The Prep Sheet is a unique document to help you prepare for your big freezer cooking day by chopping produce and pre-cooking some ingredients. Here are some tips and answers to common questions if you are feeling confused.
When to Prep for Freezer Cooking
We recommend that you chop all of your produce the night before your big cooking day to maximize your efficiency in the kitchen. This way you can easily measure out ingredients without having to pull out the cutting board for each recipe. This is one of the things that makes freezer cooking such a time saver!
Why is the “Meats Needed” amount less than what I purchased?
This amount is dependent on the recipes you are cooking. We aim to have about half of the meat on your menu pre-cooked in order to save you time on cooking day. But some of the meat will NOT be pre-cooked, such as meat that goes into an “Dump and Go” (formerly “Easy Assembly”) recipe. These are often cooked in the slow cooker or oven on the serving day.
Check this amount, and check the recipes the “Included In” column to the far right. You don’t want to cook meat and then later find out that it wasn’t supposed to be.
What are all the different columns for?
Chopping List – Ingredients from grocery list, listed in alphabetical order.
Amount Bought – The amount listed on the grocery sheet. (Note that this is sometimes NOT the whole amount purchased. For example you may purchase several pounds of onions and some need to be chopped while others are sliced or left whole. In this case they are listed separately.)
Measure – Ounces, pounds, or piece, depending on the measurement you will see on the grocery store shelf. (More info on that HERE.)
To sum things up, these three columns (shaded white) tell you the amount of the ingredient you should START out with before it is chopped/diced/et.
Approx. Prep Amount – The estimated amount of the ingredient that you will end up with after it has been prepped.
Prep Measure – Cups, teaspoons, Tablespoons, etc., whichever unit is used on the recipe card to measure this ingredient.
Ingredient – Ingredient name as it is listed on the recipe card.
Included In – Name of the recipe(s) in which the prepped ingredient will be used.
To sum things up, these 4 columns (shaded gray) tell you the amount of prepped ingredient you will END up with and in which recipe to use it.
Will all of the ingredients keep until I cook?
Yes! Almost everything will keep in the refrigerator. You will need some lidded containers or extra zippered bags. Some members even use paper plates covered with plastic wrap!
However, certain ingredients do require special care so that they do not spoil between prep time and cooking time. If desired, you can wait until you cook the dish to complete the prep, but just be aware that you will have to interrupt your cooking “flow” to chop. You really don’t want to have to get out your cutting board or your food processor on cooking day and wash them again.
- apples – Toss cut apples in lemon juice or soak in a mixture of cold water and lemon juice and cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them.
- avocado – Mashed or chopped avocado should be mixed or tossed with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap, but press it down in the center so that it comes into direct contact with the avocado. If it isn’t exposed to any air, then it will stay nice and green. Refrigerate prepped avocado.
- bananas – Toss cut bananas with lemon juice and refrigerate to prevent browning. If the recipe allows, you can even flash freeze bananas the night before.
- potatoes – To keep potatoes from turning brown, place in a bowl and submerge potatoes completely in water. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cook or freeze.
- eggs – On your prep sheet, you will often be instructed to “beat eggs.” However, you have probably guess that it is difficult to measure out a certain number of beaten eggs into a recipe. You will want to either wait until cooking time to prep. Or you can beat the eggs for each recipe separately. Just refer to your recipe cards so that you know how many you need and label the container with the recipe name.