Many of the items on our menu are prepared in advance – or at least some of the ingredients for the meals are. For example, I buy bulk packages of ground beef or pork and scramble fry it all. Then I package the cooked meat into small portions and freeze them.
I do the same for chicken – cook an entire 4 kg box of chicken breasts and then freeze them individually. Turkey and ham are roasted, sliced and then packaged and frozen.
This way I always have cooked meat available for sandwiches or to add to casseroles etc. The small packages allow me to adjust the meal size – thawing one, two or even three packages – depending on the menu item and how many children will be here for the meal.
Personally I don’t like reheated casseroles so I won’t make the whole meal ahead of time. I prepare the fresh vegetables and pasta or rice etc on the day the meal is to be served but having the meat already cooked saves a step in the process.
Some of the menu items are entirely prepared ahead of time. I make large batches of cookies, bars, and loaves which are also frozen until needed. Depending on the menu item the amount I prepare ahead of time may be enough to last from two to four months.
Usually I manage to arrange it so I don’t have to prepare more than one bulk batch each week but recently we ran out of several items at once. Consequently I spent this past weekend stocking up on supplies, frying packages of beef and pork, making four meat loaves, a huge batch of curry sauce, some trail mix cookies, and three loaves of pepperoni pizza bread.
It was a busy weekend and I could have used that extra hour from the time change. However, the freezer is well stocked and I’m looking forward to spending the week playing with the children instead of working in the kitchen.