Thursday, April 22, 2010
Cooking for a Crowd or the Freezer
Yesterday I shared a great recipe for BBQ pork loin made in the crock pot. That recipe feeds a crowd and/or the freezer. In fact, I didn't freeze any of that BBQ and we have been eating it for lunch all week. I love to cook in large batches and have several meals prepared ahead of time! It makes my life a lot easier. Today I'll share a couple of other tricks and recipes that will feed either a crowd or a freezer.
Monday, just after lunch, I browned two roasts in a little olive oil then placed them in my large stoneware cooker. Many times I use my slowcooker, but I was late getting started this day. I added one sliced onion, two minced cloves of garlic, several potatoes cut into large chunks and carrots. I added about 1/2 a cup of beef broth that I just happened to have left over in my fridge. Salt and black pepper were used liberally. I baked this in the oven, covered at 300 degrees for about 4 1/2 hours. I have cooked much larger roasts at 250 degrees for about 8 hours and they turn out wonderfully tender. My family ate one of the roasts and all of the veggies for dinner Monday night and I bagged the other roast with the pan drippings and put it in the freezer for another day. When I serve this frozen roast, I will simply thaw it out, put it in a baking dish and add about 2 cups of water. This will blend with the drippings to make a delicious sauce to serve over rice.
Yesterday I baked two whole chickens side by side in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. After washing the chickens I put a little olive oil over them then sprinkled with a mixture of black pepper, salt, crushed red pepper, tumeric, parsley and oregano. Really I was just pulling things out of the spice cabinet that looked as if they would work together. I then baked at 350 degrees for just under 2 hours. We ate most of one chicken and I bagged the other along with some pan drippings to freeze for another day. We served this with a rice dish that we have concocted and the huge can of green beans that I purchase from Sam's. We eat one can of these green beans each week! I cook them up for a couple of hours with a little chopped ham fat, salt and pepper. One son eats them by the bowlful!! They feed a crowd or my family for 2-3 meals.
Another crowd pleasing/ freezer filling recipe that is a staple at my house is spaghetti sauce. I used this recipe for years when I was in a freezer food co-op and we tripled it for that group. When I make it at home for my family I double it. A single recipe makes a lot, but I like to make even more! This recipe is from Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg.
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 12-can tomato paste
3 28-ounce cans Italian-style or plain crushed tomatoes in puree (I buy the big cans at Sam's)
2 cups water
4 teaspoons minced garlic
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley ( I use dried)
2 teaspoons salt
In a large pot, cook and stir the bulk Italian sausage with onions until the meat is brown; drain fat. Add remaining ingredients. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat. Partly cover, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Makes 12 cups of sauce. I then freeze 4 cups of sauce in gallon bags and lie flat on a cookie sheet placed in the freezer. When frozen I can stack them on top of each other and use my cookie sheet for cookies!!
For many more crowd-pleasing recipes check out the 4 Moms 35 Kids post at Raising Olives.