Growing up Momma always had a lot of tricks up her sleeve, especially when it came to easy dinners that could really stretch a dollar. One of her favorite things to do was to prepare our favorite family meals in bulk, then freeze additional portions for the upcoming month. She'd do this with fried rice, lasagana, stroganoff, and more; turning hot sales from the weekly ads into extended savings for our household. With the beginning of a new school year, and our family's decision to join 3 Winter bowling leagues, I've been looking for some time, and money saving, inspiration as well. One of the things you'll find sprinkled throughout my Pinterest boards as of late are creative ideas for meals in a jar. No, I'm not referring to Chef Boyardee or anchovies, I'm talking about hand layered ingredients that instantly transform into delicious meals with the simple addition of a few added ingredients.
Smart and Final year round for cooking staples like flour, salt, cornmeal, pancake/waffle batter, and more. However, we also frequent the chain for it's extensive range of food service buys, such as ramekins, paper cups, plastic Souffle Cups with Lids, canning supplies and more. On my recent trip I even found I could include a 4oz ladle with each of my yearly flu season soup bundles for just over $2 a piece! Inspired, I set out to share just how simple a home-style meal in jars truly can be. A lot of people think this means 'canning,' and, in a sense it does, but you can often avoid the preserving process by handling dry ingredients in sterile environments, and making 'freezer friendly' pre-cooked dishes, like my Mini Apple Pies in a Jar.
While you can find a variety of creative ideas for quick recipes in a jar, I've compiled the 3 featured above for easy reference. Chicken Noodle Soup, Country Corn Bread, and Mini Apple Pie in a jar recipes are perfect for the upcoming cool months and busy school nights. Creating affordable and flavorful meals in a jar doesn't have to be complicated; I've seen beautiful layered salads, and even instant oatmeal with dried fruit (just add water), you'd be surprised what can be pulled of with little ease. Just remember, the beauty in preparing these meals ahead of time is the money you can save when canning in bulk; buy quality brands like First Street and save money without compromising quality. See more of my great Smart and Final First Street finds in our Google + album.
Do you have a favorite Fall meal with a time/money saving twist?
What Daughter Says: Try a new method of advance meal preparation with meals in a jar to save money and time.