Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cook Ahead - Eggs - Meals

Here is the second cook ahead plan for using eggs, and this one is a lot smaller.  Yesterday I concentrated on basics that you could use to create many different meals. Today I am going to finish with a couple of cook ahead meals that can be pulled out of your freezer and just heated - nothing extra to do - as well as a delicious brunch option for weekends. 

All these cook ahead plans only contain 3 to 5 different items and can easily be done in a 2 or 3 hour session either in the evening or on the weekend - whatever works best for you. For an introduction to how these Cook Ahead plans work and for ideas on how to store your cooked meals check this post. 

I have also purposely not included specific amounts of any ingredients.  The lists will remind you what you will need, but it's up to you to decide how much of any recipe you will make and also which version.  For instance today you will need to decide which version of the quiche you want to make, and whether you want to make just one or several different kinds.

Today's cook ahead plan includes :

( 1 )  Quiche - This basic quiche recipe is very flexible.  You can use it to make Quiche Lorraine, bacon and tomato quiche, smoked salmon and asparagus quiche, or any other variation. It's a great way to use up whatever protein and vegetable leftovers you happen to have.

( 2 )  Eggplant Parmesan - Use Eggplant Parmesan to introduce your family to a vegetable that they might be leery of trying.  This recipe has made eggplant lovers out of everyone to whom I have served it.  This is also a great dish to have in your freezer to serve at a dinner party.

( 3 )  Pancakes - With pancakes in your freezer you have a quick breakfast for any day of the week and a great entertaining option for the weekend.


Here is a quick review of how the plan works ....

First, check the grocery check-list.  Decide what specifically you will cook and how much of each dish.  Check your fridge and cupboard for the ingredients you will need and make a shopping list.  

Shop for your ingredients. Don't forget to stock up on the special.  What you can't cook today you can refrigerate or freeze for later use.

Before your cooking day, check your prep list and prepare all the ingredients you will need.  By doing all the grating, slicing and chopping ahead of time, you will minimize the work you have to do on cooking day.  And you will have less cleanup as well.

On cooking day make sure you allow yourself enough time to cook what needs to be done. Most of these plans will take 2 or 3 hours to do, but I would allow longer the first time you do them, just so you are not having to rush.  The idea here isn't to create more stress, it's to cut down on it.

If you are cooking during the day, plan to use one of the meals you are cooking for dinner.  If you are cooking after work eat a meal you have already prepared from your freezer.  You will have enough to do without worrying about dinner.  This is also a good time to make a slow cooker meal.  Get it going before your cooking session and it will be ready when you need it later in the day.

Work your way through the plans and make notes as you go so you remember any changes you make for the next time. File the plans in your Household Notebook or some other safe place for future use. If you file them in plastic sheet protectors like I do, you can tick off the steps as you do them, then wipe the sheet clean ready for the next time.

Once you've cooked all the items on the plan, make sure you pack and freeze them properly, then do your clean-up.

Now take a few minutes to put your feet up - you've earned it!

Here are the lists you will need :

You can download them here.  

Filling your freezer with basics is a great way to take advantage of a sale on eggs, but if you don't have the time to cook right now, if you have more eggs than you know what to do with, or  you wish you could somehow keep some of those nice cheap eggs for future use, you can.  Just as you can freeze meat, poultry and fish, you can also freeze eggs.  Here is how :

How to Freeze Eggs

Whole eggs - Freeze the number you need for your most frequently made recipes.  For instance, if you often make Paleo bread, then freeze containers with 5 or 10 eggs, depending on whether you make single of double loaves.  To freeze just whisk the egg white and the egg yolk together, then pour into your freezer container. In the example above they froze their whole whisked eggs in muffin tins - 2 eggs in each cup. For easier removal, grease the muffin tins first with butter or coconut oil.

Egg whites - The easiest way to freeze egg whites is to freeze them individually in an ice cube tray.  Then you can remove as many at a time as you need.  Make sure you don't get any yolk into your whites. And definitely do NOT grease the ice cube tray otherwise you won't be able to beat the egg whites when you go to use them.

Egg yolks - You can also freeze just the egg yolks, but here you have to be a bit careful.  Just freezing the yolk alone will make it gelatinous and then it will be impossible to use once thawed.  To get around this always add either salt or sweetener to the yolks and mix in well before freezing.  Remember to label which are sweet and which are savoury.  You can grease these ice cube trays if you wish.

If you stock up on eggs when they are on special, have a basics cook ahead session, freeze some eggs for later use, and finish of with this session, you could if you really wanted to, live very frugally and very healthily on just these dishes.

You now have the basics for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack meals covered, as well as some great dishes that are perfect for entertaining. As I said at the beginning, if all you ever follow are my egg cook ahead plans, you will have everything you need to eat Paleo - quickly, simply and easily.

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

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