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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Tuesday With Bulk Cooking

I trust that everyone is doing well today. I have to say that I have been slow going today. Hopefully I can make up for it tonight with some major speed cleaning. I must have slowed down a lot as the house seems to be gaining up on me. I need to catch up. I feel much more pleasant that way.

One of the final things to finish up our home addition is to have everything finalized with the bank. We have been approved and have a great rate locked in. I was a little bummed because it looked as if our new rate would be a little higher than our old rate. The good news is that the new rate is the exact same as the old! God is so good! I am hoping that we can close at the lawyer's office very, very soon.....like before the baby comes! We have one month to close before the loan process has to be repeated...including a new rate. So the bank needs to HURRY!

With a new baby on his/her way within the next few weeks I have been brainstorming. Ah-ha, yes this is very scary but I do it a lot and you just don't know it. So bear with me. I am working up a system of bulk cooking. This is in hopes that firstly, this will help save some money on our budget and secondly that it will save me time.

With today's food prices on the rise it's becoming increasingly difficult to stay within the boundaries of our budget. We have always had a very low food budget anyway and so I am going to give up the old ideals of having it so low and am increasing it a bit more. With that said, I STILL am working on keeping it as low as I can.

With having a larger than normal sized family eating out with even fast food is close to nil in our world. That can be a bummer on those days when I really don't want to deal with the kitchen at all. There are many of those "burn out" days as it seems there's always someone hungry or wanting to know what's for supper. I had been brainstorming how to give us a break (I do have a 14 year old who is pretty good at helping out). I kept thinking that surely there has to be a way. Leftovers have been my best friend as of late! Those leftover nights are almost as good as eating out. With not having to cook there's just the cleanup involved. Hey, I am no dummy...I have children who can help here too!

So, I was thinking of how great it'd be to start cooking more on purpose all at once. Then I remembered Once a Month Cooking but really didn't want to go at it exactly that route. While shopping for a whole month at once is very familiar to me, cooking for a whole month in one day is not. But, cooking in double, triple or quadruple batches doesn't sound so intimidating. Why not go ahead and cook up a big pot...or two big pots of spaghetti sauce. Then make two....or four lasagnas at once? We can eat one meal's worth and freeze the rest! We are messing up the kitchen anyway so why not kill two or four birds at once while at it?

While brainstorming all of this I thought of Sam's Club. I enjoy bulk buying and remembered hearing Mrs. Jeub (a lady with 14 children who wrote a new cookbook on the very tip-top of my wishlist to get) state how she buys most everything in huge cans as it's cheaper. Okay, so we don't have that many children but it would fit right in with bulk cooking!

Besides saving time, money and work this will be wonderful for when the new baby comes. I am a little antsy to get started as the baby could come at any time. I know this is crazy to say but I hope baby waits until after this coming week. Why would I say something so obsurd? I am saying that because this coming week, each night I want to cook a quadruple batch of whatever is for supper. We'll eat one meal and have three more duplicates in the freezer. Yes, this does mean that for the following month once a week we will have the same thing-each week. Will we get strung out eating the same thing four times in one month. Maybe. But, not any more strung out than I am with cooking every meal, three times a day!

Shopping day is on Friday and so I am planning what to buy and cook now. But, when I get an idea in my head I get anxious and that's what I am now! So I was going to cook cubed steak tonight. Why not go ahead and cook a double batch tonight since it's in the freezer? Okay, so I am! I think this could be addictive.

So, feel free to stick around as I turn the corner on this journey. I am hoping to reap sweet benefits. Really, I will still be cooking some. After all there's still breakfast and lunch and then there's sides to go with whatever main entree' we eat. So, I am not off the hook completely.

Does anyone have any thoughts or additional ideas? I'd love to hear more input on experiences and tried and true ideas. I do have a general idea of what we do and do not like to freeze. I don't like frozen rice or bell pepper. But are there other things that you absolutely don't like frozen and why?

3 comments:

Cathy said...

Hi Susan,
As always, I LOVE reading your blog. I really like your idea of cooking in bulk....I think it will be a blessing to you. Even though we have a much smaller family, I think I might do something like this..at least try.
Rub that sweet tummy for me and I can't wait until baby boy/girl comes.
I love you my friend and cherish your friendship,
Cathy

Dana C. said...

Susan!!

Here are some of my favorite recipes you can freeze ahead!!

Meatloaf
2lbs of hamburger
1 box of Stove Top Traditional Sage Stuffing Mix
1 onion
2 eggs
1 cup of water
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix this all up really really well then pat into loaves, wrap really well and then thaw and bake at 400* till thermometer reads 170*

Stuffed Shells with meatballs

1 box jumbo shells
1 15 oz container Ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
couple of cloves of garlic minced fine
2 eggs

Bring a large pot of water to boil add jumbo shells and cook for 10 mins, remove from boiling water and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking and so you can handle them
Mix the rest of the ingredients up and use to stuff the shells with, place on a greased cookie sheet and freeze till firm, then put into zip lock bags, keep frozen till ready to use, when ready to use, put some of your favorited spagetti sauce in bottle of a baking dish, arrange as many shells as you need, I also put some frozen meat balls in beside the frozen shells top with more sauce and bake at 375*-400* for about 45 mins to a hour.

Hope some of these recipes can help you!
Dana

Cryssie said...

Susan someone you might wanna ask is Renee from baker's Dozen she does alot of OAMC/Bulk cooking she might have some good tips for you ..thats where I got my idea one day just blog reading along..