Wednesday, March 24, 2010


One of the hardest things for me to get used to in regards to coupons was meal planning. It took a little juggling but I am pretty good at it now. For the most part I get the same type things over and over again so I can plan based on what I know I will get....for instance I regularly get spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste and pasta. I collect all the supplies and wait for a really good sale on hamburger meat. I get my biggest pot and dump in everything.

One little trick I learned about cooking hamburger probably know this but I'll tell you anyway....brown meat slowly and stir frequently, this will help it to be tender. I have made the mistake of rushing the cooking time by turning the heat up...not good! I'm not very patient so this is hard for me! :)

I put it all together and then put as much of it as I can fit into my huge crock pot...on low...all day.....this just simmers it all together without burning to the bottom. I simmer the rest on top of the stove for 1 hour and then I use that sauce to make up 2-3 pans of lasagna. I cook these for 30 min..,...which is half, cover tightly and freeze. I have a convection setting on my oven so I can load it up with all three pans at once...if you do not have can load your oven up as well but you will want to move everything around after 15 min.

We eat spaghetti the first night out of the crock pot and then I divide the cooled sauce into gallon freezer bags for another day. I am not one to have a "cook for the month day," but there are many things like spaghetti sauce that I make in huge batches.....seriously I make about 4 gallons at a time in 2 huge thinking is that it really isn't much more work but it saves me greatly in time later and if I am going to heat up the oven and use the stove saves me there as well.

If you have a small may not want to do 4 gallons :) but you can do 3 - 4 times the amount needed for your family. One of the great things about freezing spaghetti sauce is that if you have unexpected can pull a bag out......set it in a large bowl of warm water and quiclky thaw to have a fast home-cooked meal!


Lori said...

Great ideas!
Thank you so much for helping me learn a new way to shop and now plan meals!

Oh yes - don't waste time on just one pot of spaghetti sauce!

Michele Helms said...

Oh you are so very welcome. I am excited to see how much you save in the next few months!

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