Bulk Cooking Day

Nov. 13, 2018, noon

What is a Bulk Cooking Day and why would I want one?  

A Bulk Cooking Day is setting aside one day or part of a day to prepare most or all of your meals and snacks for the entire week. Simply make a date with your kitchen for about 1-2 hours, 1 day every week (I use Friday morning) and have some fun cooking!

No freezing is required for any of your batch cooking since you’ll be eating your meals throughout the week. This is very different from making a bunch of freezer meals, although you could incorporate some freezer meals into a Bulk Cooking Day.
Bulk cooking saves time, is healthier for you and your family and saves money (that you would have spend on fast food).
What would you do on a Bulk Cooking Day?

1. Gather recipes from your meal plan.
2. Look over the recipes and decide what ingredients or even whole dishes can be prepped ahead of time.
3. Cut up vegetables and fruits for meals and snacks.
4. Prepare dishes that can be done ahead.
5. Prepare a list of things you family likes to eat during the week for breakfast and snacks and that can be prepared ahead of time, like energy bars, or hummus.
6. Defrost meats that you will cook during the week.
7. Cook rice, beans, sweet potatoes, make granola, etc., that you will use during the week.

Supplies you will need:
Ziplock bags
Glass or plastic containers

Everyone's list will be different, but here are some things you can prepare on your Bulk Cooking Day.....

Oatmeal (you can make large batches and just reheat in the mornings, or make baked oatmeal and reheat)
Boiled eggs
Fruit, cut up and put in individual containers
Egg muffins

Lunch and Dinner:
Salad dressings
Marinara sauce
Sweet potatoes
Chicken salad
Egg salad
Tuna salad
Chicken breasts
Whole roast chicken
Ground beef
Hamburger patties
Burritos either for dinner or breakfast
Dips like hummus
Nut butters
And if you are crunchy:
Chicken stock
English muffins

Trail mix
Fresh vegetables and fruit, cut up and bagged
Energy bars
Granola bars

As you cook these foods, cook them as simple as possible--no dressing, no oil, no sauces, limited seasonings, etc.   Then when meal time rolls around, you’ll simply re-heat on the skillet/oven/or even microwave. Also, at this time you’ll add on things like sauces, dressings, dips, fresh seasonings, herbs, dressings, etc.

Cooking Beans
When you want to cook dry beans, pour them into a large bowl. Pick through them to make sure there are no rocks or bad beans. Cover the beans with warmish water and leave them on the counter covered with a kitchen towel to soak overnight. The next morning, pour off the soaking water.

In a large pot, brown several pieces of bacon (a ham hock seasons beans very nicely also) and then pour in the soaked beans, add plenty of water and bring to a boil. Skim off any stuff that comes to the top. Lower the heat and cook until tender, around two hours. Do NOT salt the beans until they are tender as salt will cause the beans never to soften (or at least that's what my mother told me).

Cooking Rice
Rice is almost always 2:1. 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. Put the water, rice, and a little salt in the pot, bring to a boil, lower the heat, put the lid on and cook for the specified number of minutes on the package – for white rice it's about 15 minutes, for brown rice about 45. Do not lift the lid until the rice has been sitting off the heat for a while and then fluff with a fork.

Ground Beef Burritos:
Serves 6 to 12
1 pound ground beef
1 to 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
3 cups refried beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup enchilada sauce
½ cup diced onion
4 oz. can of chopped green chiles
12 burrito-size flour tortillas
In a large skillet, cook the meat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until no pink remains. Stir in the taco seasoning. Stir to blend.
Drain the meat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the beans, cheese, enchilada sauce, onion and green chiles. Stir will to combine.
Lay out a tortilla and spread a scant ½ cup filling in a line down one side of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla around the filling, rolling toward the middle of the tortilla. Fold in the sides and continue rolling.
Fill and roll the rest of the burritos in the same manner.
Place the rolled burritos in the freezer bags. Chill in the refrigerator before freezing.
To thaw:
Thaw as many burritos as desired in the refrigerator.
To reheat in the microwave: 1-2 minutes per burrito.
To reheat in the oven: 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes for crispy. For softer, wrap in foil prior to baking.
To reheat on the griddle (preferred): cook on a hot griddle until the filling is hot and the tortilla is crisp.

4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
8 dashes hot sauce

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Thanks to theelliotthomestead.com

Coconut Cream Larabars
 – 1 cup almonds (or any nut of your choice)
 – 1 cup pitted dates
 – 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
 – 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Chocolate Larabars
 – 1 cup of almonds (or other nut)
 – 1 cup pitted dates
 – 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
 – 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, optional
Homemade Granola:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup raisins or other dried, chopped fruit

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Place the oil, honey, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
Go ahead and measure the oats and almonds right into the oil mixture — don’t worry if you add a little more oats or almonds — granola is very forgiving. Stir to coat well.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. If the granola is clumpy, use a spatula to press it into the pan.
Bake, stirring halfway through, for about 20 minutes total. The granola is ready when golden-brown and the almonds have toasted — it will still feel wet coming out of the oven but will dry as it cools.
Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and sprinkle on the raisins or fruit. If you want clumps of granola, press and tamp down the granola before it cools, which will help it stick together. Cool completely before storing.
Transfer the cooled granola to an airtight container for long-term storage at room temperature.

Baked Oatmeal:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, or melted and cooled coconut oil, plus more for the baking dish

1 large egg
3 cups milk
1/4 cup sweetener, such as maple syrup, brown sugar, or coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
Optional mix-ins and toppings: chopped nuts, fresh, frozen or dried fruit, chocolate chips, toasted coconut
Lightly coat an 8x8-inch baking dish with melted butter or coconut oil; set aside.
Whisk the butter or coconut oil, egg, milk, sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in oats and any fruit or nut mix-ins.
Pour the oatmeal mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Remove the oatmeal from the refrigerator while the oven heats. Uncover and stir to redistribute the oats and milk.
Bake, uncovered, until puffed and the center is just set, about 45 minutes. Nuts can be sprinkled on top during the last 5 minutes of baking. Serve warm with desired toppings.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days. Reheat single servings in the the microwave with a little bit of milk.

Breakfast Burritos for the Freezer:
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
12 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
12 (10- to 12-inch) flour tortillas, at room temperature
Optional extras: salsa, cooked bacon, cooked sausage
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Prepare space in the freezer for a baking sheet.

Combine the potatoes, peppers, and onions together in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and toss to coat. Transfer to an even layer on a baking sheet and roast until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
While the veggies roast, whisk together the eggs, milk, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt until combined. Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet (cast iron or nonstick would be ideal) over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring occasionally, until mostly set but still moist, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Let the eggs and roasted vegetables cool while you set up an assembly station — the eggs and vegetables should be room temperature for best assembly. Tear off 12 squares of aluminum foil and parchment paper. Have your cheese and tortillas standing by. Place a tortilla on top of a parchment-lined foil square. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese onto the tortilla. Top the cheese with 1/4 cup roasted vegetables, followed by 2 heaping tablespoons of the scrambled eggs, and any extra toppings.
Roll the burrito tightly by folding the sides over the filling, then rolling from the bottom up.
Wrap the burrito tightly in the packet and repeat with filling and folding the remaining burritos.
Freeze the burritos in a single layer on a baking sheet — they'll freeze faster and more uniformly this way. Store frozen burritos in a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag for longer-term freezing.
To eat: unwrap from the foil and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until warmed through, or heat in a regular or toaster oven at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes.
Frozen burritos can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If your children are like my grandchildren, they won't want all those veggies in the burrito. They would just want eggs, cheese and bacon or sausage. That's ok too.