Bulk cooking is a great way to save time in the kitchen. For those of you who are new to this concept, it pretty much means exactly that. You cook multiple meals at the same time to store in the freezer. The benefits of bulk cooking are -
* It saves time in the kitchen at meal times.
* Saves on electricity / gas.
* Emergency meals on hand in the freezer
* Helps avoid the takeaway temptation.
* Meal preparation is simplified
* Older children can get tea ready for you if you are sick or faced with an emergency.
* Great for taking on holidays
* Unexpected visitors can be fed.
* Peace of mind
* Great for portion controlling the meat.
* Being prepared for sickness in the house
* Being ready for financial hardship.
The benefits I listed above really are wonderful. Most importantly, bulk cooking is about getting your house in order. I cannot stress enough how important this is for you, your family and your friends. Here's a question for you to think about. If an emergency came to your home, would your family and friends have to feed you ? Yes it's wonderful to have a meal offered to you, but would you be relying on others to get you through a crisis or emergency ?
I've lost track of the amount of times I've been asked to provide meals for others. I try to help when I can but often these requests come at a time when I'm away on holidays, having a very busy week or I'm sick. Also, to be honest my budget doesn't stretch to feed other families. Then I feel a little guilty that I can't help. Then I worry that the person or family doesn't have food to eat.
We've had a few emergencies visit our family over the years. Five years ago I was hospitalised for a kidney stone. Thankfully my sister in law and her mother were able to take care of our girls at short notice. Darren took food out of the freezer to bring into the hospital for him to eat while he sat at my bedside. After I'd been home for a few days, we remembered we had a visitor coming for lunch. This had been organised a week earlier. Thankfully I had lots of soup and chocolate brownies in the freezer to serve. The visitor didn't know I'd been in hospital a few days earlier. She guessed something was up when I had to sit down while Darren and the girls organised lunch.
Both Darren and my Mum have been hospitalised right on Christmas a few years running. During those times, I had to drop what I was doing to be with them. Thankfully I had a menu plan and plenty of meals in the freezer to defrost and eat. It was one less thing to worry about.
Most of the meals I bulk cook are made with beef mince or chicken. I buy a couple of two kilo trays of mince at a time. I try to plan this when I have a couple of days off from work. I then weigh out the amount of raw meat I need for the multiple meals I plan to cook. The other option is to cook a double amount of food when you are preparing dinner each night.
For spag bol I use 300g for the four of us. If I want to make four meals for us then I weigh out 300g x four meals = 1200g. I cook the mince in a large electric fry pan and add four tins of tomatoes, four serves of tomato paste and four times the amount of seasonings. Once cooled it is spooned into four containers and frozen.
I use 400g of mince to make pie meat. This is eventually made into a family sized pie that serves the four of us. If I want to make pie meat for four pies I weigh out 400g x four meals = 1600g. It is cooked, seasoned, thickened with gravy powder and corn flour. When cooled it is divided into four containers and frozen. When frozen I empty it out of the container and double wrap it, label and date it and pop it back in the freezer. When I want to make a pie, it's defrosted in the fridge overnight then spooned onto a pastry lined pie plate and topped with cubed potato. A pastry lid is placed on top then cooked in the oven.
I use 400g of mince to make a meatloaf. To make four meatloaves I weigh out 400g x four meals = 1600g. I need 3 tablespoons of uncooked rice x four meatloaves = 12 tablespoons. This is cooked and added to the raw mince with salt, pepper, onion, parsley, four eggs and large squirts of tomato sauce. Mix well and divide into four meatloaf / baking tins and cook at the same time in the oven. When cooled double wrap and place in the freezer.
I hope these recipe ideas give you inspiration to give bulk cooking a go. It only takes a few hours to have 15 - 20 family sized meals ready for the freezer. It's a small sacrifice to make for your family's peace of mind in a crisis.
|Chocolate brownies from the freezer|
|Single serves for the freezer|
|Hamburger patties in bulk|
|Trays of zucchini slice ready to portion and freeze|
|Soup for the soul and freezer.|
Do you bulk cook for your family ? How has bulk cooking helped you in a crisis ?