Sunday, September 30, 2012

Single Girl Cooking

Ok so it’s not a surprise that I love cooking and baking (and any of my friends will tell you I’m darn good at both too Smile ).  The problem for me is….I am only cooking for one person 99% of the time!  Plus I also have to eat semi-early because of my medications I need to take in the evening.

So late one night, honestly probably early one morning, I came across a lady on Pintrest who does “Dump Cooking”.  The sound of it intrigued me and I thought I would take a look.  All she does is she spends 1 day preparing meals, placing the ingredients in Ziploc bags and freezes them. when the morning rolls around, she gets into her freezer, pulls out a bag and dumps it into her Crock Pot.  Why have I never heard of this before! Then a few weeks later I read a pin about a lady who “preps” her family's meals ahead of time and it takes the majority of the cooking out of preparing meals.  THIS is what I needed!  If I could cut an hour or 2 out of my cooking meals I would be set, and I could still eat semi-early, like 6-6:30.

So I went out and did my monthly shopping and got great deals on chicken and hamburger and started my cooking.

I boiled and shredded 7 chicken breasts which I got on sale for $1.99 /lb. and Smart & Final.  I seriously love this place.  Great prices AND they accept coupons too!


After it was shredded I divided it out into “me” size servings (quart bags), which in all honesty will give me 2-3 meals.  I got a total of 7 bags, one which I used to make Stir Fried Quinoa, which has turned into a comfort food for me.  Great flavor, super easy to make and SUPER healthy too!  So I threw these 6 bags into 1 gallon size bag and it is waiting for me to try any number of shredded chicken recipes, found here, here, here, and here.

Now, besides pretty much living on chicken I LOVE Italian food like lasagna and spaghetti but as you know if it impossible to make a small batch of it so…I have a friend who told me about making lasagna in a bread pan.  She says that she loves it, but her husband is not a huge fan so she makes it in a bread pan and freezes the rest for when he is working late.  this has become me new favorite way to make it.  I figured since I was going to make spaghetti sauce, why not make a double batch and freeze the rest for when I want spaghetti.

I thought I took a picture of the lasagna in the pan, but I guess not.  Basically I used a pound of hamburger, made the sauce, cut up a pound of mozzarella (I love cheese on anything) and boiled up 6 lasagna noodles.  I layered the first 2 noodles length wise in the pan then sauce and cheese.  Then the next layer I cut 2 noodles in half and laid them down width wise in the pan.  This helps the layer “stay together” and then repeated the sauce and cheese.  the last layer length wise again.  After it cooked I let it cook, covered and put in the fridge over night.  The next morning I took it out and cut it into 6 “slices”


So here are my 6 servings of lasagna all ready to go.  Turn the over to 350 and let it warm up for about 30-45 minutes (obviously less time if you microwave it, but I don’t have one).

Now with the left over sauce I divided it up into 2 cup Ziploc containers and put them in the freezer overnight


The next morning I found out that I had no hot water!  So as I was boiling water (shout out to mom & dad for taking me camping so many times as a kid.  This girl knows how to survive, lol) to wash the dished left over from the previous nights cooking I threw the container with the sauce into the water so I would be able to get the sauce out


And TA-DA……


Put that bad boy into a Ziploc bag and I am ready for a pasta night!


I also love baking and since I was on a kick of “freezing” things I thought what about cookie dough?  I mean we all buy it from the kids selling it for school fundraisers and lets be honest, it NEVER makes it to the oven.  So I decided to get out the “complimentary” ice trays I got with my new apartment and divided the cookie dough up into those and wouldn’t you know…I’M A BAKING GENIUS!


It took a few hours for them to harden up, but they kinda popped right out of the molds and viola!  Premade homemade cookies.  No more wondering if I have the ingredients to make a batch of cookies (which is funny because I always do).  Again I put them into a bag and labeled them with heating directions.


The last thing I prepared this weekend were breakfast burritos!  I love my oatmeal and protein shakes for breakfast, but sometimes I want eggs.  Granted it is easy to microwave them when I get to work, but I’m not a huge fan of carrying eggs to work already cracked.  I’m afraid its going to leak out into my lunch bag. Plus I have to shred cheese in the morning and I don’t get the sausage or potato either.  So I looked on Pintrest again and found this pin.  She give you step by step instructions to making them and freezing them!  So after a dozen eggs, a pound of sausage and a bag of shredded cheese (yep I cheated on that one) I got 8 burritos.  Well only 7 are frozen because let be honest, who doesn’t want a breakfast burrito when its freshly made.  I probably could’ve gotten 12 easy, but I piled the eggs and sausage on.


So there are my “cheating” steps so surviving Singledom and still cooking a full meal, but just cutting it down to a manageable amount for me Smile  I also like to think of this as preparing me for the married life with kids.  If it can cut down on time I have to sped each night cooking and away from the family, I’m all for it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

DIY Body wash…kinda

So again I am trying something I saw on Pintrest…weird I know.  I am always looking for ways to save a few dollars here and there and I love me some Dove body wash but I have a REALLY hard time paying $6-$7 for a bottle.  Granted it lasts me about 2 months, but still.  So one night while I was looking on Pintrest as I way trying to fall asleep (yep, I’m a multi-tasker like that) I saw “Make your own body wash”.  I pinned it on my Cleaning/DIY board and figured I would take a peek at it in the morning. 
She costed it out using a 6 pack of Dove bar soap and it came out to $1.72 for 24 oz bottle.  Now this is our in Utah so of course I knew it would be a little bit more here so I decided to go hunting for Dove bar soap.  First stop (should’ve been my only) was Big Lots.  I found a 2 pack of soap for $2 (well 2.16 with tax)!!!!
She originally used 3 bars to 6 cups of water so for mine I cut it down to 4 cups for the 2 bars.  I started to heat up the water on medium heat so that the soap would melt instead of just floating when I put it in. 
While the water was heating up, I started grating the soap with my cheese grater.  I mean its soap so it will wash off, just make sure that it is really clean before I go using it for my cheese on nachos, lol.
Once it was all grated (I used the fine part when the bar got really small and I was afraid I was going to leave a part of my finger in the soap) I put it into the water and started stirring until it was all melted, about 5-7 minutes. ***Side note:  She also made another batch using her microwave to “break down” the soap, right here***
Once it was completely melted I transferred it to a glass bowl.  she says it takes about 24 hours for it to thicken up so I have to wait until tomorrow to see what it ACTUALLY looks like, but right now it looks like I have a big bowl of milk sitting on my counter

I'm a BIG clutz so I poured it into the old bottle of body wash I had over the sink.  Good thing too because right after I snapped this pic, I moved my hand a little bit and it started pouring down the back of the bottle.  It was still a little bit runny but it should continue to thincken up.  but even still, it had the consistancy of body wash!

So what is the final cost on this?  I basically made 1.5 bottles (1 bottle is 24oz) for $2! That is a savings of about $4, even with the Target brand of Sensitive skin body wash.  Granted it is not a HUGE savings but right now with everyone saving money and pinching pennies, it’s a savings Smile