One of the main reasons I’ve been so bad about updating is because, around the holidays, I had a serious cash shortage. Because funds were so low I decided to cut my losses and do a big grocery shop to last me for a good long time. I bought a chicken, fruits, veggies, and a whole stockpile of snacks and healthy alternatives to eating out.
After I went shopping I realized that there was one more obstacle standing in my way to healthy and cheap eating; preparation. Sometimes just having the resources in the fridge isn’t enough. One of the main reasons eating out or at work is so nice is that there is no prep work involved, other than getting to your destination and placing your order. In order to simplify the process I decided to take a couple of hours to ready my ingredients for fast usage.
First of all, I boiled a full chicken. When it was done I picked it apart and then put the bones and broth back on the stove with fresh herbs, carrots, onions, and celery. While I did the rest of my chopping and peeling the broth simmered until a golden and flavorful chicken stock was born. Homemade chicken stock is an awesome thing to have around for soup making, and adding extra flavor to cooked veggies and grains.
Additionally, the smell of it simmering throughout the house is enough to make anyone’s mouth water.
As my broth simmered, I peeled a head of garlic and separated the cloves. I then poured a bit of olive oil over the garlic, wrapped it in foil, and put it in the oven to broil. Over about ten minutes it softened and roasted. When all was said and done I put the garlic in a bowl for use on sandwiches or chopped up on salad. Yum. Few things are as flavorful and healthy as garlic. The perfect addition to any meal.
As things roasted and boiled, I set to work on the most menial task of all; the cutting and the dicing and the picking apart of the rest of my fresh produce. I knew that everything would go unused unless I got them ready for cooking ahead of time. For nearly an hour or so I diced and chopped onions, broccoli, celery, carrots, and Brussels sprouts and stuffed them neatly into Tupperware for later use. I also picked apart a couple of pomegranates to ensure easy and healthy snacking.
When everything was said and done, I ended up wasting less food than I do any other time I go grocery shopping, and many of my meals were healthy and well-balanced due to my forward thinking. The chicken and onions were great for making quick quesadillas on the stove or for throwing into eggs. The other veggies were easily sautéed on the stove within minutes with no knife work necessary. Salads were hurriedly mixed as I ran late for various events and pomegranate seeds kept my hand out of the cookie jar for days. Certainly one of my best ideas to date.