30 June 2011

June 2011 Bulk Cooking Chicken: part 1- Gettin' Ready

This is the first in a series of long promised, long procrastinated blog posts about my afternoon adventure with 160 lbs of chicken as it was magically transformed into 49 meals for our family of 10.

We arrived home from vacation just a few days before the "chicken event", so I didn't do much planning this time; I was just too tired and too busy, but I felt comfortable just forging ahead because I knew that I just wanted to expand on my last session with a few tweaks.

Tweak #1:  I finally bought a kitchen scale*.  My baby scale is fine for weighing babies, and many of you have seen your nekkid, cute little babies on my scale. Still, it is not ideal when you want to continue adding before it flashes a total.

Tweak #2: Instead of measuring the sauce recipes into the individual ziploc baggies, I mixed them in $ Tree plastic pitchers that have measurements on the side.  I used my handy-dandy Advantage Cooking Software to scale the recipe to x4 and then measured just once for each sauce.

Tweak for next time: smallish sized wood cutting board, like this one, from Ikea. I think the cutting board I was using dulled my knife quite quickly, requiring more time spent sharpening than should be necessary.

Here's how Sirena and I got the job done in 5 hrs 15 min. That does NOT include the time necessary to disinfect the kitchen afterwards but does include many interruptions from visiting neighbors and crying and/or naughty children.

I use Advantage Cooking Software and my previous session was saved as a "Cooking Day" collection of recipes.  I swapped out a few recipes and printed out the grocery list.  Gotta love software that does the thinking for you!  I compared the list to my pantry and made a run to the local Cash-n-Carry. My trip to Winco earlier in the week had included quite a few of the ingredients I knew I would want for this cooking day.

kitchen shears (I prefer the ones that have a spring.)*
gallon-size freezer bags
Sharpie marker
empty #10 can (two would be even better.  These are excellent bag-holders.)
several 2-quart plastic pitchers
vinyl gloves (We have 2 sizes here.  I wear a medium but some of my helpers wear smalls.)
a sharp knife, for filleting the chicken
knife sharpener *
newspaper or other disposable counter covering
large baking sheet with rim (like this)
bowl to catch the trimmings (fat, gristle, tiny pieces of meat)
recipes in sheet protectors
extra: good working music or an audiobook

Part 2: "The Process and Results" soon to follow

(All items marked with an * are affililiate links, meaning that making a purchase by clicking through supports this blog and my darling family.)

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