Buying In Bulk | Storage Tips

Let’s hurry to the point.  Buying in bulk for our family is beneficial.  Not only are we on a super duper tight grocery budget, but we are a larger family with a preteen boy who has a healthy appetite.  If you read my meal planning 101 post, then you already know that grocery shopping is typically a bi-weekly ordeal.  However, my husband and I feel that transitioning into buying our groceries only once a month would be a lot easier for us; mainly because we have been splitting our grocery shopping into two days, between three to four stores. 
And shopping for two days at four stores, with three kids (two of which are babies) is EXHAUSTING.  The kids are grumpy by the end of it and usually have to miss out on their naps. 
So, like I said…we are trying to shop monthly.  I don’t know if this will entirely work…this is our first month to try
it, but I have high hopes that it will be a success.
Alright, now that I have that tidbit of information out there for you, I wanted to offer a few tips on how to store your bulk items, and get the most use out of what you purchase.

Four out five of us love eating pineapple, backing me into a corner to purchase it.  Buying canned right now is cheaper, so I make the most of the 6lbs 10 oz can.

  • First, I drain the pineapple and let the juice run into a bowl underneath the colander and set it aside.  (I save the juice to use for our marinades!)  I also save the can to grow my herbs in.
  • In order to make the most out of the little freezer space we have, I bag the pineapple into three quart freezer bags, flatten them, label them, and freeze them by laying them flat.  Once they are frozen, I can move them around as needed.  I also fill one plastic container full and place in the refrigerator.

 

  • Now I take the pineapple juice that I drained earlier and pour it into a gallon freezer bag.  Then I clean a shelf in the freezer, and lay it completely flat to freeze.  Once it is frozen, you can move it around. 

  • I use this same technique for our hamburger meat.  We bought a 9.38lb log of lean beef, divided it up to roughly 1.25lbs per/bag, flatten them, label the packages, then freeze. (And no, we will not use all of this meat in one month.)

  • For our cheese, we cut the block into chunks, wrap them in sandwich bags/plastic wrap, place in a gallon freezer bag. 

We do a lot of other things, too.  I just figured this would be a good starting point on storing the items we purchase in bulk.  I hope you find it helpful!

Kid Food | Mac & Cheese Bites

I remember an uncanny discussion my husband and I had about our refrigerator during our first year of marriage.  We were wondering why manufacturers made the freezer compartments so much smaller than the fridge compartments.  After all, didn’t every one purchase all of their meals, frozen?

Our conversation quickly turned in to us buying an extra freezer because our freezer was literally popping out frozen bags of chicken wings, while our refrigerator stood practically empty. 

In our household, cooking consisted of what Voila bag we were going to open and serve.

I’m happy to say, that I threw my excuses out the window, picked up a spoon, and started cooking.

I’m glad I did.  Our meals taste less salty and better.

Despite my culinary exploration, I still found making sauces intimidating.  But after I made this meal, sauces were feared no more!

(I usually freeze these and whip them out whenever I’m in a need of a quick side dish for the little kids.) 

On to the recipe, then.

Toddler Food
Mac & Cheese Bites
makes 31 mini bites
Ingredients 
1 cup of elbow pasta (macaroni)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 1/2 Cups of milk
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (good ole black powder kind)
Italian bread crumbs for topping
Method
First, boil your pasta per box instructions.  Drain the pasta, and set aside.
In a sauce pan, over medium-high heat, add your butter.  Once the butter is melted, add your flour to it and whisk together for about 2 minutes.  
Slowly, pour your milk into the flour mixture, while whisking constantly.  Continue to whisk until the milk begins to thicken (like a thinner gravy).  
Once the your milk has thickened, add your cheese, salt, and pepper to the sauce; whisk together until cheese has completely melted.
Now add your cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and mix together well.
Grease 2 mini muffin pans using cooking spray and spoon in the macaroni.  Next, lightly sprinkle your bread crumbs on the top of the macaroni. 
Bake at 375-400 degrees until golden brown.  (My oven gets hotter than the standard oven, so I bake mine at 375 degrees)
To Freeze
Once they are finished cooking, let them cool completely.  Place inside of a freezer bag and freeze.  You can reheat them in the oven at 275 degrees or microwave them until they are completely heated through.