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!!