Although I heartily agree with the concept of freezer cooking and seek to faithfully plan menus on a monthly basis, I often succumb to what I call "piggyback cooking." This method of cooking entails generating enough of an item to be used in a new way another day. Probably just a bit of a more fun name for purposeful left-overs.
Due to the fact that many of my meals are fairly heath conscious light of Husband's dietary needs, casseroles and even crockpot creations are not always the best fit for our meals. Fish, salads and vegetables are our mainstays and seem to necessitate a great deal of daily preparation. One of the ways I have found to make this kind of food preparation work is to "piggyback" my culinary fare.
Salmon is known to be a very heart healthy fish. It is also quite expensive. Imagine my pleasure in finding in our supermarket wild caught salmon sold as a whole fish, but gutted with the head off for $2.50 per pound! As we eat this every week, I try to find ways to serve it with some creativity. So this past week we first ate the salmon as a main course but the next night to give quite a different spin to our meal, I made a chef salad where the salmon was the topper to our greens. My already cooked salmon was a piggyback prepared the day before. To this chef salad I piggybacked a small jar of previously made turkey soup from our freezer. There really was not enough soup to make my men feel full but paired with salmon chef salad their stomachs were content. While making the chef salad I used my quart size canning jars and made salad in a jar for some lunches for the week.
As I was cleaning up this salmon chef salad/ soup meal, I also rinsed some pinto beans and put them in water to soak overnight. The next day these beans went into my crockpot to cook. Later in the day, brown rice was added to my rice cooker and our meal of beans and rice topped with salad goodies also produced broth, beans and additional rice for a soup made two days later.
I find that cooking a bit extra, and always seeking to think about how to use today's meal tomorrow in a new fashion, not only cuts down on some preparation time, but ensures that my left-overs will not be wasted and actually appreciated in their new form as a new meal.
How do you piggyback your food prep?