Monday, June 1, 2009

Bulk it up baby!

I like to cook a bigger batch of stuff and freeze part for later. I have 2 tools that help me with this. I love my vacuum sealer. I can make a big batch of whatever and portion up single serving sizes and vacuum them and toss them in the freezer. They can go right into the microwave or boiling water in the vacuumed pouch.

My foodsaver was about 15 years old. It packed it in when I got home from FL. I wasn't going to replace it. I mean I could use Tupperware or something. I rethought that and got one at Sam's. Yes, it was about $100. No, I couldn't really afford it. It helps me so much on my weight loss journey though, I figured I was worth it. I take things to work that I've vacuumed and just pop them into the microwave. I've always got a meal or two in the freezer for those days I just don't want to cook. It helps me. The new one has a bag cutter on it which I love. It even stores the roll of bag stuff right inside. A great improvement! If it lasts as long as the other one, it's worth the price for sure!

The other thing I use are my online tools. I've had them before with WW and never used them. Man was I stupid!!! It's so easy to make a recipe and know how many points it is with the recipe builder. Before I'd sit there with pen and paper and my slider and figure points for every single thing in my recipe and then divide....this is awesome. Type in the ingredient and it does all the work for me. It's also where I learned about WW math! I learned that a whole bunch of 0 point veggies do NOT equal 0. More about that later!

So, one of the things I do often is cook a HUGE pot of brown rice. It takes about an hour to cook brown rice, so if I've not really planned ahead for dinner and wanted brown rice, but only had half an hour prep time....I was screwed. Now I cook a big pot and freeze it. It freezes very well I was thrilled to find. So here you see a huge pot of brown rice cooking away.

After it's done, I measure out 1 cup portions and let them cool on parchment paper. I also do a few 1/2 cup servings.

This night I fixed a lovely curry to go with the brown rice. Made extra of course and vacuumed the extra. Here you see my method. I flatten it out so it fits nicely in the freezer and I write on the package what it is and how many points it is. If I don't write on it, I'll forget what it is, what size portion I have in there etc. My sharpie is my friend!

A close up. OK, that curry was good and now I'm hungry! I'd forgotten it was in the freezer! I also keep a list of what's in the freezer for just that reason! As I take something out, I cross it off the list.

I wanted muffins. I invented a recipe with the help of my online tools recipe builder. I used lots of grated zucchini and pumpkin and just lots of stuff. I wanted a serving to equal 1 point so I kept adjusting the serving size until that happened. Three of my mini muffins equal 1 point. A nice treat with my coffee.

Here they are all baked and ready to tip out of the pan. They came out nicely I must admit. I love my pampered chef mini muffin tin!

Here they are cooling. When they were totally cool, I put them in a square Tupperware container. I put a layer of waxed paper down and lined up the little muffins. Lay another layer of wax paper on top of those and then seal the container and freeze. I can take out 3 at a time that way. Always got them if I want them. Yum!

Those of you that know me, know I pretty much hate all veggies. They're semi OK to gag down if they're roasted though. It takes a long time to roast them the way I like them. Plus you have to do all the chopping, dicing, and clean up. So, again, I did it in bulk the other day. This is the stuff I roasted. Well, not the spinach, that was for the weight watcher creamy spinach pasta I made that night. It sucked by the way. I also chopped up an onion in the mix and you don't see that in the picture.

After they were all chopped, I put them in my big bowl and tossed with 4 tablespoons of olive oil...some sea salt, pepper, and parsley.

I spread them on my half sheet pan and roasted at 450 degrees for a really long time. They say 20 minutes. My ass. I did them in batches so they'd roast and not steam. I've got 3 racks in my oven and a large supply of half sheet pans!

I divided into 12 servings....scant 1/2 cup each serving I'd say. This is where WW math comes in to play. I thought they'd have 1 point each as the only point really should have been the olive oil. Each serving comes out to 2 points though. I'll have it to toss in soup, to eat as a side dish. I'm putting a serving in my grilled chicken wrap for dinner tonight.

Fix it once, enjoy it often!


  1. I have foodsaver/freezer space envy! lol I have the smallest freezer/fridge in the world right now where we live- but I absolutely LOVE that you prepared LOTS and froze single servings! That is such a help-especially for you going to work with dinner! Way to stay OP!! Whoo hoo! Hey have you ever baked brown rice? I have a recipe- may have even posted to my blog before- its Alton Brown's recipe from the food network- Its SO easy and very tasty! If you google it Im sure you can find it-if not let me know I will share! :)
    Oh! I hate the timing on roasted veggies- they always underestimate the time. lol Everything looks SO good- I do want your mini muffin recipe! I have my pampered chef mini-muffin pan all set! lol

    :) tj

  2. Wow! I might need to get one of those foodsavers too. I love how you demeonstrated it for us. Funny, I never thought of making batches of something and freezing it. I think I will now. :)

  3. WOW that is a very detailed and informative post!! Makes me want to cook more. I even unplugged my fridge cuz I haven't been cooking lately and hence, don't need to freeze anything.
    Need to look up to ya!!

  4. I think you just sold a food saver. I've been on the fence about buying one for the past 10 years, but I'm totally convinced now. I'm going to go buy one today.