Fredericksburg Parent

April 2018

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10 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • April 2018 I'm not a huge fan of a big "Sunday cook," where you cook, prepare and store food in advance for the entire week. But that's just me. I say, whatever works best for you to both utilize ingredients and save yourself some time, go for it! I personally prefer to cook dinner fresh each night based on the main plan I create and shop for in advance. But either method is fine to avoid food waste and spending unnecessary money on impulse takeout. Although it's not my preference to make enormous batches of cas- seroles and dinners ahead of time and freeze them for the future, I do still appreciate the benefits of my trusty freezer. Storing food items, ingredients and leftovers in the freezer can be like magic—you are literally stopping time, which can help you save money on the things you have bought, as long as you eventually use them! Too often, the freezer is stocked with good inten- tions, but the contents are forgotten about. You can avoid this by constantly invento- rying your fridge and freezer and planning future meals around what's inside. It also takes a vow of commitment to make sure you decide you'll eat that Tupperware con- tainer of leftover lasagna in the freezer for lunch rather than buying something new. But this kind of dedication is not hard, especially when you realize how much money you're not spending when you focus on eating up what you already have! In our house, the freezer serves as a tool that stops time on perishable ingredients we don't want to waste (the last few strawberries that have gone mushy become a frozen ingredient for a future fruit smoothie!), but also houses certain items that help get us through the busy week. In particular, we love to stockpile breakfast items after cooking huge batches on a weekend. As much as I love to cook, I am not a morning or breakfast person, and luckily my husband happily embraces his role as the breakfast chef of the house. Our son is a ravenous breakfast lover, preferring hot pancakes or waffles and bacon over cereal daily. This kind of meal can be hard for me to fathom so early on busy school mornings but using our freezer to store big batches of my husband's weekend cook-offs of pancakes and Belgi an waffles is a lifesaver. I can sim- ply take a few out of the freezer and pop them in the toaster when we're rushed for time and I'm morning-grumpy. We also regularly freeze batches of homemade French toast and breakfast muffins, too. Quite simply, it takes the guesswork out of busy weekday mornings while also providing a home-cooked hot meal! If you are still pur- chasing frozen pancakes and waffles at the store, consider investing in a good griddle and inexpensive waffle maker to create the same items at home for much cheaper! WRITTEN BY DEBRA CAFFREY practical pantry The FREEZER is Your Best Friend How Long Will Food Last? ...consider investing in a good griddle and inexpensive waffle maker to create the same items at home for much cheaper! Graphic from Business Insider.

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