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Bulk Cooking

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Diannaly:
Hi,

If potatoes don't freeze well, why is it that there are so many kinds of pre-prepared, frozen potatoes that you can buy?  I'm thinking of french fries, that kind of thing?  The reason I ask is that since I live in a humid climate, I end up having potatoes go bad fairly quickly, so I can't buy them in a large bag.

Any suggestions?

Di

Query:
I cook in bulk, particularly with "scraps." I have a large glass storage bowl where I collect vegetable and fruit "scraps," anything from cucumber ends to those 5 strawberries in the basket that aren't nice enough to serve. About twice a week I throw it all into the crockpot with any meat scraps I have (uncooked trimmings / carcasses) and make broth. I use the strained broth (stock) as the fluid to make rice / grains or simmer with fresh noodles / veg for soup. Since I started this I've calculated that I am getting nearly twice the meals for the same $.

Shelly98:
I highly recommend the book:  Mega Cooking by Jill Bond.  

She goes through step by step how to get started in bulk cooking.  You can start slow or jump in.  She teaches you how to organize yourself, how to get the very best prices on bulk food purchases and how to properly store your finished dishes.  She provides charts also.  Recipies are included in the book, but also tips for converting your favorite recipies to bulk cooking methods.  I love this book!

Jo Knueven:
Hi!
I happen to have a degree in Culinary arts and can help you out on this.
There are a few things to remember,
Meats can almost always be precooked and frozen. Meatloaf and meatballs are great examples of this. Roast chicken and grilled chicken also work really well. Lots of restaurants cook off large amounts of chicken and dice and freeze for later use in soups or chicken salad.
Soups usually freeze well. Cream soups from vegetable purees freeze really well. Creamy soups thickened with flour, however, do not as fare well the starches seperate when thawed. So any kind of Veggie soup or broth based soup is almost guaranteed to freeze nicely.
Potatoes do not freeze well. They become mealy and watery when they are thawed. They can be used in small amounts in soups but that is about it.
Pasta can be used in Lasagnas and casseroles. Just under cook it a little and it will be perfectly cooked when you reaheat it.
Fully cooked baked goods can be frozen for several months if they are fully wrapped. Bread and pizza dough can be made ahead and frozen. We just pull it out in the a.m. and leave it in the fridge until we get home. We have fresh pizza dough and just roll it out and top it with our favorite toppings. It is really cheap too.
Basically almost anything will freeze except a few starches and cooked seafood. So just make double batches for a few weeks and freeze half.
You will have to play a little on cooking times. Oh, and don't thaw things outside of the fridge. Nasty foodbourne germs thrive on the thawed portion of the food while the inside is still frozen.
Sorry this is so long but I hope it helped. :)    
Oh, don't be afraid of making mistakes when cooking I have seen really great chefs burn bacon and scorch soup. Take a class and have fun!!!! ;D

Diana:
I know now is not the time to spend lots of money, but, buying an "up-right freezer" not only saves space but is easier to maintain. They also seem to hold more especially if the containers used to freeze food are the squares not the rounds. 9-10 years ago I purchased my freezer from Sears, but not brand new. I purchased a return that was dented on the side and therefore the price was reduced. I cook at least triple the amount needed for 2 people but I freeze the majority of it. If I could get another upright freezer it would be filled with all that I cook separated into individual containers so my husband and I can brown bag to work.

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