Monday, June 17, 2013

Make-Ahead Monday: Peanut Butter Cookies

I once had a Tuesday through Saturday job and decided it was worth the time to spend several hours every Monday making food for the upcoming week. It was a busy day in the grocery store & kitchen, but it was great to have several things in the freezer so I could just thaw something the night before & pop it in the oven for a quick, convenient, homemade meal every day of the week. It saved me money over buying premade meals, and it ensured that the food was healthier because I was making most things from scratch rather than eating a lot of processed convenience foods.

Some of the things I made regularly back then:

*Lentil Soup
*Clam Chowder

I don't remember what else I made, but these were on the menu pretty regularly, and this list alone was a decent variety so I didn't get bored.

Interestingly enough, I now have Mondays off work again, over a decade later. I've done food prep days here & there in recent years, but I haven't been doing actual meals and it hasn't been as organized or as frequent as I'd like it to be. I've recently decided that I need to institute the weekly meal-making practice again in order to make my life easier and to save money by planning meals ahead of time. I'll keep you posted & try to share what I'm making each week. Today, I was limited by not planning ahead & by not having enough freezer space, so I made 3 quarts of ghee and started a batch of beef broth with some grassfed soup bones I had in the freezer.

Beef Broth

Broth is simple. Some people use veggies in the pot with the bones, but I never bother with that. I roast the bones at 400* or so until they're done and put them in the crock pot. Then I fill the crock pot up with water & turn it on low. I check the water level once or twice a day & keep the crock pot full. After a day (for chicken bones) or two or three days (for beef bones), the broth will be ready. At this point, I strain out the bones & refrigerate the broth until I'm ready to use it in soups, stews, for cooking liquid on rice & beans, etc.

The kid made a big batch of peanut butter cookies today, which are an inexpensive, easy-to-make treat with the nutritional goodness of natural peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Cookies - makes 12-15

*1 cup peanut butter (we buy it freshly ground & add 1/4 tsp. RealSalt to this recipe)
*1 cup natural sweetener of choice - we like turbinado sugar for the price, but it doesn't blend in as well as others (use only 1/2 cup if you choose honey)
*1 egg

Mix together well with a fork or spoon. Put blobs of dough (about 2 Tbsp. each) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. It will work without the parchment paper, but they do stick a little bit. Press each one with the back of a fork until maybe 1/3" thick or so. Bake at 350* F for 8 - 10 minutes. Let sit on parchment for several minutes to cool before carefully removing them in order to keep them from falling apart. Enjoy!

Have you ever had a food-making day to prepare food for the whole week? What was your experience &/or opinion of it?

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