So here are a few things I learned and I'm happy to be passing these tips on to you now:
-Take care of the large amount of vegetables on days when you do not have to see any other people. Unless you really could use some attention and a lot of people asking you questions like, "Is everything okay?" or "Are you alright?" because you look like you've been crying (which you have over the onions), not because you're having an emotional meltdown (well you might be having that too, so you could use the onions as your excuse). Or unless orange hands are the next big fashion statement you're looking to debut! :) Yes, my hands turned a slight orange color from all the carrots I peeled!
-A food processor comes in really handy, if you have one.
-Get a good audio book/podcast to listen to while you chop--it helps to have something to listen to.
-Feed your kids a lot of snacks so they don't constantly ask you if you're making them their next meal--all day--just the sight of the food makes them hungry!
-Have a lot of freezer space available
-Stock up on freezer bags to get the job done
The first day I tackled the potatoes and the onions, since we had so much of each of them, I wanted to get the bulk down right away. This explains the reason for my puffy red eyes:
I forgot to get a picture of the end result, but it was amazing! By the way, the food processor was a life saver with all of these onions. All I did was cut them into quarters and let the machine do all the chopping. They turned out great too. After all was done I ended up with over 30 bags of chopped onions, 2 large bags of onion/peppers/potatoes seasoned and ready for grilling, another 6 or so bags of onions cut for fajitas/stir fry, and 2 large bags of onions for onion rings. These alone are taking up about 1/2 a shelf in the new freezer. We're pretty sure we won't be needing any onions for a while. :)
While I took a break from the runny nose and tears caused by the onions, I got to peeling potatoes and then I peeled so more. The potatoes were actually really fun because there were ways to be creative and make a variety of choices. I did most of them into diced potatoes (cooked to about the tenderness needed for a potato salad--a little firm), lightly salted. The idea with these is that they are ready to be mixed up as a salad right away, or they can be cooked a little longer and made into mashed potatoes in about 5 minutes. They can easily be seasoned and thrown on the grill or baked too. The other great thing about having them diced is that they can be added to a soup/stew towards the end of the cooking time and/or added to a potato casserole dish. There are so many options and it makes the prep time next to nothing with these potatoes. I loved thinking up all the things I could do with them! In order to make it possible to get just the amount I needed for the meal I was making, I froze them on a baking sheet first so they'd freeze individually and then added them to the freezer bag for storing.
This way you don't have to thaw the whole bag if you only need a few.
Mmmm....then I decided to make some seasoned and ready to just broil for an extra easy meal. We really enjoy these garlic and rosemary seasoned red potatoes and it gave me a break from peeling too! :) I did the same thing I did with the diced, but I added the seasonings to them before freezing them on the baking sheet.
And that's not even the end of it! I have a whole lot of potatoes in the freezer and I still have a 10+ lb bag waiting to be finished. I decided to put off the rest since they'll keep just fine for a week or two and it'll give me a chance to have a little break from making potatoes! ;) My plan for the rest of them is to make more diced, since those seem to be the most versatile and some shredded hash browns.
Last night we enjoyed an incredibly quick dinner from all this hard work and it was lovely! We enjoyed grilled chicken (from the food delivery service that didn't work out, but we still got free food!), rosemary potatoes (from the freezer), steamed brocolli (from the farmer's market) and a salad (from all the veggies we've got!). I think from start to finish it was only about 20 minutes and it was so easy and hassle free. Very little dishes too, since most of it was already cooked before hand. It was very convenient, without the price tag! :)