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New Year's Resolutions from the Test Kitchen: To Plan More Meals Using What’s Already at Home

New Year's Resolutions from the Test Kitchen: To Plan More Meals Using What’s Already at Home

Our Test Kitchen experts are looking forward to a great new year, including making some changes—both big and small—in the kitchen.

See other stories in this six-part series

Becky's Resolution: To Entertain More and Worry Less
Marge's Resolution: To Master Make-Ahead Meals
Mallory's Resolution: To Plan Meals Ahead of Time

Cindy, Test Kitchen Manager

Cindy's Resolution: To plan more meals using what’s already at home

“I have a habit of buying something just because it’s on sale at the grocery store,” Cindy says. Even though she’s got the space for a two-for-one roast, she has realized that if her chest freezer is full, she only uses what’s on top of it. Too often, those good deals can get freezer-burned and go to waste. “And where’s the savings in that?” Cindy laughs.

So, this year, she wants to make wiser choices when she shops. But, just as important, assess what she’s got at home before she heads to the store. A tentative meal plan for the week ahead will help her use up what she’s got. As will making sure that ingredients are stored in the freezer in a way that makes them as easy as possible to use. Brown ground beef and freeze it in one-cup containers and you are halfway done with a dozen different quick dinners.

Or, Cindy says, how about your own frozen meal kit? Take your favorite recipe, measure out the ingredients, freeze them and bundle them together. Then you, like Cindy, will be ready to make good use of what you’ve already got at home.

You’re more likely to use what’s in your freezer when all you have to do is take it out and heat it. Our Chicken Pesto Bake and Spicy Black Bean & Chicken Enchiladas are perfect for freezing.

Here are some of our favorite tips for making the most of your freezer.

What’s your 2013 kitchen resolution?

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