Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Freezer Cooking (Part II)

So, you know when I said yesterday that I was excited about cooking? Well, after today, I take that back. I am just now sitting down after finishing in the kitchen and taking a shower, and I am wiped! I didn't get as much done as I wanted to today as I had to wait a long time for beans to cook. But, I definitely made progress and I am thankful for that!

Beans were started first thing and I had these three pots plus our crock-pot going with them. On the left is the ground beef I am defrosting for chili. I get our beef from a local farm and it is truly delicious. I stocked up recently so I would have enough for all my freezer cooking.

Cooked beans were transferred to any available container and more beans were put in pots to cook. 

Bean latte anyone?? The funny thing is that it boiled over after taking the picture, when I went to put the camera away. Oops. I guess I should have seen that one coming.

For the chili, I made 8 recipes. I sauteed the onions, garlic and spices in two batches, and browned the meat in two batches. Then I mixed it all together in a bigger pan. 

I couldn't fit a normal chili recipe into a gallon size bag, so I split a recipe between two bags. The total should have been 16 bags, each with 6 servings of chili... but along the way things got messy! I started with a good system. I put the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce in first and lined up the bags. 

Then, I added the beans and somehow one (or possibly more) bag(s) spilled out onto the table. I wanted to give up then and there. But, obviously that wasnt an option, so I moved around the bags, putting some on another counter and some in the sink. I got the ground beef/onion mixture into the bags as quick as possible and sealed them all. Then I went through the slow process of rinsing each bag off, drying it, getting the extra air out, and putting it in a clean place.

About an hour later I had this. I ended up with 13 bags of chili. I sure hope it tastes good because that was a major pain!

Haha. This was the aftermath of the chili. I just had to laugh. But I pressed on and washed them all.

Then, I moved onto bagging up the chicken chili.

This picture was taken this morning after the beans had been soaking all night.

They were cooked in three different pots, but here are all 8 lbs. of beans, cooked and ready to go for chicken chili.

Here we have jalapenos, poblanos, anaheim chilies, and korean hot peppers (I know it is random, but they were on sale :)). They were stemmed, seeded, and chopped. 

We also have 16 onions. They were peeled and chopped. 

I sauteed the onions in four batches, and then cooked down all the peppers in another two batches. Once I had an available container that was big enough, I used an immersion blender and blended the onions and peppers together. 

I decided to leave the chicken broth out, and just add it when we cook the chili in the future. It was so much easier! First, I chopped two cooked chicken breasts (they were baked and cooled from earlier in the day) for each recipe and put them straight into the bag. Then I had beans, the onion and pepper mixture in the big bowl, and a puree of chicken broth, onion mixture, and beans in the pan in the middle. I scooped out a cup of each item into each of the bags and kept scooping until it ran out.  

I wiped down the bags, let out the extra air, and let them sit on the table to cool. Actually, they are still sitting on the table. I am trying to give the red chili as much time as possible to freeze before I add more to the freezer. After I post this I will put it away and hope that nothing explodes!

After everything was bagged, this was the last round of dishes. Thank goodness!

Here the kitchen is cleaned, and I got more beans and rice soaking for tomorrow. 


 It was a long day and I know tomorrow will be even longer. But it is definitely rewarding, and by tomorrow night I will be really thankful I was crazy enough to do this :). 

Sweet dreams...

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