Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 31 - Save with 'Bulk' Cooking

Until recently, I would buy 20 pounds of ground meat, 3 to 5 chickens, a couple of Boston Butts and a couple of large beef roasts to cook in a single day.  Volume cooking saves money as well as time.
Now that we are older and alone and eat less, as well as less often, I cook in smaller volumes but the method is the same.  "Feed the Freezer to Feed the Family".  Actually, the time involved would be very much the same regardless of the volume.
The idea is to cook to fill the freezer with meal-sized or individual, portion-sized packages.  By using the stove top, the oven and the slow cooker at the same time, a great deal can be prepared in a single morning or afternoon.
Generally I will use the oven for roasts and meatloaf, the stove top for chicken and the slow cookers for stews and pulled bar-b-q.
Today, I was less aggressive but here's what I accomplished with no more than an hour in the kitchen.
My favorite Roast Beef method is so very simple.  On a double layer of Heavy Duty Reynolds Wrap, place a couple of thick onion slices, half a package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix and the roast.  
Top the meat with a couple more onion slices and the remainder of the soup mix.  Tightly wrap and seal the foil, place in a pan and in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 and roast 2 to 3 hours more.  The flavor is wonderful and the au jus is rich and flavorful.
At the same time, I used the stove top to make a small portion of herbed, bread stuffing.  Stove Top brand is just fine but I usually buy an organic mix.
Mound the stuffing on top of one pork chop after another, stacking them as you go.  Tie the stack of chops in a tight bundle, tightly seal in foil and place in a pan.  This can go in the oven at the same time as the roast beef.  
Check this LINK for your cooking time but open the foil 30 minutes before it's finished to let the top brown.
Once the oven was filled, put a package of chicken thighs and one of boneless, skinless breasts in a pot with a little onion and celery, salt and pepper and just enough water to almost reach the top of the chicken.  Cover the pot, bring to a boil and reduce heat to barely a simmer for about an hour or until the chicken is fall-apart tender.  A slow cooker also works well for this.  Cool the chicken parts before removing skin and bones and pulling the meat apart with two forks.  I'm going to make bar-b-q with half of mine and just freeze the rest.
Be sure to strain and keep your beautiful, yellow chicken stock for use at some other time or go ahead and make soup or chicken and dumplings or whatever strikes you.

In addition to these things, today I made a huge supply of spaghetti sauce.   This evening I will package everything in individual portion sizes but right now, we're ready for a dinner of stuffed pork roast with apricot glaze, herb roasted potatoes and a salad of field greens.  Gotta go! 

No comments: