Say you are a busy family…well, aren’t we all, but say both parents or a single parent is busy trying to make a living and cooking from scratch is an exhausting prospect. Or there is a homemaker in the house all week but cooking all the time is not fun for this person. What to do, what to do?
I do enjoy cooking and I have committed to scratch cooking for several reasons. One is that the premade, packaged food out there is loaded with sugar, fat, and chemicals. The food being sold in the stores is making us sick and fat. The other reasons are creativity, creating a home, and love for my family.
When we cook from scratch we make sure the food is clean and healthy. We get creative and a day in the kitchen can actually be very therapeutic when done right (coffee and music). It is also an expression of care and love when we make food for our family. We remember with fondness and warmth how our grandmothers rolled out tortillas or made homemade donuts. We remember our mothers baking or food simmering on the stove, coming home from school or playing outside and smelling delicious food wafting through the house. If these are not your memories than it’s even more important to make those memories for yourself and your family now.
It’s not as hard as you think. We are not talking 7-course meals or 3 squares every day. Here is a way that I cook for my family when I’m busy or a bit burn out on the daily cooking.
You can take one morning to cook in bulk. Some foods are not good reheated or made into leftovers, I agree with that. However, some foods taste better each day that they are reheated. The flavors get deeper and richer.
We are plant based but I’ll do this for meat eaters and plant-based alike.
- Pick a day weekly that works. For the worker bees, it could be Saturdays or Sundays. Get up early and put on a pot of tea or coffee and some good music. Start with a clean kitchen. Make sure you have all your supplies.
- Bake one or two chickens (season the birds), steam a big pot of rice, cook a huge pot of beans, and make a big, fresh salad.
- Make a couple loaves of bread and some muffins.
- If you eat eggs you can make a couple batches of omelets in a cup. Just use muffin tins and mix eggs with whatever you like as far as veggies, cheese, and seasoning then bake. Store in a Tupperware container and nuke in the mornings.
- Have lots of fruit. We have a big basket on the counter and tons of apples in the frig.
- Have plenty of smoothie supplies. I buy piles of bananas and freeze them as they turn spotted. There are almond milk and greens in the frig and I blend them daily.
- Make a big batch of potato salad to store in the frig.
- Have a big package of large tortillas always. Or make a big batch of the tortilla dough and store in frig.
- Always have avocados and tomatoes ripening on the counter.
- Have plenty of seasonings, herbs, spices, and sauces.
- Have a well-stocked pantry
You spend the morning cooking, simmering, and baking for a few hours and then you store it all in a clean frig and some of it in the freezer. You now have toast, muffins, or egg muffins in the morning that can be toasted or nuked. You have rice, beans, and chicken to make burritos, casseroles, soups, or just eat plates of with added salad. You have fruit and avocados to add to the dishes. Potatoe salad for a quick and filling snack.
You can also make casseroles, lasagna’s, and enchiladas in mass to freeze. I would make lasagna for dinner but triple the batch and freeze the other two. that is a great way to build up your back up dishes. Make a huge pot of chicken soup and freeze most of it. Make extra of any casserole and freeze the surplus. Make a big batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze.
When I bake I do muffins, tortilla dough, bread, even a cake all at the same time. I can freeze it all. Maybe not the tortilla dough.
A big batch of salad well stored with last a few days to four days. I detest making salads daily. You can also cut up tons of veggies such as carrots, celery, jicama for snacking and dishes.
Some foods store well like potato and macaroni salad. Beans taste better each day that they are simmered and some soups get richer with each reheat.
Think about what foods the family enjoys and that will taste good reheated and made into all sorts of mix and matches.
You can even make things like granola bars for the weeks’ lunches. I always have raisins, nuts, peanut butter and jelly on hand. Along with olives, crackers, and seeds.
Sit down and make a list of favorite foods and what ingredients you need. Stock up the pantries and then get cookin’.