Friday, April 20, 2012

Life & Style: Pantry + Freezer Challenge, Part 3

For all of April, we're doing a Pantry + Freezer challenge! Join us as we cook up dishes using ingredients on hand. We'll be sharing our experiences with our challenge throughout the month in a special Life & Style series. You can read Part 1 of this series here and Part 2 here. Check back every Friday for new posts, and check out what our menu plan is each week in our What's for Eats This Week posts on Sundays.

In Part 1, we talked about reasons why one might choose to complete a Pantry + Freezer challenge. Last week, I detailed how completing this challenge for a specific period of time could help your grocery budget. And this week, we're going to talk about something that I know will appeal to you: time.

Time is money. And even if it wasn't (since I don't believe time is always money), time is precious.

Creating a simple menu plan saves you time in the kitchen. If you grill hamburgers and cook baked potatoes and broccoli, there's minimal prep and cook time involved in the kitchen. If you, in the past, had cooked up a big pan of lasagna and froze half, the time involved in preparing a meal from the frozen lasagna is small. Make some homemade garlic bread and toss a salad, and you're good to go.

By completing a pantry + freezer challenge, you could easily free up one and a half hours of kitchen time. Chef Jason often spends at least this long, and scarily, usually much longer to prep, cook and clean up from a dinner meal. He's completed many side projects already this month and has been working on Sudoku puzzles and reading many, many books in his spare time since he's been spending less time in the kitchen.

Having simple meals also means I can help out without setting fire to something in the kitchen. I've been able to cook a few meals so Jason can have the night off. If the woman of your house is head chef and the man is like me (and usually shies from the kitchen), then the man can step up and cook a few meals so the woman can enjoy a night free.

It's so much fun and joyful to us when Jason creates a masterpiece dish, but it's not practical to do that every night. Jason loves the kitchen and food, but I don't think he loves them that much!

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