Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: DC area
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I am a personal chef, and here's what I do: start doubling meals and freezing them. Start with easy stuff--chili, spaghetti sauce, whatever you can handle. If you're making a casserole one day, double the ingredients, layer one (in a foil pan if you don't have enough dishes!) and freeze, or better yet, divide one recipe into 2 8x8 or 9x9 pans--you'll have plenty for fresh casserole twice if you have a family of four with younger children. Freeze soups and sauces flat in Ziplock freezer bags to maximize freezer space, or invest in a small deep freezer (even 7 cu. feet will help).
Don't use your freezer meals unless you have to get dinner on the table quickly. At first, you'll only have a few things, but with time, you'll build up an impressive frozen pantry of meals ready to go that only need thawing.
Learn how to make two (or more) dishes at once. Start something in your Crock Pot on Saturday, then put a meatloaf in the oven, then prepare the dinner you're going to have that night on the stove. Voila! Three meals for the week in ONE afternoon. You can freeze whatever's in the CrockPot and thaw it out Thursday for quick dinner.
Good luck ladies--the art of cooking is lost in this country, which is why I run a successful business!
Editing to reply to mom2reitmans: most food in restaurants is NOT cooked start to finish while you wait. Nearly everything is in some stage of prep, be it already washed and chopped veggies/salads, long-simmered sauces, pre-sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes sitting on a steam table, pre-baked potatoes/bread sitting in a warmer. Even pastas are par-cooked, drained, and given a hot bath to rejuvinate per plate. Only the finishing touches, the things that cannot be completed without an order (like grilling your steak to med-rare or however you like it) are done after you order. I agree that simpler is better, but it's kind of a misleading analogy and sets the average non-chef up for failure at home.
Everyone has mentioned how wonderful crockpots are. Are they mainly for preparing meat dishes or can you make good veggie meals in them?
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