Saturday, August 15, 2015

Cooking For Two: Batch Cooking

You'd think that cooking for less people would be a lot easier than feeding the masses! Interestingly, many of those who live alone or as a couple, find it tricky to cook meals and shop wisely for groceries. Common complaints I've heard are that produce goes bad too quickly or that there are always so many leftovers that never get eaten and just end up being thrown out. For those cooking for one or two people, I'd like to share just one of many ways you can make the most of your meals and keep food from going bad!

Today's tip: Batch cook and save the leftovers!

Don't be afraid of making larger meals or feel that you need to half every recipe. Make the whole recipe! Then, instead of storing leftovers in the fridge (guaranteed to go bad after you're tired of having lasagna for the third night in a row), freeze them! Then, some other night, enjoy a meal that's all ready to go! An example of a meal that freezes really well is soup. Today's tip will walk you though the proper way to freeze and store soup, but keep in mind that many other meals can be frozen and stored.

How to Freeze Soup:

Method 1:

1. Cool. Place the pot of soup in a bath of ice water in the sink. Stir soup often to help release the heat.

2. Package. Label and date gallon- or quart-size zip-top plastic freezer bags and ladle soup into each bag. Let out any excess air and seal.

3. Freeze. Lay bags flat in a single layer in the freezer; when frozen, stack bags to save space.

4. Reheat. When you're ready to have soup for another meal, take bag our of freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge. The next day, soup can then be reheated over the stove and served.

Method 2:

1. Ladle soup into sturdy, plastic cups and place in the freezer.

2. Once the soup is frozen, cut slits into the rim of the cup and peel cup off of the frozen soup.

3. Place individual frozen blocks of soup together in a bag.

4. Now you have individual serving sizes of soup ready to be thawed and reheated for any at-home meal or meal on the go!

Below is an example of a soup recipe that is great for freezing and storing!

Taco Soup

1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package mild taco seasoning mix
1 16oz can corn (undrained)
1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (can use kidney beans or pinto beans if you don't have black beans on hand)
1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 4 oz can diced green chiles
Tortilla chips (to crunch up and put on top when serving)
Other taco toppings (cheese, sour cream, avacado, etc)

Brown meat and onion, drain.
Stir in taco seasoning, corn, black beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and green chiles
Simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips and your favorite toppings.


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