Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Some people are cut out to be great cooks, I just don't think I happen to be one of them. I guess the things I cook turn out okay. Mostly it's nothing adventurous but that has a lot to do with the people I am trying to feed. In my latest quest to have it all together at meal time, I decided upon the advice of a dear friend (and you know who you are) to buy this cookbook called Fix, Freeze and Feast. When the box was delivered, I anxiously ripped it open and immediately began devouring the pages hoping for some enlightenment as to how to plan and prepare my meals ahead of time.

Things were looking good. The meals seemed pretty easy to prepare, they were almost all things that my family would eat (although I may have to alter some of them to exclude large amounts of onion). The book even described how to plan and buy the items for your meals. So Sunday afternoon I sat down with my new cookbook (and a few others) and prepared a menu for the entire rest of February. It took quite awhile to go through and decide what to prepare and how much I needed to buy to get it done. But after a couple of hours I had it altogether.

So Monday I headed to Publix armed with my list of sales and items that I needed that didn't require buying in bulk. Less than an hour later I was home unloading the groceries. I was thinking how easy this all seemed.

Tuesday I headed to Sam's armed with an even longer list and purchased the remaining items for the meals. After lugging huge cans of tomatoes and bags of onions and potatoes into the house, I was pretty much too spent to do any preparation so I decided to wait until today to start.

This morning after dropping Harrison off at school and doing my volunteer work I came home and started to prepare. I prepared some marinade for two flank steaks, threw those in a freezer bag, wrote out the labels and I was done with meal one and two. I was on a roll. Then came the lasagna and chili. Unfortunately, I ran out of time so I browned the meat and put it in bags in the fridge until later. This afternoon, I made a huge batch of red sauce that goes in a whole lot of the dishes in this book. I am talking a huge stockpot full of this stuff. Halfway through the recipe I realize I don't have quite enough thyme so I put what I had in and figured no one would notice the difference.

After the sauce was done, I pull out the pans to put the batches of lasagna in only to discover that even after two trips to the store, I still didn't buy the right size pans. So I dug in the cabinets and found two pans that I had previously bought and prepared the lasagna in those. I still have enough left over to prepare two more recipes as soon as I get to the store for the right size pans.

So then I flip over to the chili recipe only to realize that I am short a couple of cans of beans. So I skip that altogether and figure I will just pick those beans up when I get the pans for the lasagna.

So what to do with the red sauce in the meantime? I scooped out what I needed to finish the lasagna and make the chili. I had a bit of sauce left so I decided to put it in a freezer bag for later. As I get to the bottom of the pot, I prop the freezer bag up and lean the huge stockpot over and at that very moment, the freezer bag falls over and half of the sauce goes everywhere.

Proudly, I didn't even shout a dirty word although really if you had seen the mess you might have thought it excusable. Tomato sauce was everywhere. In my shoes, on my pants, up the side of the cabinet, down the stove, and all over the floor. As I am down on my hands and knees cleaning the mess up, I hear this slurping noise. I look up to find my dog helping me clean by lapping up piles of the sauce.

At this point I am beginning to question whether this was a good idea. But, now that I still have a fridge full of meat and red sauce, I am in it for the long haul. I am hoping that tomorrow will be a better day on the preparation side. And who knows, maybe it gets easier the second time you do it. Well, I can only hope.


Kathryn said...

Hang in there, Becky! It will get easier, trust me. Check out page 15 for tips on how to keep your freezer bags from tipping over. And not to worry about the thyme. I leave it out every time I make the Basic Red Sauce too. Happy Cooking! Kati N.