The Big Cook commences

7:30am

Got plenty of sleep, got dressed in comfy houseworky clothes, and put the soaked pinto beans on to boil. It’s time for my first real once-a-month cooking (OAMC) effort, and I think it will be fun. I chose some really easy recipes for things that my family loves, so it shouldn’t really be much more work than getting a big meal on the table. I’ll let you know.

I’ll check in a few times, if I can. I’ll use a jump tag (if I can figure it out) so that this post doesn’t completely eat the homepage.

The dishes:

Bean burritos
Chicken potstickers
Potato soup
Twice-baked potatoes
Corn fritter mix

The prep:

Chop onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, scallions, potatoes (for soup), bacon
Wash and bake potatoes (for twice-baked)
Cook bacon with onions
Debone chicken thighs
Grind or finely chop chicken
Grate ginger
Mix up salsa

Have a wonderful Saturday, folks. I’ll be over on Twitter goofing off from time to time.

—–

12:15pm

Taking a break. I threw together a pot of kimchi soup for our lunch (this one’s just a bottle of clamato, some water, some kimchi, and some fish balls), and now I’m going to go stand in cold water for a while. It’s not hot out, but with all the cooking and baking, I’m SO HOT.

Done so far:

Baked/filled/baked the twice-baked potatoes; they need to cool and be put away.
Made the salsa
Made 6 quarts of refried beans (keeping warm until time to make the burritos)
Made about 2 gallons of potato soup (still cooking)
Prepped everything but the chicken for the potstickers
Put all the veggie scraps in the freezer for future stock

Still to do:

Prep chicken for potstickers
Bake remaining chicken for lunchmeat and save skin for schmaltz
Assemble and freeze potstickers
Freeze soup
Assemble and freeze burritos
Cool and freeze potatoes
Bag up fritter mix and write instructions on bags

—–

5pm

Most stuff is done, though I’ll have to wait a bit to put the burritos in the freezer (they’re in the fridge now) because there’s a tray of potstickers in there waiting to freeze solidly enough to put into bags.

Because I shopped at Costco the other day, I had more food than I needed for the planned five items, so I ended up with more than I planned, and it’s still all going to fit in my little freezer, yay! Okay, not all, but some will be fine in the fridge for a day or two.

Here’s what I ended up with, not counting the fritter mix, which I’ll make soon:

27 bean burritos
8 quarts potato soup
29 twice-baked potato halves (I made 15 large potatoes; one half broke)
Around 100 potstickers (I’ll count them after I put them in bags and update this number)
4 quarter-pound burgers made from the leftover potsticker meat
8 or 9 baked chicken thighs
4 or so frozen plain chicken thighs
a bag each of skin/fat for schmaltz, veggie scraps for stock, and chicken bones for stock
2 quarts of really good refried beans
A quart of leftover kimchi soup

Tomorrow, I’ll post an accounting of how much it cost. In terms of work, because I sat for all the prep, and didn’t put any time pressure on myself, it cost me around nine hours of easy work.

Next time, I’ll do one thing differently: I’ll prep everything, put it in the fridge, and then make each dish one at a time, because doing several dishes at once means things sit out cooling for longer than I’m comfortable with. (Not too long for safety, but I have issues.)

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2 thoughts on “The Big Cook commences”

  1. Wow. That is amazing, Serene. I cook for the week most weekends, and I’ve never attempted so much at once. It does build up though. We are about to go away travelling for 5 weeks, and we’ve been running down the fridge and freezer. We haven’t had to do any grocery shopping (apart from salad and milk, really) for nearly three weeks and there are still meals in the freezer!
    I would really like the bean burrito recipe. They’d go down well with my crowd.

    1. Thanks, Emma. For the burritos, I used 27 flour tortillas and filled them with:

      * a handful of shredded cheese
      * refried beans (see below)
      * a little fresh salsa

      Refried beans

      Soak 6 cups of pinto beans overnight in plenty of water (you can skip the soaking step, but they’ll take longer to cook, and I prefer the texture when they’re soaked). In the morning, pour out the soaking water and put the beans in a very large pot (6 quarts or more) and just barely cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for an hour or two, until they’re tender, adding a little hot water from time to time if necessary. Once the beans are tender, I pour off most of the extra liquid, then mash the beans with some kind of fat (you can skip this, but butter or lard or bacon grease or oil), salt and pepper to taste, sauteed onions, and lots of garlic (fresh or powdered).

      Fresh Salsa

      I just finely chop tomatoes and onions and add a little salt and a generous amount of minced garlic and hot sauce. Sometimes, I add cilantro. For this batch, I used maybe 3 or 4 pounds of tomatoes, a large onion, about 6 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup Louisiana hot sauce.

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