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Teri's Blog

31 Days to Save in 2012 – Day 8 – Cook Two

Posted By: terisblog on March, 08 2012

“31 Days to Save in 2012”:
A 31 day crash course to cut food costs big time in 2012! saves TIME!

We’re spending a few days on what to do in the kitchen with all your savings!

If you know me, you know I’m all about saving money, but I have a high priority for saving time, which, by the way, is the whole reason I came up with! While I love cooking and being in my kitchen, some days I just don’t have time. Thankfully, as a busy mom, over the years I’ve come up with lots of ways to keep healthy and delicious money saving home cooked meals on the table for the long haul!  Presenting “Cook Two:”

Here’s my “World Renowned Chicken Tortilla Soup” recipe, in “The Kitchen” at

Here’s my “Slow and Easy Beef Stroganoff” recipe from Day 7 – “Slow and Easy Wins”

Please add your favorite meal that freezes well to “The Kitchen” for others to enjoy!

5 minute commitment done!

To show your commitment to 31 days, make a comment on our Facebook fan-page thread for Day 8.   Ask questions, or share your favorite dish that freezes well. Tell us how you package for the freezer, and how you re-heat it. We want to know how “Cook Two” saves you time and money!

Optional Additional Reading:

The following excerpt from my book, “Shop Smart, Save More” is on the topic of “Cook Two” and applies to soup, chili, and anything else that freezes well! In fact, if it’s “freezable,” my rule of thumb is that I HAVE to “cook two!”

Chapter 10: One Dish Wonders – “Shop Smart, Save More”

Do you believe in magic?  I do, especially when I can magically save myself time and sweat in the kitchen (and of course, money).  That’s why I am a huge fan of “one dish wonders.”  Some people call them casseroles; I call them lifesavers, and I always double up and make two.   Once you have the ingredients and the preparation areas set up, you might as well make a second one to have on hand.  On days when I’m stressed to excess, and oh-so-tempted to call in or take out, I dig in my freezer and Abra-cadabra!  Instant home-cooked meal. Just heat and eat; no magic wand required.

I keep disposable aluminum pans that I stockpile on sale handy just for this purpose. When I make an extra casserole for freezing, I don’t do the final bake. I just assemble the cooking ingredients as called for in the recipe. I put the one we are eating tonight into the oven to finish the process. For the extra one, I put it in the pan, wrap tightly in foil, label it with name, date and cooking instructions, and pop it into my freezer.

When reheating a frozen casserole, times and temperatures vary. This is something you will learn to do as you make a habit of reheating pre-made meals. It’s most important to cook the reheated frozen casserole at the same temperature as originally instructed for non-frozen recipes. But you can start out the first 15 minutes with the casserole covered in foil and bake about 50 degrees higher. For example, if the original cooking time is one hour at 375 degrees, you can heat it covered with foil at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn it down to 375 for the remainder of time. Even with that initial higher temperature for the first 15 minutes, the overall baking time may be longer than the recipe indicates for heating when it is not frozen. When reheating a frozen casserole, I like to leave the foil on the top for most of the baking time, and remove it for the last 10-15 minutes to brown. Eventually, you develop a second sense of when you’re casserole is perfectly cooked. Mine never spend the same amount of time in the oven, but I poke my head in and just know when they’re ready. I see the whole thing bubbling up or looking lusciously golden brown on top. Or I do the knife test: I poke a knife in the center and give it a feel. If it’s HOT, it’s ready.

Excerpt from “Shop Smart, Save More” by Teri Gault with Sheryl Berk, Harper Collin Publishers

Enjoy that extra night off from cooking!

Now to show your commitment to 31 days, be sure to go back and comment on Facebook thread for Day 8. Share your favorite dish that freezes well, how you package it for the freezer, and how to re-heat. Let us know how “Cook Two” saves you time and money! 4 week free trial to fast easy savings!





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