Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Week #1 Money Saving Cook Ahead Plan

Today I'm going to give you the first cook ahead plan.  This plan is for Week # 1 Money Saving Menus

This is a one week plan which you should double so you have one set of meals to eat the following week, and another in your freezer for next month.  The amounts are for four, so if you are a family of two, you're all set.  If you are a family of four, then double the amounts given to have extra freezer meals.  This plan can also be made in multiplies of three, four etc. for larger families.  

Before you start, make sure you've read Introduction to Freezer Cooking or Batch Cooking Paleo Style.  Here you will find videos that show you how to fit all your meals into a small freezer section, and lots of ideas for containers that you can use for freezing your foods.

Week # 1 - Money Saving Menu Cook Ahead Plan

Here are all the forms you will need.  I suggest you follow the links and print them so you can check off the steps as you go. Also, if you are changing ingredients or amounts then you want to mark this on your forms as well.

As you work through the plan, use the back of the page to make any notes you want to remember for the next time you use it.  File it away in a folder and when you have collected 3 or 4 plans that work for your family you will have a good variety to rotate throughout the year.

If you find any problems please let me know in the comments.  Sometimes things get screwed up when they are transferred from one medium to another, and even though I have tried to check everything quite carefully, mistakes can easily happen. 

Cook Ahead - Money Saving Wk1 - Grocery Checklist
Cook Ahead - Money Saving Wk1 - Shopping List
Cook Ahead - Money Saving Wk1 - Prep
Cook Ahead -Wk1 Money Saving - Cook

Here are a few notes :
  • If you have fresh herbs then use them.  If you don't there is no need to buy cilantro and parsley.  You should just buy a bunch of cilantro and chop a 1/4 cup to use instead of the parsley.  Then chop the rest that you don't use and freeze it to use in later plans.
  • The recipes call for skinless boneless chicken but use anything you have or that's on special.  I have reminded you in the prep checklist to skin and bone the chicken if it's necessary.  You can also use any frozen chicken you have, but remember that once thawed it's not safe to refreeze uncooked chicken, which is why I give the stir-fry option on your cooking list.
  • This week there are two dishes that you will freeze uncooked - Crepes and Coq St Jacques. If you have two baking dishes you can use the foil method shown here to freeze them.

  •  If you don't have enough baking dishes to make all these meals at one time you can also buy aluminum foil baking pans that often come in packs of three which would be ideal for this week's plan.  Just cover well with aluminum foil and freeze, then you can heat your meal when you need it right in the pan.  
  • Alternatively you can spread the cooking over a couple of days and make one baking dish meal per day.  
Again, here is the link to check the Introduction to Freezer Cooking or Batch Cooking Paleo Style. if you need more ideas on how to pack for your freezer.

If you work all week I would suggest that you do this plan in three parts the way it's set up.  One day check and buy your groceries, one day do your prep work, and then (probably on the weekend when you have more time) do your cooking session.

On the other hand, if you are at home all day you can opt to do the prep and the cooking all in one day. I would never suggest you shop, prep and try to cook all in the same day unless you're looking to have a nervous breakdown.

Remember,  my plan is all about doing the least amount of work for the most reward. If you follow it then yes, you will have to do some work, but very likely not nearly as much as you're doing now. You can divide up the work that needs doing and choose the time that works best for you. 

Hopefully you will be spending a lot less time in the kitchen, and when you are in there it will be a much more pleasant experience.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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