Batch Cooking Plan – Getting Ahead

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 16, 2010

Now that I’ve caught up…it’s time to get ahead! Not sure exactly when each of these things will get done, but if I have them all done by the end of the week…I’ll be in great shape for the rest of the month!!!

Here’s the Batch Cooking Plan for this week:

What about you?!  Are you doing any freezer cooking or batch cooking to get ahead!?

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Jayde August 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Would love to batch cook, just not sure how much to make for a family of 6 with 2 teens and a hungry hubby. I usually double a recipe for our regular use do should I triple or quad it?

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Catherine Prewett August 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Just made 36 Muffins last night.

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Debbi Does Dinner Healthy August 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I do the chicken or turkey in the crockpot thing a lot. I double a LOT of things and save them in the freezer! I just did a huge ground turkey-a-thon and made like 4 meatloaves, 2 sets of burgers, meatballs, taco meat enough for 2 casseroles and tacos and then bagged the rest into 1 lbs. freezer bags for chili, wraps and stuff. It’s so much easier to cook that way! Thanks for your tips!

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Allison August 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Sounds like a good plan. I am working on getting ahead too. I did my grocery shopping Saturday so I could go without the kiddo and seperated bulk bought items then too. On Wednesday I’m going to slow cooker a full chicken for later meals, too.

I am looking for a good homemade sandwich bread recipe. I’ve been trying with my bread machine for awhile and it’s SO hit or miss. If that’s what you’re refering to with bread making I’d be very interested in your recipe if you’re willing to share.

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Anne August 16, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I love the idea of batch cooking. Maybe that is what I should start doing because by the time I get home from work I am too tired to cook.

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Amy August 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Those muffins look wicked yummy! What kind are they? I love to make muffins and freeze most of them to pull out as snacks.

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Reesa August 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

First off – I love that I now have a name for how I cook. I’ve been batch cooking for awhile now just did not know what to call it.

I’ve soaked, cooked, and frozen black, lima, kidney, and pinto beans as well as black eyed peas. I loved eating those straight from the pressure cooker for dinner before freezing them. I also sliced and diced the peppers and onions I got last week with the Target $1 produce coupon. They are in the freezer minus what I used for that first meal – omelets. Next up, rice and red beans. I will then let the pressure cooker rest for awhile!

We are eating your Spaghetti and Oven Meatballs for dinner complete with your recipe for Spaghetti sauce!

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Chelle August 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I have a question.. when you bake muffins ahead do you freeze them??? Basically I bought a ton of muffin mix an would love to bake a bunch and freeze but I’m not sure how freezing muffins works… any help?

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Stephanie August 16, 2010 at 4:16 pm

@Chelle,
I just did this last week…Once the muffins are baked and cooled to room temp, I put them on a baking sheet in the freezer overnight. The next day, I put them in 2 1/2 gal freezer bags so they are ready to go when we want them. They defrost really quick too. This morning I pulled them out when we woke up, and by the time we were done with coffee and showers, they were completely defrosted.

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Chelle August 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm

@Stephanie, Awesome thanks… I’ll try it out today =)

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Tonya August 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I bought a bunch of yellow squash, zucchini, and okra since it is really cheap right now. I blanched them, then separated them out in individual meal portions so that I can have them all winter long.

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Robin August 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm

I’m making a batch of 30 burritos for the freezer!

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karen August 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm

I love baking but I usually only end up eating one or two of the items. Then I dump them on my husband to eat @ work, so THEY get fat. MWAHAHAHAH!!!! :)

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 17, 2010 at 7:14 am

@karen,

ROFL!

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Stephanie August 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I made a huge vat of tomato sauce last week, along with muffins & cupcakes. Then yesterday, I made vegetable soup with all of the items from the CSA. I’d love to learn how to batch cook brown rice & potatoes but I’m not sure how they would come out. Any suggestions?

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Kristy @momhatescooking August 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm

One great bonus, is that we have a local dock sale from a meat manufacturer. They sell precooked hamburger crumbles…basically ground beef already cooked. Makes it really easy for dinner b/c I seperate it into 1 lb bags and then just pull out a pound of it and warm it in the skillet before cooking.

I’m just getting the hang of batch cooking, will probably be cooking some waffles and pancakes to freeze.

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schroeder August 16, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Can rice be frozen ?????

I just did two whole bags of chicken breasts. I forze them whole, chopped up and sliced (its only me so it goes a long way). I also want to do batches of turkey meat. I also plan on doing batchs of beans as well.

S

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Susan Stevenson August 16, 2010 at 9:09 pm

If you can freeze stuffed peppers with rice I think you can freeze it. I bought frozen basmati rice once and it was really good.

Susan

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Ella @ Frugal Ella August 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I do my big cooking on Monday mornings, I also start the laundry at the same time…It’s filling my freezer and I’ve never been so on top of the wash.

Today I made 3 batches of cookies (froze most of the dough in logs per Pioneer Woman), 2 batches of muffins that use crumbs from the bottom of the cereal box, and enough chili to keep us warm all winter (yes in Colorado we’re already preparing for cold spells :))

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Tonya August 16, 2010 at 8:11 pm

@Ella @ Frugal Ella, Can I have a recipe for a muffin that uses the crumbs at the bottom of the cereal box? Have a lot of those!

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Ella @ Frugal Ella August 17, 2010 at 6:26 am

@Tonya,
Tonya, absolutely! I’m happy to share. I just posted it on my blog. Cheers :)

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Tonya August 17, 2010 at 7:20 am
Jenny August 16, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I made about 40 meatballs, 2 meatloaves, 20 burgers, shredded 2 whole chickens yesterday!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 17, 2010 at 7:15 am

@Jenny,

Are you sure you weren’t in my kitchen?! I did the EXACT same thing yesterday!!!

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LisaE August 16, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Geesh, after reading how much others have batched cooked and froze, I feel sooooo far behind!! Only thing I have done so far in preparation for my girls returning to school is making “uncrustables” and have a bunch in the freezer for their lunches. I also have 4 bags of shucked corn on the cob.

I need to get going on making and freezing pancakes, muffins, granola bars…..and need to make a few freezer meals for easy dinners. I really need to get going….

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Vickie August 16, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I cook white rice and brown in my microwave every week and freeze it. I let it cool and divide it in meal sizes and freeze in qt size freezer bags. I can thaw the whole package or just break it and use what I want. We eat a lot of red beans and pinto beans which I also freeze. It’s very handy.

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Missy_in_WV August 17, 2010 at 9:10 am

When I was married and had two stepsons in addition to my own son, I batch cooked all the time. Some of my favorites: “boil” ground beef and onions – put 5# ground beef in stock pot with a couple diced onions, cover with water and bring to a boil, lower heat and stir frequently to break up meat. Drain well and cool, then freeze in plastic bags in 2 cup portions (approx 1 lb).. Also made mashed potatoes, potato skins, hash brown casseroles. Made chicken stock and froze in muffin pans, then pop them out and freeze in a gallon bag, great to use for soups and no more expensive sodium packed stock from a can!

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Becca August 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

@Missy_in_WV, I love the freeze in the muffin tin idea!!! I am just getting ready to start some batch cooking for the first time, so any extra tips are great!! This will be the first time in 12 years I have not had a child at home during the school year!! I figured it was a good use of time to start batch cooking!!! any ideas on other blogs are great as well!
neverenoughtime@cableone.net

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Missy_in_WV August 17, 2010 at 9:17 pm

@Becca,
Becca,
These are the groups I used (blogs weren’t popular years ago when I did the batch cooking haha)

All of these have TONS of recipes saved in the files section.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Friendly-Freezer/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/30DayGourmetFreezerCooking/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cheapcooking/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theonceamonthcookingclub/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FoodPreservationDryingCanningAndMore/

Good luck!

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Beverly_in_Dayton August 17, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I’ve frozen muffins but when thawed they are so dry. I’ve tried undercooking, different ingredients but so far nothing has helped. Any suggestions?

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Jen August 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I have the same problem Beverly_in_Dayton. I don’t “batch bake” much because everything tastes dry after it’s thawed. Any suggestions would be fantastic!

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newlywed August 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I’ve got a batch of bolognese sauce, a batch of caramelized onions (amazingly useful), a batch of apple-zucchini muffins, and a batch of brownies! And extra pizza dough in the freezer…just in case.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm

@newlywed,

OK…Now I’m craving pizza with caramelized onions! Thanks! ;)

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Jean August 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I have been batch cooking since I had my first child. Soups, beans, pancakes, waffles are always in the freezer at our house. Thank you ladies for many great ideas. Eating healthy meals is so important, but life doesn’t always give us the time. Batch cooking allows me to cook when I have the time, for when I don’t.

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Donna August 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I just made a double batch of large choc chip muffins. I am planning on pulling one out in the morning and putting it in their snack bag. They defrost pretty quickly. Thanks for your ideas.

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stephanie September 22, 2010 at 11:04 am

Jen/ Beverly_in_Dayton: I have better luck with moister type muffins like apple streusl or banana muffins. They start out so moist that coming out a little dryer isn’t going to affect the overall taste much.

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