This summer, I'm exploring more of the idea of batch cooking. The idea has been rolling around for a while, but a conversation with a friend last week really helped to get the idea solidified.
First, I'm doing more crock pot batch cooking for us (whole chickens for shredded chicken for casseroles, soups, chicken salad, etc., pots of beans for three bean salad, beans and rice, baked beans, etc., and other recipes I come across), so that the freezer is always stocked with the essentials to put together an easy and healthy meal. This is really easy in the summer when produce is so abundant at home and at the farmer's market. (And I love to cook apples in the crock pot in the fall... yummy) I've also made quite a few vinegar based salads, which will keep in the fridge for a week or two. (I'll post my bean salad recipe later today, and maybe my kitchen diva aunt's squash salad recipe.)
But to take it a few steps further, Michele offered to teach me how to do some canning this summer. She has some great recipes for a squash relish and raspberry/blackberry jam, and if the tomatoes turn out great this summer, we might try making our own tomato sauce. I'm so excited about this! It will be great to have some of this summer's harvest on the pantry shelf for fall and winter, and will definitely save us some money in the food budget. (Not to mention the jam will make great Christmas gifts.)
We've also talked about creating a freezer supper club with people, so that we'll all have well stocked freezers with a variety of things. For example, one month, I might agree to make a lasagna, while Michele might make a soup and Beth might make a chicken casserole. We'd each triple the recipe and make one batch for each person, so that we'd all end up with one of each thing. I'm really hoping that this will take off, because I think it would truly simplify life for everyone and give us the chance to try some new recipes.
What are you enjoying making this summer in the kitchen? Have any great canning recipes you'd like to share? (It looks like we'll have an abundance of squash and peppers, so send those recipes my way!) Here's to living and saving green in the summer kitchen!