Cooking prep

The vast majority of the time I cook for one. Aside from the obvious benefit of working from home and having my home office 20 feet from my kitchen, I really prepare or partially prepare a large number of dishes ahead of time which really makes life easier.

This morning I did my grocery shopping and walking to the Coop and Shaws. Since I'm limited to the amount of food that will fit in my backpack it encourages careful shopping. Plus I go a number of times per week. The key is doing as much prep ahead of time as possible.

That bacon that I eat, um, just about every day? I cook two 12 oz. packages at a time on sheet pans in the oven, then freeze it. Here's the bacon I bought and cooked today cooling on the wire rack.

One of the first things I did this morning was defrost a Tangletown Farms frozen half chicken. It's vacuum sealed, so it's easy to just thaw in a sink full of water for an hour or so. Then I roasted that off after the bacon came out of the oven.

After it cooled I cut it up making a 5.0 oz. serving of breast meat for dinner tonight and two 2.0 oz. servings of the remainder for stir-fry. The stir-fry packages were vacuum sealed and frozen.

I then made a batch of pan gravy. The chicken and gravy were refrigerated and will be heated up for dinner. The nice thing is that there are no pans to clean after dinner!

I eat quite a lot of pork in stir-fries, tacos, etc.. Today I bought a 2.35 lb. boneless center-cut pork roast. I removed the fat and silverskin, seasoned it, then cooked it off for 1 1/2 hours at 155°F in the sous vide. After cooking and cooling, it got cut up, portioned, vacuum sealed, and frozen.

prep3.jpgWhen I get fresh spinach I wash and spin it dry, divide into 16 oz. glass jars and vacuum seal. This keeps the spinach fresh for much longer than just in a bag. Plus, it's already cleaned and the correct portion size for a spinach salad or sautéed spinach with hana katsuo (and rice and sardines).

prep4.jpgI got shrimp today in anticipation of making shrimp scampi tomorrow night. I peeled, deveined, and cleaned the shrimp and divided it into two packages, vacuum sealing and freezing one. It's nice to be able to just take the shrimp and drop it in the scampi pan.

And finally I made a batch of maple candied walnuts for spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette, goat cheese, and maple candied walnuts.

candiedwalnuts2.jpgIt seems like a lot to do, but I was completely done and cleaned up by 12:30 PM.