Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sanity - err Food - Preservation Time

My team --aka the Dream Team -- is cooking for youth again on Sunday, so my week has consisted of a lot of planning, shopping, emailing, and calling.  On Thursday morning I squeezed in a stop at Sams to pick up my pre-order for the youth and then came home to read an email that I needed to cook for 25% more people than I had planned for.  Oops.  Friday morning after I got Tinker and The Captain off to school, The Blitz and I headed back to Sams.  While there, I had a moment of inspiration and decided to stage an impromptu cooking day.

Normally when I do "cooking ahead," I make an elaborate plan, clear my calendar, clean my kitchen and fridge, check my staples, shop all at once, and knock it out in a weekend of elaborate work.  Truthfully, I don't have time for that right now.  I decided to just pile a bunch of meat in my car and see what I could make from it.

Here are the results:

I made 4 batches of Bo Luc Lac, Vietnamese Shaking Beef.  I made the marinade times 5 and dived 8 pounds of sirloin into 4 bags, dumped on the marinade and froze.  This meal is a family favorite served over salad, tomatoes and brown rice.

I bought a giant pack of pork chops and simply divided it into three.

This recipe from Family Circle for Korean Short Ribs in the slow cooker sounds fantastic. I pulled the recipe a couple of months ago so when I saw boneless short ribs for sale I grabbed them to try this one.  I made the sauce, poured it on the ribs, bagged and froze it.  When we're ready for it, we'll just thaw and dump the whole bag into the crock pot.

I cooked 16# of Boston Butt into Pulled Pork.  It takes 9 hours start to finish (but the actual work is about 20 minutes) so I actually just finished it this morning.

I had fresh ingredients from my farm box for ratatouille so I made a double batch.  Yum.  Half for tonight's supper, half for the freezer. In honor of my French friend, Mikiio, I will say that ratatouille should always be served with polenta or rice, never pasta!

I made a batch of Muddy Buddies (sans the chocolate -- it is sweet enough!) for the kids for snacks.  I also made a batch of regular Chex Mix.

Today we will make a double batch of Carrot Cake Muffins because our kids are crazy for them.  We use a standard carrot cake recipe except we cut the sugar by 1/4 and substitute whole-wheat flour for half the flour.  We do not frost them.  This makes a snack that's acceptable by my standards but sweet enough to thrill the kids. Plus, they're pretty.  Once made, we'll freeze them and bag them individually.  That makes
them super simple to pop into a lunch.

I have quite a few hot peppers so I may pickle some for the freezer.  I also have beets to pickle but will roast them first.

While I worked on Sanity Preservation, Pepper made braised chicken thighs.  She has this to a science now and it takes every ounce of self control I have not to grab that crispy skin and eat it all!  Crisp outsides, moist insides.  Oh my goodness.  We served it with Creamy Polenta, ratatouille, and steamed broccoli.

Earlier in the week we got a batch of homemade Mac N Cheese in so if I can get around to some marinara sauce and maybe a chicken dish this week, we'll be in clover.  So instead of "saving dinner," I'm really saving my sanity.

What's cookin' at your house?

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