and get cracking on things I used to buy at the store like canned chili and beans.

School & Work Lunches – preparing grab and go items to keep in the pantry.

Mixes & Condiments – simple ways make your own and save a small fortune.  If you have a favorite recipe consider mixing it up in larger batches and then all you have to do is add the wet ingredients later. 

By making the majority of our food from scratch I know exactly what is in it and I am better able to control what we eat.  I like that I can change up a recipe to boost the nutrition and cut the fat.  Sneaking vegetables into dishes helps me make sure my children are getting the things they need to grow up and grow healthy.  I am able to maintain my weight, I feel better and I have more energy. 

Anytime to you can stay closer to a foods original form you are taking in superior nutrition to that of an over-processed food product.  Every wonder why they add fiber and vitamins to children’s cereals and baby food?  So much is processed out of it they have to put it back in, usually with a synthetic replacement. 

Food for thought.

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