! A couple notes first, I do eat meat, I do eat grains and I do eat dairy. These meal ideas do not fit every persons diet style! I also cook for 6 people who all have adult appetites.
About a week ago, I stumbled upon a blog from a woman who does meals in bulk by prepping everything, putting it in freezer bags and then using the crockpot to reheat the meal. While I liked her idea, she used a lot of canned foods to build her meals and I don’t. But, it got me thinking, and I came up with the idea of cooking four meals at once to put in the fridge for the week. My goal was to create different dishes using as many of the same ingredients as I could to minimize my time in the kitchen.
I ran out of meat from the local farm, so I had purchased some organic meat from Costco. This is not something I do regularly as I prefer local meat. This drove up the cost of my meals. Nonetheless, I bought the organic ground beef which comes in three sections of 1.3 lbs. I also bought a package of organic chicken breasts which came in three sections of 2 to 3 breasts per pouch. I think I ended up with 7 chicken breasts. A couple of them were pretty small.
- I began by cooking six cups of brown rice (six cups of water, three cups of rice). While it was simmering, I continued with the other steps.
- I cooked all of the ground beef in one pot (almost 4lbs). I diced up the chicken and cooked it in olive oil in a different frying pan. I separated the beef for two meals and the chicken for two meals. Set them aside.
- While I was cooking the meat, I also made a huge batch of cream of chicken soup. I made a roux using 4 tblsp olive oil and 4 tblsp of flour, then I added 8 cups of milk, some garlic powder, onion powder and a little salt. I added two heaping spoonfuls of organic chicken base. I heated to thicken the soup, but I had to add a little cold water mixed with corn starch to thicken it more. When it was finished, I took about two cups of the soup out for one meal, then I separated the rest into two. I needed this soup for three of my meals.
- Next, I diced two onions and half a celery bunch and sauted them. Then added diced carrots. When this mixture was tender, I took about a third of it out and set it aside. To the remaining veggie mix, I added diced bell peppers and zucchini. When it was finished I split this in half.
Meal One: Beef Stroganoff
I took half of the browned ground beef and added it to one of the two larger portions of the cream of chicken soup. To this mixture I added Worcestershire sauce (not gmo free), four ounces of Organic Valley sour cream and some salt and pepper. I placed it in a covered container in the fridge. On meal night, I reheated this mixture while I cooked noodles. Mix together and serve with a salad.
Meal Two: Beef, Veggie, Rice Casserole
Mix one portion of the veggie mix (onion, celery, bell pepper and zucchini) with the rest of the ground beef, and stir in the rice. I actually ended up with too much rice. Four or five cups would have been better. Mix it all together, add salt, pepper, organic tamari and place it all in a 9 by 13 inch pan. Put it in the fridge. On meal night, take the whole 9 by 13 and bake it for 30 or 40 minutes at 375 or until hot.
Meal Three: Chicken Pot Pie
Take half the cooked, diced chicken and mix it with the veggie mix (onion, celery, bell pepper and zucchini). Stir in the two cups of reserved cream of chicken soup. Put it in a 9 by 13. On meal night, place the pan in the oven at 425 for 10 minutes. While it is in the oven, mix together some drop biscuit dough. Mix 4 cups flour, 4 tablespoons baking powder, 2 tsp. salt. add 1/2 cup organic shortening and mix well. Then add 2 cups of milk, stir to moisten. Take the chicken mixture out of the oven, drop the biscuit dough by spoonfuls onto the top of it and put it back in the oven at 425 for 12 minutes. Spread the dough mix across the top as thin as you can, I had it a bit thick in the middle and the biscuit was doughy. The kids loved the doughy part.
Meal Four: Lemon Chicken over Israeli Couscous
Add some lemon juice to the remaining chicken soup, stir in the bell pepper and zucchini mixture, add the remaining diced chicken. Stir and place in a covered bowl in the fridge. On meal night, put the chicken mixture in a pan on the stove to heat while you cook the couscous. I toasted 2 cups of couscous in a pot with olive oil, then added 4 cups of organic vegetable broth. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Then serve the chicken mixture over a bed of Israeli couscous. This was the favorite of the week!
The end result was that I spent no more than 10 or 15 minutes in the kitchen during the week. All of the meals were home cooked and with the exception of the Worcestershire sauce, all of it was GMO free. I am going to brainstorm some other combination meals that use similar ingredients and do this again. Only this time, I will make it out to the farm first!