Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Power Planning for Bulk Cooking!

welcome to my appliance counter.  I have set up shop to prepare for a bulk cooking session next week.  I have my pretty little binder with my tried and true recipes, my box of little cookbooks, and off to the right, my handy Southern Living Cookbook.  More like the manual for cooking with all of its little how-to and explanation glossary.
And of course, the thing that makes it all possible, my computer!  I am trying to collect recipes from my cookbooks for this round, but I am not making a lot of progress.
My Menu Goals, when planning a bulk cooking session:
  • 15 different meals
  • Total of 30 meals.
  • Grocery bill under $200
Now I get this done by breaking up things into categories and collecting recipes for each group.  Here are my groups:
  • Chicken
  • Ground beef
  • spaghetti Sauce
  • Tuna
  • Pork
Now This round I am using the chicken, ground beef, tuna, and added sausage.  I do this so I am cooking several meals in each category, so I get a great bulk buy discount for the meals, and I have less work by cooking everything at once.
Now I usually never have Tuna or sausage as a category.  BUT!  I bought the huge can of Tuna from Sam’s Club (66 oz Can) and want to get it used.  My family is only going to eat so much tuna noodle casserole, so I went looking for other recipes to freeze.  I decided on making Tuna cakes, like a crab cake, as a meal.  The sausage is because some New Orleans red beans and rice sounds yummy and I can then also make Jambalaya with the chicken.  This is feasible when I can buy the sausage in a 3lb bulk buy.
The method of Planning
  1. So as I make my list of meals, under each category.  I make another list that has the ingredients and quantities for each meal. (I try to get close to 15 total recipes)
  2. I sit with all my recipes and decide how many times I want to eat that meal in the next month.  If I make 4x, then I am eating it each week, 2x, then every other week. (I want a total of 30 meals)
  3. Once I have the total amounts I am going to make, then I go back to my ingredients list and multiply the ingredients by the number of times we will have this meal.
  4. New LIST! Grocery list.  Now once the ingredients have been determined for each meal, I start adding up all the ingredients.  Now I do this by groups.  Like meat, produce, canned, frozen, etc.
  5. Now I go to my bulk store, Sam’s Club, online to figure out what they sell in bulk that will fit my need on the grocery list.
For example, my chicken group of meals I will be using whole chickens.  I got them for about $0.68/lb and have plenty in the freezer.  I will boil the chickens and cube all the meat up and use it for the recipes, even when it when it calls for chicken breast.  I also will have a wonderful stock to use for anything that calls for it and I will use the remaining for a soup base.
Another example is making spaghetti sauce from Tomato Sauce. A #10 Can of sauce is less than $3 a can and you can easily make sauce for plenty meals.  So you have your sauce and then can do meatballs, stuffed shells, spaghetti, raviolis, lasagna, etc.
By the end of this week, I will have my planning completed and my list made.  I will post them for you.  I am going to cook all my meals over several days, because otherwise it takes an entire day.  Having a newborn and 3 others running loose, this would be a “put me in the county nuthouse” event. Although, we have one, one county over, I am going to try and use that first free stay for when I really need a break.
back with you soon,


  1. Amazing!
    I can't believe you are doing all of this with a newborn. You are my hero!!!
    Your baby is beautiful- congratulations!!!

  2. This is also something I want to pick your brain about...guess we will have to share budgeting and menu planning ideas as well next week! lol I CANT WAIT! :)