Tag Archives: leftovers

Freezing Rice & Beans – Save Time & Money

I like to cook homemade food, but sometimes I just want quick and easy, you know? Especially on what is known as ‘Mama-TV night” which is Thursday, because I like to watch Vampire Diaries and catch up on recorded stuff I’ve missed. Wednesday nights we often have company. Kids are in and out all weekend – sometimes time is really worth a lot.

Beans and rice are something that I’ve learned can be made in a BIG pot and then frozen. Rice is especially great for doing this – it’s often easy to cook a huge pot, then freeze batches for other meals. Fried rice is MUCH better if you have cold rice to start with. Freezing rice ahead of time makes it easy use other left overs – for instance, to make some soup, fried rice, or when I have some leftover meat to use in a recipe with rice.

I make my rice just like it says on the package and it always comes out great. I put the rice and the water in the pan, heat it to boiling, then turn it to low, cover it and forget it for 20 minutes. I don’t understand the NEED for Minute Rice or appliances like rice steamers to cook rice. The only tricks to good rice are to measure your water and rice out carefully, and to leave it alone once you cover it up, until the 20 minutes is up.

Small packs of Mahatma rice are often free or very close to it with coupons. Once it is cooked, let it cool down, and then just place it in a baggy. Remove any air you can before sealing the bag, and freeze! To use it, I just dip the bag of rice in some warm water to loosen it up, and then I put it in a pan. Personally, I don’t like to microwave anything in plastic. I did write Ziplock ® once though, and they told me they do not use the BPA in their plastics.

Homemade beans are great and dried beans are always a good deal, but I always make too much. You can freeze them in baggies for recipes like chili later on. 1 can is 15 ounces, so just put in 1 cup, then ALMOST 1 cup (7/8 of a cup), and you’ve got it, because 2 cups is 16 ounces. To me, one HUGE advantage of this is less clean up. I only have to wash ONE big pot one time.

Note – The lady in the video is NOT me, but I am trying to ‘place’ this accent. It seems close to ours, but not quite NW GA. She’ll show you how to freeze the beans.

Savings Braindump 4 – Using Leftovers

Leftovers can often be frozen. Barbecue is something I love to make a HUGE pot of, and then I freeze it in small portions. I buy the 10 pounds of legs and thighs and cook it all. They usually run about $6.00 around here. Then I drain the meat and debone it and turn it in to barbecue. Sometimes I might set some aside for a chicken pot pie. Then I freeze several small batches for quick lunches or for dinner when I don’t want to cook.

Some people find savings in doing Once A Month Cooking. I tried it, but it didn’t work well for me. There are websites devoted to it. Mainly you cook like crazy for one day and you freeze meals or meal components so it’s easier the rest of the month. I really like cooking and would miss it if I did that. There are cost savings though, and the recipes are often easy. You save money with this method because you buy large cuts of meat to use, and the recipes are arranged so that everything you buy is well used between dishes, so that there’s not a lot of waste.

Lo Mein is another really cheap, delicious dish that I make a ton of and then freeze.
I freeze left over ham for seasoning beans. Extra turkey is frozen for turkey pot pie or turkey fajitas. (They are actually very, very good!) Leftover roast or steak becomes beef stroganoff. Leftover chicken often becomes chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, or Fettucine Alfredo with chicken. Chicken is so versatile, it should never get thrown out! Good bread is dried and becomes salad croutons, or bread crumbs for meatballs.

The point is, find ways to both ENJOY and USE your leftovers. Don’t think you HAVE to eat the same thing tomorrow night unless you want it. You can re-invent it by putting it in a new recipe, or freeze it and have it next week.

Also, remember, if you’ve got plate scrapings or waste vegetable matter, like corn husks or salad that won’t really keep – turn it into natural fertile soil. Compost it if you have a yard. You don’t have to have anything fancy, just always put it in the same place in a little pile with leaves and such, and keep it strictly vegetable matter.

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