Saturday, July 6, 2013
Saving Time and Money; Less Shopping Dependency
Then this week I will show you how I spend less time and money in the kitchen. The small appliances pictured above do just that for me.
Lets start by talking about the pressure cooker in the upper left hand corner. I love this appliance. I can cook dinner in just a few minutes using this instead of roasting in the oven for hours. I can buy tougher cuts of meat and it will tenderize them. We loves stews, soups, chuck roasts, chickens, etc. cooked in this appliance. Both time and money is saved with this appliance. I can cook big batches where we can eat one meal today and freeze the rest in meal size portions using the appliance in the lower right hand corner.
That appliance is my food saver. I just package the meals up making my own size bags. Then we just reheat a meal in a little bit of boiling water and dinner is done in a flash. I use my food saver for so many things: cheeses, crackers, snacks, portions of meat, fish and poultry for two, homemade sauces, etc. The cheese stays good for months in either the freezer or refrigerator. The crackers and snacks stay fresh on the pantry shelf. All of the meat, poultry, and sauces keep well in the freezer up to a year without getting freezer burned. Cooking ahead saves time. It also prevents runs to the fast food places because you always have a dinner that you can reheat in a few minutes.
The rice cooker is one of my very favorite appliances. How many of you make rice on the stove and have a mess because it boils over onto the stove? I know that I have done that many times. My rice cooker is easy to use and I have no boil overs. I just put in the water and rice and it does the work for me. I can make a big batch of rice - some for dinner tonight and some for other dinners. No need to buy instant rice or rice in microwave packets for each meal. They are expensive. Buying rice in 25 lb. bags, storing it, and using it to cook a few meals at a time is the way to save money. I can also make flavored rices and rices with bits of meat and vegetables in this cooker. It's easy to clean and stores neatly on a cupboard shelf. It's cheaper to use than heating on a gas stovetop and it can be done out on the patio table. I also have a steamer basket which steams fresh vegetables perfectly.
In the bottom left hand corner is my yogurt maker. When I can't get free or really cheap yogurt, I make my own. It takes anywhere from 4-10 hours to make depending on how tart I want it. I just heat up 1 qt. of milk, 1/4 cup of instant non fat dry milk and 1/2 cup of my starter yogurt( has to have live cultures) over medium heat just until boiling. Then I put it in my yogurt maker. Since I like really tart yogurt, I can make mine overnight. Then I take a 1/2 cup out in the morning so that I have starter for next time before I flavor it or add fruit to it. Then I chill it for 2 hours in the fridge and it is ready to use. I also make frozen yogurt from the chilled yogurt by freezing. This maker has saved me a fortune in the cost of yogurt. Many of our breakfasts consist of homemade granola sprinkled on homemade yogurt. We also like frozen yogurt topped with sliced fruit for desserts.
The less hands on time that I spend in the kitchen, the happier I am especially with all of the years that I have cooked. In the summer, I like to spend as little time as possible there. The less dependency that I have on buying manufacturers' prepared products the happier I am. Cooking from scratch can take a little more time than just buying the product but you do save a lot of money over a years time and you also know what ingredients are in your homemade product. However, it take so much less hands on time than doing it without the appliance. I love purchasing products that will save me money over and over again. It's a win win!
Do you use any of these products? What do you make in them? Please feel free to share with all of us by leaving a comment.