Post # 1
Living in an apartment DH and I don’t have a lot of kitchen space. We argue when cooking together because of it. DH isn’t around during the week very often, but that will be changing fairly soon.
I am interested in freezer-cooking. I don’t think we would go full out doing a whole month at a time, but I could see cooking 3 different dishes in big batches in one day. I can’t see us doing that in our current kitchen though!
Has anyone used a meal assembly company? Was the food tasty? Was the price worth it (seems reasonable to me, but I don’t know what they consider to be a ‘serving)? Would you do it again? Is it worthwhile with an allergy to a grouping of foods (most seafood in my case)?
Post # 4
I’ve been maiking my own meals ahead of time for the past two years. It’s not as hard as it sounds, it does save money in the long run.
I see no reason to use an assembly company, You might as well skip the middle man and buy tv dinners.
Post # 5
@HelleCat: I thought it would be healthier, and either tastier or cheaper than microwaveable meals, but you could very well be right! Thanks for making me think out it a little harder.
Post # 6
I don’t regularly make meals for an entire week, or even a month, but I do prep lunches for the week. I think it’s all about the logistics, especially in a small kitchen. If you and your DH argue in the kitchen why not designate certain tasks for him and others for yourself? For instance, he preps all produce, you actually put the meal together, and so on. I think really looking at the recipes and figuring out what pots and pans you’ll need and coordinating having those clean so you can start cooking grains for your second meal, while your first meal is simmering in the pot and meal three is being prepped on the counter.
I don’t know if any of those tips help, but I definitely think it’s possible to do it all at home between you and him (or get up early on Sunday morning and get as much done as possible alone prior to him joining you).
Post # 7
I used two companies actually, Dream Dinners and Dinners by Design. The food was good and it was easy to do but my husband got sick of it after a while and we were spending quite a bit of money on it. There isn’t really a problem with seafood allergies because you usually get to chose your meals that you would like. It might be worth trying for you since the food is better than frozen meals at least and it’s a step closer to making it at home.
I’m now doing my own freezer meals from Onceamonthmom.com and it is costing less including breakfast and lunches! I usually do one or two big cooking days a month but it’s easy to split it out and do a few meals at a time.
Post # 8
@MrsSaltWaterTaffy: Thanks! I can see doing it at home once we move to a bigger place. I think it might be a good start just to get an idea of what’s involved, a way to cut out the prep-time, and just to give us the space!
Post # 9
What I do is make “base meats” and portion them out. Basically, I have two big cooking days a month. When I wake up I start cooking the big meats. Like a large picnic ham (sandwiches for him), some chuck hamburger meat either just pan cooked (with seasoning, like liquid smoke and worchestershire), and some portioned into pattys. After thats done I’ll slow cook some pork and then chicken.
All of thats lightly spiced and then portioned out and frozen. A quick thaw when I need it and I’ll make everything from soups and stews to chili and…pretty much anything. Usually takes me like 15-20 minutes to cook whatever We need for dinner. So thats like, maybe at the most labor intensive dinner, like 10 minutes to actually put everything together.
Post # 10
i’ve never used a meal assembly business before and i’ve heard that they are incredibly expensive.
i usually do a lot of cooking in one week and make extras of what i am cooking. portion it and freeze it for later.
just for example:
monday – jambalaya + 3 extra dinners
tuesday – pasta and meat sauce + 3 extra dinners
wednesday – roast beef & grilled potatoes + 3 extra dinner
thursday – chicken breasts & grilled vegetables + 3 extra dinners
friday – pork & rice + 3 extra dinners
so i’ve eaten all week (not always home on weekends or just bbq burgers) and made 15 meals for us for later that month. that’s half the month’s food ready to go.
a lot of the time i will just refrigerate the leftover’s and reuse them the next day. beef and chicken leftovers often get turned into fajitas.
Post # 11
Since you are in a small kitchen, for now I would look at things you can prep ahead of time to make the cooking easier. For example, pick one day, go shopping for all your meat for a week/two weeks/month depending on the size of your freezer. When you come home, one of you goes in the kitchen breaks out the ziplock bags or freezer paper and start dividing the meat into 2 person portions. Any meats that you marinade or season, go ahead and do so now and freeze with the marinade/seasoning. If you make your own meatballs or burgers, make them up and freeze them etc.
Any seasoning mixes you use, pre mix in small ziplocks. For example if you make rice with chicken boullion, onion powder and parsley, make up individual bags with that amount of seasoning in it.
Same idea with veggies- if you buy enough fresh veggies for a few days, when you get home wash them, and prep them. Can they be presliced and hold for a day or two? Can you precook and freeze them?
This way when you decide to cook dinner its- pull out pre-marinated meat in the am and let defrost. Put meat in pan to cook, put rice or potatoes on with premade seasoning pack, put prepped veggies in a pot with premade seasoning pack and cook it all up. It helps keep clutter to a minimum and makes dinner come together faster.
It will probably take a week or two to figure out the best way to make it work, but this can help a lot in a small space.
Post # 12
I love this thread.
For those who have frozen ahead, what are some of the things that turned out horribly? Did you just suck the air out of ziplock? What was your process? And there is also crock pots! 🙂
Post # 13
@WillyNilly: i love crock pots. you can make a big batch of stew or chile and freeze it. not to mention lower cuts of meat.
Post # 14
All you bees are awesome! Thanks for the suggestions!
Post # 15
This thread is very helpful to me. I just wish my freezer was bigger than a shoe box!!
Post # 16
There is some class called Supper Solutions not sure if its in CAN but I’ve heard thats good. We have a small kitchen too so we aren’t both in it at the same time that means he or I (and its honestly usually me damnit) cook in there. I’ve tried to get help but nope doesn’t work. Lucky for having someone who wants to help!!
Oh Crockpot is great too, I once asked FI to turn it on for me and he didn’t realize it was it wasn’t plugged in so it wasn’t done when I came home. I was bummed. 🙁 He hopefully won’t make that mistake twice.