Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cooking in Bulk Example: Recipes from The Happy Herbivore

To demonstrate how my husband & I bulk cook to save time, money & maintain/continue weight loss (general system explained in my last post), I picked recipes from The Happy Herbivore, one of my favorite recipe blogs that is rapidly becoming quite famous (the chef Lindsay Nixon's Vegan Thanksgiving recipes were in the New York Times this past week!).  

Lindsay Nixon (The Happy Herbivore) has a new cookbook coming out in December (I posted on her current one here) & has some 1200 calorie meal plans on her website (complete with grocery lists!) that you can subscribe to with a donation--just an FYI (**I do not know her and have no reason to promote her!**).  

On her blog (where I selected these recipes from) her recipe page is one of the easiest to navigate because it has PICTURES!  And as we know (as I ramble on...), a picture is worth a thousand words! 

Ok enough of the continued enthusiastic endorsement--here we go! Check out my Happy Nurse hubby in action!

Cooking in Bulk Week #1:  Recipes from The Happy Herbivore (this is basically a typed up version of my own notes--I print out all the recipes and have them on hand in the kitchen)

 {1} In the Pantry:  We had Chickpeas, Black Beans and Quinoa--all uncooked, the beans were dry

 {2} Online recipe search:  I picked the following recipes for this week from The Happy Herbivore blog:

From Chickpeas:
need: chili powder, onion powder & taco shells {blue corn?}
2) Chana Palak Masala (one of my fav Indian dishes in general)
need small onion

From Black Beans:
need 2 whole green peppers, cornmeal, chili powder (already need chili powder for chickpea recipe)
2)  Quick Black Bean Burger
need onion powder {already need it for chickpea}

Black Beans & Quinoa:
need 1 fresh tomato

Black Beans, Chickpeas & Quinoa:
1) Hippie Loaf (So my funny husband has said we need to call this something else:-)) oh my former meat and potatoes man!)
need mushrooms, ketchup

need gluten-free lasagna noodles, extra-firm tofu, vegan parmasan, marinara sauce

1)  Mashed Potatoes
2)  Brown Gravy
Ok, then I made the following grocery list based on what I didn't have in the pantry:


Chili powder
onion powder
taco shells (blue corn ones?)
gluten-free lasagna noodles, 

fat-free vegan mayo
marinara sauce

small onion
2 whole green peppers
1 fresh tomato

extra-firm tofu, 
vegan parmasan

   {4} I made the following strategy--Work from the top to the bottom of the tasks--focus on one task at a time so you don't get overwhelmed!!!  Basically I write this out on a piece of paper and we stick it to the fridge for reference

1) We eat dried beans because they are cheaper, so we soak them overnight, rinse them a TON (to avoid GI side effects J) & start them cooking in our crockpot in the early AM before cooking in the afternoon
CHOP etc
       1)   peel 7 garlic cloves & mince (mince in groups of 2 and separate for the different recipes) 
       2)   dice small onion
       3)   squeeze 1 lemon to juice, 1 lime to juice
       4)   cut peppers into “boats”
       5)   shred lettuce
       6)   dice tomatoes
       7)   wash & chop potatoes into quarters
       8)   mince one carrot
       9)   mince 2 celery stalks
     10)    chop mushrooms

     1)   Thaw 4 cups frozen spinach
      2)   Thaw 1 cup corn
      3)   Preheat oven to 375
      1)   make taco seasoning mix (click on link to mix on Happy Herbivore’s recipe for chickpea tacos)   
      2)   mix tamari/juice/taco seasoning & put chickpeas in
      3)   mix condiments and spices for BB burger
      4)     mash black beans separate into 2 bowls (½ for burgers, ½ for Hippie Loaf)
      5)   Mix filling for lasagna rolls before spinach completely thaws

START RIGHT BEFORE MIXING—occasionally check on these things while mixing:
       1)   Potatoes boiling
       2)   Quinoa cooking (we use a rice cooker—so easy andcheap!)
       3)   Lasagna cooking (set timer for this one)
       4)   Sautee onion & garlic (turn off after done)

ASSEMBLE OVEN ITEMS: (do each ONE at a time to avoid errors, use prepped materials)
    1)   Black Bean burgers:  mix, put on cookie sheet, put in oven, timer to 14 mins
    2)   Chickpea Tacos: toss in sauce to make sure all coated, put in oven, add 8 mins to timer when BB burgers timer is done
    3)   Mexican Peppers:  Mix Stuffed Peppers & put in oven (same time as chickpea tacos, so just look in on them then)
    4)   Mix Hippie Loaf & put in pan and oven—add 25 mins to timer when it is done for Tacos

ASSEMBLE STOVE ITEMS (while oven is baking)
    1)   Make Chana Palak Masala
    2)   Assemble Lasagna Rolls & cook
    3)   Mix Gravy & cook
    4)   Mix Mashed Potatoes & whip in food processor

    1)   Take everything out of ovens & off stoves to cool
     2)   Set out Tupperware to fill kitchen table (BPA-FREE please, healthier, at Target & Walmart, etc)
     3)   Put portions of each item in Tupperware
     4)   Put in fridge & some in freezer for next week depending on how much you eat!

DONE!!!!!!! (no more cooking for week!  This process should take 2-3 hours—you get faster the more you do this & if you have help in the kitchen)

A few money & time saving tips:
-Call stores ahead of time for uncommon ingredients so you don't have to run all over the place only to discover that it isn't there!
-If you have time price the list ahead of time--we don't do this every week, but we do live on a VERY tight budget (med school loansssss) and operate with the "Envelope System"--more on that later--so we need to really think about how much things are going to cost before we get to the store.
-Try to pick recipes that have a lot of your current staples in them--that way you maximize your purchases from before.

Coming Soon!:
  • PAIN: How to Heal with Food (Part 2)
  • How To Get The BEST Medical Care: Tips to Patients from a Doc
  • SuperImmunity Foods for KIDS (Calling All PARENTS!)
  • RECIPES & Ideas: Snacks!  YUMMY & Portable Plant-Based Snack Food--all sugar-free, gluten-free & without adding oil or fat!!

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  1. Thanks for posting this. I used to cook this way, when I homeschooled a large family. They are grown and mostly gone, but life has some how sped up again. I'm a writer and don't seem to have the time/energy to do both efficiently. Plus, I'm learning to cook all over again since I became meatless/dairy-free/oil-free/gluten-free/sugar-free/soy-free. I'll give your plan a try next week. Thanks again.

  2. Dr.Cat, your site is seriously a GOD-SEND! I'm so happy I found it. It's inspiring, informative, and gives me so much hope. I'm a Sugar addict, and the sad part is that I own most of the books you recommend on here. So, now that you've motivated me to actually read and use them, I plan to start this Friday on a Vegan, No oil, sugar free, gluten free plan. To make things a bit easier for now, I'm going to just purchase Lindsay's 7 day meal plan. All I need is a good Sponsor now, and I can also start on the 12 steps. I know you're super busy, but are you willing to sponsor someone via email? Or do you know of a good Sponsor that can help me, via email? I'm a 41 yr old, married, homeschooling mom of 5, who lives in CT, and is in desperate need of pain relief (fibromyalgia, sciatica), and support for sugar addiction. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!


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