Wednesday 19 November 2014

Spread Out and Cooked Last Night

Okay I decided to do a bit of cooking last night and make a bunch of meals to freeze. This is a little trick that I have done many times before, it worked great when I had a deep freeze . . . sigh. 

Hmm maybe I can put a deep freeze on a trailer behind Wanda . . . . or fasten it to her rear bumper, that can’t possible go bad, right? I digress. 

To do this I needed some groceries, so I went to the grocery store and even put the slide out out, it is a wonder what a difference those few feet make to the interior space and comfortability in there. 

Okay so what I do is essentially cook a pot of a stew/goulash/something creation and freeze it into meal sized portions. Then later I would take one out, tear the plastic off, put in on a plate and microwave it for five minutes. 

Since I don’t have a microwave that will work unless I am plugged into a 120 Vac/ 30 Amp service, I can’t do that. What I figured was I would just take the meal out of the fridge, tear the plastic off and heat it up in a frying pan . . . voila . . . dinner.

Okay so first of all, I start with a pound of ground beef, I fry it up, drain the fat and grease, then stir in a package of taco seasoning (trust me). Once that is all cooked up, I then stuff in two boxes of hamburger helper (add extra egg noodles) I typically go with the lasagna variety or but any kind will work.

Then add the water (be liberal with the water a few handfuls of frozen veg, frozen hash browns (in other words, frozen diced potatoes) a can of chilly is always good, a can of tomato paste wouldn’t hurt. You can see how this can easily get larger and larger as you add more stuff. I have filled a stock pot and made up to 75 meals in one pot at one time (as in 75 half pounds servings). 

Okay so cook the stuff up, then once it is all nice and cooked, let it sit overnight to blend together. Then in the morning start scooping it out into sandwich Ziploc bags, like this. 

I have used a scale to measure out exactly half a pound, this time I just winged it with two scoop (of goodness in every Geoffie’s dinner bag!) . . . couldn’t resist. Then you seal the bag but leave one corner open. Then you smush the dinner flat and move all the air to the one open corner. Once all the air is out seal the bag and lay it flat. Like this. 

The reason I do this is because a half pound is about enough for dinner but also when it is flat like this it takes less time to defrost and heat than a solid ball or lump of something. (Yes I have used this trick to keep uncooked ground beef in the deep freeze and at the ready).

Keep doing this until you have emptied your pot and have a stack of meals in a bag. I would ordinarily do a few different varieties up and have a choice in the freezer of meals ready to eat. This way I have my own ‘convenience food’ waiting for me for when I don’t feel like cooking. 

This was a small batch so only 11 meals out of it all for a cost of about 15 bucks. If you do a larger batch the cost per meal drops considerably, usually under a buck a meal.  

Now that we are finished our stack of meals we put them into the freezer. It is important that while they are freezing that first time that they are kept flat. In the past I have put them on stacks on cookie sheets. Once they are frozen they can then be stacked vertically for easier storage and ease of selection.  I just used a box of hamburgers. 

I am doing this so I have some meals conveniently ready for me, and hopefully be less likely to eat out. I finally had to fill up my five gallon jug of water, and now devised a better system to refill it. Each day I will take home 2 – 4 litres of water (aka one or two 2 Lt pop bottles filled with water). This way I can keep it topped up but not lug that thing back and forth.

I also had to water a tree with my graywater, as that bucket got full.  Don’t worry about the tree, this was just dishwater so it was soapy water and whatever else is left from washing dishes. 

For doing my “business” I usually find a toilet for “number two” or I find a thirsty tree for “number one.” I do have that “backup toilet” yet I have only used it once, as even my body seems to tell me “no, it’s all good, I’ll wait till we find a real toilet, thanks. 

I only mention this next part for practical reasons if someone actually does do what I do and live in an RV in winter.  Putting on clothes to go outside and find a tree to pee on in the middle of the cold night sucks, it really does. I will admit that this next tip is more for the guys and the skilled/well-aimed ladies.

So I decided to get myself a “temporary urinal” . . . AKA a jar with a sealable lid (Don’t worry, no pictures). That way I don’t have to leave the RV to pee but I don’t: 1) smell up the place and 2) risk kicking the jar over and spilling its contents that next morning. Once again I go out in the morning with my jar and find a thirsty tree. Gotta help the environment, you know.

Well, I really don’t know how to follow that, so I won’t even try. Just take this as a measure of my determination to make this work, get through winter and on to the home stretch of just that last card to pay off.

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