Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Day In The Kitchen

One of my very favorite ways to spend a Saturday is cooking. This will be no surprise to most of you! So yesterday, I finally got around to making (or at least starting to make) the meal kits I mentioned a week or so ago. I got about 11 meals done, and some of those will create leftovers for us, so all told I'm going to estimate that we now have 15 dinners in the freezer. Once I finish them up today, we should have about 24, which gives us dinners for almost a month. Woohoo! (And a good thing, too, since like Michelle, I scrimped and saved tried to be good but still managed to singlehandedly spend this country out of the recession overspend my budget by a tad... so hopefully we won't need many more groceries this next few weeks. But in any event, we'll be all set for dinners for most every evening.

My actual hands-on cooking time yesterday was about 4 hours. And truly, the meal kits are actually great budget savers. Most of my spendiness yesterday was stuff unrelated to the meals themselves. I've had some friends ask how long it takes to do the meal kits (because we all know you can't do 20 of them in 2.5 hours like the author claims, unless you have 8 hands or a whole LOT of help). I really do think the time investment is worth it - all told, it usually takes me about 8 hours of work to get 20-25 meals ready. From that point, any of the meals can be prepared (say on a weeknight after work) in 30 minutes or less, generally including cooking time. That kind of timeframe makes weeknight dinner doable for us, and I love that we're eating super yummy meals, whose ingredients I know, and that don't leave me washing dishes at 9:30.

Now, bear in mind - I am doing these alone, as hubby's not big on kitchen time. So if you have any kind of help at all, even if it's just helping you bag meals and label them, you'd be able to move a lot faster than I do. And the other thing is, I just don't rush. I don't enjoy cooking if I rush through it like I'm on a schedule, so I tend to take my time, take breaks, etc. And sometimes I clean up a little as I go, which can also add time. But mostly, the dishes all go into the dishwasher, and that part is definitely hubby's responsibility :-)

So, for yesterday's roundup, I completed these:

(1) Pepper Steak
(2) Caribbean Steak
(3) Chicken Broccoli Braid (x2)
(4) Honey Apple Pork Tenderloin (x2)
(5) Meat Loaf (x2)
(6) Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce
(7) Grilled Apricot BBQ Chicken
(8) Atkins Park Pork Tenderloin
(9) ** See update below

We had the third (remaining portion) Chicken Broccoli Braid recipe for dinner last night, and I was reminded why I love that dish. I first learned of it at a Pampered Chef party about ten years ago, and it is still one of my favorite recipes. To make a freezer kit out of it , I just mix up all the ingredients (except the rolls), and freeze. To use, thaw overnight and then bake as directed. Ummy Yummy!

Meanwhile, in the interest of "keepin' it real," as PW would say, here's the scene about halfway through yesterday's adventures:

Believe it or not, it's a lot easier to clean up than it looks like. It's truly ordered chaos, and it's actually kind of fun if you are crazy like me love to cook...I'm heading back into the kitchen this morning to finish up the chicken meals. Then I'm headed outside to the pool for some serious R&R!

Everyone have a blessed Sunday!

Love, Dahrlin'

** Update: I've now finished the remaining recipes I wanted to freeze, except one that I'll put together tonight as I'm making dinner. The additional recipes are:

(1) Lemon Chicken Scallopine
(2) Stuffed Chicken Breasts
(3) Garlic Lime Chicken
(4) Chicken and Artichoke Calzones

So now, with yesterday's meals, since some of these recipes make multiple batches, we have a total of 25 dinners in the freezer. That's a whole month of no major cooking. More, if we eat out occasionally, etc. Another thing I love about these meals is they free me up to focus on other recipes we've been wanting to try, but haven't because I've been overwhelmed with cooking every night. Things like trying out new drink, or side dish, or salad recipes. Or (let's be honest here) dessert. Wahoo!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and please pray that my power does not go out! ;-)

Love, Dahrlin'


Angie said...

Wow, I'm impressed! Way to go on getting a lot of those meal kits done. Woo hoo!! And that didn't look like a mess to me at all. But, then again, this is ME talking. LOL! Good luck on getting more done today and enjoying pool time. xoxo

Michelle said...

Alright, I want recipes for some of these ;) What IS a broccoli chicken braid? And garlic lime chicken? yum!

Oh yeah -- and I LOVE the cabinets, especially the ones with the glass straight on in the background.

Angela said...


Ask and you shall receive! LOL

Details on the recipes to follow. And thanks for the compliments on our kitchen decor! I do love those cabinets, too. :-)

Stephanie said...

I really think it's amazing you do all this. It's something I should do with working during the week but not probable for whatever reason. I just think it's awesome!!!!!!

Angela said...


Thanks so much! If you get a few hours on a weekend sometime, you might try it. I will post a few options soon on the blog that you can make that way, and you can try just making a couple if you want. Then if you like the convenience during the week, you'll be inspired to continue! :-) I really do find it makes my life sooooo much easier during the week!

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