Staying focused with a 'to do' list

March 08, 2000

1-3 days before:

1. Make room in refrigerator and freezer.

2. Go grocery shopping. When home, keep all nonrefrigerated items together, out of the way but easily accessible in the kitchen.

3. Freeze wheat rolls.

Day before:

1. Clean kitchen and empty dishwasher.

2. Find necessary spices and remove shaker tops to make measuring easier; place near stove.

3 Put boxes of frozen spinach in bowl and thaw overnight in fridge.

4. If desired, do tomorrow's prep work, specified in items 1-11. That will take about 1 1/2 hours off tomorrow's work. Cover everything tightly with plastic wrap and chill until needed.

The day:

1. Slice French bread loaves and divide among 4 freezer bags; freeze.

2. Chop 8 onions, place in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. These will be used for several recipes. Note that 1 chopped onion measures approximately 1 cup.

3. Slice 2 onions; set aside for bourguignon.

4. Slice 2 pounds of onions for onion soup; set aside.

5. Clean 2 pounds of mushrooms and halve or quarter them if large; set aside for chicken casserole.

6. Clean and slice 4 pounds of mushrooms; set aside half for pork loin and a quarter each for lasagna and bourguignon.

7. Peel 21 cloves of garlic; put in bowl with garlic press near stove.

8. Finely chop 4 ribs of celery, 4 carrots and 2 shallots; set aside in single bowl for bouillabaisse.

9. Drain red peppers and chop; set aside for spaghetti.

10. Drain and chop chili peppers, if necessary, for chili.

11. Chop 1 cup of loosely packed parsley for bouillabaisse.

12. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

13. Open all canned items, loosen jar tops and uncork wine.

14. Make corn muffins and bake 8 boneless chicken breast halves for barbecued chicken sandwiches. Let cool when done.

15. While chicken breasts bake, remove chicken thigh skins for chicken casserole. Cube and chill 3 pounds of boneless chicken breast halves for white chili.

16. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

17. Prepare chicken casserole and bake.

18. Freeze corn muffins. Prepare barbecue chicken, divide between 2 freezer bags and freeze.

19. Peel pearl onions for 25 minutes, then prepare boeuf bourguignon to go in oven. When chicken casserole is done, remove from oven to cool and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

20. Put bourguignon on top rack in oven for 45 minutes.

21. Finish peeling pearl onions and saute them with bacon; set aside. Divide cooled chicken casserole between 2 freezer bags and freeze. Clean baking dishes, if needed.

22. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon to bourguignon and cook for 1 1/4 hours to 1 3/4 more hours, depending on thickness of meat.

23. Prepare pork loin and put in oven for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours, until meat is tender.

24. Prepare white chili; let cool.

25. Prepare spaghetti; let cool.

26. Cool pork loin -- don't stir in sour cream.

27. Add drained beans to room-temperature white chili, stir and divide among 3 freezer bags; freeze.

28. Make bouillabaisse without adding fish, then cool.

29. Divide spaghetti among 3 freezer bags; freeze. Divide pork loin between 2 freezer bags; freeze.

30. When bourguignon is done, stir in jelly, then cool.

31. Make onion soup. While onions are cooking and while soup is simmering, prepare and freeze lasagna. Cool soup.

32. Add raw fish and shrimp to bouillabaisse, stir together, then divide between 2 freezer bags.

33. Divide bourguignon between 2 freezer bags; freeze.

34. Cool onion soup; divide between 2 freezer bags and freeze.

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