It may be apparent after you read this post that somebody got a little bit wheat grinder happy this week, thoroughly enjoying a small portion of the 300 pounds of hard white wheat that had been delivered. (You can read all my posts involving grain and grinding grain here, in case you’re interested in reading about my grainy obsession.)
I couldn’t help myself. After being sick myself and taking care of a family of sickies for the past four weeks (that influenza stuff is a BEAR), to have energy again and healthy children with appetites is truly delightful. I’ve been spending extra time in the kitchen, trying to make up for lost time it would seem. I loved every minute of it.
Okay, maybe not the dirty dishes part.
Dirty dishes aside (and really – I shouldn’t complain about the blessing of having so many people to dirty up dishes at my house), I loved being able to bake and cook a little extra this week in order to have healthy convenience foods in my freezer. Two things occurred to me as I was participating in this mad flour grinding, recipe mixing up, dough kneading, cooking ahead extravaganza this week, and I would like to share them with you.
Here are two of the simplest ways I’ve found to get ahead in the kitchen:
1. Cook or bake just one extra thing each day, if at all possible. This might mean that you brown up several pounds of hamburger to have on hand for an easy casserole, tacos, sloppy joes, etc. Or it might be that you whip up some snacks to have on hand for the kids. Or maybe you could cook up some brown rice to have for simple meal prep the next day. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. But if you happen to be home and have a few extra moments during the day, utilize it for cooking up a little something extra to make for convenience on those days you barely have time to cook at all because you’re running around crazy-like.
2. If you’re mixing up one batch, you might as well mix up two (or three) batches. You’re already making a mess. You’re already getting out the needed ingredients. Why not double or triple up the recipe and make plenty of extra of whatever it is you’re making, then put the leftovers in the freezer for a busy day. I love doing this with Whole Wheat Waffles, Easy Lasagnas, Muffins…whatever freezes well and reheats easily.
Here are just a few pictures of the food items I made this week in my efforts to get ahead. Let me clarify something though: Not every week is this productive for me in the kitchen. I happened to be home most of the week without many outside engagements, allowing me to really focus on teaching my kids and working in the kitchen. Now I have several quick foods in the freezer to easily warm up on those days where we’re running to ball games and practices, or dentist appointments or any other event that makes it difficult to spend time cooking.
Whole Wheat Waffles (x2)
Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls (recipe found in Heavenly Homemaker’s Guide to Holiday Hospitality)
Banana Muffins (x2)
What did my kids do while I was doing this extra cooking? Most of the time, they were sitting in the kitchen with me, doing their school work. They also spent a fair amount of time playing with a huge box, shooting things, and eating the food I was making.
What did my dust and clutter do while I was doing all this extra cooking? Let’s not talk about it.