Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Cooking Day

I love having meals and different meal components cooked and ready in the freezer for quick meals. That doesn't happen automatically, though. I often cook and bake double or triple what I need so that I have extras all ready to go.

I wrote about nap time freezer cooking in December. This is where I prepare some foods for the freezer while my childcare kids nap. While I haven't gotten around to doing it again since that first time, I still want to make this a habit. But with ever-changing nap schedules and just not planning ahead, it hasn't happened yet this year. It will, though!

This past Saturday, I declared a cooking day and cooked up a bunch of stuff for the freezer. Most foods were not completed entrees but different foods being prepared so that it will be easy to throw a meal together.

Here was my list for the morning:
1)cook ground beef
2)cook brown rice
3)spinach quiche
4)mash leftover sweet potatoes
5)cook three kinds of beans-kidney, chickpeas and white/navy beans
6)chop ham off ham bone from earlier in the week
7)make sweet potato waffles
8)boil eggs
9)make split pea soup in crock pot with ham bone

I started the night before by soaking the beans. That way, they were ready to cook first thing! While the beans cooked, I worked on the other prep, ending with baking the rice and quiches at the same time.

It took me about 3 hours from start to finish, plus extra cooling and packaging time. I decided against making the waffles since I already had the crock pot using the only outlet in the kitchen and I still have several breakfast baked goods still in the freezer. I put the waffles on this week's menu-the sweet potatoes are already mashed and ready to go!

Here's the fruits of my labor:

--2 crustless spinach and ham quiches(completely baked; just need to be thawed and heated)
--4 (3/4 lb.) bags of cooked ground beef
--2 (1 cup) bags mashed sweet potatoes
--2 (2 cup) bags chickpeas
--5 (1 cup) bags navy beans
--5 (1 cup)bags kidney beans
--4 (2 cup) bags brown rice
--1 dozen hard-boiled eggs(8 for deviled eggs for Sunday's party and the rest for creamed eggs this week.)
--1 pot split pea soup with ham(We ate this for dinner plus there's enough for at least 2 lunches this week.)
--1 1/2 cups chopped ham (1/2 cup for each quiche and 1/2 cup to cook with black-eyed peas this week.)

I love having all this food prepared and at my disposal for the next few weeks. Spending a day or even a half day cooking can make meal prep so much easier!

For more kitchen tips, please visit Tammy's Recipes each Tuesday!


Arlene said...

That is a nice stash you've got built up there! I'm sure you'll especially appreciate it on a busy day!

Sherry said...

I definitely need to do this. It would be a huge help!!

Anonymous said...

You did a great job, Mary Ann. That will be so nice to have on hand.