"A man's heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

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Friday, October 14, 2011

BIG cooking!!

 The key to big cooking is the prep.  I work it into my everyday life, because the kids still need to do school, house needs to be cleaned and meals for the day prepared and eaten.
 The shopping, I just work into my usual trip to the store.  I plan ahead and have my list ready so that hopefully it goes on without a hitch.  I will often times prepare small lists for my two big kids and they will go off on their own, sometimes with one of the little ones in their cart and shopping will go by even more quickly that way.  The kids LOVE this!!
 The night before I set out all the items we will need and prepare my TO DO list...as long as I have something to cross out and see my item pile decrease, I am a happy camper!!
 I do all that I can the night before...in this case, I was able to put all my chicken (15 lbs) and my roasts (10 lbs) in the crock pots to cook over night.  SO, first thing in the morning, I was able to see part of my list crossed off.
I be sure to label everything well so that there are never any surprises at suppertime.
 Gabrielle was my right hand man for this day.  The other kiddos helped out plenty, but she was there for the entire event!!
 We try to use the same large bowls and pots for cooking...this keeps us accountable to wash them in between in order to keep our dish pile to a minimum.
 Starting to fill up...
 Isn't it gorgeous?  This is made helpful by two freezer meal cookbooks that I have.  Most are now my own recipes, but they helped me to learn what freezes well and how to "half way" prepare some of the items.

I had a comment about the health and old fashioned-ness of our meals so I will try to explain a little.
After 6-7 years of doing this, I have somewhat perfected this process and these recipes for OUR family...these meals are all favorites of OUR family.  I had to keep in mind simplicity (you have to when cooking 50 meals), freezing ability, and easy preparation when coming out of the freezer.  

Every family is different...and that is FABULOUS, so make what is acceptable to you and yours.  My only advice is to research what freezes and reheats well.  There are lots of things that are NOT yummy after being frozen and recooked...speaking from experience!!
  All meals are served with fresh produce (most times from our family's co-op garden).  These are just our core meals which cut down the shopping, cooking and cleaning time tremendously.  All the eggs we use are from our family's co-op organic chickens and we soon hope to be butchering those chickens as well.
With a family of 9, you are bound to have a few picky eaters that refuse to eat their veggies...SO, I try to incorporate those "good healthy" items into our tried and true favorites.
For example:  Our meatloaf, meatballs and shepherd's pies all have shredded carrots, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms etc "hidden" in them.  ;)
Also, since we live in Montana and hunting plays a huge role in our diet, all of our meals include meat.  Most of the meat is elk, deer and or antelope.
 We made a grand total of 50 meals, which in the long run saves us about 100 hours in cooking, cleaning and shopping time.
Some of our meals were:
Spaghetti
Lasagna
Meatloaf
Meatballs (BBQ sauce and swedish sauces made)
Taco meat
Enchiladas
Pizza Burgers
Shepherd's Pies
BBQ Beef
Chicken Soup
Hamburger Stew
BBQ Chicken
Breakfast Burritos
French Dip
Pulled Pork in Gravy
Pork Stir-Fry
Any questions?

10 comments:

Heidi said...

Yes! Can you come do that Big cook for me?! ;) This seems like such a great idea. I really should try it. Your freezer is the same size as mine. Looks so organized - much more than mine does at the moment...Thanks for the tips. :)

Anonymous said...

It's a great idea but your meals all so incredibly meat based and most of them are very old fashioned recipes that aren't even healthy. Is there a way to do this with a slightly more fresh and not so out-dated recipe?

Rossie said...

Heidi...you are too cute!! You will not be sorry if you try this...it save so much time in the long run!! HOpe you and your family are doing wonderful!!

@Anonymous...you really can do any meals you would like. We live in Montana and hunting plays a huge part in our diet. Meat is our staple food (elk, dear, antelope). All our meals are tried and true for our family and each one is served with fresh produce from our family garden and most include our venison. Also all eggs are organic from our family chickens (soon we will be butchering our organic chickens).

I try to include any little extra healthy element to all our meals. For example: Meatloaf, meatballs, shepherd's pies also have fresh tomatoes, mushroom, shredded carrots and such in them...(Out of almost 7 children, you are bound to have a couple picky eaters so I often times "hide" goodies in our meals to insure they are getting what they need. ;) When doing freezer meals, I have to keep in mind what freezes well. My in between meals are ones where we add variety. We are traveling the world in our home school (via books and web) but also with our cooking. This year we will be preparing and eating foods from all over the world.
Every family needs to do what works for them. These freezer meals work well for our budget, we are able to use up all our free meat, and the produce we cannot consume during the months our garden is not producing can be canned and used up in the winter. Hope that helps. I am sure you can pretty much make freezer meals for your family any way you would like...using anything you would like. I would just do a little research on what freezes well and reheats well...hope that helps. :)

Rossie said...

Just one more little thing: I try to always be kind to my husband's taste buds and his favorite saying is, "If it doesn't have meat...it isn't a meal." Therefore, all our meals will have some form of meat. ;)

Not all families are like this...variety is the spice of life!!

Brandy Mell said...

Rossie, I totally agree with you on your kindness and large families! It is a challenge to put "healthy things" into every meal. I love when I am able to hide it in meals, but there are sometimes where it is ineveitable and it is ok!!! I happen to like the old-fashioned recipes bc they are how we fashioned in to the modern way of life. It is the basis of how we all learn to cook. We use trial and error until we become experts in our own kitchens. No two families are going to enjy the same recipe, but the basis of that recipe can lead to small changes and become a different meal for a different family. Those of us who have 7 children totally understand that and have become experts quicker bc of neccesity! Those who complain about your recipes are very closed minded and should really see the heart behind the recipe! I love when you share your life with us. It is very inspiring and offers a variety of views and ideas. I can tell you I totally appreciate your blog and posts bc they make me feel blessed!!! Thank you for all your positive thoughts and everyday life elements you post that the rest of us also experience in different ways!!!!Luv and miss you friend!!!

Jessica Lewis said...

Rossi your amazing! You inspire this single mama in so many ways. I love your blogs and FB posts. Phil is a lucky, lucky man! Where can I find your pizza burger recipe?

Bliss and That said...

Very inspiring!! Thanks for the ideas! Just a quick question and may be a silly one... Does mule deer taste differently than whitetail venison? We've only ever hunted and processed whitetail due to our area of the country. Also, do you all like elk? I bet each one yields a huge amount of meat! Thanks!!

Rossie said...

Hello there Kate!! I like Whitetail more than Mule, because it tastes less gamey. BUT...I have learned to cook it so that it tastes yummy. Elk is wonderful and considered the healthiest of red meat!! Antelope is my favorite for hamburger. Do you all hunt over there? If you ever want to come for a visit, we will send you home with a variety of meat to try!! Our door is ALWAYS open!!

Bliss and That said...

Thanks for the info, Rossi! I appreciate an "insiders" view of different game. :) My hubby has always hunted, but doesn't have as much of a chance with school the last couple years. I sat in the tree stand with him many times while dating, engaged and just married, but haven't been able to for years with the addition of more kiddos and no sitters for them. Would love to again some day soon, though! We will take you up on the invite if we are ever up your way! Thanks! :)

Bliss and That said...

oops... Sorry, meant Rossie. :)