Discussion in 'Mindless Banter' started by Inatic, Mar 31, 2015.
I know. We're working on it.
How do you all feel about cooking in one large batch, freezing and then thawing and eating vs cooking and eating each week?
Everyone weigh in.
Also what are the pros and cons?
Once I learned to cook and freeze single portions, I have done it that way and never looked back! It works well for us, as empty nesters, even for foods that are for the spouse who is not being careful about what they eat (my husband). I still make his chicken spaghetti or whatever and freeze it in single-serving containers and it's great to pull something out for him that only needs to be heated up! Since I am a stay-at-home spouse and he is our wage-earner, I do the meal prep for both of us.
I went to The Container Store early in this process and began investing in their Food Keeper containers. I have built up quite a collection and when the cabinet that holds my empty containers gets full, I know I need to check my freezer and see which choices I am running short on. I don't do a big food prep day each week like a lot of people I know. When I get low on chicken, I put a bag of tenders from Costco in my slow-cooker, pour on a bottle of Frank's wing sauce and let it cook for the day. When it's done, I use tongs to put the tenders in the bowl of my KitchenAid stand mixer and turn it on for 10-15 seconds and it is shredded beautifully! Then I put the lid on that bowl and put it in the fridge to cool overnight and the next day I weigh out the cooled chicken into containers to freeze. For ground beef, I cook 3 pounds at a time and put it away the same way. I either brown it in a skillet with taco seasoning or make slider patties and when done and cool, I weigh out the servings and put them away. For my turkey, I will buy 2-3 pounds of smoked turkey at Rudy's BarBQ (thanks for that idea, Jamie Eason) or put 2 pounds of ground turkey in the slow cooker with a cup of salsa to cook for the day and repeat the weighing and freezing like I do with chicken or beef. Next time, I plan to cook 3 pounds of turkey in the slow cooker because there is plenty of room, so why not? For fish filets, I cook a whole bag from Costco at once in the oven with seasonings like salt, lemon pepper and tarragon and put them in the freezer like everything else. Every couple of days I go to my freezer and pull out some assorted containers of protein choices for the next few days. To use them, I either make a salad and put the protein on top or put it in a pyrex dish with some veggies and heat it in the toaster oven in a few minutes. Sometimes I will put the protein and veggies in a skillet and do a "stir-fry". Easy stuff!
If I use potatoes for my carb, I make those when I want to eat them because I like them fresh. I usually slice them and spread them out in a piece of cast iron and season them with powdered ranch dressing mix and cook them at 425 for ten minutes or so. For sweet potatoes, I slice them and spread them out on a piece of cast iron and season them with either salt and cinnamon or savory spices like taco seasonings and cook them in the oven. If I am going to eat rice as my carb, I cook 3 or 4 cups in the rice cooker at once and when it gets done, weigh out the serving for that meal, then put the rest in containers in the freezer when it is cool. Since I use a lot of plastic containers, I always let the food cool before I put it in so it doesn't leach chemicals out of the plastic. If I am going to heat something up, I put it in something other than plastic first.
I recently typed out a long post in my journal about how I make 4 days of my first meal in pancake form and I will usually freeze the ones that I won't be eating for a few days. I will cut and paste that here:
Let's talk pancakes.
My first meal on certain days calls for :
1 whole egg
4 egg whites
30g old fashioned oats
1/2 serving of fruit
Optional veggies for eggs
When I cook, I like to do so in bulk so I have to cook less often. For this meal I multiply each item by 4 so I can make it for 4 days at a time.
I sub out liquid egg whites so I don't have to separate eggs, and sub out 1 egg white for each day for Trutein cinnabun flavor. After all the ciphering, subbing and adding in seasonings, here is my recipe for 4 days of this meal:
4 whole eggs
311g liquid egg whites
15g cinnabun Trutein
120g old fashioned oats
2 servings of fruit (I like to use unsweetened organic applesauce where the only ingredient is apples)
3 pumps salted caramel sugar-free syrup (I have the large bottle with a pump on it)
2 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
If I have some spring mixed greens or spinach, I add 40g. If I don't have any, I skip this part
All of the above goes into my blender and blended until smooth. Before I start the blender, I turn on the heat under my cast iron double burner griddle and let it heat up. (I do this for less sticking) I am a recent convert to the joys of cooking in cast iron, but I won't bore you with those details here. I have just decided that nonstick coated cookware = ew to me. I hesitated to try cooking some things in cast iron because I was convinced they would stick. Now, with proper heat control, I make these pancakes and even omelettes in cast iron WITHOUT USING ANY COOKING SPRAY!
When the griddle is hot enough that I can flick water drops on it and they skip across the surface, I use a ladle to scoop out the batter onto the hot griddle. When each pancake gets bubbly, I flip it and when it's cooked as much as I like it, I move it over to a paper towel to cool. Then I just repeat this procedure until all the batter is used up. It took trying some different ladles until I found the official one that makes the pancakes the right size.
When all of the pancakes are done, I weigh the batch and divide it into four equal stacks.
Today, I had more carbs to add to my first meal, so on these days I add half a serving of blueberries to a serving of sugar-free pancake syrup to make up the additional carbs. I warm up this mixture and pour it over my pancakes and it seems like plenty of volume to me. I took some pictures, but I haven't figured out how to add them here yet. If someone will help me with that, I will edit this post to show them for illustration purposes. Today I ate 14 small pancakes with blueberry syrup and it filled a regular dinner plate. I took the other three servings, which each perfectly fit in a round ziplock storage container, and put them in the freezer to use later.
To answer your question, I love cooking in large batches for future use! I find that I have less waste that way.
Thanks Fay I sure appreciate you taking the time.
You had me a blueberries and pancake syrup
I may or may not have actually licked my plate clean on this one! It took a while, but I finally have mastered the art of using the pancakes to soak up allllllll of the syrup/blueberry juice.
Today I bought blackberries to use instead of blueberries tomorrow. I hope it's as good!!
I make bulk food but not meals.... Chicken, beef, hard boil eggs, veggies, rice, potatoes, etc. Then weigh out into meals....so no cooking during the week. Just measure and separate. Unless it's pancakes or waffles.... That I will make and pack as meals. I sometimes separate baggies w protein powder, almonds, PWO cereal.... Just as an easy grab....this works for me. I get too stressed and overwhelmed w bulk stuff....I'm afraid to miss calculate... Lol... Damn anxiety!
I tend to cook extras each time i cook. My (spoiled) boys wont eat left overs. Since Im cooking often there is plenty for me to eat through out the day. Sometimes i do bulk cook freeze and reheat and they have no clue but it has to be something with a sauce like taco meat or stew.