3/9/08

A Zippy Idea!

I wish I had purchased stock in Ziploc bags, years ago!

I use Ziplocs for everything. But I’m going to tell you one of my best, money-saving ways of using Ziplocs. This is how I stretch my leftovers into “one more meal,” and I think it’s a zippy idea!

I love to start with stew, by cooking a huge amount in my stoneware. The best way to get the savory flavor is to cook on low (200) all day. Then I’ll take the leftovers and make either pot pie, shred it for tacos, put it in a frittata or use it for burritos. I know, I know - I sometimes do things backwards. Most people take leftover pot roast and make different meals like stew or soup or Shepherd’s Pie!

Just how many meals in a row do you want with leftover beef? If your family is like mine, we like variety! Beef, chicken, fish, pork …

Here’s my money-saving tip. If there are not enough leftovers to make an entire meal, take the small amount of leftover meat and FREEZE it in a Ziploc bag.

Then when there are enough “small portions” in the freezer, combine bags of “like meats” together for ONE MORE MEAL! After you defrost, it’s delicious if you shred it and add seasoning to make tacos, enchiladas or burritos. Or you can make one of the meals I talked about above (pot pies, Shepherd’s pie, lasagna, etc.)

One more “free” meal works for me! Any kind of stretching that I can do with my food budget is a plus in my household.

What kind of stretching do you do?

(The tip to putting these little bags of treasures (meat) in your freezer is to mark them, and keep them in the door where you can see and USE them! Don’t stuff the bags in the back of your freezer! Photos: My recent pot of stew, which I made an additional two meals from, and then bagged up the leftovers!)

Another time-saving tip is to double up the meat you are cooking for a meal and freeze half, so it’s ready to pull out of the freezer at any time. I do this with ground turkey, where I’ll cook it and use it in lasagna, and then freeze the other half.

For more frugal ideas, head over to Meredith at Frugal Hacks.

19 comments:

Rhonda said...

Very smart. I really like zip-lock too. The freezer bags come in nice large sizes.

I like to buy the boneless chicken breasts when they go on sale and freeze them in packages of two or three then use them when we make fajitas or chicken parmigiana. I usually write the date on the baggie with a sharpie.

Your pot roast looks yummy.

Sheila said...

Great idea!

I also use old milk bags. Wash them out, cut the tops off, and use twist ties. It really does keep without freezer burn!

I like keeping small amounts of meat in the freezer for soups. Sometimes I need lunch just for me, so I don't need much meat. Throw in some beef broth, some leftover beef, some frozen vegetables, and a few herbs, and you're good to go!

My To Love, Honor and Vacuum blog is now up and running!

Nadine said...

Zip Lock is my friend...I'll remember that. This way leftovers don't get ruined and spoiled.

Sandi McBride said...

First of all I wanted to thank you for coming in to see me. Then I wanted to tell you that I've been freezing the veggies for years, but for soup. Never even thought about other things to make with it...no no, I lie! I do pot pies...but nothing else. Have you ever made Yogurt pie? I use the Weight Watchers with Sucrolose (Splenda) and two tubs of sugar free Kool Whip, combine it with a wire whip, spoon it into a graham cracker crust and use the plastic cover insert reversed to cover, freeze and serve as with fresh or frozen then thawed fruit...tonight we had strawberry yogurt pie...with berries I had put up last summer...yum! I love new recipes and will try one at least once...if not a success for the family, well out it goes....hope you'll be back, Sandy...I know I will back to see you
Sandi

Stephanie said...

That is a great idea, thanks for sharing :)
Stephanie

linda said...

Just stopping by your blog...hope you don't mind.

If I had a quarter for each Zip-lock bag I've used over the years...I'd be sunning myself in Maui tomorrow and not going to work as scheduled!

I'm sure I'll be stopping by more often!

Org Junkie said...

Love ziplocks for organizing as well!

ValleyGirl said...

Hubby planted a WHOLE PACKAGE of zucchini seeds in each hole last summer, so needless to say, we almost literally had zucchini coming out of our ears! We ate lots of vegetarian dinners in summer when we could barbeque zucchini "steaks" and I also chopped a zillion to freeze in 2-cup packages. Now whenever we have burgers or lasagne, spaghetti & meatsauce, chili -- pretty much anything calling for ground beef -- I make a double recipe but substitute half the beef for zucchini. In the tomato base, you can't tell it's in there and of course, it's that much less fat and more healthy!

Jen said...

Your stew looks delicious? Ever post your recipes?

Thanks!

An Ordinary Mom said...

Excellent tip! I also can't wait for the day to be in a bigger place where I have a bigger freezer ... or maybe an extra fridge or deep freeze in the garage :) !!

Kirstin said...

I use ziplocs too. I usually don't have enough leftover items to go for another meal, but sometimes I will have leftover veggies or chicken and I will just use them for a meal the next day.

Simple Family Supper lady said...

Thank you for this encouraging post! I call this "efficient" cooking so that later you can "fast track" supper! Saves both a ton of $$$$ and TIME!!!!!!!!! Your food looks YUMMY!!!!
HEather

Angie said...

What a fabulous idea! Thanks for the tip!

momrn2 said...

I do the same thing with making double meat and then freezing half.

I have never thought of freezing a small portion of a meal to combine with other small portions later... but what a GREAt idea! Thanks!!

TJ said...

I'm a bread bag reuser! I just twist and then double it back around the meat to save it for a future meal. I'm lucky that I can get away with beef every night. Roast pork on the other hand I can only use once a month!

Shari said...

Ziplock bags are my friend!! I will take left over ham and chop it into small pieces - then on a crazy busy night will use it to make toasted westerns (scrambled eggs with cheese & ham on toasted bread)
I also cook extra hamburger and store it in ziplock and will pull it out to make taco salad or nachos and cheese.. (I freeze the extra cheese the same way)

see you there! said...

Another zip lock user here. We eat a lot of rice. When I make it I always make extra and zip it. It goes right from the freezer to the microwave and comes out great. Another quickie to have on hand.

Darla

G. said...

What a great idea! One of the frugal things I do is to Roast a whole chicken and make broth from the leftover juice and carcass and freeze it to make soup or whatever else I would need it for. I also make my own dressings and ketchup. It takes a little time but saves alot of money and is much healthier!
I'd also love some of your recipes as well. :)

Jen said...

I do the same thing with my meat. And I too love freezer bags.
I wanted to let you know I have been putting a list together for our garden. I thought of you as I thought of the different types of veggies and fruits and herbs I wanted to grow. Hope you are having a great weekend.