Tips, Interviews and Resources
Here's where I'll post helpful cooking hints and links, and occasional ideas from other people.
Pre-chop those veggies!
Choose a day to shop for fruits and vegetables. I usually go on Saturday to the Farmer’s Market to buy fresh produce for the week. I go after breakfast and plan on lunch out. I go after I have eaten or plan to eat while I am out so when I come home I am ready to wash and store the veggies - onions, celery, peppers, tomatoes, romaine, potatoes, squash, watermelon, corn, apples, etc. Then chop onions, peppers and celery for the week.
By pre-chopping and packaging the produce you can seriously shorten your prep time during the week.
I put them in snack sized zipper topped baggies in ½ cup servings and store in the fridge. If I have some left on Wednesday they can be frozen for later use in stews, soups, and other cooked dishes.
Make enough Slowcooker Cubed Steak for 2 meals. One goes in the freezer for another day. Microwave instant brown rice following the package directions. Any leftover rice can be frozen.
Presoak enough Lima Beans about 4 cups to freeze one half for another meal. (I read about this somewhere online and want to try it
Make an extra pan of cornbread to use in the cornbread dressing for another day.
Tuesday is busy for me (until noon) then it is lunch out, so when I return home in the afternoon, all the Monday prep is valuable. We really like the new cans of Prime Wild Tuna. It has a milder taste. Veggies are precut and ready! LET’S EAT!
Thursdays are special. It is my night to play cards with the girls here in our neighborhood. So I usually do a freezer meal, a CORN (Clean Out the Refrigerator Night) or breakfast for supper.
Whole grain toaster waffles and heat to serve sausages. Western Scrambles are scrambled eggs with onion, peppers and cheese added to suit each ones taste.
Friday is TGIF so keep it simple-slow cooker and hopefully enough leftovers for lunch during the week or some to freeze. I will finish the cabbage from the weekend by making coleslaw.
Freeze thin cut pork chops in a freezer bag. Place 4 in a bag, flat not stacked. Place the bag flat on a cookie sheet until frozen. After freezing the bag can be placed vertically in the freezer. The chops thaw quickly (about 10 minutes) in a sink filled with water. This works well for other frozen items like cooked hamburger meat for soups, stews or spaghetti sauces. A thinly spread sheet thaws faster than a cube or stacked block of food.
Occassionally you want to print pages from the internet, such as these, or other documents that don't lend themselves to printing in the conventional manner. Here are some suggestions.
• The most obvious is use your browser print function (which will probably print pages and pages depending on the site).
• Maybe less obvious - you can highlight the area you want by dragging your mouse over the area and then do a copy (hold down the 'Ctrl' key and depress the letter 'C' key OR right-click on the highlighted area with your mouse and when the drop-down menu comes up left-click on copy. These two methods put the area you want into an area of computer memory called the clip-board). Now open your word processor and paste this information into a document (hold down the 'Ctrl' key and depress the letter 'V' OR right-click the mouse while in the document and left-click 'paste' from the drop-down menu.) Now you can save the info as a file on your computer and you will have the information always available at your finger tips or you can print it from your word processor.
If you don't have a good word processor, may I suggest you goto www.openoffice.org and download the free Openoffice suite. It contains and excellent word processor and spreadsheet, it's free, and it will open most word processor and spreadsheet files including those from Word® and Works®. It works with Windows XP®, Vista®, and 7®.
• And one of my favorite options - BullZip. Bullzip is a small application that installs on your computer as a pseudo printer. Any thing you print to BullZip creates a 'pdf' type file that you can keep on your computer. Again, it's always available then for your perusal as a file or you can print it in the normal way. Virtually anything you can print, you can print as a 'pdf' file using BullZip. You can then look at it anytime, print it, or e-mail it to your friends knowing they can look at the file even if they don't have a word processor compatible with yours (Almost everyone has Adobe Reader® - necessary to open 'pdf' type files) as it comes free with most computers. You can download BullZip from www.bullzip.com. It's free also and I've used it for several years on Windows XP®, Vista®, and 7®. Be sure you allow it to download 'Ghostlite' as part of the install.
The only downside, you can't edit or change the 'pdf' file like you can a wordprocessor file.