While I do most everything the long and involved way, there are a few things I do to save time and mess.
Bacon – I fry a pound or two of bacon at a time. Once it is drained, I put it in a zip lock bag and place it in the freezer. When I want a piece or 3, I pop it in the oven for a second. You can do the same thing with sausage. Make patties and cook them then freeze them. Ready to heat and eat in minutes.
***Most people would use the microwave. I don’t use one as it disrupts the energetic makeup of the food and makes it unusable to the body.
With the pan full of bacon grease, I save about ¾ of it by pouring into a glass jar once it is cool. Bacon grease is great for frying eggs, seasoning green beans and making killer Brussels sprouts.
Brussels Sprouts – while the pan and grease are still hot, I make a batch of Brussels sprouts that has Paula Deen’s blessing. Grab a bag from the freezer. Cut up some white onion and saute the onion and sprouts. Add some chicken stock and seasonings. When the liquid has been absorbed, you can freeze the concoction or enjoy it with dinner. When ready to serve, top with some of the bacon you just fried.
Blueberry Pancakes – when blueberries are fresh, I make blueberry pancakes. Lots of them. I put them in small zip lock bags and store them in the freezer. When I am in the mood for pancakes and bacon, I quickly defrost the pancake by running some hot water in a pan and letting the zip lock bag of individual servings defrost in the water. After about 5 minutes as I am brewing my coffee, I place the pancakes and bacon in the toaster oven. In 5 minutes both are piping hot and you have breakfast with no mess in under 10 minutes. The smell is divine and you have not destroyed the food by microwaving it.
Defrosting – it is quick to defrost most anything from the freezer by placing it in a pan or sink full of hot water. I can defrost chicken breasts, pork chops or steaks in about 5-10 minutes. I wrap each piece of meat individually so it is quick to thaw and I have just the right amount. You can defrost stock or spaghetti sauce the same way. Even individual zip bag wrapped pancakes thaw quickly. There is no damage from using the microwave.
Homemade Stock – I make gallons of my own stock. I buy whole chickens and use the carcass of bones to make chicken stock. I collect the carcasses in the freezer until I have enough to make a big pot of stock. Throw in the bones, any veggies like onion and celery and carrot. Add salt and pepper and some garlic. Let simmer. The longer it simmers the more rich and flavorful the stock. I would let chicken stock simmer a full day. For beef stock, I buy beef bones. I cook the bones in a big pan of water with salt and pepper and onions and celery. I cook this for 48 hours. I want a very rich broth for later use in making Chicken Marsala and when making a rich demi glace. You can omit the meat and just make a veggie stock.
Once the stock is fully cooked, I refrigerate it so the fat rises to the top. Skim off the fat and then store it in various sized containers. The average deli container holds two cups. I freeze this. When I want to defrost some stock, I run a pan of hot water and put the container of stock in. You will be amazed how quickly it will become liquid and ready to add to your recipe. Label the stock. I use a piece of masking tape and a marker. You can’t tell chicken stock from beef stock when it is in the freezer without a label.
Spaghetti Sauce – I make gallons of sauce as well. The best sauce is made with beef bones. I save it in various sized containers to use as a topping for pizza or for a spaghetti meal. Homemade sauce beats canned sauce any day.
Zucchini Bread – when there is a surplus of zucchini, I make a lot of loaves of zucchini bread. It freezes well and you always have a ready-made dessert if someone drops by or you need to take a desert to someone to make their day. Make the loaves in various sizes to fit any occasion.
Ham Hocks and Jowl Bacon – I buy ham hocks and hog jowl bacon and freeze them. I slice the jowl bacon in one inch strips. Then when I want some southern green beans or collard greens, I have the seasoning ready to go.
Gyro Meat – I love Greek Gyros. I like mine better than the restaurant. I buy a pound of gyro meat from a local Greek restaurant sliced and put it in individual zip lock bags in the freezer. When I am in the mood for a gyro, I thaw the meat and prepare the tzatziki sauce, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions and sliced cucumbers. I always have Indian Naan bread in the freezer and I can quickly grill it in butter and use it for pita bread. Gyros in under 20 minutes complete with homemade tzatziki sauce.
Exotic Juice – my favorite drink is made with passion fruit juice. This not readily available in stores in the mid-west. I order a bottle of concentrate from Amazon. I reconstitute it and freeze it in ice cube trays then put the cubes in zip lock bags. Two passion fruit cubes is perfect for my Speeding Bulliet Rye Whiskey drink.
Thick and Rich Yogurt – I buy a large size container of plain yogurt. I pour it into a very fine strainer and let all the water drain out into another container. Save the liquid to use in smoothies as it is full of probiotics. The yogurt will be very thick and rich. You can sweeten the yogurt by putting in stevia and vanilla and not add any calories. Put frozen fruit in the thick yogurt and it will be almost like ice cream.
Grow sprouts – I have sprouts growing every day. There are all sorts of sprouting containers. A simple mason jar with a lid that has holes is the simplest way to grow the sprouts. Use a tablespoon of sprouts. Fill the jar to cover the seed and then pour off all the liquid. Do this two times per day and in less than a week you will have wonderful live food for a fraction of what you would spend at the store. Buy seeds at the health food store. Mung beans are like the Chinese bean sprouts and are very inexpensive. Alfalfa sprouts are the sprouts you find in the store that are delicious on sandwiches and salads.
Healthy TV Dinners – Since I stopped using the microwave, I took a toaster oven to work purchased from the Goodwill store for $10. I make meals from the over-abundance I seem to cook for each meal. I buy small Corningware dishes (with the handles) at Goodwill and make a nice mix of meat and vegetables in the dish. This is stored in the freezer. I grab one on my way out the door and have an instant lunch. It is thawed by lunch time and it takes about 7 minutes in the toaster oven to heat the meal. Just keep a pot holder or oven mitt at your desk. The handles on the dish make it easy to transport back to my desk from the toaster over. My coworkers can’t stand the heavenly smells that come from real food cooked without nuclear attack. Without much work I can freeze two meals for every one I make. I have a great sampling of meals to choose from. I also order food from Arties Paleo on the Go and I can divide the meal into several servings and freeze the extra for another day.
This explains why a single woman has two large refrigerators with freezers and a large chest freezer. There is always something good to eat at the Pink Kitchen.