Allergy friendly eating can be expensive or time consuming– often both! If we want prepared foods, we often have to turn to expensive specialty brands. But cooking from scratch can eat up a huge chunk of your day, and by the time you buy all of the ingredients you need, you may end up paying nearly as much!
I have a bad habit of buying foods that look appealing in the grocery store, but not being in the mood to make the meals when supper rolls around. My fresh foods go to waste and we end up eating processed convenience foods. I have vowed to myself over and over to stop eating this junk, but I always go back to it because it’s so much easier.
My son started Kindergarten last month, and his school schedule has forced me to get more organized. Also, with only one kid at home during the day, I have time to get a little more done. On Wednesdays, I go to Bible study across the street from Trader Joes (If you’ve never heard of it– it’s an affordable grocery store with lots of great produce, organic, and allergy friendly foods). After the study, my daughter and I grab our shopping bags from the car (Seattle has gone bagless!) and do our shopping for the week. I go in with three specific meals in mind to shop for, then on Thursday, I spend the day baking and cooking. I make a double batch of each meal, put one in the fridge and the other in the freezer.
Last week, I made:
– “My Favourite Veggies” Soup (My very first food creation– a tomato based turkey vegetable soup)
– Creamy chicken broccoli casserole.
Today I bought the ingredients for a sweet potato casserole, chicken pot pie, and spaghetti sauce. We will eat those meals this week, and pull others from the freezer as needed.
I’m not sure if this is actually saving me time in cooking, but having to wash pots and pans once a week instead of seven times? Well, that makes it worth it right there! I love to cook, but I dread the clean up so much that I often forgo the whole process. Instead of ending up with dishes everywhere, I am forced to do my dishes as I go, because I don’t have enough pots to do that much cooking all at once.
I know I am saving money, because I buy what I need, and I use it the next day. My food waste bin is much emptier this week than it has been in the past. Nothing feels worse than throwing out healthy food while you eat junk!
This is only my second week of bulk cooking this time around. I am sure that with practice, my technique will improve. Last week I cut up all of the onions I needed for all three recipes and cooked them together. My eyes were pretty watery by the end of four onions, but I saved some cooking time and only had to wash the pan once. I know I could save more time by making similar foods all on the same day, but I want some variety since I’ll be eating all three meals in a row.
Have you tried bulk cooking? How did it work for you? What’s your favourite meal to make and freeze?