I have become crazy busy and then when I am not crazy busy, I'm finding that I'm not always inspired, I don't know how Lambert does it! It seems fitting to describe some money and time saving tips for eating at home even when you are crazy busy.
Buy lettuce whole, wash, dry and bag it at home. It actually keeps longer than the stuff in the pre-pack bags from the store. I don't do this on a special day, I just cut up all the lettuce when I make one dinner and save the rest for other days.
Freeze chopped onions. When I chop onions for a recipe, I freeze what I don't need.
Taco seasoning flavored ground beef or chicken. Make your own and keep it in a container in the fridge. It also freezes well in single-serving sandwich baggies and can be thawed out in a minute. This stuff is great! Toss it on a salad with tomato or toss it into a tortilla with lettuce and cheese. It is a really quick dinner. If you are vegetarian, try adding the taco seasoning mix to beans.
Make candied nuts for fancy salads by buying the nuts in bulk and melting about 1/4 cup of butter in medium sauce pan, add about 1/3 cup of brown sugar and a pinch of salt and then coat about a cup or two of your favorite nuts. I never measure - sorry! Toss them onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake them at 350 degrees until the sugar looks a little dry on the surface or about 15 minutes. I make a bunch when I need just a little and then refrigerate or freeze what I don't need for another day.
Cook extra chicken and freeze it cleaned from the bone and cubed. It is ready to use when needed. It doesn't matter how the chicken was being prepared, extra pieces of baked, grilled or even boiled chicken are great to add to a quick salad or pasta dish.
My favorite summer salad:
Diced cooked chicken
diced pears & gorgonzola
diced tart apples & blue cheese crumbles
sliced grapes & blue cheese crumbles
I love raspberry vinaigrette from the bottle for any of these fruit, cheese and nuts salads. I've also used homemade balsamic vinaigrette with good results.