I enjoy cooking. In an ideal world, I'd spend some time messing around in the kitchen four or five nights a week. But as it stands, I'm very busy, on a very tight budget, and trying to keep up with my body's high caloric demands so I can put on some muscle.
In an effort to address these issues, I've been cooking in bulk for about a year. I set aside Sunday to do my grocery shopping and cooking, and just reheat things as needed throughout the week. Not only am I dissatisfied with the results, but I am consistently frustrated with how long things take. This week's batch cooking really stood out to me in that regard.
Cooking three large servings (1500 kcal each) of chicken fried rice took 2 hours, excluding prep for the marinade (15 minutes) and marinating time (1.5 hours). An orange ginger pork stir fry (no orange sauce, just an orange ginger marinade) took me 45 minutes to prep the marinade and vegetables, and another 30 minutes or so of cook time, just for the flavors to be weak and the texture unpleasant.
It seems I spend far too much time cleaning my cast iron pans; I've yet to cook a meal on them where something hasn't been burnt on pretty seriously and required multiple passes with salt and/or fat of some sort to get off. Today, I had to resort to the water-boiling method to get some gunk off, reseasoned both pans with a thorough coating of coconut oil and still had to take 10 to 15 minutes muscling through crud on my pans between each serving of fried rice, and to add insult to injury, I'm looking at one pan and seeing some sort of white coloration on it that I'm pretty sure isn't supposed to be there.
So, with that being said, is there anything about what I've described that suggests some clear, correctable problem? Please, no suggestions that involve 'buy this thing.' I'm on such a tight budget that let's just assume that's not an option. I have to learn to work with what I have more efficiently.
- a 3 Qt. cast iron Dutch oven
- a 10" cast iron skillet (serves as the lid on the Dutch oven)
- a 2.5 Qt. stainless steel sauce pan
- a 1.5 Qt. stainless steel sauce pan
- a 1 Qt. stainless steel sauce pan
- a 17.25" x 11.5" cookie sheet
- an 8 Cup Rice Cooker
- 2 4-Qt. tupperware containers
- 2 2-Qt. tupperware containers
- 4 1-Qt. tupperware containers
My weekly food budget is $40, and I'm trying to get ~3000+ calories 3 days a week and ~2400 calories otherwise. I'm going for paleo compliance as far as I can--I permit myself the use of rice because it's cheap, has relatively low phytic acid content, and helps answer my high caloric needs. But other grains are a no-no.