In an effort to save money and continue to learn useful skills, I’m looking for ways to depend more on myself (for problems small and large) and rely less on buying something pre-made. This is my summer of self-sufficiency.
I have a weakness for Amy’s frozen foods: The product line is vegetarian, they don’t use peanuts in their facility, they use organic ingredients, and it is healthier than many other frozen meal options.
I usually get their tamale verde, cheese enchiladas, spinach pizza, or pasta cheddar bowl. I’ve relied heavily on Amy’s through graduate school and “early adulthood” to get me fed after long days. You know those days—you get home and just don’t want to do anything, including wait more than 5 minutes for dinner.
The trouble is, these meals can cost between $3.50 and $7.00, and that can add up week after week. Without a steady income, I am more conscious of that price escalation. Then there is the issue of packaging disposal (even if the box is recyclable).
I was flipping through my binder of recipes and decided to try an easy enchilada recipe from Real Simple Magazine. I think the recipe was originally part of a series on easy family meals, since it relies on pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. (I ultimately just made cheese enchiladas so my pescetarian boyfriend could partake of the meal.)
The recipe gives two options for the verde sauce. Either make it from scratch with tomatillos, onions, and a few other ingredients. OR buy a pack of green salsa and blend it with heavy cream. I chose the latter option.
Admittedly, this particular enchilada recipe still included packaging waste (I forgot to take a photo):
- green salsa plastic container (recycled)
- heavy cream container (recycled)
- tortilla plastic bag (trash)
- grated cheese plastic bag (trash)…yeah yeah…I should have grated it myself, but the cheese still comes wrapped in plastic
- diced tomatoes can (recycled)
The final costs for cooking three meals’ worth of enchiladas probably came close to the buying 3 of Amy’s enchilada meals, but I learned how to make enchiladas. And that was the whole point of this exercise. I can keep an eye on sales and hopefully drop the cost a little lower. And if I invest in a larger backing dish, I can easily bake more enchiladas at once.