Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Day in the Kitchen

Really.  A whole ding-dong day in the kitchen.  That's what I did yesterday.  But it was worth it.

I've been thinking (ouch) and planning ahead to the coming busy season when my kitchen is frequently without a cook.  Getting the freezer stocked and as much food preparation done ahead of time is my current agenda.  I was able to cross quite a few items off my list of same yesterday and felt like I'd accomplished a lot.


Started the day with a double batch of spaghetti sauce.  (My stove top always gets a good cleaning when I make this sauce.  I simply can NOT make it without splattering sauce every which way 'til Sunday.)  I put meat in my sauce but usually also have meat balls (still on the list to do) in the freezer to add for that man I live with who needs more meat protein than I do.


Having pre-made burgers all ready for the pan is always a quick, easy meal for me.  (Blurry pic, I know, must not have had my glasses on.  Looks a lot like the spaghetti sauce, doesn't it, except blurrier.)


I mix seasonings in with the ground beef before forming it into patties and wrapping for the freezer.  I add prepared mustard, catsup, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, bread crumbs, onions and an egg for each pound of meat.


It's not homegrown pork (we're trying to simplify here, folks) but I've found a pork sausage mix in one pound packages at our co-op in town that we both really like.  I divide the pound into six pieces, form the pieces into patties and freeze in that form.


I made a batch of Italian bread and formed it into four small loaves.  They're wrapped and stored in the freezer and are wonderful for Garlic Cheese Bread.  Each little loaf is just right for two people to share.


Traditionally I bake sugar cookies at Easter.  In the shape of eggs 'cause they're so much easier to decorate than rabbits.  (My mama didn't raise no dummies.)


Mixed up the frosting and have it waiting in the fridge to tint pastel colors but won't decorate the cookies until Saturday.


These Chicken Squares are delicious and something a little special when having company.  The filling is chopped chicken, cream cheese and some veggies of your choice.


I serve them with Chicken Gravy so I made a big pan of it using some of our chicken bone broth.

The above took me until about 6 o'clock last night with three meals squeezed in there somewhere.

Why is it at the end of a day like this in the kitchen, I feel as if I'd done hard physical labor outside?  Awww, must just be my imagination.  Everyone knows being a homemaker and cooking from scratch is a snap.  (Cough-choke-gasp-chortle-snort.)

It's totally worth it though, and I wouldn't trade my job (or very soiled apron) for any other.

28 comments:

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I'm tired already, and I only just read about what you did!! I do like to buy ground beef in bulk and make up a whole slew of burgers to freeze in the summer time. -Jenn

Lisa said...

Am with coffeeontheporchwithme above here!! Having said that..... LOVE seeing your food prep/organization posts like this and always learn something new. 'Fast Food' at its best! Have a good weekend Mama Pea! :)

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - I had another day almost like this one yesterday . . . but not quite. Seeing food put by with ready access gives me the oompf to keep at it!

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Thank you for the encouraging words because I almost didn't put up this post fearing it was way too boring. Keep it up . . . and you'll be sorry!! ;o)

Katie C. said...

Good job! I freeze ground beef in 1/4 pound patties so I can use them for burgers or a recipe where I know the weight that I need. I also learned a trick from Budget Bytes where I make a compound butter, spread it on Italian bread slices, flash freeze on a sheet pan and put in a zip lock. You then just take out the number of slices you want and pop them in the oven. Easy, peasy. Looks like you could easily make meatball subs too.

Mama Pea said...

Katie C. - Thank you, thank you! I'm definitely going to steal your idea of flash freezing prepared slices of Italian bread all set and ready for a tasty side to a bowl of soup! My daughter will love that I have the availability of same because ever since childhood she's always chosen a slice of homemade bread over a cookie given the choice. Thanks, again.

Kristina said...

I'm in the process of restocking my freezer too, but I cannot locate organic pork anywhere (for meatballs). I found a new meat sauce recipe to freeze too, and hope to try it out soon. Your stock-age looks wonderful.

Tricky Wolf said...

Well if it's any consolation your days labour seems to have really paid off, it all looks delicious!

Sherry said...

I prepare like this also. It is just hubby and me so doing a full batch of something then freezing it for 2 really helps us out. I love your blog. Thank you, for it.

wisps of words said...

Wonderful accomplishment!!! Yesssss!

Never heard of your Chicken Squares, but they sound wonderful. Very different. Interesting.

Happy Easter Weekend!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - I've never used pork (mixed with beef) in my meat balls . . . but I wonder why! I know many recipes call for some pork. Our organic co-op has not only the seasoned breakfast pork sausage we like, but pound packages of plain pork. Wish I could send some to you through the Ethernet!

Mama Pea said...

Tricky Wolf - My day's labor paid off in a big way as far as I'm concerned. Nuthin' like having a good stash of "convenience food" put by!

Welcome and thanks for commenting!

Mama Pea said...

Sherry Miller - Just the two of us here (most of the time), too, so when I make a casserole, for instance, I put it in two smaller dishes. We usually get two meals from each smaller dish and we love leftovers so that works fine.

Thank you for your very kind words. Happy Easter Weekend!

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - Sometimes I can spend the whole day at home work, work, working away and not feel like I got much accomplished. Then there are days (thank heavens!) like written about here when I feel very much got accomplished and that it was very much worth the effort!

Happy Easter to you, too!

Vera said...

What a fantastic effort, which you will appreciate in the busy season ahead!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog and find you so inspiring. Do you cook your burgers from frozen or defrost first? I need to start organising myself as I have chronic pain from arthritis in the spine and am really needing to get more organised. Love cooking but it is becoming a big issue for me and my hubby just loves home made food, as do I. Thanks for posting this. It's put me on a mission. xx

Leigh said...

I admire this. Seriously, you've broken it down to a nice set of basics that seem more doable than some of the other plans I've seen. The homesteading lifestyle makes it hard to have a lot of consistent time to spend in the kitchen, because there is so much to do outside. Have some home cooked ready made meals is a great idea!

Rain said...

I wouldn't trade my soiled apron for anything else either!!! :) Your food looks SO DARN GOOD...great idea about the burgers. We have burgers a few times a month, I should try to prep some in advance. Your bread looks great too! Have a great time with Chicken Mama and the gang tomorrow!!! xx

Mama Pea said...

Thanks, Vera. I think this year I may just be "on top" of it when I'm outside all day, but then we're hungrier than a bear for good food, too. :o)

Mama Pea said...

Anonymous - Thank you so much for your very kind words! Ouch, so sorry to hear of the arthritis in your spine. How debilitating! That must mean you have to take advantage of the times you are pain-free enough to work in the kitchen and try to stock up. It must be very hard for you, but try to remember that good nutrition is so, so important to your whole body so it's something to strive for. Wish I lived close enough to help!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - As I'm sure you realize, we homemakers/homesteaders have to make our own "convenience" foods to have on hand. Whatever we can figure out to do toward that end surely does help!

Thanks for your kind words.

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Don't know if you have much freezer space presently, but having burgers made up along with a bunch of other things sure does help me out! I love to bake bread, but the next challenge is to learn to make sourdough bread which is supposed to be so much better for us.

Happy Easter to you, Alex and all the critters.

Anonymous said...

SMART WOMAN!! And yes, homemaking is a real job, a intense and hard job. It's harder than any professional job I had but its much more rewarding. Besides, I like who I work with!!! :-) -M

DDD said...

Great post. My former boss said that I like to watch people work(I think she meant I was lazy). Well I enjoy watching you work, your great organizational skill, and assembly line. Love your neatly packed hamburgers. Appearance is everything!!! I did put twelve bags in the freezer today and I am happy. Thanks for the inspiration.

MamaHen said...

Wow, you have encouraged me this morning to get busy! I do have a question, when you are making up your hamburger patties, why do you add an egg? I've been at this homemaking thing for quite awhile, but this is new to me? And I learned something from the comments also (about the butter spread on the individual bread pieces) Yay!

Mama Pea said...

M - Hear, hear and right on!!

Mama Pea said...

DDD - Don't know how much of an inspiration I can claim to be, but I do know *I* need some of it now and then! Glad I could help.

Mama Pea said...

MamaHen - I add an egg to make a little bit of "binder" so the pattie holds together better and for the added nutrition. I'm sure you could leave it out if you wanted. :o) When the burger is cooked, there's no noticeable evidence of it to be seen or tasted.