Monday, December 20, 2010

Cooking Ahead Part 2: Cooking day for beginners

Recently I introduced my sister-in-law to cooking ahead. Since the plan and menu we devised were some what simpler than the version I normally do I thought I'd post it to help others get started. Important notes:

1. the list below made almost 2 months worth of meals (dinners) for 1 single person
2. the list below is wheat-free
3. the eccentricity in the ingredients reflects the goal of using up extra ingredients already available.
4. the below list took approximately 4.5 hrs start to finish with a break

1. Meat balls (55 meatballs)
2. Shepherd's pie (4, 2 serving dinners)
3. Meat loaf (4, 2 serving dinners)
4. Chili (10 single serving dinners)
5. Beef Stew (8 single serving dinners)
6. Sole with garlic butter (5 packages)
7. Salmon with herb butter (4 packages)

8 lbs beef (could be done easily with 6lbs + 2 lbs stewing beef-we had extra ground beef)
5 onions chopped
2 eggs
spices (basil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, parsley, chili powder)
8 potatoes (medium-large)
bag frozen mixed veggies
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans mixed beans
1 bag carrots
1 pack frozen sole (5 fillets)
1 pack frozen salmon (4 fillets)
liquid beef bouillon

tin foil
8 personal sized aluminum pans & lids
medium freezer ziplock bags
several cookie sheets/baking trays
2 large pots
1 large mixing bowl
chopping board
sharp knife
stirring spoons and spatula
permanent marker

Task list:
1. chop onions finely
2. roughly chop potatoes into 1in chunks and boil
3. brown 2 lbs ground beef, set aside to cool
4. place ingredients for stew into a large pot and set to simmer on a back burner (stir occassionally)
5. place chili ingredients into a large pot and set to simmer on a back burner (stir occassionally)
6. mash potatoes (add butter and milk as needed)
7. assemble Shepherd's pies in personal foil pans, write cooking instructions on lids with permanent marker, freeze
8. combine ingredients for meatloaf into mixing bowl
9. assemble meatloaf in personal foil pans, label with cooking instructions, freeze
10. using the same bowl, combine ingredients for meatballs
11. form and bake meat balls (350F for 30 min)
12. remove Stew and Chili from heat to cool
13. slice butter into approximately 1in squares
14. assemble sole & salmon packages ( place frozen fillet on foil, place butter on fish, sprinkle for herbs, seal)
15. write instructions on fish packages and return to freezer.
16. portion stew and chili into ziplock bags, label and place in fridge to cool fully
17. place meatballs into ziplock bags, remove air and lay flat in freezer so that ball freezer separately
18. place cooled stew and chili into freezer (making sure to lay bags flat on cookie sheets to ensure they freeze flat)
19. wash dishes and clean kitchen

*recipes aren't listed because we simply modified standard versions to suit individual tastes. You can find the recipes here.

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