Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cooking Ahead

Even though it was as hot as a "cat on a hot tin roof" yesterday, my mother and I had a cook ahead session. I had a mound of flat leaf parsley and carrots that had to be harvested because of the heat, so we got together to make meatloaf. We each walked away from the project with six meatloaves in the the freezer and had a great time doing it.

I don't like the idea of make ahead meals, except "The Sauce," but the realities of life make having something in the freezer that just needs to be reheated comforting. Princess wants to audition for The Nutcracker again this year which means that I will spend many hours driving her back and forth to Jackson for rehearsals between now and the beginning of December. Add that driving and waiting to my work and homeschool schedule and there is little time for cooking. So, I have the six meatloaves to which I can add a jar of green beans or a salad, 5 bags of pesto (without the cheese and some of the oil) which can quickly become something fantastic, 3 quarts of ratatouille which I can serve on pasta or with some meat or by itself, and several quarts of "The Sauce" that when poured on anything will make it taste as if you spent the entire day in the kitchen (I did, just not the day I served it). If the weather breaks, and maybe if it doesn't, I will make eggplant lasagna or a tasty eggplant, zucchini, pasta dish to round out my options.

Cooking while everything is fresh makes the food, though frozen, still retain a certain quality that makes it not a terrible option. Having a kitchen afternoon with your mother (or some other friend) is a great way to be productive and socialize.

8 comments:

JoVE said...

Sounds great. We freeze pesto, too. A really fast meal is just pasta with pesto and either beans or broccoli. Maybe a bit of chicken thrown in but you could use one small breast for the whole family, chopped and cooked in the frying pan before tossing with the rest of it.

Think how much knitting/reading you can get done with all that rehearsal time.

Angela,MotherCrone said...

This is very timely for me, and a great idea. I had just purchased a large number of containers that go from freezer to oven, so I can start doing the same.

Frankie said...

I don't like to cook, period, but I do "freezer cooking" frequently. I make meatloaves, casseroles, etc. Yesterday I boiled five pounds of hamburger, chopped it into crumbles, and froze it in individual containers.

You've got me inspired to check my freezer and get going.

ZBTzahBTzoo said...

Cooking ahead in this heat shows an uncommon diligence! Meatloaf is my favorite cook-ahead meal, and the kids love it. I simply make two whenever I make one -- although now that I have an oven with multiple racks, I could make four or six.

I think I'll let you shine alone in the diligence department for now, though. It's only 85 degrees with 45% humidity here, but we northerners wilt easily :-)

Simple spinach salad tonight, I think. I'm cleaning today, while that particular muse is with me...

Kate in NJ said...

That sounds lovely,a day of cooking with your Mom. :-)

alpharat said...

I don't do much cooking ahead when it's hot. I can in the fall, and cook ahead sauce and chili then. Even so, I loved the post and found myself cravin meatloaf by the end.

I walked to the cafteria in my bulding and *Serendipity!* they had meatloaf today.

It was good, but it wasn't homemade.

Melora said...

But no recipe for The Sauce?
Actually, my kids are so fussy that we've taken to opening a can of tomato sauce, sprinkling in some garlic powder & onion powder, and calling it spaghetti sauce. They won't eat anything with chunks or flecks of green (herbs). And we eat spaghetti a couple times a week (at least). Travis does love pesto, so I really need to start growing basil! I never thought of making a couple meatloafs at a time, but that would work well here -- thanks!

ZBTzahBTzoo said...

Missing you already, Wisteria, but I understand. Priorities... I respect those :-)