Cooking in bulk

Sunday was my first attempt at something I’ve been wanting to try for quite some time.

I enjoy cooking, but a toddler with an 8pm bedtime, a work schedule that doesn’t allow me to walk in the door earlier than 6pm and a husband’s schedule that usually has him in bed by 7pm, my time to prepare a meal other than grilled cheese is limited, especially when the little Monkey is hungry the minute I walk in the door.

A couple weeks ago I ordered this cookbook. Sunday I sucessfully froze 18 burritos and three servings of chicken broccoli bake. Last night, we ate the chicken broccoli…and I’m glad I liked it because I have two more in the freezer!

The burritos are pretty basic, ground beef with taco seasoning and refried beans (the book tells you how you can make your own refried beans with dry pinto beans for an even cheaper & healthier option). My husband suggested I add some shredded cheese and onion to the next batch and since buying the cookbook, I found a freezer friendly recipe for black bean burritos that I will be trying as well. I’m just not fond of ground beef, never have been.  The bonus of the burrito, no defrosting required. It goes from freezer to oven to plate in 30 minutes. A quick and easy dinner if you haven’t planned ahead…or something comes up.

The burritos in process. All I needed was 6 lbs ground beef, 4 cans refried beans or 1 lbs dried pinto beans cooked, 3 packets taco seasons and 20 tortilla wraps.

The second meal I made was a chicken broccoli bake. Imagine the classic broccoli cheese casserole + chicken. One thing I enjoy about this cookbook is that it encourages cooking from scratch. Instead of buying canned cream of mushroom soup, I made my own with a pound of mushrooms, flour, milk and water. I was not so fond of rinsing, trimming and chopping up six pounds of raw chicken into tiny pieces. Luckily my husband mentioned that he would like it without the chicken and I could leave it out or replace the chicken with some diced  potatoes. So I may tweak this to vegetarian meal in the future (I just don’t like the texture, smell, taste of meat. Never have).

 

Chicken Broccoli Bake- the bread crumbs and shredded cheese are frozen separate from the chicken, broccoli and sauce.

From start to finish with all this prep of two recipes, I spent about 4 hours. Of course I have a toddler, who is happy to help slow me down, so I tried to schedule the tedious tasks of prepping the meat during his nap time. I was also lucky to have Mema swing by to keep Monkey occupied in his room for a while as well. In the future, I will plan to make one meal a week or every other week. The only freezer we have is the one above our fridge so I won’t be making 40 cups of marinara, 100 burritos, and what ever else I want because there just isn’t the room. I also have a small kitchen without a lot of counter space and I had to stop to clean my workspace and wash some of my bowls and measuring cups after I made the burritos so I could prepare the chicken broccoli. I figure after a couple of months of making different items I will have a variety in my freezer and will eventually lead to virtually no cooking during the week!

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