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Simple Saving Savvy: My Attempt at Cooking Ahead ~

Simple Saving Savvy

Practicing Wise Stewardship & Blessing Others Out of Our Abundance

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Attempt at Cooking Ahead ~

Ok, so a few weeks ago, I did it, I cooked ahead...and I've been doing it ever since...well, kinda.

I haven't swung my grocery budget around to buying my meat all at once yet but I have started cooking all my meat for the week ahead of time, prepping dinner as much as I can beforehand and buying a little extra here and there as I can and then cooking it and freezing it.

Here's an example:

That week I bought (4) pounds of ground beef, (3) 20oz. packages of ground turkey and a 3lb roast beef.

Some of it was meant to be used that week and some later.

Anyway, I cooked up (2) pounds of the ground beef for pasta and added the sauce.

I also cooked (2) pounds for a casserole my husband loves:

I also made turkey burgers, a turkey loaf, put a roast in the crockpot and prepped peaches and strawberries for freezing.

We ate the turkey burgers that night. I used half the pasta sauce for a dinner that week and froze the rest for a future dinner. And I shredded the roast to also be used for a future dinners. I'm sure there will be leftovers from that to cover a few lunches of BBQ Beef sandwiches for my hubby. The casserole filling was used for one meal.

All in all, aside from the roast being in the crockpot for 8 hours, the whole process took my about two hours. And that included taking photos!

Best of all, I felt like I had a really productive day and it added time to the rest of my week!

Here's another example from this week:

I bought five lbs of ground beef, and five pounds of chicken breast. I browned all the ground beef in one large pot.

I put about 2 cups in a ziploc bag to mix with refried beans and seasoning for tostados and burritos this week.

Of course you recognize the casserole filling on the left from the last photo...I told you my husband loves this stuff.

On the right is filling for Shepherd's Pie. My family loves this and will practically lick clean a whole 9x13 dish of the stuff. Because I use a full two pounds of ground beef and also buy super lean beef, I don't make this dish often as it can get expensive.

And the three hamburger patties are for my husband's lunch.

I boiled all the chicken breast in another large pot, let it cool in the liquid and then cut into chunks. I then separated into four freezer bags for future dinners that will not be used this week. It will be great to throw into casseroles or whip up a batch of Chicken Soft Tacos or Poppyseed Chicken.

As you may have noticed, I use a bit more meat in my cooking than many recipes call for. Partly because I have a family of seven and partly because my husband LOVES meat. I try to honor him in this way. I do, however, keep my eye open for one pot recipes and filling casseroles that contain lots of other ingredients so that I can sometimes cut back on meat without anyone realizing it.

As you can also see from the photo, I baked a bunch of potatoes as well. After they cooled, I sliced into 1/4 inch slices and separated into freezer bags. I'll use them for breakfast potatoes and throw them in casseroles. This is what my friend Lynn does and I decided to try it. I'll let you know what I think. I'm also experimenting with trying to come up with a homemade version of Ore-Ida's Steam & Mash potatoes. I'll let you know how that goes as well.

I guess that about covers it. I can tell you, that since I started doing things this way, my evenings are much less stressed. I can get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes and my kitchen stays clean...except for dinner dishes of course!

What have you done to be intentional this week?

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