I’ve written several bioterrorism thrillers where the best thing there is to eat is a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). MREs are vacuum sealed, cooked meals that have a shelf life of 5 years. In Viable Threat, the first book in my Outbreak Task Force series, the main characters are in a crisis situation, a city is locked down, and the only food available are MREs. MREs are used usually by the military, but can be purchased by anyone for camping trips, and like in Viable Threat, in emergencies.
It feels like every week is its own emergency these days. Cooking has gotten expensive. Groceries, and nearly every other consumable thing, has increased in price no matter where you live. Shipping costs have gone up and there are shipping delays on so many things thanks to multiple global events. Conversations with friends have shifted to where the best price on meat is, and which recipes can be stretched. We’ve discussed meal prep and how to use leftovers.
One of the meal prep ideas my best friend and I have been using is bulk cooking and freezing meal sized portions. We take one Sunday a month, decide which meals we’re going to prepare, cook, and freeze for that month. We purchase all our groceries in bulk for all the meals, and work together to cook it all up.
There are several ways once-a-month-cooking benefits us. One, because we’re buying in bulk, it’s cheaper. Also, we’re going to the grocery store less often throughout the rest of the month, which means fewer impulse purchases. There’s less stress on the whole family because no one has to worry about what’s for dinner tonight.
Want to give it a try? Here’s one of my favorite recipes Freeze it in whatever size suits your needs, from family size, to smaller portions for lunches.
Traditional Italian flavours. Serve with garlic bread.
0.45 Kg Lean ground beef, browned 1 lb
500 ml Spaghetti, cooked 2 cups
370 ml Frozen or canned corn 1 and a half cups
120 ml Finely chopped mushrooms half cup
1 370 ml can Tomato soup 1 12 oz can
1 860 ml can Tomatoes, chopped 1 28 oz can
250 ml Cheddar cheese, grated 1 cup
1 Medium onion, chopped 1
2.5 ml Chilli powder half tsp
2.5 ml Worcestershire sauce half tsp
370 ml Chopped mushrooms 1 and a half cups
2.5 ml Oregano half tsp
2.5 ml Basil half tsp
Brown ground beef and onion. Break spaghetti into pieces and boil for 10 mins.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Freeze in doubled Ziploc bags.
To serve: Defrost in fridge overnight. Put in a large casserole dish, Cover and bake at 350 F (180 C) for 1 and a half hrs. OR cook in slow cooker on low for 6 10 8 hours.
Tip: cook hamburger needed for ALL your recipes in one or two large frying pans at the same time. Then separate into meal sized portions (about two cups of cooked meat).
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Julie!