meal ideas http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7065/all en-US Sex Up Your Sandwich: Ideas for Budget Conscious Brown Baggers http://www.wisebread.com/sex-up-your-sandwich-ideas-for-budget-conscious-brown-baggers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sex-up-your-sandwich-ideas-for-budget-conscious-brown-baggers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3423242320_405cdd3681_z.jpg" alt="sandwich" title="sandwich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Brown bag boredom got you down? Work at home lunch breaks bringing you the blues? If you need sandwich ideas to bust out of the boring box and keep you on track for healthy affordable eating this year, read on.</p> <h2>Sandwich Ingredients</h2> <p>I've chosen to list my favorites here and place them into simple categories. Feel free to add your suggestions below.</p> <h3>Spreads</h3> <p>These can include condiments for cold sandwiches such as homemade horseradish sauce for a sexier BLT, spicy squeezable mayo to take those <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tasty-ideas-for-leftover-turkey" title="10 Tasty Ideas for Leftover Turkey">leftover holiday turkey</a> sandwiches to the next level, mashed avocado, guacamole, Dijon mustard, or hummus.</p> <p>Spreads, for the purposes of this article, also include items you might use on a hot sandwich. Some of my favorites are buffalo sauce, marinara, pesto, pizza sauce, and brushed on olive oil mixed with zatyr.</p> <h3>Add-ons</h3> <p>These are the little nuggets of yum that help take your sandwich from hum-drum to hubba-hubba. One of my favorite items is those bulk jars of banana pepper rings you can purchase in the bulk aisle at Walmart. For under $5 you've got a bulk supply of a zippy little sandwich add-on that won't spoil quickly like certain produce items (cough &mdash; tomatoes). Other ideas include basil leaves, sliced bulk pickles, mixed organic spring greens, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/scrumptious-sprouting-for-your-meals" title="Scrumptious Sprouting for Your Meals">sprouts</a>, and French-fried onions.</p> <p>Pre-cooked bacon (a main ingredient in BLT sandwiches) is a flavorful accent in other sandwiches and upgrades them affordably to the status of &quot;club.&quot; For around $8 at my local warehouse store, I can purchase a bulk bag of pre-cooked bacon that equates to four pounds of the raw equivalent. Since I can't buy uncooked bacon for two bucks a pound unless it's on a major sale and would have to deal with the stress of cooking it as well, I consider this a major bargain.</p> <h3>Main Events</h3> <p>This category basically includes any feature ingredient of your sandwich such as grilled vegetables, turkey breast, leftover ham, meatballs, Swiss cheese or chicken patties. Leftover roast chicken is also a common sandwich ingredient at our house.</p> <p>I also include bread choices in this category, of which there are several. Yes, your basic sandwich loaf is convenient and fits handily into various airtight containers. And when toasted, I routinely find several whole grain varieties to be suitably sexy. That being said, it's difficult to handle a meatball sub between those types of slices and people getting bored with traditional sandwiches might be better served with bulky rolls, ciabatta, whole grain tortillas, or a nice baguette. Heftier breads also stand up better to sauces and thicker fillings.</p> <h2>Sandwich Ideas</h2> <h3>Sides</h3> <p>Need a little something else to round out the menu? Consider a mug of homemade soup or some sort of crunchy side. Cream of tomato is hard to beat for versatility and affordability, as is cream of broccoli with cheese. Both are affordable and fall firmly into the realm of comfort food.</p> <p>In warmer weather, we like to toss in a crunchy side dish or two when we are doing sandwiches for lunch. Potato chips, homemade crackers, veggie sticks, and apple wedges are all affordable, tasty ways to go, with or without an accompanying dipping sauce. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/super-salad-add-ins" title="Super Salad Add-Ins">Super Salad Add-Ins</a>)</p> <h3>Preparation</h3> <p>How you prepare the actual sandwich contributes greatly to its overall sexiness. Even peanut butter and jelly gets groovy when you grill it in the frying pan. Feel like taking your basic ham and cheese to the next level? Try this version of a <a href="http://www.cheapcooking.com/Recipes/monte-cristo-sandwiches.htm" title="Monte Cristo recipe">Monte Cristo</a>, which provides a savory twist on the traditional French toast, or this <a href="http://webesharin.com/2010/02/08/sexy-monte-carlo-sandwich/" title="Monte Carlo recipe">Monte Carlo sandwich</a>, a batter fried version of turkey and Swiss suitable for the work at home crowd.</p> <p>Larger submarine sandwiches toast nicely in the oven on a foil-lined cookie sheet, eliminating cleanup. A toaster oven is helpful for heating up other sandwiches when you don't want to fire up the entire stove. Think English muffin pizzas and open-faced tuna melts.</p> <h3>Combinations</h3> <p>It would be too tedious to list them all, and I doubt any of you busy folks would have time to read the list anyway. I'll just list a few of my favorites below.</p> <ul> <li><strong>A toasted hot wing sandwich.</strong> Two-packs of the large jars of hot wing sauce are dirt cheap at the warehouse store. I use that as my condiment, leftover chopped chicken and crumbled blue cheese with a nice hearty bread (inspired by this <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-boneless-dishes-for-the-hot-wing-crowd" title="6 Boneless Dishes for the Hot Wing Crowd">hot wing flavored recipes</a> post from Linsey). Tip: I go slightly heavy but not too over the top with the hot wing sauce. You want it to be a bit saucy and not all absorbed into the bread, but not drippy. You could also pull this off with a Panini press.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Middle East style mini clubs.</strong> I have a hard time finding Haloumi here, so I use thick slices of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ten-things-to-do-with-bulk-block-mozzarella" title="10 Things to Do With Bulk Block Mozzarella">mozzarella</a> paired with a slice of Roma tomato and use party-sized club rolls, spreading each slice with a mixture of olive oil and zatyr. They are great little lunch items and with cocktail toothpicks on hand can look fancy and feed a crowd affordably at the same time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Toasted turkey and pesto with cheese.</strong> Actually, you can pull this one off with a basic whole grain sandwich loaf bread. Use the pesto as your spread and toss in the other two ingredients. I like to either grill them or toss them in the toaster oven for a bit.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Related Readings</strong></p> <p>Those reducing meat and dairy in their diets should also enjoy this list of <a href="http://webesharin.com/2010/06/07/hot-vegan-sandwiches-even-meat-lovers-will-enjoy/" title="vegan sandwiches">vegan sandwiches</a>. We also have several other posts here on Wise Bread that you will likely find of interest:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful" title="DIY Flavored Water">DIY Flavored Water</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/soup-toppers-with-style" title="Soup Garnishes with Style">Soup Garnishes with Style</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-affordable-ingredients-that-add-gourmet-flair-to-any-meal" title="12 Affordable Ingredients to Add Gourmet Flair">12 Affordable Ingredients to Add Gourmet Flair</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-brown-bag-it-with-style" title="How to Brown Bag It with Pizzazz">How to Brown Bag It with Pizzazz</a></li> </ul> <p><em>What are your favorite sandwich ideas? Do you have any favorite ingredients that balance budget and scrumptiousness? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/staff">Staff</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sex-up-your-sandwich-ideas-for-budget-conscious-brown-baggers">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/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us</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/10-sandwiches-hearty-enough-for-dinner">10 Sandwiches Hearty Enough For Dinner</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/the-worlds-most-affordable-michelin-starred-restaurants">The World&#039;s Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants</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/dont-throw-that-out-19-great-meals-you-can-make-from-scraps">Don&#039;t Throw That Out! 19 Great Meals You Can Make From Scraps</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/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink meal ideas sandwiches Fri, 08 Jan 2010 14:00:10 +0000 Staff 4507 at http://www.wisebread.com The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2045290249_4ccfd06b2e_z.jpg" alt="ice cubs" title="ice cubses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I first left corporate America to stay home and educate my kids, I was certain I would make the most efficient homemaker. I invested in several of the best batch-cooking books available, diving deep into the world of &quot;freeze and eat&quot; and deciding immediately that I hated it. For those of you who have one to two solid 12-hour chunks to dedicate to this cost-effective, yet back-breaking endeavor, my hat goes of to you. If you're working a full-time job, have tiny ones underfoot, or just generally hate cooking for days at a time, here are my tips for achieving the &quot;Five Day Freeze&quot; &mdash; or batch cooking for the rest of us. (See also: <a title="Intro to Freezer Savings" href="http://wisebread.com/intro-to-freezer-savings">Intro to Freezer Savings</a>)</p> <p>We have some amazing batch cooking (or make-ahead) tips here on Wise Bread. I'll share those with you later in this article. What I'm aiming to discuss, however, is how to achieve the same level &quot;cook now, eat later&quot; zen, without the horrid hangover that occurs when you shop for an entire month's worth of food, cook for 12 hours straight, and then collapse in a pile of sweat and tears before realizing you lost two days of your life for some frozen lasagna trays. Some people have mastered the batch-cooking technique without all the drama, but let's be realistic: I'm a work-at-home, home-educating, mom of four little ones. I can rarely find time to sweep and scrub, much less create 30 days' worth of frozen meals on my days off. Here is how I've achieved basically the same results (easy meal prep on a budget) with the spare 30-minutes to an hour I have each day.</p> <h2>Pick Five, Any Five</h2> <p>This will depend completely on what your store has on sale, or what your garden has become overpopulated with. In the case of last week, I used the following five: hamburger, green peppers, zucchini, eggs, and chocolate chip cookies. No, you cannot go 30 days with just these five items, but they are great for building the foundation of a well-stocked freezer. (And if you rotate with a new five items each week, you'll have a variety of frozen goodies in no time!)</p> <h2>Day 1: Hamburger</h2> <p><img height="201" width="300" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/spaghetti.jpg" /></p> <p>Here is the least favorite day for my freezer prep routine. I bring home 30+ pounds of lean hamburger on sale (in my case, about $1.78 a pound), and set it in the fridge until the evening, when the kids are in bed. I break it up into 5-pound sections and do the following:</p> <ul> <li>Brown 5 pounds and freeze them in bags of one browned pound each.</li> <li>Brown 5 pounds, season it with homemade taco seasoning, and bag them in1-pound freezer batches.</li> <li>Use 5 pounds in my favorite meatball recipe, bagging 30 meatballs to a freezer bag (this makes about 5 batches).</li> <li>Divvy up the other 15 pounds into 1-pound chunks, which I freeze individually for whatever. (I like to wrap each pound in wax paper, then a heavy duty 100% recycled aluminum foil &mdash; or break out the Seal-a-Meal, if I have extra bags on hand.)</li> </ul> <h2>Day 2: Green Peppers</h2> <p><img height="212" width="314" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/green_pepper.jpg" style="" alt="" /></p> <p>When the garden is just busting with green peppers or I find a few extra pounds of past-date peppers in my local grocer, I get freezing. I thoroughly rinse them, cut off the tops, and core them. Then I freeze them any of these various ways:</p> <ul> <li>Dice them finely and freeze them with a little bit of water in <a title="Ice Cube Trays: Your Passport to Huge Savings" href="http://wisebread.com/ice-cube-trays-your-passport-to-huge-savings">ice cube trays</a>. After they are solid, I pop them out into a freezer bag for an easy addition to soups and stews.</li> <li>Blanch the peppers whole, let them cool, and then freeze them whole for stuffed pepper recipes.</li> <li>Slice them lengthwise and freeze them for fajitas.</li> </ul> <h2>Day 3: Zucchini</h2> <p><img height="200" width="303" src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/zucchini.jpg" style="" alt="" /></p> <p>There are a few ways I like to freeze zucchini. My favorite is to bake them up in a nice zucchini bread or muffin recipe and free the baked goodies. I also like to freeze the zucchini shredded by steaming it in a steamer tray for 3 minutes before bagging it up. (Slices work nicely as well. I just place them on a freezer tray after slicing, and then batter them after they get firm. Then I pop them back into the freezer for a bit to harden them up. You can freeze bags and bags this way and fry them whenever you want!) These same methods work really well for squash, too!</p> <h2>Day 4: Eggs</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u148/quiche.jpg" style="width: 298px; height: 223px;" alt="" /></p> <p>My husband hates eggs, but with 100 laying hens, we will soon have them coming out of our ears. My favorite way to freeze them is in a lovely quiche (I prefer a bacon and cheddar or a crab meat and scallion recipe). You can also scramble them up and fry them into a little square or circle using a pancake mold. Then lay them flat on a tray to quick freeze before putting them all into a baggie in the freezer. These make excellent breakfast sandwich eggs.</p> <h2>Day 5: Cookies</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u148/cookies.jpg" style="width: 306px; height: 229px;" alt="" /></p> <p>This is my favorite batch cooking day. I pick a recipe (only one) and triple or quadruple it, freezing all but a few for later eating. CookieClubRecipes.com has a really good tutorial on <a title="freezing cookies" href="http://www.cookieclubrecipes.com/freezingcookies.htm">freezing cookies</a>.</p> <p>Each week brings a new opportunity to cook, freeze, and save. I don't fall into the habit of thinking I absolutely have to have a meal plan and only freeze according to it. (With an ample supply of fresh and frozen veggies, a few garden treats, and the browned ground beef and some split chicken breasts, there really isn't anything I can't make on the fly.) How have you adapted batch cooking to work for you?</p> <h3>Batch Cooking Tips You Can't Live Without:</h3> <ul> <li><a title="Assembly Cooking for Newbies" href="http://wisebread.com/assembly-cooking-for-newbies">Assembly Cooking for Newbies</a> (If you only read ONE batch cooking article on Wise Bread, this is the one.)</li> <li><a title="Meat Money:Grocery Saving Tips for Carnivores" href="http://wisebread.com/meat-money-grocery-saving-tips-for-carnivores">Meat Money: Grocery Saving Tips for Carnivores</a></li> <li><a title="Bulk Buying 101" href="http://wisebread.com/bulk-buying-101">Bulk Buying 101</a></li> <li><a title="Save your Lunchmeat: Insurance for your Fridge" href="http://wisebread.com/save-your-lunchmeat-insurance-for-your-fridge">Save your Lunchmeat: Insurance for your Fridge</a></li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-five-day-freeze-batch-cooking-for-the-rest-of-us">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-2"> <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/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</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/17-uses-for-stale-bread">17 Uses for Stale Bread</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/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</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/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</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/11-delicious-dishes-you-can-make-with-a-can-of-tomato-soup">11 Delicious Dishes You Can Make With a Can of Tomato Soup</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink easy recipes groceries meal ideas recipes Tue, 04 Aug 2009 18:00:07 +0000 Linsey Knerl 3461 at http://www.wisebread.com