40+ Dinners in an afternoon? Hack ya…

… But then I had to clean it up! lol

What am I talking about? Well, a couple of months back I was reading some blogs (you know how that can happen…) and clicked links from blog to blog, and ended up at this one blog. The author (and I really wish I could give credit, but I can’t find it again!) had posted a blog about how she prepped for her summer by filling her freezer with fabulous yummies so she could just go out and about enjoying summer with her kids without stressing about what to put on the table that night.

So I said to myself “Self? This is an AWESOME idea!” and I loved her suggestions for foods. I used many of them, and then added my own as well. She did hers (and again, I really wish I could give her a credit her and link to her blog. If I find it, I will write it up, promise!) in only 4 hours. Now, I am a good cook, but I thought there was no way in hell I could do that all in 4 hours. But decided to give it a whirl.

Those who know me and have been reading my blog know that I LOVE me some good bargains, so off Kevin and I went in search of good meat deals… On Memorial Day… The mother of all grilling days… And we found some!

Without further ado – here is what I did…

First off, prepping is KEY! If you need chopped onions, chop ALL your onions at the same time. Browned meat in several dishes? Do it all at once.

Make sure you have pots big enough – I was doing recipes times 3 and 4. I found myself having to move into bigger pots halfway through to accommodate all the ingredients – which made for more washing in between, which equals added time and effort.

Anyways – I decided to not make ENTIRE meals, but to make “meal starters” – things that can be added to little extras to make a finished product.

To start, I prepped by chopping up onions, green peppers and celery.

Prepped Veggies

Then, I set out to make all of my chicken. I had 24 split boneless skinless chicken breasts to simmer. I split that into 2 batches, covered with water, and added a rough chopped carrot, onion and celery, plus some whole black pepper corns and brought to a simmer. I simmered (DO NOT BOIL! This will make your chicken so tough! It will be ruined) for between 10 – 15 minutes. Be sure to check it frequently.

While the chicken was simmering, I took out my big frying pan, added 2 pounds of hamburger, a handful of each of my chopped veggies, and set that to browning.

Awesome Meat Mixture

Once browned, cool and store in quart sized zipper FREEZER bags. Trust me on this – after going through all of this work, use the freezer bags – splurge of the best brand – anything less will leave you sad and with freezer burned food stuffs later on! I made 2 cup portions. This can be pulled out later and made into sloppy joes, it can be added to plain spaghetti sauce, nachos, whatever!

Rinse, and repeat! This time, to the 2 pounds of ground beef  and the chopped veggies (after browning) I added 2 cups of salsa, a can of diced green chilis, 2 Tbls of Chili powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 2 cups of water, cumin, brown sugar, and garlic. (this was a recipe from the same site that I was inspired by) – she originally called it taco mix, but we loved it as a beanless chili!!!! so flippin good!

Incredible Bean-less Chili

Oh – snap! I forgot about all of the potatoes! After I put the chicken on the stove top, and while the first batch of meat was browning, I washed a TON of potatoes! and got them into a 350 degree oven to bake for an hour!

Carbs, anyone?

These will become some fabulous twice baked potatoes. Once they are done baking, take them out of the oven and set aside to cool until you can handle them… Then, cut them in half and scoop out the centers into a mixing bowl. Add melted butter, half and half, milk, cream cheese, chives, lots of salt and pepper, and mix it all together! I then put this mixture into a large piping bag, cut off the end and piped it back into the skins. After wrapping each half separately in plastic wrap, I put them into Gallon freezer bags.

OK… back to the chicken… Once it was cooked through, I pulled the chicken out of the water, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. While the chicken was cooling, I strained the liquid and cooled that. Once it was cooled enough, I separated it into 2 and 4 cup servings – these are the usual amounts of stock I use for different recipes. Then, I repeated the process with the remaining chicken breasts.

Once the chicken was cooled enough to handle, I brought out my trusty Kitchenaid, plopped in 4 breasts, covered the mixer with a cloth so I wouldn’t end up wearing shredded chicken and blended it for about 10 seconds – and there you have it – shredded chicken!

I shredded quite a bit of the chicken, cubing only about 1/4 of all I had. I froze the cubed chicken as is – in 2 cup portions. I also froze several portions of the shredded chicken plain. Then? I did something awesome!

I made some simple Buffalo sauce (a jar of Franks hot sauce simmered with 2 sticks of butter)

How to make Buffalo Sauce

After making the sauce, I added it to some of the shredded chicken, which I then split into 2 cup portions to be eaten on buns, added to pizza, made into buffalo chicken salad… and then I held some aside to make in to Calzones.

I then repeated the process with more shredded chicken and BBQ sauce.

(I have to thank the blogger who started this for me, as this is almost exactly what she did and blogged about. This is totally NOT an original idea!)

After this, I was exhausted, it was diner time, and I cleaned up so I could start with the soup, pulled pork and pasta sauce.

Come on back tomorrow for part 2 – the soups, pulled pork and sauce… recipes to be shared!!!!!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dhoik
    Jun 07, 2012 @ 16:54:17

    Wowsa, Marcella! You are the Queen! I worship at your counter.


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