How many of you, working outside the home or not, cook ahead?

@dragon54u (31644)
United States
October 11, 2008 11:27am CST
Even when I was a stay at home mom I cooked ahead most weekends, because my family kept me so busy! Now that I'm alone and working, I cook ahead because I'm too tired to cook when I get home, or I'm not in the mood. I cook spaghetti with vegetables in it, tuna casseroles, lasagna (diet, of course!), chicken dishes, chili, stews, and other things that I can portion up and refrigerate or freeze. I usually cook enough chicken to make chicken salad for lunches or chicken sandwiches. I like to pre-cut my vegetables, too, for when I make a crockpot dish on the weekdays to be warm and done when I come home. I also like to make enough to freeze so I have a lot of variety in the coming weeks. How about you? Do you do this? My kids used to have fun helping me. What kinds of dishes do you cook ahead? Give me some fresh ideas, please!
3 people like this
15 responses
@Shellyann36 (11599)
• United States
11 Oct 08
I use to be very good at freezing casseroles and lasagnas and making meatballs ahead of time. I got out of that habit over the years but I am recently getting back into it. I have made pizza's and biscuits and cinnamon raisin biscuits and frozen all of them as well. I have a great pizza dough recipe and I make my own sauce to go with it. I am going to be doing quite a bit of canning sauces for my spaghetti and pizza sauce. That way I do not have to make a batch each time. This will be an experiment and I am not sure how it will turn out so I am only doing a small batch first and then see how it will taste after canning. I have never precut my veggies but I have been thinking about canning them as well. Good luck.
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
11 Oct 08
I'm making a big pot of spaghetti sauce today, for diet lasagne and some angel hair pasta. It freezes well, too, and I also use it on pizzas I make with Italian bread. Those cinnamon raisin biscuits sound tasty, how do you make them?
@Shellyann36 (11599)
• United States
12 Oct 08
I use a biscuit recipe, you can even use Bisquik mix or something like that and then just mix the cinnamon, raisins and a bit of sugar to taste into the dry mix. So just take your favorite biscuit recipe and before adding the liquid add your cinnamon, sugar and the raisins. I do not have a specific amount that I actually added to mine. I just added until I thought it looked right and smelled right to me. You can also make a confectionary sugar glaze to them after you bake them. Easy peasy!
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
Sounds nice and simple, thanks!
@hotsummer (10523)
• Philippines
12 Oct 08
i don't make or cook food ahead of time . cause i am lazy to prepare food before hand. i just prepare food on the day we are going to eat or need it. before i do that. but now i just don't like doing that any more. and i prefer freshly cooked food now. and usually i don't like to reheat food. cause i feel that the freshly cooked tastes better than those reheated foods and the nutrients in food are destroyed when reheated, i believe. and so there are many reason why i don't prepare food ahead of time. but i do prepare ahead only when there are some occassions that i need to prepare in advance and before the day of celebration or occassion.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
Some foods, like chili and spaghetti, taste much better when they sit in the fridge for a few days. The flavors mature. I admit it's a lot of work to cook ahead but it's so nice to come home and have something waiting for me.
@hotsummer (10523)
• Philippines
12 Oct 08
i didn't know that. i have not noticed that . cause most of the time when i cook spaghetti i have many left over i store in my ref that when i eat them on the following days that the taste doesn't seem to improve on taste. anyways, maybe it still depends onthe ingredients that i have added on the spaghetti that will determine if the taste will improve or not.
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
11 Oct 08
I do exactly the same thing. I save all the plastic containers that frozen meals come in to reuse. I especially like the ones that are good for microwave or over (usually up to 350 deg). I make meals out of everything, even leftovers from restaurants. One thing I do also, is when I cook pasta, I cook the entire package. I freeze it in portion-sized freezer bags. When ready to use, it's simple to run hot water over it in a colander. Then it's ready for whatever sauce I want to use on it.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
11 Oct 08
And it doesn't get soggy or anything? Do you toss it in oil before your freeze it so it doesn't stick together? That's a wonderful idea!! I will do that this weekend, I just bought some rotini and spaghetti. I'm so glad you replied, thank you!
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
11 Oct 08
I don't put oil or anything on it! I freeze it while it's warm and wet, so probably the moisture that freezes keep it from sticking. It comes out perfectly! When you use it, if you are using it in soup, just throw it in frozen. Otherwise use the colandar for everything else. Let me know what you think, ok?
@vimaal (3365)
• India
12 Oct 08
hi dragon, i work outside to my home. but i love my mother's preparations cook. my mother cook very well. take care.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
Mothers are the best cooks! My mom is staying with me a couple more weeks and now that I'm working she does the cooking. When she leaves, it'll be up to me! That's when I'll start cooking ahead because I'm tired when I come home from work. Enjoy your mom's cooking while you can!
@smiley83 (1535)
• Malaysia
12 Oct 08
well, to be honest with you; i seldom enter the kitchen to cook! when i was doing my undergraduate degree, i was staying in hostel..so, i would either buy from the canteens or order from outside or cook anything with my friends during the weekends... at home, we used to have a maid..but these days, we don't have maid..so, mum would do the cook..as she doesn't like anyone to be with her in the kitchen when she cooks...although, i know how to cook as i either learn from her, from TV, sites, friends or family members..but i seldom get to cook and once in the blue time LOL LOL i don't know how to be a wife later!! my guy is the type who loves food so much instead of having delivery...although he is an athletic but he wants me to be a perfect wife! while as a matter of fact, i'm such a LAZY GIRL EVER!!!! Smiley,
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
There are some very, very easy recipes that he will love. Your library will have cookbooks for beginners that have simple recipes. Perhaps his mother can show you a few things, too!
@nishdan01 (3054)
• Singapore
12 Oct 08
I do not cook ahead. I dislike the idea of cooking and freezing and referigertaing. Even I do not cut and keep vegetables ahead. I cut them, cook them fresh and feed my family always. I do not preplan too much when it comes to cooking. My point is food when cooked and stored or cut and stores in the refrigerator looses its nutritive value, it becomes rancid, free radicals gets accumulated in the food and overall there is not point in cooking ahead.
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
I helps me maintain my weight right now-if there's not something made at home, I'll likely let a fast food restaurant cook for me and it goes straight to my hips!
@airl1527 (355)
• China
12 Oct 08
i work because my income is still essential to my family. i like cooking but i don't have so much time so i usually cook in the evening when i have time.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
I know how hard it is to work all day and then come home and work more for your family. People don't realize how hard parents work!
@sumiirajj (1983)
• India
12 Oct 08
Hi friend,I am from India,here we dont have the practise of cooking ahead and even if we do so it becomes stale in 1 or 2 days.But there are people who cook ahead but I feel that the taste differs and it may not be fresh like instant cooking.Everyday I cook three meals and very rarely I store the leftovers only for the next day.thanks for sharing.happy mylotting.
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
When I was raising my family, I would often cook 3 meals a day but found it very convenient to cook ahead. My boys loved helping me. Freshly cooked food is the best, though!
@suspenseful (40314)
• Canada
12 Oct 08
I usually cook macaroni casserole or stew for two meals each, but there is just the two of us, so I do not cook ahead that much. I have not had lasagna for a long time and we usually buy it. Now I cook the meals for the day, but in some cases, like for casseroles, chili, and stew, I will make double portions and put them in the freezer. Oh when I used to make stew, I would have half the stew for a meat pie. Not any more because I am pre-diabetic.
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
Lasagna wouldn't be so good for you now, but I think if you made a few alterations you could have some. The way I make it is supposed to be good for diabetes and weight loss both. I cook 1 1/2 cups of big egg noodles and add some homemade spaghetti sauce that I'll tell you about in a minute. Then I put in about half a cup of no-fat cottage cheese and a cup of zucchini that I cooked up after chopping into very small pieces, I cook them with diced onions and diced bell peppers. I add some mozzarella cheese, about 1/4 cup per person, and stir it all up. The spaghetti sauce is made with either stewed tomatoes chopped fine in the blender or with crushed tomatoes. I add oregano, about half a cup of hamburger that's been cooked, drained, rinsed of all fat and crumbled very fine. I'll also throw in a little garlic and onion powder and some thyme. It's yummy and healthy. Ok, when you mix all this together in a bowl, throw it in a casserole dish and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on it. No bread, that's fattening and not good for diabetics. It fills you up with few calories and it's very nutritious. Try it, I think you'll like it as much as I do!
• United States
11 Oct 08
I do. I am by myself so when I cook, usually on Sundays or Saturday afternoons, I cook enough to last me the week. I am exhausted when I get home so I usually don't feel like cooking. I also find that cooking and freezing meals is very cost effective on my pocket book, especially when you have only one income in your household. I'm from Louisiana, so I like a lot of cajun styled food. Currently, I am making a gumbo, while I am answering your question, which will last me the entire week or maybe more. Gumbos and soups freeze very well. I also like things such as Crawfish and corn soup, spaghetti, taco soup, beef and vegetable soup. One thing that I really like is the roasted chickens that they sell at Wal Mart and the local grocers. They have different flavors, my fave being lemon pepper. It last me about 3 days. I cut it up in salads, make sandwiches, make chicken salad. Also, there are the "Suddenly Salad" pasta mixes that you can add meat to. Its like a whole meal in a box. My mother also makes this killer crockpot dish that has cut up chuck roast, sausage, shrimp, okra, and tomatoes in it. This also freezes well. I recently purchased a cook book on different types of soups and crockpot meals from Wally World (Wal Mart). Very Helpful!! Happy cooking!!!
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
12 Oct 08
I like the herbal chicken, I love those already baked chickens! Have you seen the price of uncooked chickens? Usually more than the cooked ones! Do you have a Meijer's where you are? Their chickens are bigger and even better tasting than Walmart's and a dollar cheaper! I had thought of using meat in the Sudden Salad mix but now that I know it's good, I'll do it, thanks!
• United States
11 Oct 08
I do some cooking ahead-- not as much as I would if I had a family, though. Meatloaf is a good thing to make ahead. It is easy to make several and freeze them. Chicken and turkey pies are good to make and freeze, too. Doing some smaller pies is a great idea for handy snacks or mini-meals for the kids. Freezing or canning soup is also a good thing to do.
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
11 Oct 08
I do soup, too. I collect all my scraps and throw them into a freezer container and add to it every day. Every bit of stale bread, left over vegetables, bits of meat, etc. and make soup once a month. Yum! Meatloaf would be great, I do that sometimes but didn't think about the pies, thanks!
@lilybug (21145)
• United States
11 Oct 08
I do not normally cook ahead, but I do try to make enough to have leftovers on the days that I make something that tastes good as leftovers. I have been mostly a spur of the moment type when it comes to dinner lately. I do not know what is for dinner most nights until right before it is time to make dinner.
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
11 Oct 08
That's how I used to be, too, but it was costing me too much money--I'd decide I didn't like what I had and then I'd go buy fast food. That was expensive and it packed on the pounds! I do like to be spontaneous, though.
@srikool (936)
• India
11 Oct 08
i am in my home only..i am dailyhaving my moms preparation..i love my moms cooking..im the very luky to eat it upto this age...all cant have the same one in hteri life..my brothers are working away from my home..they are suffering a lot for this food..because we are pure vegitarin..that is also a big problem..have a nice time in mylot..
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
11 Oct 08
Vegetarian foods can be wonderful but they are hard to get when you're away from home like your brothers. Mothers are always the best cooks!
• China
11 Oct 08
So much eatable!!Can you invite me to share them?That is funny for your family!!
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
11 Oct 08
If you're even in the States in my part of the country, you're welcome to share! It's so much nicer to come home and have something quick than have to wait an hour to eat. Thanks for your reply!
@ShellyB (5243)
• United States
11 Oct 08
I really do not cook ahead, and it is seldom that I have leftovers. I like the idea of cutting cooked chicken for salads, I wish you good luck on oyur responses, because I also want to see what new ideas other members leave here. Good luck!
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31644)
• United States
11 Oct 08
Thanks for responding! Yes, I cook chicken up then put it in dishes or freeze it in portion sizes for salads or to put in stir fry. It saves a lot of time and the easier I make cooking, the less I eat fast food--the less fat I gain!