I always look at a project and think, “This shouldn’t take too long.” And I’m usually wrong.
Case in point: last week, I decided to put in a little time over Labor Day weekend doing some bulk cooking. Between homeschooling and finishing my book, I don’t have much time to cook dinner, so having a bunch of meals waiting in the freezer will be a big help.
On Friday I bought the necessary ingredients after choosing five recipes from one of my favorite bulk-cooking cookbooks:
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Chicken a la King
On Friday night, I decided to get a head start by making the Salisbury Meatballs. Make meatballs, make sauce, combine in bags and freeze. No big deal……except that six pounds of ground beef turned out to be 170 meatballs. That takes a while. My dh had to come in and keep the meatball factory going so I wasn’t up cooking until midnight.
On Saturday, we (yes, this had now become our project) started making a new batch of meatballs after lunch. It was another 170 meatballs plus sauce, so we didn’t get the Sweet and Sour meatball recipe in the freezer until just before dinnertime. I decided to take Saturday night off from cooking; my dd threw a couple of frozen pizzas in the oven for dinner.
On Sunday I waited until after lunch to start the Potato Chowder. My former-engineer husband figured out how to fit 10 pounds of potatoes on the oven rack so they could be baked together. He also helped scoop out the baked parts after they cooled. This process took longer than I thought it would, as did the chowder itself.
Monday morning, I baked eight pounds of chicken parts in the oven for two hours; by the time they had cooled, we (yep, poor hubby’s helping again) had picked all the meat off the bones, I’d made the sauce and it had cooled enough to put in the freezer, it was close to dinnertime.
But there was still the Rice Pilaf to make. I had saved the easiest for last, and it certainly was the easiest of all the recipes, mostly because my culinary student daughter diced four stalks of celery and four carrots into tiny perfect cubes. Still, by the time the rice pilaf had cooled off enough to be frozen, it was evening. The three-day weekend was nearly over, and I was good and tired of being in the kitchen.
That said, we now have 24 frozen meals and six side dishes stacked neatly in the freezer. It sure makes me feel good to look at them. But so much for my Labor Day weekend. It went by in a blur of meatballs and plastic zipper bags.