Thursday, January 12, 2006

Make it Easier to Cook From Scratch

I try to cook from scratch as much as I can, since it’s much healthier for us, and it always tastes much better. However, I don’t go to the store every day, usually because I don’t have time. When I shop, I stock up on things that I know I use often, and keep a lot of useful food items in my freezer. My freezer door is the”condiment” drawer, meaning that’s where I keep zip bags of all kinds of food items that I can pull out, use what I need, and then pop back in the freezer.

Here’s what’s in my freezer right now:

• a zip bag of chopped onions If I’m in a hurry, or the recipe calls for only a little bit of onion, I can use these. Frozen chopped onions work for any recipe that’s going to be cooked. If the onion needs to be fresh, I start with a new one. Then what I don’t use goes into the bag.
• zip bags of chopped bell peppers, green, yellow, and red See above.
• a zip bag of sliced jalapeños These can be diced while they’re still frozen, and then tossed into salsa, guacamole, or any other recipe that calls for fresh jalapeños.
• Calavo brand Haas avocado halves I found these at Smart & Final, and it’s so nice to be able to have guacamole or sliced avocado for a sandwich any time I want it without having to go to the store.
• zip bags of individual whole tomatoes (from a can) I have a few recipes, such as tonight’s Spanish rice, that call for only a little bit of stewed/canned tomato.
• zip bags of grated cheese: sharp cheddar, cheddar, and swiss
• zip bags of chopped pecans and walnuts Keep them in the freezer so they won’t get rancid.
• low-carb, whole-wheat tortillas
• corn tortillas
• zip bag of chopped celery
• a can of frozen orange juice concentrate I just scoop out a spoonful or two when a recipe calls for orange juice.
• a zip bag of ground flax, ready to add to all my breads, my yogurt, and other food.
• zip bags of “dollops” of tomato paste, left over from recipes that call for only 1-2 tablespoons.
• raspberries
• blueberries for muffins and whole-wheat pancakes
• peas
• mixed vegetables
• bananas for bread-making
and 6 more of Kaylin’s egg “muffins.”

I planned a crockpot dish today, and decided to use a recipe I got from Kalyn’s Kitchen, though I changed it from chicken to beef, using beef broth instead of chicken broth as well. Oh, my! Was that good! I’d tried making beef or chicken fajitas before, but they never came out as good as this. Thanks, Kalyn!


Beef Fajitas and Spanish Rice

Beef Fajitas

1 lb. skirt steak, cut lengthwise across the grain into 4” strips
2 bell peppers, sliced lengthwise 1/2” thick
1-2 onions, sliced lengthwise
1 T lime juice
2 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t beef bouillon granules
1/2 c hot water

Place beef in crockpot; top with bell peppers and onions. Sprinkle with lime juice. Combine chili powder, cumin, salt, beef bouillon granules and water; pour over meat and vegetables. Cover and cook on Low for 6-7 hours or until tender. Serve with tortillas, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa.

Spanish Rice

1 T vegetable oil
1 c white rice (regular or converted, but NOT instant)
2 T chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
2 c water
2 t chicken bouillon granules or 2 cubes
2 T chopped peeled tomato (this is where I use canned tomatoes that I’ve frozen individually)
1/3 c frozen peas or mixed vegetables
black pepper

In a saucepan, sauté rice in oil over medium heat until rice is brown. Add onion and garlic; sauté another minute or so. Add remaining ingredients. Cover; bring to a boil Lower heat and simmer approx. 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.



1 Haas avocado (the black pebbly skin)
2 T finely chopped onion
1/4 t garlic salt
1 T dried cilantro or 2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 tomato, diced
1 T light or regular Miracle Whip (really!)
2 T light or regular sour cream
1 t finely diced jalapeño ( or more, if you’re brave!)
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
1 t lime juice

Peel avocado, smash with a fork. Add remaining ingredients; stir well.

, , , ,

You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.
You don't pull punches, but people still love you.


Kalyn said...

You are my kind of woman, with the organized freezer. I just tagged you for a meme. Hope you think it's fun.

BNA said...

My little Virgo heart is all a-patter! Great post.

Paz said...


I like the what's in your freezer section. What a good idea!


Michele said...

I love your freezer list, I think I have 90% of what you mentioned on hand :)

LB said...

Trader Joe's also has the frozen avocado...I've been skeptical. Does it really make a nice guacamole? Would it be suitable for slices on a sandwich?

Lisa--In a Nutshell