Monday, May 11, 2009


I'm not a big fan of cooking. Well, I'm a big fan if someone else is doing it. But I don't much like doing it myself. However, if I have to cook I prefer to cook big. I like to cook enough that there are plenty of leftovers to have later, on a day that I don't want to cook at all. So I've kind of perfected the art of big batches of simple recipes. Yesterday Zoe and I made four trays of rice krispie treats. Right now they're all sitting in my freezer, bagged up in small servings waiting to be stuck in lunchbags or taken on road trips. And they're sitting right on top of four loaves of bread that Caly and I turned into french toast last week. I have a big griddle on my stove and I can fry 6 slices at the same time. So we fried it up and stuck it right back in the bags the bread came in and froze it. That means that providing hot breakfasts for the next few weeks/months will be simple. Stick a slice in a toaster and you're done.

You'll note that both the RKTs and the toast are easy recipes. Three ingredients each. I make pizza dough using the same simplicity. I add flour, 2% milk, yeast, and a splash of oil in a bowl. The milk has natural sugars in it to feed the yeast, so you don't have to add anything else. I don't even measure anything. I just add more flour if it's too wet and more milk if it's too dry. My godmother taught me that a good dough feels like your ear lobe. Don't believe me? Feel your ear lobe. I knead the dough up and then bag it in ziplocs and freeze it. When we want a pizza, I warm it up in the microwave (checking frequently so it doesn't get too hot and start baking in there). Then I spray a pan with cooking spray, spread it out, add sauce, cheese, and turkey pepperoni (which is actually better tasting than regular pepperoni) and bake at 350 until the cheese starts to brown. It's as easy as using one of those pre-baked pizza doughs and almost as easy as frozen pizza. I also make a really good cream sauce that's super easy. I can post it if anyone's interested.

One benefit of all this is saving money and time. Convieniece foods are easy, but expensive and usually unhealthy. Home cooking is better for your body and your wallet, but time consuming and messy. My kind of cooking, with simple recipes, not much in the way of measuring, and done in bulk and frozen, is a balance between the two. It's easy on the wallet and because I freeze things in single or double servings, I get several meals out of a single bout of cooking and cleaning. The other benefit is that simple recipes are a lot of fun for a kid to help with. Zoe was very proud of her stirring yesterday.

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