Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bulk Cooking


Tuesday was my bulk-cooking day. I've never done this before, but I've wanted to try it for a while. I made four different recipes and doubled those recipes to make eight meals.

I bought six 8x8 aluminum cake pans. I was looking for disposable pans that would only hold enough for four-serving casseroles. 

I'm really "fly by the seat of my pants" when it comes to cooking, so I'll share the recipes, but they're only frames of recipes that you'll have to fill in to meet your taste. Basically, I made eight chicken quarter legs and two cups of rice and separated those into all these different recipes. I'm so not exact with measurements. I added spices to some of them too (lots of cayenne pepper), but I have no idea how much or what I put in each one. Ha! Here we go!

1. Chicken Enchilada Casserole - this recipe made two 8x8 pans

2 15oz cans of black beans
1 15oz can of corn
2-3 chicken quarter legs shredded
1 jar of salsa (I just poured it in until I thought it looked good enough)
2/3 cup of rice
1-2 cups of cheese
4 large tortillas

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Spread one tortilla in the bottom of each pan. Add mixture on top. Add another tortilla. Add more mixture. Top with extra shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil, sharpie what it is, and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until hot. Each casserole will feed Zane and me for two meals.

Casseroles ready for the meat. 

2. Chicken, cheese, broccoli and rice casserole (that's my self-explanatory title for it) - two 8x8 pans

2/3 cup of rice
1/2 box of velveeta cheese (I had some leftover from another dish). Sliced (see photo)
1/2 bag of frozen broccoli
2-3 chicken quarter legs shredded
garlic salt to taste

Lay rice in bottom of each pan. Add frozen evenly broccoli. Pat down into rice. Add chicken evenly. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Lay sliced velveeta cheese evenly across each pan. Cover with aluminum foil, sharpie what it is, and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until hot. Each casserole will feed Zane and me for two meals.

Four chicken quarter legs boiling, and four chicken quarter legs slow-cooking. 

3. Mexican casserole

1/2 ground beef browned
2/3 cup of rice
2 15oz cans of black beans
1 15oz can of corn
1 12oz (?) can of Rotel
1-2 cups of cheese
Tortilla chips

Mix rice, beef, beans, corn, and rotel. Add evenly into two pans. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil, sharpie what it is, and freeze. Serve on tortilla chips. We ate this one Tuesday and tonight, and it's good. When ready to eat, thaw and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until hot. Each casserole will feed Zane and me for two meals.



4. Chicken Calzones (whatever you want to call it) - makes four two-serving size calzones

3-3.5 cups of flour (I used wheat)
1 cup of warm water (I used 1-1/4 cup with the wheat flour)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 packet yeast
2 TBSP oil
[One dough recipe without rising makes 2 calzones. I doubled the recipe to make four calzones because I had so much extra ingredients for the insides. However, I could have made four calzones with one dough recipe if I had given it time to rise.]

2-3 chicken quarter legs shredded
1/2 bag of frozen broccoli
1 13oz can of cream of chicken soup
1-2 cups of cheese

Make dough (I used my stand mixer):  Mix yeast, sugar and water for a couple minutes. Add salt and oil. Add flour and mix with the dough hook for about 6 minutes.

While it's mixing, add your other ingredients in a bowl: chicken, broccoli, cheese, soup, garlic salt if you want.

Sprinkle flour on counter. Roll out dough. Cut in half. Add mixture in the middle. Roll up dough. Pinch shut. Wrap well in aluminum foil, sharpie what it is, and freeze. When thawed, spread butter on top and bake (not sure how long yet!). Each calzone will feed Zane and me one time, since they're big enough for two servings.

We're going to try one of these tomorrow night, and I'll let you know how it goes. I've never cooked calzones fresh or frozen. I have no idea how long to bake it, so I'm going to test it out. I made four, so hopefully baking them goes well!

UPDATE: We let the calzone thaw for about 10 minutes, then put it in our toaster oven at 375F for 45 minutes. It turned out pretty good! Zane loved it, so that makes it a win. The dough was really dense though, so I'm going to work on that recipe for next time.


It took several hours with all the mixing, meat-cooking, and clean up! My back hurt from washing dishes afterwards, but now my freezer is stocked with 10 meals!

Next time, I think I'll do it over a few days like this:
Day 1: Soak and cook dry beans, which are cheaper and more healthy than canned.
Day 2: Cook all my meat. Make my dough and let it rise.
Day 3: Prepare all my meals and freeze.

With three days, I could knock out more than 10 meals, too.
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