From Take-Out to Frozen

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As an artist, I love to create. One activity I really enjoy is cooking. But not just any cooking, sneaky cooking. I love taking the Sneaky Chef recipes and putting my own spin on them. I also take regular recipes and and make them sneaky by adding vegetable and fruit purees. My sneakiness has even gone to the level of adding purees to frozen meal sauces. I can’t help myself; it is a habit.

My family and I have been following a budget over the last few months. We have turned take-out Tuesday into frozen dinner night. This change has led to my over-the-top sneakiness. I really like this change for financial and heath reasons. I still get a night off of cooking, my boys get their “take-out” food, and I even get to add sneaky ingredients depending on the meal. I don’t mind cooking every day; in fact, I look forward to it. But sometimes it is nice to eat someone else’s cooking. Frozen meals tend to be healthier than take-out food, and the nutrition labels are right on the box (though some restaurants have them listed on their websites). Plus, I can sometimes make them sneaky.

Also, I don’t like having too much food in the house, because that is what leads to overeating. Whenever we would get take-out pizza, the leftovers were used for snacking, rather than just as an extra meal. I don’t miss eating out as often. Staying home and taking out a frozen family meal from the freezer is a lot easier than deciding which restaurant to order from. Nor is it an easy task to pick up take-out with a toddler.

As a family, we enjoy doing the frozen meals once a week almost more than take-out. We still have a special night of the week that we eat something “like” restaurant food. I have found great deals on frozen family meals at Aldi, Save-A-Lot, Target and other grocery stores. Sometimes I have special coupons and can even double $1 ones on certain weeks. I just took advantage of the double dollars last week, and now I have an assortment of different meals to choose from on Tuesday.

Instead of searching restaurant menus online (which takes me forever to decide), all I have to do is look in my freezer and pull a meal out. I usually make a salad or vegetables and dip to round out the meal. It is a time and money saver. And time is definitely money. I spend less time cutting out coupons and buying meals at the grocery store, than the time it would take to decide on a restaurant every week, along with driving there.

Our frozen meal night is a wonderful tradition that we have started. There have been a couple of instances where we did go out on a Tuesday because of a special event going on. But, I’d much rather stay home and have something frozen. My time with my family is more important than wasting it getting food from a restaurant. Thanks to Stouffer’s, Digiorno, and Newman’s Own, we can have restaurant quality at home.

Copyright 2012 Tanya Weitzel

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