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Bulk Cooking

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      Hello everyone.  I was wondering if anyone here does bulk cooking.  I don’t necessarily do OAMC, but I try to make 2 or 3 batches of what I make for dinner, then freeze the other 1 or 2 meals.  I have another baby coming in July and want to stock up my freezer.  Just wondering if there’s anyone out there to swap tips with!


        I bake lasagna, cook spaghetti, and freeze those meals. ÝI bake chicken and freeze the excess to make casseroles, mix with mayonnaise to make sandwiches and cook the bones to make broth for soup. ÝI freeze extra broth to mix with the chicken for soup. ÝI save left over vegetables in a plastic container in the freezer for the soup as well.

        I also make 2 or 3 different meals at the same time for use later in the week. ÝDepending on the size of your oven you could cook and freeze 2 or so meals of each. ÝOr maybe prepare and cook them one right after the other. ÝIn the winter I bake my meals and prepare chilli and hash at the same time.  I make enough hash for lunch and another meal or two later in the week. (We like hash.) ÝI would cook those type of meals when someone is there to watch the kids because you need to keep a close watch on the chili and hash to prevent them from burning. ÝI also buy canned meat for the nights I don’t have anything else and I am too tired to cook. ÝThen I cook some noodles or rice add some vegetables and cream of mushoom soup for a quick cassrole. ÝBake 30 minutes to an hour. ÝYou might want to borrow some cookbooks on frugal meals from the library and get some new recipes prior to the birth of your little one. ÝI don’t think you will have much time for learning or reading after the child comes along.


          There is a book I would highly recommend, if it’s still in print: Feasts for a Farthing by Molly Finn (1985).  Ms. Finn has wonderful ideas for using leftovers, cooking ahead, and in bulk. It’s published by Yankee Books.  Hope you can find it, and that it helps!


            When the local markets advertise 10-lb. packs of chicken thighs/legs, I purchase two or three packages, cook them and do this:  Cool in broth and skim off fat.  See number 4.

            1.  The skin goes in the food processor and is chopped and frozen in small packages to mix with dry dog food for our pet.

            2.  The meat is pulled from the bone and canned with the broth in pint jars (see local agricultural extension office for canning tips).  Each pint is the basis for quick meals:  Chicken and noodles; chicken pot pie; chicken and rice; mexican chicken; chicken and dumplings.

            3.  Any surplus broth is canned and I use it to flavor canned vegetables, soups and gravies.  It is an excellent way to flavor dried beans without adding a lot of fat.

            4.  Speaking of fat:  Any fat goes into my solid fats from other cooking and saved until I have enough to make a batch of homemade laundry soap (6 pounds).  The recipe is on a can of lye.  Be very careful, this is caustic soda…if you choose to make soap, send the kids away while you do!  This is a most rewarding enterprise and the soap is a most excellent stain and grease remover.

            5.  Pat yourself on the back!  You’ve used everything except the bones and gristle!



              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.


                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


                  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!


                    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 $.



                      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?



                        Potatoes don’t always freeze well, but I have had success with a couple of methods. This one is taken from the 30-day Freezer Gourmet for make-ahead mashed potatoes.

                        Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

                        5 lb bag of potatoes
                        4 oz. light cream cheese
                        2 T. butter
                        1 egg
                        Paprika, to taste

                        Peel and dice potatoes and cook until fork tender.  Mash in a bowl with cream cheese, butter and egg.  Spread mixture into two 8×8 baking dishes and sprinkle with paprika (I line the pans with waxed paper, freeze until solid and then pull the frozen potato casserole out and wrap in heavy duty foil – then I don’t have my pans hiding in my freezer somewhere and the packets are ready to unwrap into my pan when I’m ready to re-heat).

                        Defrost in fridge. Cook at 350 for about 35 minutes or until heated through.  

                        I’ve also had a lot of luck freezing soups with pureed potatoes, so long as the soup has another main ingredient like cheese or broccoli.  Unfortunately, potatoes seems to need some fat to store well in the freezer, so these are not the healthiest options.

                        Hope this helps!  



                          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?


                          Raw potatoes tend to fall to pieces when they thaw out, but cooked ones have had their structure altered with cooking so don’t – try boiling and mashing them before freezing (which is basically what happens to pre-prepared shop-bought potato products)


                            I do alot of bulk cooking with a larger family. I buy the family packs of meat and use the griddle. it all gets cooked at once or bake it on a big cookie pan. While the meat is cooking I make some mashed potatoes(instant of course), and then microwave some veggies, i buy the steam fresf from the frozen food section at the store and i cook 3 at a time. then if you have a save alot around they have some rools in the bread area that you just brown. It is a whole meal in less than 40 mins


                              I think this goes along with “bulk cooking”!? When you do buy that upright freezer, to put all of your food in, make sure that it is NOT a “frost free” one! Most people make this mistake! It will dry up EVERYTHING and you will have “frost bite” and will have to throw a lot of food away! And, it runs all of the time. It defrosts itself with a heater! The new freezers dont build up ice the way that they used to do. I think that is because of the super insullation. I dont have to defrost it but once a year & sometimes not even then! And, you can keep bread in them for 6 months!


                                This looks like an old post, but I'm just now reading it.  I wrote a post for my blog about bulk cooking a few months ago.  This one deals with cooking ground beef.  You can read it here:

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