Friday, August 24, 2012

Seven Ways to Simplify Allergy-friendly Cooking

Cooking allergy-friendly can mean cooking a lot. The good news is food is often more fresh, less processed and better for you. The bad news is, you are cooking a lot!  Here are seven ways that I try to cut down on cooking and simplify my life. The first few I have shared before. The last few are newbies. I'd love to hear how you simplify! Click on the links for recipes and ideas!

1. Previously I have mentioned doubling a recipe for BBQ sauce, enchilada sauce, or spaghetti sauce and putting it in the freezer for a quick dinner. All you have to do is add the meat, and pasta.

2. I have also mentioned, putting all of the dry ingredients for baked items in ziplocs, with the name of the item, the title of the cookbook and page number on it. For example, putting all of the dry ingredients in 5 different bags for baking an amazing chocolate cake. Then you put the page number and cookbook name on it to grab it in a hurry, add the wet ingredients and bam! An easy cake! Or, you can even write the wet ingredients on the bag with a permanent marker.

3. Another idea is freezing leftovers in a portion size plastic container to throw in the freezer. When you need a quick meal, there it is! It is just as easy as buying expensive frozen meals, but way more affordable. No extra cooking is even necessary since it is leftovers. Chili, porcupines or meatloaf are great ones to do this with.

4. Double your  batch while making baked goods and freeze half of it. Do this once a week and soon you will have a freezer full of goodies! These glorious sugar-free cookies are one of my favorites to do this with.

And here are my latest ideas.

5.  Make up a batch of pesto. Put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it. Then put the cubes in a freezer ziploc bag and keep in the freezer. You can have dinner like Allergy-friendly Pizza or Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad in a jiffy. You can even just throw it on some pasta with grilled chicken and sundried tomatoes. Yum!

6. In the morning or afternoon if you have a minute, prep for dinner. You can make up some rub for meat, make a sauce, or chop up veggies for a recipe. Sometimes I make taco meat for dinner. Then when it is time for dinner it's almost like a cooking show. Everything is ready and it's as easy as 1, 2, 3. I did this recently with this wonderful recipe; Mexican Haystacks.  I chopped, the mango, peppers, cilantro, etc, in advance. I browned the meat and had it ready to reheat later. All I did was make rice at the last minute, and dinner was a cinch.

7. When you buy ginger, peel off the outside, add a little water and throw it in the blender. Blend it until it is fine. Freeze this in ice cube trays. When you need ginger for a recipe,( like a stir fry or this pasta recipe) it's ready you just grab it out of the ziploc in the freezer and throw it in. It seems like I am always using part of a thing of ginger and then having to chuck the rest (or make everything ginger for a week!).

8. Make these instant oatmeal packs here, with gluten free oats, raisins, or enjoy life chocolate chips. You could also make these with rice cereal that you cook. Just put the dry portion in the baggie and add the right amount of water (whatever the package says) when it's time to cook it up! It's instant oat meal or rice cereal, that even my oldest son can help make and then put in the microwave when the time comes.

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