Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cooking Day Recap

The other day I posted about My Big Cooking Day, and I promised that I'd give you an update on how things went. I actually spent two days cooking - the first day I made my selections from Once a Month Mom's April 2010 menu, and the second day I made my selections from her March 2009 menu.

Day One
I started cooking around 9:30 AM. I had already thawed out my strawberries and spinach, and since I was only doing a portion of my menu, I didn't bother to bake my potatoes or chop veggies the night before. At 9:30, I popped the potatoes in the oven and then got started chopping all my veggies and ham for the day.All my chopped items, ready to go!

All my packaging supplies easily available for freezing.

Once I finished chopping, I prepared the Strawberry Bread, and baked the loaves once the potatoes were done baking. While the bread baked, I prepared the Sicilian Meatloaf and then assembled the Twice Baked Potatoes after flash freezing them for a bit.
Sicilian Meatloaf, packed and ready to freeze.

Flash-freezing my baked potatoes.

Prepared Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice-Baked Potatoes packaged and ready to freeze.

**Flash freezing**
This was a new term for me. It can be used to freeze produce items quickly and individual for later use, or it can be used for baked goods, which is what I did. I put the freshly baked items in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This cooled them quickly so that I could work with them and package them up sooner, saving me room on the counter. (Once my freezer got full, I wasn't able to do this anymore!)
Strawberry Bread, cooling on the counter.

Once I was done with the baking, I started my Southwestern Egg Roll, Ham & Cheese Quiche, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Buffalo Chicken Fajitas. The Cordon Bleu and Fajitas did not need any baking, I just put the raw ingredients together and packaged them up for future baking. Then I baked the Egg Rolls and the Quiche. (Now that I'm looking back at my notes, I don't think I was supposed to bake the Quiche - hopefully it will turn out okay!)
Preparing the Southwestern Egg Rolls

Chicken Cordon Bleu, assembled and ready to freeze.

I packaged up the Egg Rolls and the Strawberry Bread, cleaned my kitchen, and I was done for the day! Including my break for lunch, it took me about 6 hours total, since I finished up around 3:30 PM. It was a long day, and my legs and feet ached from standing for so long, but I felt great about it, and my freezer was well on it's way to being stocked!

Day Two
I started cooking around 9:00 AM. The night before I took out my raspberries and bread dough, and again I didn't bother to chop veggies the night before. I already had enough green onions and ham left over from yesterday, so I only ended up needing to chop an onion, which I completed very quickly. I popped the frozen spinach in the crock pot with some chicken broth for the soup, and got started on the rest of my cooking.

I cooked the meat and pasta for the Mexican Unstuffed Shells, and after setting them aside, I mixed and baked the Orange Spice Muffins. While they baked, I took out the dough for the Pizza Roll-Ups and let it rise. While the muffins baked, I made the Chocolate Chip Raspberry Pancakes (they were GOOD!) and flash froze them for later.
Muffins cooling on the counter, ready for packaging, and pancakes ready to freeze.

I then prepared the Mexican Unstuffed Shells and packaged them up and froze them. Then I prepared the Pizza Roll-Ups and baked them. I had so many mushrooms left from yesterday, I decided to use some of them in the Pizza Rolls. While the Pizza Rolls baked, I put the salmon fillets in marinade for the Firecracker Salmon, and prepared them for freezing. Then I put together the Farmer's Casserole, also including some of the mushrooms from yesterday. By then, the Pizza Rolls were ready to go into the freezer, as well as the pancakes and muffins. Finally, I put together the Spinach Tortellini Soup, and let it cool in the fridge until it was cool enough for freezing. I cleaned up the kitchen, and was done by 12:30! It was so nice to have everything done, and I spent the rest of the day relaxing.
Mexican Unstuffed Shells ready for freezing.

Preparing the Pizza Roll-Ups

Pizza Roll-Ups and sauce, ready for packaging.

Pizza Roll-Ups and sauce, ready to freeze.

Spinach Tortellini Soup, ready to package and cool for freezing.

Our freezer is SO full now! I put a list of meals and quantities on the fridge so that we will know what we have available to us. Each meal is labeled with what it is, and has serving instructions. Most of them just need to be thawed and popped in the oven. Each label tells how to prepare it, and what temperature to bake it at, so that it will be easy for Mike to take care of if I'm not able to do it myself. Now we just wait until the time comes to start using them!
Our freezer, full to the brim! (And yes, we fixed the crooked shelf - it works much better now!)


Amber George said...

Yummmm! Good for you. I do a smaller version of this one recipe at a rime - I just did a curried lentil stew that I now have four dinner portions of in the freezer. I also do spaghetti and meatballs, I end up with about 12-14 dinner portions of that when it's all said and done. It does save money, time and clean up!

Can't wait to see baby pictures!

Jessica said...

Looks yummy!! I'll have to check out that website. I want to do the same thing before my little girl comes in July :) said...

Wow! Great job! I love, love, love all of the pictures! It is so great seeing cooking days become a reality. Thank you for posting about your cooking day and telling others!

Alanna said...

Tricia, thank YOU for all the resources. And thanks for commenting! :)