January 17, 2011

Batch baking for fun and awesomeness

January 17, 2011 - Categories: cooking

It takes just a little bit more time to make two pans of lasagna instead of one, and it works out to be slightly cheaper per serving, too. (90 minutes of preparation including making pasta sauce and cleaning up; < $2 dollars per serving for us.) Batch cooking is a great way to save time and money.

What can you do with two pans of lasagna? You can keep half a pan in the fridge, divide up the other half into individual portions, and share the other pan with family or friends. We took the second pan to Morgan and Cathy’s along with the potato-rosemary rolls I baked yesterday, and we had an excellent dinner. =)

Yesterday’s batch of potato-rosemary bread worked out really well. I formed them as individual rolls instead of a loaf. Loaves are more space-efficient, but rolls are easier to share and eat. It was satisfying to see the bread rise properly, especially as my Friday batch of pandesal didn’t rise at all. (I’m switching to a pandesal recipe that calls for proofing the yeast, as the recipe I’ve written down doesn’t have that step.)

I enjoy baking. It’s even more efficient when we’ve got several recipes lined up to use similar oven temperatures, because then the oven can keep on going. This is the first time I’ve done a double batch of lasagna, and I liked the flexibility of sharing or freezing the second pan. I think I’ll do that with future batches, too.

I’m planning to gradually clear the freezer of most of the raw ingredients we’ve stored so that we can make more room for individual portions. We like stocking up on frozen fruit, raw shrimp, and other ingredients when they’re on sale, but there’s something to be said about turning fresh ingredients into convenient frozen meals. Maybe someday we might get a bigger chest freezer. We’re certainly making the most of ours!

Here are some of our freezer favourites.

Oven Stove
  • Lasagna
  • Baked beans
  • Roast turkey
  • Roast vegetables
  • Roast chicken
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Meatballs
  • Turkey pot pie / chicken pot pie
  • Shake-and-bake chicken
  • Chili
  • Curry
  • Rice and beans
  • Pinakbet
  • Adobo
  • Pasta sauce

Do you cook in batches and freeze individual portions? What are your favourites?

Sketchnotes: Gretchen Rubin, Happiness Project book tour

January 17, 2011 - Categories: happy, sketches, sketchnotes

Full-size version of my sketch notes from Gretchen Rubin’s talk and book signing of the Happiness Project, Chapters Indigo Bay/Bloor Toronto, January 17. (You can also click on the image for the large version.)

sketchnotes-gretchen-rubin-happiness[1]