Jul 08 2009

A cook-once, eat many times session

My freezer is pathetically empty. Time to start filling it up with meals and meal preps so on busy or lazy days, we still have options for an at-home meal.

I was extra-motivated today and my baby was content enough to let me cook for awhile.

Prep work and clean-up took about one hour. I made Bush’s white chicken chili, Carribean jerk chicken, two meatloaves and cookies. I had intended to have some diced cooked chicken leftover to use in a casserole, but I didn’t have enough chicken. Maybe next time!

I used frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts because I don’t usually like to mess with whole chickens.

Here’s how I tackled it:

  1. Put three (or more) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cubed) in a stockpot. Cook til done.
  2. Meanwhile, take two or three uncooked chicken breasts and cut into strips or cubes. Put in good gallon-size freezer bag.
  3. Prepare Italian dressing seasoning mix to use in jerk chicken marinade. Store unused mix in airtight container.
  4. Add 2T prepared mix plus the rest of the jerk chicken marinade to your freezer bag. Label and freeze flat for easy storage. This is a great recipe to double, as it takes maybe one extra minute total to measure the ingredients for two or more bags.
  5. Check the chicken on the stove. If you have enough chicken, remove a few cups worth to use in a casserole at a later time.
  6. Continue with the chicken chili recipe.
  7. When you get to the “simmer” stage, clean your work station.
  8. Prepare your favorite meatloaf recipe, but double it. Here’s a good one, though today I used a simpler one consisting of an egg, 1/2 c ketchup, 1/3c breadcrumbs, one packet of onion soup mix, and 1.5 pounds ground beef in each loaf.
  9. Line two loaf pans with aluminum foil. Press half of your meat loaf mix into each pan. Cover and freeze until solid.
  10. Once frozen, remove from pans, wrap tightly and freeze. I like to leave them in the foil and place them in a gallon-sized freezer bag, which I can reuse later. This method saves freezer space, and your loaf will fit perfectly in your pan when you cook it later.

We ate the chili for dinner tonight, and there will be leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. The jerk chicken is excellent with steamed rice, and the meatloaf will be good with any vegetable.

I then made a batch of chocolate chip cookies, using the scrumptious Nestle Tollhouse recipe. I always do the pan variation because it’s much faster than preparing individual cookies, and it uses fewer pans. It makes a bar cookie that’s cake-like and oh-so-good! The recipe calls for a jellyroll pan, but I just use a 9×13 since that’s what I have.

I find that cooking in batches like this saves lots of time over the long run. Cook once, clean once, eat several times.

Do you cook several meals at once? Which do you like to prepare on the same day?



2 Responses to “A cook-once, eat many times session”

  1. wow, thanks for this great idea. i really have only started cooking on a regular basis and love this idea. i never even thought to make several meals at once. i will definitely give it a try.

  2. I ONLY cook if I can eat it multiple times

    Out of habit I guess. I cooked a lot when I was a kid and during college.. but I kind of hate washing pots and pans, so dirtying everything at once makes it easier.

    I also do a lot of IVF (individually quick frozen) foods, to make my own frozen dinners that are easy to eat when I get home all tired and cranky from being hungry

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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