You don’t want to cook every single night, so don’t! Cook once & eat twice means you’re efforts in the kitchen will do double duty.
Time is of the essence especially on weeknights. These shortcuts will not only save time and money, but they’ll also save you a boat load of effort! If you’re struggling to get dinner on the table after work every night, then you’ve got to try some of these time saving hacks. It’ll make your efforts in the kitchen go twice as far with half the work!
When you need dinner to be quick and easy, meals that you cook once, eat twice totally destress dinner time!
What Does Cook Once, Eat Twice Mean?
When it comes to kitchen hacks, this has got to be one of the best. It’s one of my favs because it makes the most use of all that hard labor! All that sweating over a hot stove and all.
Cooking once and eating twice can mean one of two things. First, it can mean “double batching” a recipe. For example, you can double a recipe and make two lasagnas at once. You’ll eat one now, and then pop the other in the freezer for later. Boom. Time saver!
But, cook once eat twice can also mean cooking something that’s to be spread out over multiple days. The best example of this is baked chicken. You cook it for dinner, and you make leftovers into tacos or soup later in the week.
One thing that is often involved is the FREEZER!
Listen, my freezer and I are well acquainted with each other. It is my workhorse. It never fails me, and I make sure it’s always well stocked. By doing this, I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve managed to pull dinner out of thin air—thanks to a little gem I had tucked away in the freezer.
With that said, let’s get to it! Here are the most versatile ingredients that help you make dinner magically appear night after night!
Cook Once, Eat Twice: MEAT
Like I mentioned above, a baked chicken is the most well known of these cook once eat twice ingredients. Leftover chicken can be saved for use in just about anything from soup, salads, sandwiches, casseroles or stir fry. Sky’s the limit.
Sidenote: you don’t have to toil away all day on a roasted chicken. Have you tried spatchcocking a chicken? It’s when you flatten (cut out the backbone) the chicken before cooking. Check out my Meyer Lemon Spatchcock Chicken that shaves down the cooking time to like 45 min!
But, my favorite meat to cook once and eat twice is a pork roast (pork butt, Boston butt). Pop that baby in the crock pot with just a few seasonings, and let it go all day! The result is moist, tender, mouth watering pulled pork.
I usually cook a pork roast about once every other month, and one roast can make a minimum of two large meals. It’s amazing how far that piece of meat will stretch. You can make it with just a few seasonings, or you can go BBQ or even spicy Asian style.
It freezes beautifully! Also, please remember to save all those beautiful juices in the pot. That’s the stock that’s going to make your next soup out of this world. Freeze it for later.
Cook Once, Eat Twice: CHILI
My love of chili is as long as my memory. That’s what happens when your dad enters chili cookoff competitions every summer of your childhood. It doesn’t matter if you prefer veggie chili, white chicken chili, or Texas style chili, the result is the same: a dish that does double duty every time!
Chili freezes beautifully, and it can be used in so many ways. You can make a Frito pie, chili tamale, or some indulgent chili cheese nachos. Go nuts. It’s your hard work.
Cook Once, Eat Twice: GRAINS
Let’s talk rice, pasta & even quinoa. Every time I cook any of these grains, I always (without fail) cook too much. But, this bad habit actually serves me well. I get to only clean that rice cooker once and reap the benefits twice. That’s not a bad deal!
A few pointers on pasta. Pasta can be sticky, so if you’re going to just pop it in the fridge for use later in the week, then drizzle it with a scootch of olive oil. It’ll store well in a ziplock. Freezing pasta also works fine. Just pop it in the microwave to thaw out.
Second, rice. Okay, rice will stay in your fridge for a bit without a problem. In fact, cooled rice is the trick to making fried rice work beautifully without getting glumpy. But, a word of caution: don’t freeze rice.
In my experience, something happens to it when you reheat it. It starts to break down. It gets way too grainy. I don’t recommend. Just stick with the fridge for best results.
Quinoa! This little versatile grain is everywhere. As it should be since it’s super high in protein. It definitely multiplies on you! You may think you made a quarter of a cup, but somehow that stuff expands! I always end up with leftovers for days with this grain. It’s great in soups, casseroles, breakfast dishes, salads, bowls, you name it! It also freezes beautifully.
So, remember to double up on those grains, so you can cook once eat twice with these pantry staples.
Cook Once, Eat Twice: BEANS
Dried beans. If you haven’t ventured off into the world of crockpot beans, then you may want to reconsider. One bag of dried black beans can make enough for 4 (or more) meals and side dishes, too. If you’re looking to save money, time, and effort then this is definitely worth taking time to work into your schedule.
All you have to remember with cooking dried beans: dump, pick, rinse & cover. Dump them into the pot, pick out any weird looking ones, give them a good rinse (or two), then cover with water till about halfway up the pot. Cook on low all day.
You can store cooked beans in little ziplocks in the freezer for months. Ready to use whenever you need.
Cook Once, Eat Twice: SAUCE
I almost have an addiction to freezing food. Everything gets put in there eventually! Marinara sauce, cranberry sauce, and pesto. I freeze any sauce if there’s even a small container’s worth.
Pesto can be added to things like lasagna, casserole, or sheet pan dinners. Cranberry sauce is also an interesting addition to so many fun paninis or as a side to roasted meats. Obviously, marinara can be used on pizzas, pastas, a million different casseroles, and as a dipping sauce for loads of apps.
Most freeze beautifully, and it can save your week night meal from being blah to delish!
Save Time & Energy by Doubling Up
As you can see, there are loads of reasons to either double a recipe or freeze your leftovers. Dinner can do double duty and save you some hard earned time. Whether you’re cooking a large piece of meat or saving those easy dried beans, getting dinner on the table can be so much easier when you cook once, eat twice.
If you’re interested in more ways to decrease your dinner time stress, then let me help you! I’ve totally been where you are. I know you want to do it all for your family, but everybody has their limits. Let me show you how it’s totally possible for you to get dinner on the table every night (even as a working mom!) without the stress you feel right now.
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