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Kids going back to school generally makes for a busier schedule. For many children the day is only part way over when school lets out. Afternoons and evenings are filled with sports, organizational groups, religious classes and other activities. And let’s not forget homework! The kids aren’t the only ones that have a full day once they’re back to school. Parents days get busier as well. School being in session means more errands, more driving, more cooking, among other things. And if the parent works that really makes the day jam packed. Organization and time-saving tips can make all the difference, and I’d like to share a couple of things that work well in our house.
- Does your child have a favorite snack that they ask for often? Ziploc bags are a great way to prepare snacks ahead of time. You’ll appreciate this on any night, whether you’re running ten places in the car or helping someone else with their homework. It works well with pantry items like pretzels, crackers, nuts, raisins, cookies, etc. It also works well with certain refrigerated items like grapes and hard boiled eggs. If you cut your own veggies and cheese for snacks you’ll really appreciate only having to do it once and then separating it into smaller batches to put into the individual bags.
Ziploc® brand bags now feature Easy Open Tabs – pink for storage, green for sandwich and snack, and blue for freezer. The tabs are very easy to grab and open, even when your hands are damp. If you’ve ever used any of the “foo-foo” plastic bags you may have experienced some issues. For me, I could never get the blasted things open. And, it wasn’t unusual for bags to rip while I was trying to get them open!
- Tired of product turning brown and going bad? Certain types of produce can easily be stored in Ziploc! You can learn more about that by reading Ziploc’s Kitchen Hacks page.
- Tired of going to the grocery store every week? Buying meat in bulk usually costs less per pound. Once home, divide the meat into smaller packages that fit your average sizing needs. I freeze most meats in one pound packages.
- Precook some of the things you use most often. By precook I don’t mean make a meal, I mean just precook a specific ingredient, such as beef. Around here we use a lot of ground beef. Chili season is coming guys, so brown that beef and store it in a Ziploc in the freezer until you need it. It’s a huge time saver to be able to dump everything into a pot, cover it and let it get happy. Yay for less prep work!
- And speaking of prep, did you know that you can marinate meat right in the same bag that you froze it in? Let the meat defrost. Drain any juices and rinse out the inside of the bag. Then, reuse the bag to marinate that night’s dinner. For tips and times, check out the Marinating with Ziploc page.
- Does your family have their favorite meals that they ask for regularly? Freezer cook them! Spend an afternoon in the kitchen. Make a big batch of each favorite, then once the batch is finished separate it into smaller batches stores inside of Ziploc containers and bags.
Here’s one of my family’s favorite recipes that I do this with. Hubby says it is sort of “hamburger helperish” but better.
Homemade Cheesy Beef And Noodles Skillet #Recipe
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb mini-farfalle
- 28 oz can crushed tomato (seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano)
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes (seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano)
- 2 cups beef bouillion (It’s 2 cups of water and 2 boullion cubes. I use giant soft cubes that are probably intended for 12 oz of water.)
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet.
When the beef is cooked, add the noodles, then the tomatoes, then the beef boullion.
Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add 4 oz of the mozzarella cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
Add 4 oz of the mozzarella to top of the pasta when serving.
In approximately 30 minutes you have a tasty, homemade meal with very little effort. If your family hasn’t devoured it all and you find yourself having leftovers, this dish stores beautifully in a Ziploc container. Hubby had the leftovers the next day for dinner and all he had to do was heat it for a couple of minutes.
Here are a few other tips that work for us.
- If your child has the occasional accident, stash an extra pair of underwear and short/pants into a Ziploc. Label it with their name and send it in to school. There will be extra bottoms if the need arises. The backup items will be safely stowed at school in the Ziploc, which can also be reused if an accident does occur and clothes need to come home to be cleaned.
- Do your children do indoor activities on rainy days, or for a group activity? Ziploc has you covered. If you’re into crafting and have a use for broken crayons, place those into a separate Ziploc bag until you have enough for your project. Have a lot of beads or other similar items? The Ziploc containers will keep them all in once place. This beats small pieces winding up on the floor for everyone to step on. And it keeps the dog from eating them too, which is always a good thing.
- Crayon and pencil boxes break. Gather up loose school supplies and keep them in a large Ziploc bag, making it easy for you to find what you need when you need it.
- Those flimsy boxes that paper clips and staples come in. The new Ziploc containers are perfect for holding loose office supplies. Push down with one finger and the container is closed. The containers easily stack or nest, so you can keep things in an order that works for you and them stow the container away when you don’t need it.
What are some different ways that you use Ziploc bags in your home?