Saturday, October 13, 2012

Quick Meals Cook Ahead Plan

Over the last three days I've shown you how you can plan your own personal cook ahead session and create a nice stash of cooked ahead meals in your freezer ready to eat.  But what if you just can't find even the few extra hours it takes to do this?

No problem.

You can create a nice backlog of meals for your freezer without having to add any extra cooking time to your schedule.  How?  By cooking double batches of meals.  And it's very easy if you use the three recipe groups I have given you in my recipe collection.

All you have to do is buy twice as much of each ingredient.  If you have a family of 4, buy enough to double the recipe so you can create two meals - one to eat that day, and one to freeze.  If you are a couple this will be very easy because most recipes feed four.  All you have to do is make the whole recipe and then divide it in half.

Here is an example.

Let's say that next week I want to start filling my freezer, but all I have is my usual half an hour a night to prepare dinner.  No problem.

Since I know I will be eating out one night next week, I will go to the RECIPES tab above, scroll down to "Dinners : 30 minutes or less", and choose 6 meals that I know I can freeze - these are all marked.  (I choose 6 meals because I know I will probably eat out one night, or finish up something already in my freezer.)

Here is a menu I might choose :

Monday - Ham and Cheese Frittata

Tuesday - Roast Salmon with Garlic and Dill

Wednesday - Chicken Pomodoro

Thursday - Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Friday - eating out

Saturday - pepperoni pizza

Sunday - Easy Swiss Steak 

Now all I have to do is check my recipes and make my shopping list as I showed you in part 1 of creating your own cook ahead plan.  But you don't have to continue on and make the other lists (unless you want to of course.)  You will treat this just like a normal week and cook each meal on the day it's scheduled.

The only thing you will do differently is to divide the meal in half and freeze half for a later date.  At the end of the week you will have 6 meals in your freezer for later use, without having to spend much more time than you would have just to prepare your daily meals.  I think that's a pretty good deal don't you?

And if you continue to do this for another couple of weeks you will gradually build a great backup of meals that can be heated and served whenever you want.  At that point you could cut down and just cook 2 or 3 days a week (making a double meal each time) and eat out of the freezer the rest of the time.

This will end up saving you a lot of time that you can use for all those things you never seem to have time to do - playing with the kids, working on a hobby, or just relaxing and reading a good book. All it takes is a little organization and the payoff can be huge!

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

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