I’m about 3 weeks away from my next major soup round. It sounds a bit weird since it’s so hot out, but now is the best time to stock up on produce to make some extra healthy soups so they’re ready for fall. By doing some of the organizing ahead of time it makes the prep time that much easier.
If you’ve read any of my other prepping techniques you know that by now I have all of my recipes selected and I’m purchasing non perishables as they go on sale. To prep for my next round of 13 soups I’ve found it’s easiest to create a plan for the week so I know what to make when. It sounds a bit daunting so here is how I make a plan for week long cooking:
Shopping: The majority of what I need will be fresh produce, so I can’t buy this too far in advance. I know I can get the best prices on fresh produce at our farmer’s market on Saturday mornings so I begin with that since the hours aren’t as flexible as the stores. I know I should be able to get almost everything I need there and then just a few items at a grocery store. I also know that I’ll need to run the items home and place in the refrigerator since it is so hot out before running to the grocery store for the rest of the list. One of our grocery stores is closed on Sundays so Saturday makes the most sense for me to get all of my ingredients. Previous experience is that I plan a solid 3-4 hours for getting supplies, hauling inside, and putting things away.
Prep: I know I’ll need to make veggie broth and clean and prep my kitchen the day before. Once the broth is going on the stove I can prep my kitchen for the week. Usually I clean and sanitize everything and then get out measuring cups, prep bowls, etc. so they are ready to go. I also organize all of my recipes in the order that I need to make them and group the dry ingredients with the recipe so I don’t have to hunt for the ingredient I need. This round also calls for a lot of chicken so I’ll stick that in the slow cooker so it’s ready to go the first morning of cooking. If there’s time I’ll start prepping some of the veggies as well.
Order of Recipes: This is the part that everyone always asks me how I determine so I’ve included my steps below:
- Group recipes by meat. I have more recipes that need chicken so I know I’ll need to have the chicken ready to go. It’s easiest to stick all of it in the slow cooker and then portion it out.
- Next I look at my recipes that call for chicken and figure out which pot I’ll need for which soup. Some recipes make a smaller batch where I can use a 3 qt pot, some require a 6 qt pot, and others require my giant 12 qt stockpot. I only have one of each of these so I choose three recipes for the first day that require one of each pot. The same process is used if I had any for the slow cooker or if I was borrowing pots from friends.
- Day two will be the remainder of the recipes with chicken. I know that I will have more recipes coming up that require a roast, so that will be put in the slow cooker for day three. Again I look at pot size. If I have two that require the 6 qt pot I typically make one and prep for the other while it’s on the stove. I let it cool while I do up any dishes and then portion the first soup out and clean the pot and make the second soup.
- Days three through five follow the same method of determining which pot size each soup needs. Each day the more complicated soup is done first and the easier ones are done while the first is simmering. The process works much better if you have a friend helping!
I use a notebook to write out which soup needs which pot before I begin. I’ve also written down how many cups the recipe makes and if the recipe needs a particular type of storage container. I use a sticky note on top of the recipes with the day and title of the recipe to use for putting things in order the day before I begin preparing. If using recipes out of a cookbook I write the page number down as well.