Shiny Metal Tiger

Experiences in Baltimore, MD

The MegaMeal

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When it comes to food and nutrition, America is a land of great opportunities and great challenges, as I’ve talked about in a couple of earlier posts. Now that I’ve started doing intermittent fasting I’m having a problem that is in some ways similar, but in some ways the opposite, of my previous “too-much-pizza” woes. In short, the attitude of eating “whatever I want, whenever I’m hungry” means that I don’t really plan meals in advance, and as a result I end up eating a lot of quick and tasty food, like sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt and cereals.

So it’s not that I’m eating junk (except maybe the cereal), but the constant snacking means that I rarely eat meals of any complexity, both because I don’t build up enough appetite and because I can’t really justify spending an hour cooking when I could just make a smoothie. This means that while I eat lots of fruit,  I don’t get that many vegetables, since they don’t often feature in the meals I eat and because my standard snacking vegetables (cucumber and bell peppers) are frekkin’ expensive over here. I do make an effort to peel some carrots, eat  a can of beans or steam some frozen veggies, so it’s not awful. Just not as good as it should be. The other downside is simply that I don’t get the same sense of fulfillment when I never eat proper meals.

Well, not one to accept my lot (especially when it’s self-imposed and easily remedied) I concocted a simple plan: I would cook whole bunch of food and freeze meal-sized portions for later use. I set aside half of yesterday to do it, opting for slow cooking stews that would allow me to work on a paper while they simmered. I’d planned to make gumbo after spontaneously buying some okra, but in the end I dropped that because I didn’t want to spend too long getting and figuring a bunch of ingredients I’d never used (okra, roux, andouille…). So in the end I settled on Hungarian goulash, bolognese sauce and a chicken stew with mushrooms, bell peppers and corn.

The astute observer will note that of these, only the goulash is really a slow cooking stew. Add the fact that chopping all the veggies and meat took a long time, and in the end I spent a lot longer cooking than I’d thought (but I was efficient at writing once I got started, so only lost an hour of sleep). I started off with a huge amount of vegetables. Kilograms of onion, carrots and potato, a whole garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, tomatoes… Then I cut up probably 4 pounds of chicken and 3 pounds of beef (all the while watching The Spy Who Loved Me followed by Moonraker). The end result was this:

3 lbs beef chunks, 3 lbs ground beef, 4 lbs chicken, 4 lbs potatoes, 12 onions...

I partitioned the ingredients that would be added together into separate bowls, so the cooking process was actually fairly easy. Add onions and garlic bowl to pot A and C, meat and butter to pot B, then meat to A and C, onions and beef stock to B, spice all, add carrots and celery to A, peppers mushrooms to C, etc. etc.

All prepped and good to go

Main problem was that we only have 2 big heaters and 2 big pots, so I changed out one of the pots along the way, added another one and generally shuffled them around on the heaters as required. The chicken dish was eventually made in a wok on a small heater which meant that it needed longer to get everything cooked properly. Because of this, the veggies weren’t as crispy as I would have liked them. Oh well.

The Cooking of the MegaMeal

In the end, all the dishes turned out pretty good, and above off plentiful. After we’d eaten dinner from them, I still had:

  • 14 large portions of bolognese sauce in bags.
  • A good sized tupperware container of same.
  • 6 bags of goulash (with potatoes in the goulash)
  • 5 bags of the chicken, with rice.
  • Two leftover pizza slices in another bag, just because

The MegaMeal

All in all, about a month worth of food. Or in my case two months plus the days I cook something else = not bad. Now I just have to make sure I eat my veggies.

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Written by Martin

2010/07/06 at 20:37

Posted in Uncategorized

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