Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Get it done ahead of time!

Hi! I'm Kim, mom to 12 kids with 10 of them currently living at home. I love cooking and baking but having to do it EVERY day for this many people can squelch that love pretty quick. One of the things that saves my sanity when it comes to feeding my crew is batch cooking.

Batch cooking doesn't take much more time to do then a single dish. Besides the ingredients, the only things required are bigger bowls or pans. I hardly ever make cookies without mixing up an industrial sized recipe which is usually equal to a quadruple batch. With this I bake enough for my family to enjoy for a few days. The remaining dough then gets doled out into cookie size dollops compactly placed on a cookie sheet. The filled cookie sheet then heads to the freezer for a quick freeze (about an hour). Once the individual cookie dough balls are firm they are then thrown into a freezer bag and back into the freezer. The hard thing is trying to keep your paws off the balls of frozen dough...YUM!

One of my favorite things to batch cook is ground beef. On those nights when you're trying to think of what to make at 5pm (I know, I should use a weekly menu plan to avoid this) being able to pull a baggie of cooked burger out of the freezer is a lifesaver. Half the meal is already done! It's so easy to do too. After bringing in the groceries I throw my megapack (5lbs or more) of burger into my biggest frying pan to cook. Then start putting groceries away...pausing a few times to give the burger a stir. By the time the groceries are put away my burger is cooked, ready to be drained, baggied up into meal size portions and thrown into the freezer. This means tacos, chili, stroganoff, and meat sauce are only minutes away. Ground beef isn't the only meat I do this with...sausage, chicken and even bacon lends itself to this. Warning...the bacon is apt to disappear quickly for some reason. (those pesky sticky fingers!!!)

This method can be used for specific dishes also. Make an extra big batch of chili, freeze half for another meal or use as an ingredient in another dish like Chili Corn Dog Casserole. My pot of chicken and gravy usually is enough for 2 meals and then becomes chicken noodle soup later in the week. This unfortunately can bring my kids to groan about having the "never ending pot of chicken and gravy" AGAIN! The poor babies.

I'd love to hear your shortcuts and time savers. How many meals can you make from one particular dish?

Kim is a mom to 12 kids ages 24 to 1yo. When she's not in the kitchen she can be found blogging at her personal site Musing Rambling and All Around Blathering or her slightly neglected food site Growlies for the Gang


Mommy Scott said...

very wise ideas :) how do you batch cook your chicken & bacon (I guess I more want to know what you do with it aftewards lol) thanks!

noelle said...

need to do that cookie dough thing. YUM!