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31

The common method would be to cook the pasta in advance, then shock it in cold water to stop the cooking before draining and refrigerating it. You would then heat it up in boiling water for about 20 seconds just to heat it through. You would just need a portable burner to keep a pot of water boiling for service. On the other hand, 20 pounds of pasta for ...


22

For years I did the 'once a week' cooking, which has the advantage of not requiring much freezer space (which I didn't have, with my under-counter apartment fridge). Part of the trick was cooking something that could be used multiple ways with minimal effort -- a blend of ground beef, onions and peppers could be turned into a pasta sauce, mexican food, etc. ...


16

As a variation to SAJ14SAJ's suggestion: Cook and shock it as suggested, but instead of heating it back up in water, heat it back up in whatever sauce you're using. You'll want to pull the pasta early (a little before al dente), and should save some of the pasta water so that you can thin back out the sauce if the pasta starts absorbing too much. (the ...


14

I see a few issues with what you've described: It sounds to me like a significant portion of your time 'cooking' is actually cleaning. This might mean that you're not letting the pan heat up significantly, or that you're not using enough oil. (yes, we're trying to be healthy, but it is fried rice). By cooking in bulk, you're likely over crowding your ...


13

The most important thing is to check everything and then check it again. Test your recipes and figure out what can be done in advance without reducing the quality. You should have checklists of everything that needs to come with you (food, cooking utensils, serving utensils, eating utensils, decoration, cleanup gear, etc.) You must pre-scout the ...


12

I kind of combine Joe's answer with J Wynia's at my house. We have a standing freezer in the garage, so luckily I have room for a lot of stuff :) I've always been a strategic shopper (chicken breast is $1.49 this week? you better believe I'm buying 20 lbs), so the outside freezer has already paid for itself many times over. We actually got ours from a ...


10

Consider expanding your repertoire of meals to those designed to cook for a long time without attention, and to cook in large batches. You seem to be taking things that are supposed to cook "a la minute" and cooking 3-5 times as much, which as you've seen doesn't work out well. If you have an oven, roast chicken (or other meat) and a cookie tray full of ...


7

When making rice for a large group, you should take a hint from the restaurants and do it in the oven in a large roaster or baking pan. Put the rice in a pan, add boiling water and salt, and then cover with foil. Or you can make it like a very large pilaf which will make it more special. But oven in large pan is the way to go and make it fresh. I don't ...


7

While we don't generally go a month in advance, we've found a vacuum system to be immensely helpful (we just got a $20 food saver pump and some vacuum bags from Wal-Mart, nothing super fancy). Then we went to Sam's club (which we had a membership already - side note: if you have a baby get your formula there, the Member's Mark stuff is amazingly cheap and ...


5

A cheap and simple way of improving the quality of your storage method is to buy ziplock bags. You should store each individual serving in separate bags and press out the air as best as you can. These bags can be frozen, so that will give you longer storage times. They can also be reused, so it's not expensive. (A more expensive solution would be to buy a ...


5

There is no problem at all doing this. At a restaurant where I worked, we would make up a couple pounds of butter worth of roux at a time. The main thing you want to do is use a pan with a lot of surface area, so it cooks evenly. A whisk will work fine. You don't have to stir constantly, just frequently.


5

I have not personally tried this with onions, but whenever I need to cook large batches of something (for example, bacon) and I don't have enough space on top of the stove, I try to find a way to work it in the oven. Although it's not going to be a true sautée, I think you could probably achieve what you want with a few sheet pans of onions (mixed with oil) ...


5

Has anyone had success at large scale sous-vide at home? My scale was not quite as big as yours, but I cooked my Thanksgiving turkey for the extended family this year sous vide. Not only was the outcome a huge hit among the guests, but it was a huge relief for (your truly) the chef. I want to go to party scale, say 30 to 40 servings, what are my ...


5

As the other answer was more about your specific example of fried rice & stir fry, I'll offer a completely different answer on 'cooking more efficiently', more in the lines w/ what Kate mentioned, but a few recommendations: Compare your speed in processing things to TV chefs (that actually do cooking, not just substitute pans out every couple of ...


4

ok, so this may not be a correct answer for a cooking site, but... maybe you could buy enough cooked rice on the day of your event from a local chinese restaurant? : ) one less thing for you to worry about on the day of your big party (and nobody needs to know)!


4

What I actually do more of than actual once a XYZ cooking of whole meals is cooking common components in advance. I will, for instance, dice up a pile of onions, brown hamburger, make shredded pork or chicken, parboil red potatoes, brown onions and garlic in butter, dice and brown chicken breast pieces, etc. and then either freeze or refrigerate those ...


4

Yes, recipes need to be changed as well. The most important [IMHO] difference is leavening (yeast/baking powder/soda etc.) The next issue is ratios, once you get beyond 'doubling' a home recipe your ratios will get out of sync. When you multiply dry ingredients (other than yeast) do so By Weight rather than dry measure. (note for sugars in a yeast ...


3

A quick Google search turns up a couple of companies. I didn't look for locations since you didn't specify yours or whether you're open to international shipping options. This one looks like it deals in rather large quantities, some as low as one kilogram, others as much as a ton. Seems like a larger investment than you might be prepared for; you'd probably ...


3

Ideas, including canning (which won't take up freezer space): http://jessica.mcrackan.com/2010/05/baby-preparation.html


3

You have to be very careful when preparing rice for consumption later. Cooked rice can contain a toxic spore which causes severe food poisoning. You should cool the rice as rapidly as possible to prevent too much of the toxin being produced by the spore.


3

Rice will dehydrate when it's left over night. So it will be very dry when you try and reheat it. Cook it ahead of time, but keep it as close to ahead of time as possible. The less time it sits around, the better. When it's time to serve, place a little water in with the rice, cover it (slightly vented), and then microwave till warm. The steam from the water ...


3

There's two issues here -- the initial roux, and then cooking the roux to the required color (eg, if you're trying to get to a dark roux for gumbo or similar) Personally, for the initial combining, I like a wooden spatula, not a whisk. I can basically smush everything together into a paste, then sort of chop it up into smaller bits to spread it across the ...


2

It depends on what you need the tallow for and whether you want it to taste significantly of beef or not, water rendering will give a cleaner tallow. With 100lbs of tallow, your main limiting factor is driving off all the water. Tallow is about 75% fat, 22% water and 3% protein so you basically need to boil off 22 pints of water. What heat sources do you ...


2

The onions will steam if there is not a sufficient amount of space around them for the water they release to evaporate, so short of a larger pan, doing multiple, smaller batches is the best way to ensure that.


2

Think about how you are going to re-heat the food. Some foods reheat fine in the microwave, like soups, stews, and some meats. Others need to be heated in the oven, like pizza. There are vacuum bags that are boilable for pastas and vegetables.


2

Gumbo is recommended for your once a month cooking. It is a delicious and hearty meal and easy to make. There are many different recipes therefore many different flavors. Plus it freezes well. In fact gumbo gets better with age when frozen. There is always frozen gumbo and cooked rice in our home freezer. In just a few minutes it can be thawed on your ...


2

I would add that you will find the pasta sticks together when resting, so work a few tablespoons of neutral tasting oil through the cooked cooled pasta with gloved hands to separate the strands. In chain Italian restaurants, they cook off 5 kg at a time, cool it immediately in ice water, drain, refrigerate and oil. This keeps for 36 hrs. And can be portioned ...


2

The "chilly bin method" will work with small cuts of meat like individual sized portions. If you're just scaling up with individually sealed cuts, I would err on the side of caution with using more bins rather than a single larger bin (and even favoring multiple large bins since they will have higher heat retention). The reason for this is that in a large ...


2

Amazon, and its subdealers sell a lot of these:, caffeine, niacin, ascorbic acid, tocopherols, etc. Looks like it's not the place to find 100gm bottles of folic acid or menadione, so you'll have to search elswehere for those.


2

It sounds like part of the problem is you're putting a very high standard on your cooking, since you're working hard to prep and use marinades. Normally this is a really good thing and is often the difference between "good food" and "great food". At the same time, though, it takes much more time. Worth it if you're hosting a dinner, but not so much when you ...



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