I read lots of articles on how to save money. I get sick of reading “stop going out to eat!” Uh, no crap. Maybe you could tell me something useful? Apparently common sense isn’t as common as we’d all hope, because lots of things I’d consider basic ways to save money (“Paint your own nails instead of getting manicures!”) make up entire articles on other sites. Not this site! I believe you all have brains of your own, and don’t need me to spell every little thing out for you. You’re welcome.
One idea I have read many places, whether it’s saving money or eating healthier, is batch cooking. Most articles referring to this suggest that you, for example, make two casseroles, eat one and freeze one. I think this idea is on the right track, but with a couple flaws. 1) I only have the freezer space available in my side-by-side. I don’t believe that buying a whole other freezer is worth the tiny amount I’d save by buying and freezing my own vegetables while they’re in season, not to mention the extra electricity it would take up. Plus think of the clutter! Uck! And what if the power went out and all that food got ruined? Forget it. It’s sounds like one more hassle I don’t need. 2) If I made 2 casseroles, don’t I now need 2 casserole dishes? At least? If I was doing that habitually I should either buy stock in Pyrex, or get a ton of those aluminum catering dish things. It sounds pretty wasteful and cluttery, again.
Obviously I wouldn’t be writing a blog post just to complain. Well, I would, but I’m not at the moment. I put all the clever little gears in my brain to work on the best way to do batch baking, and have I got a bitchin’ idea for all of you! (That’s your reward for fighting your way past my ranting. Give yourself a pat on the back!) Why should you cook just the same thing when batch cooking? My plan is to bake lots of basic elements that can be made into tons of meals. So we start off with veggies.
During this time of year, lots of veggies are in season, and therefore super cheap. I hate cutting vegetables, so I bought probably about 20 pounds of broccoli, zucchini (or courgettes, if you’re feeling fancy), cauliflower and other veggies that were around $0.88 per pound. I busted out my food processor, and let it chop them all to bits for me! Usually, I wouldn’t get it dirty just for that, but I was also baking my Tomato Glut Sauce the same night, and I knew it would be getting dirty regardless.
This is my oven with pans of veggies and sweet potatoes in it cooking. At the same time, I had the crock pot going with beans, and a pot of soup for dinner.
I’m calling these “beans noir” because they looked pure black and white in real life. This was a mix of black beans, northern beans, and black eyed peas.
All those little bitty chopped bits that always occur when you chop vegetables? Where can they go?
That’s right! In the soup! This is the chick that pioneered the almost free soup. Of course it’s going into soup! Plus, little bits of green stuff in soup make it look more appetizing, and like you did lots of work to make it. It’s all psychological, people.
I baked an oven full of veggies, an oven full of meat (mostly chicken), made a pot of soup, and a pot of beans in one night. The rest of the week, all I had to do was basically microwave food, and then eat it. The whole idea here is to minimize the amount of time I have to spend in the kitchen, and to heat up the kitchen only one day a week. I’ll post what I made with the batch cooking later this week. Noms!