Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Frugal Cooking: Practicing What We Preach

Part of what we've been addressing in this blog is how going green and being frugal can go together. Its a great experiment that, I think, so many people are getting interested in because of the environment and the economy. Not to mention the average person's hectic life, where its hard enough to make time to eat food, let alone make it. So really, what we are suggesting is a win-win: cook once, eat twice.

Now that may not really sound too appetizing. "Eating leftovers every other day? EVERY day?" This challenge is something all of us go through. We want the ease of a quick fix, without the pain of having to cook a meal from scratch. My advice is more of a compromise: cook a staple food and use that as a base for more than one meal. Voila!

Using myself as an example, let me tell you about the past two days for me. Last night I made my quick-fix marinara sauce--lovely chunky tomatoes, plenty of herbs, and layered flavors. Once again, all tomato products were free, the herbs were a gift, and the rest of the ingredients are quality, but inexpensive. That over spaghetti was my meal last night and there was some leftover sauce for another meal. But the important leftover was the spaghetti. Today, I had plans to go on a beach picnic and needed to pack a dinner. So, within about twenty minutes this afternoon, I pan-fried a slice of tofu and assembled a peanut-noodle dish using: left-over spaghetti! Simple and totally different. This wonderful dish is great cold and goes well with the wakame seaweed salad that I made as well.

This is a skill that I honed when I was living abroad in Scotland. Totally changing directions with a staple food becomes easier the more daring you're willing to be. Rice, for instance, provides limitless options almost and can easily be made in great quantities, to be refrigerated and saved for later. I once cooked a huge quantity and went from a Chinese side dish to Mexican to cold rice salad and finally to fried rice. Give yourself a chance and you'll be surprised with what you come up with! Cook once, eat multiple times!


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