Sleep In, Save Money and Eat Healthy with Make Ahead Lunches.

August 4, 2009

What’s New This Month?
Silicone Pans, Have You Tried One Yet?
Make Ahead Lunches
Litterless Lunches
Seasonal Fruits and Veggies

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What‘s New This Month?

On the home front: In July Trent and I moved into our new place. We now have space for a garden and we started a compost. Our kitchen size also doubled plus there is an old chest freezer in the basement that still works-- We’re up to 3 freezers! Too bad there’s only two of us but we’re using the space to test some new recipes.

On This month I’ll be adding four more make ahead cook book reviews. Keep your eyes open for my BBQ chicken pizza recipe and advice on boiling (actually simmering) chicken for the freezer while making a quick simple chicken stock.

For those who like to cook from scratch I’ll have an article and a recipe for how to make pizza dough up for you as well.

We’ve been testing pork loin recipes so don’t be surprised to see some this month, but no promises- I might make you wait until September for some of these easy, fancy enough for company, kid friendly, juicy, tender, melt in your mouth, freeze ahead pork recipes.

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Silicone Pans, Have You Tried One Yet?

As you might know I’m a huge fan of silicone pans. I love that they can do triple duty and go in the freezer, oven or microwave and being flexible doesn’t hurt either. Try one for free today from Easy Bakeware. (Sorry Canadians they only ship in the US.)

Two quick tips:
Even though the pan can go in the freezer from the oven they shouldn’t, it’s not good for the other foods in your freezer. Let the pan and food cool on the counter or in the fridge before putting it in the freezer.

These things don’t look hot but you still need your hot pads. Not that I’ve ever tried to grab one in the oven without a hot pad and burnt myself before. . .

Make Ahead Lunches

Can you believe it’s August already? This month I want to talk about lunches, some of us are thinking of back to school and some of us can save a few bucks by packing a lunch for work. School lunch programs have had a lot of criticism in the media lately for not being healthy. So how can you make sure your kids are eating healthy without having to get up 10-15 minutes earlier? Pack a make ahead lunch.

Quick Make Ahead Lunch Ideas:

  • Double your dinner and pack the leftovers for lunch.
  • Frozen sandwiches can be made over the weekend for lunches all week. They‘ll thaw in your lunchbox by noon. Got a microwave handy at lunch time? You can freeze ahead hot sandwiches too.
  • A fruit salad is a great way to get servings of fruit into your diet. Chop up seasonal fruit and freeze in a simple syrup or in fruit juice. By lunch it‘ll be slushy and that‘s the best way to eat it.
  • Chopped veggies and a dip like celery and peanut butter or broccoli and ranch make a simple side are fun to eat and fill you up.

Litterless Lunches

Lunch gone green? How can you make your lunch litterless?

Start with a reuseable lunch box, use small washable plastic containers for small items and treats like fruit salad or veggie dip.

Use a sandwich box or plastic container for sandwiches, leave the freezer bag at home to reuse next week.

Pack metal silverware and take them out to get washed when you get home.

Seasonal Fruits and Veggies

What’s fresh ripe and ready to eat this month?

Green beans, onions, summer squash (hello zucchini) and cucumbers are in season right now.

  • Cucumbers shouldn’t be frozen, their high water content makes him soggy and gross.
  • Green beans and squashes should be blanched or cooked before freezing.
  • Onions can be chopped and frozen raw. Double bag your onions to keep the smell from getting to the other foods in your freezer- no one wants onion ice cream right?

Learn more about how to freeze vegetables.

For fruits look for grapes, melons, plums, peaches, pears, raspberries, and oranges.

  • Grapes should be washed and then frozen on or off the stems they can be eaten from frozen too.
  • Raspberries can be rinsed and frozen flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment so they don’t stick and bagged when solid.
  • Peaches, plums and pears can be sliced and frozen, use a simple syrup if your not going to use them soon.
  • Melons and oranges can be frozen if you want to use them in smoothies but not to serve later

Learn more about how to freeze fruit.

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Until next time! Michelle and Trent Zack


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