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Article updated: 4/10/2013 2:58 PM

Frugal living: On-the-go snacks

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By Sara Noel

Q. I'm always on the go after school with my kids. It's cheerleading, ballgames, gymnastics, etc. Sometimes we're not home until 9 p.m. While I know it's best to sit down and eat together every night, it's not always possible. Do you have any suggestions for some travel-friendly meals and snacks I can make, besides sandwiches?

T.L., Kentucky

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A. We're an active family, too. I pack extra snacks (fruit, popcorn, bagels, etc.) in my kids' school lunches for them to eat after school and before heading out the door to their activities.

In your situation, I'd pack a cooler, snack box/bin and/or a thermos. This will take some extra preparation, but it opens up a wide variety of foods for your family to eat. Most any meal/snack is portable and can be kept hot or cold.

I would pack foods that are similar to what you'd pack for lunches, picnics or potlucks. Some examples of foods that can be kept hot in a thermos include pasta dishes, meatballs, chicken nuggets, Sloppy Joe meat, barbecue shredded beef, pork or chicken, soups, stews, meat/poultry and potatoes or rice. Salads, cheeses, yogurt, cottage cheese, hardboiled eggs, deli meats, etc. can be kept cold in a cooler.

As for snacks that don't need to be kept hot or cold, tuna packs, rice cakes, cereal, trail mix, pretzels, raw or dried fruits and veggies, applesauce, nuts and graham crackers are a few.

For more ideas that include healthy options, please see my lunch list ideas at frugalvillage.com/forums/food-kids/134225-mix-match-lunchbox-ideas.html.

I'd also talk to other parents with kids in these activities. I'm sure they will have an idea or two. Maybe you can work out a plan where you group together and provide meals and snacks on specific assigned days/weeks to make things easier for all of you.

Q. Are there any other uses for those packets of ham glaze that come with a spiral cut ham?

Edie, email

A. You can use the glaze on pork, beef, seafood, chicken or vegetables. Many of the glaze packets contain sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger and cardamom. These ingredients would work well for baked goods such as fruit crisps, quick breads or rolls, too.

Q. My hubby's turkey is still pretty undercooked. I didn't realize this until I started to carve it. It went from the oven to the fridge last night. What can I do with it? Please tell me I can cook it somehow and that I don't have to toss it.

Nada, Canada

A. Do not continue to fully cook it after refrigerating it. Meat and poultry should never be partially cooked and then cooked fully later because of bacteria. You can only continue to fully cook it if you checked it straight from the oven and then immediately continued to cook it. In the future, use a meat thermometer.

Q. The only hamburger I have in my freezer is already browned. Is there any way to make hamburger patties from it?

Amy, Ohio

A. You can't make patties, but you can still get the same taste of a hamburger by using the cooked meat and scooping some onto sub rolls, then adding some toppings and baking it.

Use (or modify) this recipe: sunshineandbones.blogspot.com/2010/09/long-boy-burgers.html.

Since your ground beef is already cooked, it will shorten your cooking time.

• Sara Noel owns frugalvillage.com, a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email sara@frugalvillage.com.

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