Monday, January 25, 2016

Make-Ahead-Meals / Cinnamon Loaf



We all know how difficult it is to find the time to make dinner each and every evening, so I am in the process of collecting a variety of dishes that I feel would be suitable for make-ahead-meals.

 These meals would come in handy for spur of the moment entertaining, unexpected guest, or when your too tired or busy to cook.

I don't know about you, but there are days I just don't feel like cooking and eating a bowl of cold cereal would suit me fine. I can get away with this because I live in a household with grown adults who can fend for themselves when needed. These make-ahead meals would come in handy for them too!

This could save you money too. I don't know how many times we grabbed a burger/fry from some fast-food  joint because after running errands all day I knew I would not feel like cooking. If I would take the time to plan ahead and take something out before I run my errands, that would eliminate the need to "eat out", not to mention it is a lot healthier in most cases. It's easy to say what we should do, what I need to do is put it into action.

Here  are a few pointers:

 Every time you make a meal, double the batch and throw one in the freezer. Before you know it you'll have a full freezer of "convenience foods". I think most meals we cook can be frozen.

 When preparing food for your freezer, pack your foods in plastic freezer bags or food containers. You can also double-wrap them in freezer paper or in aluminium foil.

 Make sure you label and date the food. The frozen food will taste best if they are eaten  within 2-3 months.

 As a rule of thumb, when ever possible, plan ahead. Know the day before what you are eating for dinner tomorrow and then allow the food to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

 If not sure how long to cook a food when there are no instructions, start with cooking a casserole covered for about 25 minutes in an oven that is heated to around 350. Then uncover and cook about another 25 minutes.

Just because the food came out of the freezer; doesn't mean it is a 2nd rate meal. Set a pretty table. Enjoy the meal! Your family will never know that you didn't spend  the past hour in the kitchen.


Cinnamon Loaf

Ingredients

1 yellow super moist cake mix with pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Set aside.
  3. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. Combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, water and vanilla.
  5. Beat until creamy.
  6. Pour the 1/2 the batter evenly between the 2 loaf pans.
  7. Sprinkle with half the sugar/cinnamon mixture.
  8. Pour the remaining batter in loaf pans.
  9. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar/cinnamon mixture on the top.
  10. Use a butter knife and gently swirl the sugar and cinnamon into the batter.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes.
Notes
Freezer Instructions: Allow to cool completed. Place whole or slice individually and put into freezer bags.Serving instructions: Place into toaster to un-thaw and heat

Image courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  *Attribution: This article includes my personal perspective and insight and is in part a summary of a book I am currently reading (Gooseberry Patch) "Our Favorite Freezer-Friendly Recipes"

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