Week #1: Cooking Plan

Well, I’m halfway into week 1 of cooking and have gotten… one thing done. But my excuse is that one of my kids didn’t start his first full day of school until today… and it’s much easier to get things done when I only have one child running around to tend to, who still naps.

But it occurred to me I haven’t actually posted yet about what it is that I’ll be making this week, so here goes:

  • Kishka-stuffed chicken
  • Cherry chicken puffs
  • Sauce for the cherry chicken puffs
  • Meat sauce for the spaghetti
  • Pot roast
  • Sweet & sour chicken
  • Squash kugel
  • Sweet potato pies
  • Sweet potato soup

I should probably explain a bit about my cooking plan methodology here (doesn’t that sound so academic?).  When cooking on a scale like this, efficiency is key — so I make all the food that uses chicken cutlets in the same week, for instance, over one or two days, so I can get everything at once (it’s cheaper that way, too). Or all the food that’s going to be frozen that uses soymilk, so I can use up most (or hopefully all) of the half-gallon soymilk container I purchased. (I know, I could drink it, but I’d much rather drink actual cow’s milk.) Or all the sweet potato recipes.  It’s a lot easier to prepare the food that way, too — I just keep peeling sweet potatoes until I’m done and then do what I like with them. Also, I generally look for recipes that look impressive but take no more than a half-hour to prepare when cooking on a normal scale (say, 4-8 people). My ideal preparation time is 15 minutes. Obviously, that time will increase when cooking for 20 people, but that’s precisely the point. I do have a few dishes that take significantly longer to make — the stuffed cabbage is one; the turducken will certainly be another — and I’d rather save my time to make those.  I don’t care how long a dish takes to cook — it could be in the oven for half a day and that’s fine; it’s the preparation time that really makes a difference this far in advance.

I also should probably note, since I’ll be posting some before-and-after pictures of various dishes, that I’m cooking for family, not foodies. I know the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but again — on this scale, efficiency is key. This especially makes a difference when selecting produce among foods that are more infested with bugs versus those that are not, or are easy to clean. Bug checking takes time, and until I have an arsenal of servants (or teenagers) to do it all for me, I’m going to go with the easy way out (and use the “wrong” kind of mushrooms, for instance), even if it means my food won’t quite make it into five-star cuisine territory.  I’m also not going to be concerned if not all portions of what I make are the same size, since I’m cooking for adults and children with very different appetites.

Anyway, expect a flurry of posts over the next three weeks as I get all the food that’s to be frozen done and stashed away. Are you getting hungry yet? 🙂