Monday, December 1, 2008

Shopping/Cooking Day #1

With Christmas fast approaching, things tend to get crazier than usual. With 2 in diapers, we're run pretty ragged as it is, so something's got to give. One thing that we're simplifying this year is meal prep. By having quick and easy meals at our fingertips, we'll be able to fit in the rest of the insanity that is our schedule for the rest of the month!

Today is shopping and and prep day. We took a chunk of time out to get some shopping done.

Walmart- bought 10 bags of veggies (free after coupon), 10 boxes of high fiber/protein pasta (50¢ per box after coupon), 8 boxes of potatoes (33¢ per box after coupon), 5lbs of ground beef ($6.32- $1.26 per lb), 6 bags of dried beans and lentils (99¢ each), flour, shortening, bread, milk, and eggs.

At Shaw's- 20lbs of chicken leg quarters (.49¢ per lb), 1 bag of dried hominy (not carried at Walmart), and a bottled water. I used a $10 off catalina, which, for some reason, took off $11.50??? I ended up paying.... 32¢!

So, the next step is to get it all processed. When we got home, 10 chicken legs went immediately into the stockpot, covered with water, seasoned with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning, and set to boil.

While that was working, I took the last bag of chicken stock out of the freezer and dumped it into the rice cooker with 3 cups of brown rice.

Then, I took the pinto beans that were in the crockpot soaking and set them on the stove to boil. I added some chili powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, onions, and garlic.

All of this took about 15 minutes, and in the meantime I threw a lasagna into the oven.

When the chicken was cooked, I pulled it out of the pot and let it cool. The stock went into several Pyrex measuring cups (I hate the way that fat clings to plastic, so I used the glassware!) and I pulled the meat off the bones and stuck it in the stock. The whole container then goes into the fridge overnight. I do this because the chicken is still a bit fatty when it first comes out of the stock, but an overnight stint in the fridge is plenty of time for the fat to rise to the top, where it will solidify and can be pulled out easily in the morning. The bones went into a freezer bag for now- I'll have more to add tomorrow!

The rice got bagged up and frozen, as well as half of the beans. The other half went into the fridge to be finished tomorrow.

I also made up two bags of three uncooked legs each. They're sitting merrily in the freezer now.

That leaves a total of 10 more legs to be cooked tomorrow. They are already in the stockpot in the fridge, ready for me to pop onto the stove in the morning.

All told, I think I took about an hour so far. I was also cleaning up the kitchen, unpacking the groceries, and had dinner in the midst of all that work! It has been a long day, but I'm proud of what got done so far!

On the agenda for tomorrow: Boil last batch of chicken, cook black beans and chickpeas, make a batch of biscuit mix, bag and freeze the whole lot, bake up some muffins and biscuits, and bag and freeze the ground beef. More on that tomorrow!

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