What I cooked and why

Last Thursday morning I went for a haircut and did some errands. It was exam week so the schedule was different and I teach in the afternoons. A text came in asking if I would be at school that day. Well, as it turned out, more funding came in for the learning assistance department, allowing the head teacher there to stay full time in that position and not have to teach English 10.

You might guess where this is going. Yes, instead of teaching just afternoons, I'm at school all day, beginning at 8:30 with a lovely class of 20 English 10 students. 

Hence all the cooking on the weekend. These photos are just a portion of it. I wanted to have at least this week organized. Above you see small jars of vegetable soup headed for the freezer. I'll take them in my lunch. And we enjoyed the soup on Sunday. 

I love roasted butternut squash. But coming home late and wrestling with a squash is not my idea of relaxation. Luckily, it can be peeled and cubed, then stored for several days in a container in the fridge.

I cooked up these Brussels sprouts to crisp tender, threw in a handful of dried cranberries and stirred in a spoonful of orange marmalade. Delicious and easy.

Every couple of months I make a batch of sausage. This is ground turkey, but pork or chicken or even beef works, too. Sometimes I form the sausage into patties and freeze them to cook as needed, or, like this time, I cook the meat and freeze it. It's easy to crumble some into eggs or soups.

I madly lesson planned on Friday and looked over stuff on the weekend, and I survived the first day! Ironically, my daughter taught the same two English courses I'm now teaching and I'm relying heavily on her binders of resources and plans. No need to invent the wheel! At least, not all at once!

What tips do you have for meal preparation when things look busy? Do you use your freezer?  


  1. Your soup looks so yummy, yes I have a freezer full of fish fillets, pasta sauce ready to defrost in the morning and warm in the evening. As I work full time monday to friday I have to plan the week, as I used to end up coming home and cooking 3 different meals! not anymore.

    Well I hope the teaching continues as it's started. Enjoy your weekxx

  2. You seem well organised with lots of prepared meals ready and in your freezer. Like the mention of a spoonful of marmalade added to the sprouts, that I will have to try; Good luck with the full days of teaching.

  3. Oh Lorrie, I well remember those days of teaching, making sure there was a plan for dinners, making my husband a lunch box and remembering to take a sandwich for myself! My freezer was well used, as I cooked in large amounts and froze things in small boxes. So lovely not to have to do it now!

  4. Congratulations! I think. =D

    Fortunately, I rarely have need of busy day plans except for days like tomorrow when I'll have the grands. Frozen chicken noodle soup will serve well for supper tomorrow night.

    Say, I saw a program this weekend where raw brussel sprouts were choppped up and made into a slaw. It's the only way I'd eat them.

    Have a good week, Lorrie! Very cool to have your daughter's lesson plans.

  5. Gosh, you're organized. I never plan anything. I just use what I've got and make anything I can. :)

  6. When I worked in the school I would cook once for two meals and freeze the other portion...it just makes sense as you use the same ingredients and the same tools...also soup was a staple and great for lunches.
    Congratulations on your full time posting!

  7. Congratulations on your change at work! When I worked outside the home (Toronto), we really just scrambled from day to day. There were no kids then, and we were lucky if we remembered to get the meat out of the freezer the night before, but that's about as far as our organization went. Often we just said "forget it" and headed out to a restaurant as we both often got home after 6 pm. You seem super organized! My husband now makes all our supper meals, although I'm finding some recipes in my purging that I'm sticking on the fridge that he might like to try ... you know ... for a change ;)

  8. Lorrie, everything really looks delicious! Adding cranberries to the Brussels sprouts really sounds great. Since you mentioned your love for butternut squash, have you ever cooked a whole one, skin, seeds and all in the crock pot? I have recently started doing this for squash of all kinds. I cooked two acorn squash at one time, and I also did a spaghetti squash. No fuss, no muss...no water, no nothing, other than the squash. It cooks perfectly and depending on how "done" you want it, is how many hours you cook it. This is especially handy if you are at work all or most of the day. I have a new favorite thing since yesterday...butternut squash "mashed potatoes". Squash cooked until just slightly chunky, add butter, salt, pepper, a tad of garlic powder and sour cream. Mix it all together, heat and eat...so yummy!

  9. So many great ideas from you and the comments. i cook a whole squash in the microwave. Like a potato. Let it cool and then cut and scrape out the seeds.

  10. Anonymous2:24 PM

    I am so impressed with your organization and your energy. Well done.

  11. You are more organized than I have ever been about kitchen preparations. Definitely the freezer become my friend. Good luck with teaching all day.

  12. Nothing like homemade soup in glass jars. Yours looks so yummy. Hope your full time work leaves time for your other favourite activities. You sure have more energy than most people I know.

  13. You have some very good ideas, Lorrie. I tend to cook 'large' on the weekends and package up future meals. After a while there is a good variety in the freezer, especially if I cook meals meant for 8, when there are just the two of us.

  14. You are so organised with your meal preparation! The soup looks delicious. Hope that you enjoy the extra teaching. xx

  15. Anonymous4:32 AM

    Delicious and nutritious home cooked meals are a winner every time, and you are so smart to prepare ahead of time. There are just two of us now, and we try to make a meal that is good for two or three nights so we can freeze that third night's portion. It is wonderful to pull something out of the freezer rather than the cupboard or the take out menu. I love to bake more than cook so I freeze a lot of desserts so we can pull one container out and each have a slice of pie or cake. Portion control. :-)

  16. Well done you on your organizational skills. I always have stews/casseroles in the freezer, pie fillings and a bolognaise sauce. Congratulations on getting the extra hours.

  17. I used to love to cook in quantity for the week ahead...very smart use of your time, Lorrie!
    Now that I don't cook much at all, I take advantage of the easy pre-cut items in my grocery store. They sell bags of butternut squash, already cleaned & cubed & just the right amt. for one person.
    I do like to use my microwave for spaghetti squash though. Healthy alternative to pasta!
    I loved seeing those little jars of yummy soup. Anything in a precious little container looks so much more enticing!

  18. You're so organized, Lorrie, and I'm impressed! Your jars of soup headed for the freezer look so healthy. Good luck with teaching full time, and how wonderful to be able to use your daughter's resources!! Love that!

  19. Oh, your cooking looks so very delicious!
    Happy teaching!

  20. You are certainly preparing well for your busier schedule! I could learn a thing or two from you!!

  21. Oh Lorrie, you are going to be busy for this semester. It looks like you have some great food and meal preparations done and luckily your daughter has taught the course before and shared her resources. I haven't cooked brussel sprouts in years but your recipe sounds so tasty that I may have to buy some. All the best to you with this extra work load.

  22. Congratulations Lorrie! I admire your determination and because you are so organized, full time teaching won't be much different than part time. If anyone can make the adjustment easily, you can! Have a great month!

  23. Hi Lorrie,

    I've been away for a bit and am trying to catch up on my blog visits. Congratulations on your new class and schedule!! I'm sure you'll do a great job. :)

    Your food looks wonderful, and I'm all in favor of cooking meals ahead. It's so much more enjoyable for the cook when it's time to eat, and I've found that I waste less ingredients that way, too. I confess, I don't use my freezer a lot, but my mom and mother-in-law do. You're smart to be organized and get ahead of the curve in adjusting to your new schedule.

    Thanks for sharing, Lorrie, and have a great week!!


    Denise at Forest Manor

  24. Your soup and Brussels sprouts look so good! I like to cook in large batches (usually on weekends when I am not babysitting) and then separate what I've cooked and freeze portions for a later time. I also like to use my cockpot--I prepare all the ingredients the evening before and then pop them into the slow cooker, turn it on low and let it cook all day long.

    God luck in your new semester of teaching! It's nice to have your daughter-in-law's lesson plans and resources to use!

  25. It sounds like you are most organized and efficient over there...and ready to enjoy your new position. I couldn't live without a freezer! I bake big batches of everything and cook large quantities of soups and casseroles...with everything being portioned into smaller containers for the freezer. gotta love those freezer meals!

  26. Oh Lorrie, I feel blessed to come here today and see you organized and your kitchen ready for your week. I have been thinking about doing more prep work myself, even though I'm not hurrying off to teach or work elsewhere. I'd just like to be more on top of meal preparation as I feel it adds richness to my life when I know some meals are in hand ahead -- I can enjoy the 'present' moment more.

    Thanks for a lovely post with photos and tips ... and best wishes for success and delight with your new role and your lovely new class.

    Happy day...

  27. Great idea to cook ahead. I live butternut squash and need to remember to use mine up. Also Brussels sprouts are a favorite. Looks like you've got some nice meals ahead.

  28. Wow! You are so organized and I love how it makes you still work in healthy meals, rather than relying on quick "anything". I'll have to try the Brussels sprouts with marmalade. I sense you really enjoy teaching even though it takes being organized and you come home tired at times. I admire you for it. I'd be so nervous to get in front of a class of high school students.
    I use my freezer a lot. This week I roasted a chicken and cut up the leftovers for crepes. They are in the freezer for a quick meal next week.

  29. Lorrie, I haven't been organized enough in recent months to do much prep like this. I have managed to freeze several dinner-for-two batches of my stuffed cabbage rolls and several jars of persimmon pulp for baking. But you've inspired me to get busy!


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