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Getting Started – Step 2

Use recipes with common ingredients

Breakfast meal plans are fairly easy to put together, since most of us don’t vary our breakfasts that much. If you can come up with three to five favorite breakfasts that can be made with foods you plan to always have on hand, it’s easy to figure out how much you’ll need of each food. using the Breakfast Meal Plan worksheet. Rotate these breakfasts NOW and then occasionally add in a special breakfast that’s not on the plan. This way,  your ingredients will remain fresh and you’re family will be able to have the breakfasts they enjoy eating even when the unexpected happens.

To save money on breakfasts as well as storage space, consider cooked cereals rather than cold cereals. Cooked cereals add more nutrition and fiber without added preservatives and chemicals. Buy in bulk when possible without worry about an expiration date. Split a bag of oats, wheat flakes, or germade (cream of wheat ) with another family to save money, if needed. Keep a container with a tight lid in your pantry for convenient use. I love rolled red wheat flakes, which I buy by the bag and transfer to a bucket. I keep a container of red wheat flakes in my pantry so that I don’t have to go to the bucket for every use.

Hint – weevils in the cereal: Should you find weevils in any of  your grains, such as oatmeal, you can freeze the oatmeal for a couple of days and then sift out the little critters before cooking. I do this each time I fill my pantry container, if I have found any weevils.

Eggs keep much longer than the date on the carton, if kept properly refrigerated, and eggs are not that expensive, relatively speaking. Figure out how many eggs your family uses in a week, then when you go to the store buy an extra carton or two. Try to always keep a 30-day supply of eggs on hand. There are several substitutes that you can use for eggs when baking, such as flaxseed and plain gelatin mixed with water.

Hint – The perfect hard-boiled egg: Over the years I’ve tried many different tips to get the perfect hard-boiled egg—one that does not have the dark green ring around the yolk (overcooked) but is not undercooked, and one that peels easily. Here is what works for me every time: Place eggs in sauce pan in a single layer. Add cold water to cover the eggs with at least an inch of water. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. When a rolling boil is reached, turn off the stove, remove pan from burner and set the timer as follows: For large eggs, 13 minutes (high altitudes over 3,500 feet 18 minutes); for extra large eggs, 18 minutes (19 minutes for high altitude); for jumbo eggs, 19 minutes (20 minutes for high altitude). Experiment with timing depending on where you live.

For easy peeling: Immediately pour off as much of the hot water as possible and run cold water into the pan for at least 1 minute. Pour off half of the water and cover eggs with ice. Leave until eggs are totally chilled, about 1 hour. Remove eggs, let them sit to dry for a couple of minutes then store in fridge (plastic container or zip-top bag. To peel: Whack the egg on each end and then roll it on counter top or between your hands to crackle the entire shell, allowing the egg to take in air, which aids in peeling. Starting at the large end, where there is always an air pocket, begin to peel the egg under warm water. (For me, warm water helps the process even better than cold water.) The trick is to get beneath the membrane just inside the shell. Once you do that, the egg peels easily. (If you have chickens, use eggs that are at least a week or two old for hard-boiling. Fresh eggs will always be difficult to peel when hard boiled.)

When selecting recipes for dinner meals, look for recipes containing ingredients that you normally have on hand. Your dinner meal plans for summer months, when fresh vegetables and fruits are abundantly available from your garden or roadside stands will look a lot different that your meal plan for the winter months. Our bodies crave heartier foods during cold weather.

Using the Dinner Meal Plan worksheet, take your favorite recipes, one by one, and decide how often you want to serve that meal. Then, look at the main ingredients and using the formula on the worksheet do the math to find out how much you’ll need of each main ingredient, not including spices and seasonings which you should plan to keep on hand, anyway. Transfer that information to your master shopping list. Repeat this process with each recipe you want on your Dinner Meal Plan worksheet.

Step 3 will be posted in my next blog.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, September 17th, 2011 at 6:27 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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