Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cooking/Baking Night!

As I mentioned in my last post, my kiddoes seem to eat non-stop! It can be a MAJOR challenge to keep food in the house, even though I feel like I shop a few times a week. What's a mom to do? Fight the hunger war by bulk cooking and baking! I've been interested in bulk cooking since I read all of my mom's books on the subject when I was a young teen, and have often done it, but have never NEEDED to do it so much as now. We're on a budget, have 3 kids who eat a LOT, and homeschool. Because of these things, I have to get creative about keeping my kids fed while staying frugal and having limited time to get it all done. I decided to spend a few hours on Monday night doing some bulk cooking. So glad I got this huge bowl (that came with a lid) at a yard sale this summer for a quarter. It was the only thing big enough to hold 12 C. of flour as well as many other ingredients when I made a double batch of cinnamon graham squares!
We always seem to be out of bread! I'm looking to buy some double-size loaf pans so I can make two HUGE loaves at a time. I would estimate that our family could go through 4-5 loaves a week.

Tilamook cheese was recently on sale for only $2 a pound! That's the best deal on cheese of any brand in our town! I really stocked up on it! I used the older model food processor a lady at church gave me to shred this 2 # loaf and bag it up to use in meals this week.

The results!
1 bowl and 2 jars of fresh salsa from garden tomatoes given to me by my mom
4 loaves of Money Saving Mom's wheat bread (Been making this recipe for 3 years and love it! Didn't use the bread machine this night because of doing the recipe x4, but I often do use it with this recipe!)
4 pans of Tammy's Whole Wheat Cinnamon Graham Squares for snacks (If they look darker it's because I couldn't resist tweaking the recipe to make them a chocolate version of her recipe! Added some cocoa, a little extra sugar, and some chocolate chips! Yummy!)
2# of dried black beans got cooked up to freeze and use in Black Bean soup this week
2 # of brown rice got cooked up to freeze and use in Plowman's Share.
The bowl of macaroni and cheese and the bowl of veggies were part of our supper. I doubled the batches so that we would have lunch for the following day and also vegetables to add with rice, cheese, and elk roast for Plowman's Share, one of our family's favorite meals.
I started soaking the beans in the morning and left them all day. My cooking "night" began at 5 pm as I was making supper. I got the bread dough made and put it on the stovetop to rise, began cooking the beans and made a double batch of supper. I took my finish pic at 8:30 pm. Granted, I had to bag up the bread and squares after taking this pic, but during the 3.5 hours of doing this baking night I also dealt with kid's needs, served and ate supper, and cleaned up. So, it really didn't take longer than a few hours, even with bagging it all up and sticking things in the freezer. This was my first bulk-cooking event where I had a dishwasher and it made all the difference in the world! I merely had to run an extra load the morning after and clean-up was a snap!
Since we already had lots of roast elk leftovers (thanks to my super sweet brother Colter who got an elk and gave half of it to us) in the fridge, I used the rice and shredded cheese and veggies to throw together two pans of Plowman's Share the next morning and we took one to a family dinner and used the other pan for a couple of meals this week. Having the shredded cheese on hand sure has been handy for several meals this week.
My brother enjoyed the homemade bread I took to a family dinner so I ended up giving him a loaf. That's one of the joys of bulk cooking, you have things on hand to share! I also had a Ladies Craft Night to attend on Tuesday night so I was able to bring some of the graham squares as my contribution. Getting it all done at once sure made this week a lot easier for me. Though my house looked like a tornado for a while (dirty dishes, kids running around tearing up the place while Daddy watched them as I cooked), it has been much easier to maintain this week as I have less prep time for meals.
Bulk cooking is a tool I plan to continue to use often in my attempt to combat the hunger war here at home!


The Three 22nds said...

good post! We should share some easy to freeze bulk cooking recipes!

I always have done stuff like made extra chicken and froze it cooked in bags for soups etc. And extra tacos and spaghetti sauce.

But last month I took a "Once a Month Cooking" book and did the whole month cooking plan (minus 2-3 recipes that I knew would not go over well in our house). I plan to blog about the experience at some point. I LOVE IT!

I ended up with about 27 ish meals in the freezer. And we have not come across any yet that we didn't like.

I could go on about it but I was planning to do that blog post and so instead of doing it twice, I will probably just write about it there.

Bottom line is, it has saved us money both by bulk cooking and by not eating out as much (still go out once a week, pizza once a week and burgers once a week, church once I use about 3 freezer meals a week)

Next time I do it I plan to save more money by buying all my meat at Sam's Club.

*carrie* said...


Cooking in bulk is something I've been wanting to do more consistently. Thanks for posting about your process.

Also, thank you for your e-mail. I'll reply soon.

Momma Bear said...

you are so motivating and inspiring me. thx.

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