Friday, March 14, 2014

Cook Once, Eat Twice

We have been practicing some good Food $ense lessons here lately. When things start to get a little different or it seems hard to keep life together, it is the basics that keep us afloat. That is one of the things that I love so much about this program. It is easy to learn and easy to follow - making life changes that stick and giving up bad habits that is almost never easy! But knowing how to do better and that I can do better. That is a wonderful gift that I have been given by this program.

I have been trying to make an effort to plan at least two meals a week where I can use "cook once, eat twice" principles.  This week, we had chicken and rice (a favorite around here) and then had extra chicken cooked to make Sour Cream Enchiladas. My family loves enchiladas, but they end up being a lot more work that I want to put into a single dinner if I have to start from step 1 and cook the chicken. With the chicken already cooked, I just have to fill the tortillas and make the sauce, that is a snap!

When I cook rice for a skillet dish, I always try and cook enough for two meals. Having something already prepared that usually takes 20 minutes can be a real time saver.

Follow these general guidelines to assure your food remains safe and of high quality:

  • Separate out and refrigerate the portion to be served for your next meal before you set the food on the table. This keeps your food quality higher by preventing "planned-overs" from becoming "picked-overs.
  • Promptly refrigerate the food for the next meal to keep it safe. Perishable cooked foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, shouldn't be at room temperature longer than TWO hours TOTAL -- that TOTAL is the total of the first and second use.
  • Refrigerate the prepared-ahead food in shallow containers so it cools faster in the refrigerator. For thicker foods -- such as stews, hot puddings and layers of meat slices -- limit depth of food to 2 inches. Loosely cover food. This allows heat to escape and protects from accidental contamination from other foods during cooling. Stir food occasionally to help it cool; use a clean utensil each time. Cover tightly when cooled.
  • As a general rule-of-thumb, use the extra refrigerated food you cooked within one to two days. Freeze for longer storage. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator when you're ready to use again -- never thaw at room temperature.

The taco meat you cook on Monday for soft flour tacos, can be used again on Tuesday for Taco Salads or Nachos.  The Roast Chicken you make for Sunday can be Chicken Pot Pies on Monday.  The ways that you can cook once, eat twice or only limited by your imagination.