2.16.2008

Cooking in Bulk, part 1

They're everywhere - those cookbooks that tell you how to cook many meals at once, storing them in the freezer, so you're ready to roll when it comes time to serve up a delicious and nutritious dinner. The super-organized part of me loves this idea. The lazy, slacker part of me thinks she'd rather do something else with that prep time.

But lately, courtesy of my dork jeans, I've begun to perform Inadvertent Bulk Cooking (IBC).

It was a cold and snowy night. A soup night, if ever there was one. I decided to prepare a big pot of Chicken Enchilada Soup, a family favorite around here.

While I do make a lot of meals from scratch, this is one where I use a Homemade Gourmet mix. We can have piping hot, yummy soup in about half an hour. For those of you who aren't familiar with HG, some of their products come in a "pantry staple." That means a container with enough of the mix to make multiple batches. It's economic and efficient. We like that in our food . . . or food mixes.

So . . . back to the soup. I had already poured the tomatoes, milk, and water into a big pot. It was time to add the soup mix. I opened my pantry staple package. Seven tablespoons were to go into the pot; the remainder in the storage container. Small problem. I was talking on the phone (with my handy-dandy headset), and inadvertently dumped the ENTIRE PACKAGE of soup mix into the pan!!!!

Side note: there's enough mix in one of those pantry staples to make SEVEN BATCHES OF SOUP! Not just a "small, might-feed-four-people" batch of soup. A nice, big batch of soup.

Since scooping dry soup mix back out of a pot of tomatoes, milk, and water wasn't viable - particularly because I had NO idea how I'd be able to tell if I had left just 7 tablespoons in there . . . and it was mostly wet at this point anyway . . . I decided I'd have to fix ALL SEVEN BATCHES!

Only problem? I didn't have a pot big enough to handle seven large batches of soup (hmm, the bathtub might've been accomodating). Nor enough tomatoes . . . or milk. I did have enough water. Small consolation.

Okay, I did some quick calculations and decided to make condensed soup. With the calculator in the other room, the math didn't work so well with sevens, so I changed it to six batches. I added some more water, tomatoes and/or tomato sauce and/or tomato paste, and brought it to a boil. Then I carefully measured it out into six containers. One went back into the potn, along with some cooked chicken to become our tasty dinner. The other five cooled, were poured into freezer bags, and frozen - nice & flat so they store well. I also wrote appropriate instructions for what else would be added at a future cooking time. You know, in the off-chance that I couldn't remember the specific modified recipe information.

There we go - five batches of condensed chicken enchilada soup in my freezer, ready and willing to go, when called upon for a cold and snowy night's dinner. IBC meal #1.

4 comments:

Malia Russell said...

Nicely done! Great way to salvage your dinner and all those ingredients! I am inspired.
Malia Russell
www.homemaking911.com

Anonymous said...

Golly - You could have invited us over for supper!!! tee hee!
Love,
Mom
Good thinking, though...

SandyHills Momma said...

Oh, Good Job!!

Most of my bulk cooking is from some "oops" I have pulled. Enchilada soup is definitely a staple around our house! I will be checking this mix out!

Heather said...

Love the recipe card. :) Too cute.

ROFLOL on the blue camera settings! Been there, done that. I think we all have those moments. Did you see Dawn's post where she explains what ESO means? You gotta go see it.

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