Cooking from scratch does take more time, but by doing some of the work ahead of time, you can make a meal or a dessert as quickly and easily as emptying a jar or opening a box from the store. Take advantage of God's bounty when produce is in season by canning peaches or apples, or freezing pie cherries (oh, how I miss our neighbors in Michigan, who always invited us to come pick cherries before the birds got them all!)
Amy Dacyczyn, author of the Tightwad Gazette books, wrote about how she stores and makes pumpkin pies. She inspired me to do something similar: I keep the pumpkins whole until I have time to process them, or until they are starting to soften. At that point I process them into pumpkin puree for the freezer, packaging in recipe-sized amounts. On many occasions I've made pumpkin pie filling, baked one pie and frozen the rest to be baked later. I could also make a batch of pumpkin pie filling, pour into two pie shells (or into plastic-wrapped pie pans) and freeze for later use. Viola, Mrs. Smith has met her match.
This year our young dwarf apple trees produced a respectable number of apples. After making lots of baked apples (my dear husband's favorite dessert), I made a batch of apple pie filling and canned it. We tried it for the first time on Thanksgiving and it was very good. I just opened a quart jar and poured it into a pie shell and baked. It was so easy that while I was in California recently, my daughter made two apple pies (although she used a refrigerated pie crust).
My earlier post on making pie crusts is here.
Previous posts on this subject:
Part Three - Ground Beef
Part Four - Dump Chicken
Part Five - Make Ahead
Part Six - Pizza Crust
Please leave a comment about your favorite convenience foods!