Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Small Taste of Victory

In my younger days my supply of cash was chronically tight so I got into the habit of cooking many of my own meals since it is wayyy cheaper than eating out or eating prepared foods out of the box or freezer.   I especially like recipes I can cook in bulk like chili, soups and curries that I can stretch even further with a little rice.   My financial situation has improved since then but the habit of home cooking has stayed with me.   I still like saving money because now I can build it up and invest it in high quality, American made goods that last a long time, usually paying me back eventually since those things don't break or wear out like cheaper, foreign made stuff does.

When I'm at work I generally stay in instead of hitting up a McDonalds or pizza joint.   I've done it for years but I've really got a good system going now.   These days I will will cook a big batch of something and move it from the big pot right into a pint mason jars while it's still hot.   A few years ago they were also selling a canning kit with a funnel that fit their jars perfectly.   I'll freeze those jars so I have a constant variety of frozen meals ready to go.   That also makes it easier to avoid the fast food circuit.    I've found that if I leave a jar to defrost all morning it is usually defrosted enough to pour out into a dish to heat up.   In a pinch you can do it right in the jar.   The added bonus?  You're not microwaving plastic.  In the event of a long power outage you could also throw them all right into a pressure cooker and can them for indefinite storage.   This method of food storage is cheap, versatile and durable.  Best of all it is made in the USA.

The jars can be heated but I do like a wider bowl.   My old one, a piece of USA made Corelle-ware, was great for use at home but a full pint jar was just a little too much to comfortably fit in that bowl without spilling.   Instead I bought, at a very reasonable price, a Pyrex bowl, also US made (see a pattern here?).   It's a little bigger and has a lid, so I can microwave stuff without exploding beans or carrots coating the inside of the public microwave.   All told it's a perfect system that allows me to conveniently eat a variety of delicious, nutritious, money saving food.   And with that money I can re-invest in more quality goods that were made in my home country and economy.

Here is a little recipe that is an example of what I like to cook and put in my jars:

Chicken Lentil Soup


  • 1 package of chicken drumsticks (5-6 drumsticks)
  • 1.5  chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 5-6 stalks celery ( about 2 cups diced)
  • 4-5 carrots (about 2 cups diced)
  • 1 can of crushed tomato (14.5 oz can)
  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • salt (to taste)
Cooking Instructions

  1.  Heat about 6 cups of water to a boil.   Add chicken drumsticks and bouillon cube.   Maintain boil for 40 mins.
  2. While chicken is cooking rinse lentils and dice onions, carrots, and celery.
  3.  Remove chicken from pot to cool.   Add lentils, veggies and spices.   Cover and cook on low heat until it boils lightly.
  4. When chicken is cool enough to handle remove and discard skin.   I use my hands to pull the chicken off the bone and break it up into bite sized pieces.   Add to pot.
  5. Cook for 1 hour or until lentil are soft.   
  6. Makes 6-8 servings and costs about $8 dollars to make.  Enjoy!
If you have any of your own recipes or links to such I encourage you to share them in the comments.  

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