Skip to main content

Batch Cooking Like it's my Job

Whatever came over me led me to dog ear a bunch of recipes and then proceed to throw down $300 at Wegmans turning it into weeks worth of meals thanks to this cookbook.  I'm not really sure when I got it- probably years ago, but with school upon us and schedules and soccer and trying to work or respond to emails when I can, I knew it was time to re-stock the freezer.  Jessica has a tie to Santa Barbara, so her book naturally has a lot of healthy options and isn't all pasta bakes, as seen on the cover.

When I looked it up on Amazon, there's apparently a NEW and improved version of Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook so I may just recommend you get that one instead.  You can find it here.

So, what have I cooked up?  Oh man- here's the list.  For now I can't give you my entire reviews, because most of these headed straight for the freezer!

  • Breakfast Dishes- here's my goal- 9x13 Breakfast casseroles serve as either a breakfast for dinner option, OR as a Saturday breakfast which then becomes Sunday dinner- because Sunday dinner just isn't my thing.  I prefer a big lunch after church and having Sunday dinner being "fend for yourself."  Since my kids are 1, 3, and 5-- I guess we're not there yet, but you get the point.
    • I doubled a recipe for and Eggs Florentine Dish with cottage cheese, spinach, swiss cheese.  I think this can even go with a nice salad and you're set.  No bread.
    • I made your classic bread, egg, milk, cheddar, bacon casserole.  No baking, just assembled and froze.
  • One Pan Meals
    • Now I love these in the skillet or the oven, but when we're talking freezer meals here's what that means-- 
    • Green Chile Shepherd's Pie.- this recipe took 1 pound of ground beef and turned it into a 9x13 filled with beef, veggies, a homemade (simple) mushroom beef gravy and topped with a red mashed potato with a little cheese and green chile in there
  • Soups- so far I just made a White Bean and Veg soup- it has a homemade spice mix which cuts down on salts and red potatoes which make it hearty.  This served as dinner last night with some crusty bread and everyone was happy.
  • Enchiladas- Not from the above books, but I saw these and knew I wanted to make them.  Anderson and I have been watching Pati on Amazon and we are hooked.  Anything with a homemade tomatillo sauce and I'm in!  I ended up getting 1 9x13 and 1 8x8 out of this recipe.
  • Chicken!  I made a chicken and mushrooms with snow peas.  Super good- the boys just wanted the mushrooms- and I froze the rest!  All from the Make it Ahead cookbook.
What else?!

I have yet to marinate a couple pork tenderloins and then throw those in the freezer thanks to the Make Ahead Cookbook, and I made some of the best Italian drip beef which is a go-to for us.  You can have it be a not-so-healthy dinner with bread and loaded with cheese then sizzled under the broiler, or I can just have it atop quinoa and still feel completely satisfied.

Oh- and muffins!  I made a double batch of PW's Mom's Muffins which I really like for kids- low sugar and full of lots of good stuff, including protein so they fill everyone up.

That's it for now... I think.  I'm going to make up some more versatile beef filling from the Make Ahead cookbook soon and was looking into Ina's Make it Ahead Cookbook to maybe have some big batches of lasagna or her patisio on had for cooler days when we want friends over and I don't want to cook and lucky for us we have a vat on hand.  OR when friends have babies and the week is busy, but I can swing over with something already made from my freezer.  This is what winning looks like to me now guys, and I'm ok with it.


Popular posts from this blog

Guest Post: New Mom (Anytime) Gift Guide

Today's Guest Post is from Michelle Perez of Simply Complicated.  I met Michelle in college and since then she has gotten hitched, had a baby, and lives in Guatemala where her family are doing some great work.  Read more on her blog and until then, check out her gift guide for new moms!  Thanks, Michelle!

I am a new mom to and am still very much in the ups and downs of learning how to how to take care of a very small human and myself. Even though I think all new moms would be happy with a nap, a long shower and a meal on their doorstep I have put together a gift guide that stretches a bit beyond the basic. You could say this is just in time for the holidays, but the truth is, this is an anytime of year gift guide. Enjoy.

1. Sugar & Spice Kitchen Towels We all know new moms like and appreciate home cooked meals. But I was surprised as a nursing mom, how hungry I was all. the. time. Friends of mine were so sweet, because they brought over a meal AND muffins or bread or baked goods …

quesadilla pie

This is a dinner I've been thinking about and trying to figure out when I'll make it next.  It'll probably happen sometime this weekend because it was simple and oh-so-satisfying.  It was a perfect new-mom meal. New-Mom as in I had time to make it, and I'd like to bring it to new mom's too.

I'm tempted to even make a few and stock my freezer with them for when we're hungry or when I need to bring someone a meal, a task I think I'm finally now up for seeing as I've been able to figure out our schedule more and get back in the kitchen.

Apart from pulling apart the chicken this dish comes together really quickly.  The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapenos, an item I thought we had in our fridge but it turns out what I thought were pickled jalapenos were actually molding olives.  Not so great.  Next time I'll add in the jalapenos but they're definitely optional.

So this weekend, you should make this.  Dare I say my mouth i…

canned tomato sauce with basil and garlic

When I think about canning I want to make things that I'll use year round.  I want staples that I can go to that'll make pasta sauce, chili and stuffed peppers that much more delicious.  I want to make a recipe that tastes amazing in large part because the tomatoes used in it were fresh in the summer then preserved.
Although I did can some tomatoes last summer I ended up not using them as often as I thought I would.  I still found myself going to the store for diced tomatoes here and there when I should have been in the mindset to use my canned tomatoes and just crush them into the recipe.  Canning fail.

So, this year I decided to make some sauce.  It was an all day affair, let me tell you, but worth it in the end.  I looked to the Ball website for canning recipes and used their recipe for tomato sauce with basil and garlic.  You can see the original recipe here.  
I did tweak it some.  I didn't strain the sauce but rather pureed it in the Vitamix which really did away wi…