If I were to write a cookbook or blog about how to survive cooking for a large family, I would title the book just like this post- Batch Cooking for Dummies. The concept of multi-tasking meals is something I have perfected over here.
The key to my sanity is serving healthy meals at home because let's face it, going out is a pain in the tuchas, and it is bionic expensive with this many people. Cooking every night is time consuming and expensive unless you have a game plan. With a little creative planning, shopping sales, buying in bulk and filling the freezer with meals makes my batch cooking plan successful.
The first thing needed is a freezer with space for about 20 meals stored in foil catering pans or flat gallon sized ziploc-sicles. With room to stack the dinners, a sharpie marker and a few hours to prep and cook, you can save yourself a ton of time during the busy week. The goal in batch cooking is to make the most meals from the same ingredients at once.
In one afternoon I will make all ground meat
themed dishes using key elements like marinara, and various pastas, chili, soups and tortillas for enchiladas and leftover filling for nachos and tacos. The browned and drained ground beef is essential to other casseroles too, so I can cook up a few pans of meat and assemble several various entrees.
I have learned to brown, drain and freeze ground beef or turkey in batches. This is a huge time saver because defrosting, and then cooking the meat is the most time consuming part of most meals. When you have already done that step, prepping tacos, or adding the meat to spaghetti sauce takes two seconds.
You can whip up a healthy meal very quickly if the meat is pre-cooked and does not require thaw time. Not to mention that it is much less expensive to buy the family packs or stock up when the ground meats are on sale.
Here is a sample of my afternoon of batch cooking using ground beef.
I made three pans of gf lasagna. There were two trays of corn tortilla enchiladas and three ziplocs of taco fixings along with a huge batch of chili, spaghetti and meat sauce, and steak soup. All of these are go to dinners when I am pressed for time.
On another day I will use boneless, skinless chicken to prepare 5 different meals from the same basic list. Much like the ground beef I have perfected the art of mass grilling, baking and storing. I can do a killer salad with grilled chicken in a jiffy when the chicken is already grilled and cut into strips. Likewise, pastas and stir fry takes no time too.
On a chicken cooking day I will make: Chicken Pot pies, Chicken corn chowder, chicken broccoli cheddar rice casserole, Chicken Parm, homemade gf chicken filets, Salsa chicken enchiladas, and a few chicken strip ziplocs for stews, soups and salads. Can see how easy this really is?
I would lose my mind if I had to start over every day with basic ingredients and no plan. I can rotate through the freezer for a plethora of tasty dinners on the fly.
Batch cooking for dummies, it is a no brainer.
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- The Remarks and Speeches
- The Witching Hour
- Batch Cooking for Dummies
- My Coastal Contacts FREEBIE- it is a winner!
- The Thanksgiving Program
- Gluten Free Toffee Nut Bar Cookies
- Florida's Festival Flea Market Finds
- Pat Down and Catch Up
- Free Glasses and BOGO holiday coffee at Starbucks
- Going to Great Lengths
- Disgusting Observations
- The Toys we won't be buying this year
- My Sneak Peek
- This is how I roll
- Fancy Sugar Cookies with Oven Envy
- Kaleidoscope with the Cousins
- I'm Back, the Readers Digest Edition
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