mix &#039;n match http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4600/all en-US Mix 'n match your food to save money http://www.wisebread.com/mix-n-match-your-food-to-save-money <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/tasty_food.jpg" alt="Tasty food" title="Tasty food" width="300" height="220" /> </p> <p>Is there any way out of the &quot;I love to eat but I don&#39;t want to cook all the time!&quot; dilemma? Will there ever be a way to eat consistent, healthy, homecooked meals without slaving in the kitchen all the time? Read on, and tell me what you think. </p> <p>First, a little background: I love to eat well. When I&#39;m working full-time, though, there are days when I&#39;m lucky to be able to throw some snacks in a bag so I don&#39;t starve all day (or dent my bank account eating out all the time). There are days when I forget to eat and days when I keep the chocolate companies in business. And when I come home, most of the time I&#39;m not ready to start cooking. I need my down time, time to relax and hang out and take care of all the things I couldn&#39;t take care of all day because I was working. But I still want good meals.</p> <p>For a while, this was a problem without a solution. I found myself either eating the same thing every day because it was cheap at Costco, relatively healthy, and didn&#39;t require me to cook anything, or spending a lot of money, when I multiplied it over every day for a month, eating at a local cafe. I was frustrated and unhappy with myself and fed up with how I was eating. Then, one night, I made pasta. </p> <p>I mixed up a ton of sauce, but then realized that I only had a couple servings of spaghetti, so all the sauce was going to go to waste (because going to the grocery store when it&#39;s not a weeked doesn&#39;t happen). I sighed, and put the sauce in the fridge because I couldn&#39;t bear throwing it away before it was bad. Over the next several days, I kept seeing the sauce and feeling guilty for wasting it. One night, I was making a quesadilla and had it all finished when I realized I was out of salsa. I saw the pasta sauce, and added it to the quesadilla, for a surprisingly good (though different) taste. That quesadilla woke me up. </p> <p>Over the next several days, I put that pasta sauce to all sorts of uses. I put it in tortillas, mixed it with my otherwise-plain veggies, even ate some of it with a rice dish I didn&#39;t particularly enjoy. <em>Instead of thinking in meals, I was thinking in individual items and how they could go together</em>. Awesome!!</p> <p>Now, instead of either slaving or despairing, I make sure that I have something (and many times more than one thing) around that can contribute to many individual meals. I have sauces that can be used on sandwiches, as salad dressing, with pasta, as a topping for rice, and as a mix-in for veggies. I cook up ground beef so I can make tacos, burritos, enchiladas, even meaty pasta sauce. I don&#39;t get bored with my food, yet I can whip up a &quot;meal&quot; quite quickly. I never have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen at once (because cooking one of these sauces or meats doesn&#39;t take nearly as long as cooking a whole meal), but I still get to cook my own food and eat as healthily as I want to.</p> <p>Here are a couple of my favorite recipes and serving suggestions for each one:</p> <p><strong>Killer Mexican Ground Meat</strong></p> <p>1 lb. ground beef or turkey<br />1-2 cloves garlic (or 3, if my husband is eating)<br />onion powder to taste<br />chili powder to taste<br />cilantro to taste<br />cumin to taste</p> <p>Brown ground meat with garlic and spices. </p> <p><strong>Add to</strong>: tacos, sandwiches, roll-ups, panini, chili, soup, salads, enchiladas, pasta sauce</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1655,129182-251198,00.html" title="cooks.com"><strong>White Sauce</strong></a></p> <p>THIN WHITE SAUCE:</p> <p>1 tablespoon butter<br />1 tablespoon flour<br />1/2 teaspoon salt<br />1 cup milk or 1/2 cup evaporated milk and 1/2 cup water</p> <p>MEDIUM WHITE SAUCE:</p> <p>2 tablespoons butter<br />2 tablespoons flour<br />1/2 teaspoon salt<br />1 cup milk or 1/2 cup evaporated milk and 1/2 cup water</p> <p>THICK WHITE SAUCE:</p> <p>3 or 4 tablespoons butter<br />3 tablespoons flour<br />1/2 teaspoon salt<br />1 cup milk or one half cup evaporated milk and 1/2 cup water</p> <p>Melt butter in a sauce pan and whisk in flour and salt until smooth. Gradually stir in cold milk, cooking over direct heat and stirring constantly until sauce boils; reduce heat slightly and continue to stir until sauce becomes smooth and thick. When sauce thickens, simmer for an additional 10 minutes over very low heat, stirring occasionally.</p> <p>Stir carefully to avoid lumps. If sauce becomes lumpy, use a stick blender or rotary beater to blend out lumps or else press through a sieve. Wondra flour may be used to great advantage since this flour does not have a tendency to lump. <p><strong>Add to</strong>: <a href="http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1655,129182-251198,00.html" title="cooks.com">Cooks.com</a> says this can be used to make cheese sauce, onion sauce, and horseradish sauce, to name a few. I&#39;ve also used it to make dill sauce and different curry sauces to give my food an Indian or a Thai taste. Try it with pasta or as a soup base for something really different.</p> <p><strong>My latest favorite?</strong></p> <p>Andrea&#39;s <a href="/perfect-peanut-sauce" title="Peanut sauce"><strong>peanut sauce</strong></a> . Yummy and versatile! </p> <p>Photo by <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/spine/" title="Rick&#39;s pics">rick</a> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mix-n-match-your-food-to-save-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-cool-uses-for-a-blender">14 Cool Uses for a Blender</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-good-food-goes-bad-part-ii-tortillas-and-tortilla-chips">When Good Food Goes Bad, Part II: Tortillas and Tortilla Chips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/put-it-in-a-pie-for-fast-frugal-food">Put it in a Pie for Fast, Frugal Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">50 Ways to Use Canned Salmon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Food food tips Mexican Food mix 'n match recipes sauce Fri, 27 Apr 2007 21:13:03 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 569 at http://www.wisebread.com