Production Cooking

Now is the time, while you're less busy after the holidays, to get a head start on canning or freezing convenience foods like soups, stews and meats. 
Look at other seasonal sale items, like baking supplies, too.  One of the biggest benefits of production cooking is buying the ingredients on sale and saving on more than one meal.  
I keep cookie dough and a few baked cookies, bars and quick breads on hand for ‘instant’ desserts and coffee times.  Myrna makes extra pie crusts to keep in the freezer.  I usually keep sliced homemade bread (I make 2-3 loaves at a time) and hamburger buns or rolls for quick sandwiches.  I keep a covered plastic box of bags of homemade noodles and homemade spaghetti – they cook in less than 10 minutes from frozen – not many recipes are quicker than fettuccine Alfredo or spaghetti with canned or frozen meat sauce. 
We keep canned beef, chicken or turkey and a variety of canned beans, stew and soups, as well as canned potatoes and other vegetables.  
Some dishes are made by doubling a large recipe and portioning in freezer bags to bake or reheat later.  Mashed Potatoes (with cream cheese) and cooked rice are two sides I often have on hand.  I freeze them in quart freezer bags; ready to microwave.    
Some frozen “production” recipes I make to keep on hand are french toast or waffles and cheese-stuffed shells.  Both take more time to make than I usually like to spend for a single meal – by making larger recipes and freezing them, I can confine the mess to one time for 8 or 9 meals – the day I want to use them, I add sauce or gravy and heat or bake.  
To do this for yourself, take a look at what is available to purchase canned or frozen – could you do it yourself?  Think about what your family likes that is more fuss than you want to have at the last minute.  If you prepare it ahead, at your convenience, you could avoid that last minute trip through the fast-food drive-thru.  
If you prepare these dishes yourself, you can control the amount of sodium, fat and sugar.  You can eliminate high fructose corn syrup and a lot of other additives.
If making large recipes seems like too much, could you double favorite recipes so you build up some cushion for those “I don’t want to cook” days?
Check out the food sales and plan on saving too. 

2 comments:

  1. Excellent post. The cheapest turkey we found was .69 cents a pound this year while friends in IL had much better sales on meat. Thank you for such great ideas and recipes girls. Your blog is very much appreciated!

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  2. I love doing things like this! It makes it so handy! Pie crusts have been on my list of things to make up and freeze so I will be taking your suggestion! Thanks!!

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