Monday, March 8, 2010

Working Mama Monday

Bulk Cooking

I want my family to eat healthy and nourishing foods. I am trying to cut back on the amount of pre-packaged and processed foods. But...I am a working mama with little time to spend preparing each and every meal from scratch. Enter Bulk Cooking or as other people call it Once A Month Cooking, Freezer Cooking, etc.
The concept is simple, spend one to two days a month cooking meals ahead of time and then freezing them to use throughout the month. Voila, the two 8 hour days spent in the kitchen buys you time throughout the month.

Except... I don't have 1-2 days a month to spend just on cooking. Devoting this amount of time each month to just cooking does not work for me, my family, and our schedule. I have tried modified versions of Bulk Cooking and I do believe it is a great time saver but at this point in my life, I can't pull it off. So, I have have experimented ways to save time in the kitchen and still feed my family healthy foods.

The best variation I found that works for me and my family is what is often referred to as Batch Cooking. Each time you prepare a meal or even a single food item, double, triple the recipe. Freeze the extras for the future. I do this with pancakes all the time. I also have done this with baked goods like cookies, muffins, and breads. If you are making meatballs for dinner, make a ton! Make 2 pans of lasagna, freeze the second pan. Even if you aren't making an extra meal, little steps can save time in the future. If you are chopping onions for one meal, chop a bunch and freeze the extras.

I have found a few extra minutes, here and there, help those days or nights when you are pressed for time.

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