My sweet Auntie Mar is one of my most faithful readers, as she reminds me every time I take a blogging break! When I asked for frugal tips the other day, she sent me the following email. I'm sharing it here because it's too useful not to!
I hope this e-mail gets to you. I have been reading your tips for a while. Here is one that I have used a lot and might help you with point 13. It involves instant real food that is healthy. There are a couple of problems though; hopefully you have an extra fridge in the basement, and ensuring proper sealing of the jars. Because of the latter you may not wish to post this idea. (**Disclaimer from blog author: Apply using common sense and your own discretion!**)
Making good food from scratch is time consuming to say the least so why not make huge amounts and partially can it. S and I used to do this for Mom and Dad when they were not up to cooking, especially with soup. So I make soups of any kind (one at a time): chicken noodle, chicken rice, beef barley, sweet potatoe, lentil. Also I make stews and chili, etc. I hardly make anything for just one meal. I know many people do this but it normally gets put in a container and forgotten at the back of the fridge.
To make the item last until I really need it, I sterilize jars (just wash them, leaving a little water in the bottom and heat them up in the oven, boiling snap lids on stove top as you would with real canning) and pour into jars with the assistance of a jar filling funnel, and put on lids. Let cool. Then put into your extra fridge. I also use nice jam jars that seal well. You might mark when you made this and what it is exactly. I have been known to take out a chicken curry dish thinking it was salmon chowder.
Yes, there is chicken or beef in there but we are not really canning it. I have done this for many years and haven't gotten sick. Of course I wouldn't use it if the seal is broken. It keeps for quite a while but be reasonable. I like this kind of soup better than the taste of thawed soup, and it is so much quicker. So after service, you just pop open a jar and there you are! Or, even for main meals, part of it is done already. Sometimes when I have no idea what to make, I remember the jars! You also save on power.
I also am very aware that this kind of eating is not always appealing to the youthful/urban taste-buds. Going out for pizza has far greater appeal than cracking open yet another jar of chili, but we try. So use with discretion and avoid duplications. Hope this helps you L. Love, Auntie M