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Old 01-12-2010, 07:27 PM   #11
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...
( Just realized if I froze the sliced meat in the sauce/gravy I could just pop it into the crock pot!)
When I make a roast, I divide the meat and drippings into glass bowls, and reheat them in the microwave to serve.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:35 PM   #12
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When I make a roast, I divide the meat and drippings into glass bowls, and reheat them in the microwave to serve.
I guess I wasn't really clear that I would be putting them into the freezer. I use my Mom's old Pyrex to store in the 'frige. Not something I would freeze...or would I?


Alix, I really like your menu selection for Wednesday.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:04 PM   #13
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I often cook for just me or for two. I tend to go generous on the starch and the veg; the protein I usually cook enough. Later, I can take the rice/potatoe/grain and add other foods to it. If, by chance, I have veg left with the starch, a few additions and there's a good heat-it-up in the skillet I did my new protein in. One pan is as important to me as using the leftovers.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:00 AM   #14
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I save time by prepping any veggies I can on the weekends or just buying the pre-frozen onions, peppers, etc. I also found a good way to spice a boring pork chop or piece of chicken is to make my own spice mixes when I get some time. It doesn't take much time to fix a piece of chicken and a few veggies I just mix it up by throwing on one of the different spice mixes. Try checking the store for premarinated chicken breasts, depending on the brand, they can add alot of flavor with little effort.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:31 AM   #15
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I used to do a lot of make ahead one day a week cooking - something that I got started doing when I was in college and working full time. I just wish we had had microwave ovens back then.

Like others have mentioned - first you set aside one day to do your cooking, then you start with a menu, do your shopping, then do all your prep work (chop all your onions, peel and crush all your garlic, slice all of the things you're going to need, etc. at one time) and then start cooking - with a little practice you'll have all your cooking done for the week and in the freezer or fridge in 3-6 hours (depending on what you're cooking). If you clean as you go - you'll have a clean kitchen with no pot's or pans in the sink, either!

Two good sites to get you started are: The Recipe Link's Make Ahead Cooking and Freezer Recipes and About.Com:Busy Cooks Make Ahead Recipes and OAMC - but there are a lot of other sites that cover Once A Month Cooking OAMC , Once a Week Cooking OAWC and Make Ahead Cooking with good information, ideas and recipes.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a good section on "How Do I Freeze?" that covers most of the bases - and a lot of what I had to learn from trial and error over the years. The General Information section covers what will/will not freeze well, what changes occur with certain things, and even includes the changes that happen with spices and seasonings. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service has an excellent paper on Freezing Prepared Foods that also has a lot of good information on freezing, thawing and reheating frozen ingredients and prepared meals.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:27 AM   #16
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Alix, your menu plan is a great one for beginning cooks or even those of us who have been cooking for years. Mine is a bit like yours without the organization. I think I will make one like yours. My biggest problem is we don't really know much ahead of time when we will eat out. Today a friend and I are taking soup and cornbread to another friend who has been sick. I'm making a big pot of soup, so we will have some for our own dinner here.
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:01 AM   #17
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Thanks guys :)
..... my BF is always griping at me trying to get me to do just that (clean as I go), heh. Not my strongest point in the kitchen but I'm getting better at it every time I cook ;)
It sounds like all of the responsibility for both meal prep and clean up are on your shoulders, in spite of the fact that you get home later than he does.

Maybe part of the solution is a better division of labor. If you've prepared a menu in advance, he can have some of the prep work done when you get home, like washing/chopping, peeling vegetables, putting a potato in the oven to bake, etc.

And if he wants to criticize they way you do something (like clean up), then he should take responsibility for doing it himself "the right way".
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:11 PM   #18
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Alix, your menu plan is a great one for beginning cooks or even those of us who have been cooking for years. Mine is a bit like yours without the organization. I think I will make one like yours. My biggest problem is we don't really know much ahead of time when we will eat out. Today a friend and I are taking soup and cornbread to another friend who has been sick. I'm making a big pot of soup, so we will have some for our own dinner here.
Hey licia, the beauty of my menu plan is that its pretty flexible. Its more just to have things ready to roll when you walk in the house. If you have to put things on hold, then you can and either bump things back a day (which means you have part of the next week already done!) or just flip stuff around. I mention Cooking for the Rushed all the time because I believe it has good flavorful, nutritious (mostly) meals that are quick and easy to prepare. The layout is fabulous and it gives step by step instructions that are timed. Once you've made the recipe a time or two you can adjust for yourself, but the meals are on the table very quickly. My menu plan is an edited form of what is found in those cookbooks. It has really made life easier around here when I'm working weird shifts all over the place.
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