Monday, June 09, 2014

Cook Once, Eat Twice… or More

I like to have cooked food on hand in the refrigerator, or now that we are no longer living on the sailboat, in the freezer.  This is especially true in the warmer months of the year, when I am likely to push the envelope on spending as much time outdoors as possible, and cut it fairly tight on getting lunch or dinner together.  And so too on days when I work a split shift, it is nice to get something on the table quickly. 

I do like to make up batches of things such as soups, pulled pork, shredded chicken, and even dishes such as Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala, and chilis or stews… these things freeze really nicely and thaw easily to get a meal together in a hurry.  Add some rice, or sweet potatoes, and a veggie, and dinner is ready pretty quickly.

Another thing I like to do is roast several boneless skinless chicken breasts at the same time.  We may have a couple for dinner with veggies and potatoes  the day I make them.  Then I put the leftover pieces in the fridge and use them in a variety of ways… my favorites are sliced for salads, and for sandwich fillings for The Captain.  If I know I am going to use them in a particular way, I might marinate them with appropriate spices before cooking, but usually I just bake them plain.

Chicken Breast on Salad

Extra lean ground beef is another protein I like to prepare in batches.

We normally buy our beef in one-pound packages and freeze them.  I like to thaw a single package, and place the meat into a large skillet along with about a half cup of diced onions and 4 or 5 cloves of peeled, smashed and minced garlic.  It only takes about 15 minutes to cook… I may or may not season with salt and pepper…  and then I let it cool a bit before dividing it into 2 portions.  Each portion will be used to make a meal for the two of us, and there are so many ways to eat it.

If you want a pasta or zoodle sauce, you can saute more veggies such as mushrooms and bell peppers to add to the prepared meat in a skillet. And then add some some canned tomatoes… diced or crushed, and some Italian seasoning.

June 8 dinner ground beef new bowls 001

Or you can put the meat mixture in a skillet and add a shredded coleslaw mix and some grated ginger,  and after the cabbage has cooked, add either a teriyaki sauce or a mixture of tamari (gluten free soy) sauce, some rice vinegar and a drizzle of sesame oil.  Pineapple bits or mandarine orange slices oranges on top, or a few cashews really dress it up.

Asian Beef Slaw

Another of my very favorite meals is  to heat the meat mixture and place it on a plate with some guacamole and salsa on the top of it and serve sweet potato ‘chips’ alongside.  We eat this a lot.  If I know I am going to be serving the beef this way I often add extra garlic while I am cooking it.

Sweet Potato Nachos

You can also use it as the base for chilis, or soups, or even use it to top pizza, or perogies, or fold it into an omelet.  So versatile and so tasty and filling.

What is your favorite food to batch cook and have on hand to make quick meals?

1 comment:

  1. I'm horrible at planning ahead. I do freeze in small batches but I don't usually refreeze much of anything but soups. These are great ideas.


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