I mentioned recently that I got most of our December meal complete. Once I realized I planned risotto and chili twice in the remainder of the month, I decided to cook these in bulk. And I decided to make them ahead of time; not on the same evening we will eat them. I knew this would save time later by making the recipes just once each.
Yesterday was my cooking day.
I started around 1:15 pm in the afternoon. I was done with both recipes just before 3 pm! Well, I needed them to cool before storing them away in freezer and fridge. And I didn't have Parmesan cheese for the risotto, thus a run to the store on my way to pick up my daughter. So not ALL complete. But complete enough that I also had the dishwasher running and counters wiped clean.
The chili I made is a Five Bean Chili from Cooking Light. It is a bit time consuming with so many things to chop and multiple cans to open. We love the taste and it makes enough for several meals. If you make this, my main tip is to chop EVERYTHING before even turning on the stove top. This does freeze with no issues, other than you may need to add a little water or broth to thin out depending on your preference.
I also made a Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto. Apparently this is the fast version! I have made it twice and it really did cook up in 25 minutes as the recipe states. This time I even had frozen squash already cubed from the last time I made it. It still took just the same amount of time (well minus chopping the squash). So yummy! We are going to have ours with fish one of the times we eat it. Another time, it will be a meal by itself, with a side salad.
It really is satisfying to make food in bulk knowing it will be available for future meals. And it's so much better than anything processed from the store. And I would guess these will just as quick to prepare from frozen as take out or a microwave dish.
Do you prepare any meals in advance? Do you ever double a recipe and save half for another time? How do you save time in the kitchen?