Friday, September 10, 2010

Cooking Ahead

Tomorrow I will be responsible for preparing a meal for 60. I decided on Sue's Stew (a beef/veggie stew), chicken rice soup, and chicken noodle soup. I made 5 gallons of sweet tea and have Saltine crackers to serve with the meal. There are also 5 pans of dessert, 9" x 13" each.

Thursday I cooked a lot of chicken (boneless skinless breasts and skin and bones on thighs). I cut up all the usable meat and froze it in 2-cup portions. I ended up with 20 cups of cooked meat. I think 4 cups per batch of soup will be plenty, if not too much. I saved the broth to reheat tomorrow, add carrots and celery, and then the meat. Divide in half, noodles in one batch, rice in the other. We have a girl in our church who can't eat any wheat products, so I am making rice for her.

Thursday evening I also cooked up 4 pounds of stew meat (after cutting it into playing-dice-sized pieces) to get a jump start on the beef stew. I cooked that overnight in the slow cooker and added potatoes and carrots to cook a couple hours today. Tomorrow I will reheat it, adding green beans and corn.

Cooking larger batches only takes a few more minutes of preparation and you get so much more out of it.

We had 3 bananas that were nearly bad (perfect for banana bread). Instead of just making a batch of banana bread, I also made a batch of pumpkin bread and 12 muffin tops since it would only take about 10 more minutes. What is left by morning will go into the freezer. I have updated my freezer inventory, so I know exactly what is in there.

Doing all this big batch cooking has renewed my desire to have good and fast meals on hand. I don't use my freezer as much as I should. I want to start doing that again. Many times when all my children were very young, I would cook 18-20 meals at one time and put them in the freezer. That's how I kept my sanity at meal times.

Do you cook ahead? What do you make that freezes well? I have found http://www.lifeasmom.com/ to be a handy resource and inspiration for cooking ahead.

As I was doing all this cooking ahead, it made me wish I had this much ambition every day. I think my lack of ambition is really a combination of poor planning and lack of an attitude of service. I used to love to cook...now it is a chore. I need to find my love of cooking again!!

~Joan

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's lovely to know that we have "sustained" our family - but the effort is lost so quickly!! Not like quilting, which lasts for ages!!
Hugs.
ajb

Lurline said...

All this beautiful food, Joan - I think you are doing very nicely!
Hugs - Lurline♥

Country Log Cabin Quilter said...

That's how I feel about cooking too. Even with just the 2 of us, I could cook ahead. That would be so nice when I get involved in quilting. DH is OK with just TV dinners, but I feel guilty if I don't give him a good supper.

Mary Lou Casada said...

I think cooking skipped a generation at my house. My mom was a great "grub" cook -- meat, potatoes, home canned and frozen veggies of all kinds, made-from-scratch cakes and pies, and chicken'n'dumplin's to die for... I miss it! :-)
But quilting skipped her generation; I got that gene from my granny. So I guess it evens out! LOL
You can send frozen dinners to my house; they will be eaten up by me and my teenage (you can't make enough to feed them) boys!
Blessings!
Mary Lou

Teresa said...

Well if you find it...send some my way!

I don't cook ahead for anything, although I think it is a wonderful idea. Since it is now usually just hubby and me, we eat out a lot...more than we should, but healthwise and money wise.