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  1. #1

    Once a Month Cooking

    Browsing for dinner ideas the other night I came across a couple of blogs that are based on the philosophy of cooking an entire month's worth of meals and then freezing them. I'm really intrigued by the concept, especially since our scheudle during the school year leaves very little time to cook in the evenings.

    http://onceamonthmom.com/
    http://www.once-a-monthcooking.com/
    http://www.realfood4realpeople.com/oamc.html


  2. #2
    I once babysat for a family that did this. The whole family pitched in on cooking day. They even had individual sausage biscuits wrapped and frozen so the kids could pop them in the microwave when they wanted. It was quite an operation. I was impressed.

  3. #3
    I am so drawn to this, as well as to weekly meal planning, but I just don't have the follow-through. I will gather up all my resolve, then get it going, and then on, say Wednesday, I'll decide I want broiled chicken instead of turkey meatballs, and it all goes out the window.

    However, I do batch cooking of some stuff. I'll buy a big flat of ground meat and then cook it up with onions and spices- and oats. I always put about 1/2 cup of oats per lb of meat in my ground meat to stretch it and to make it healthier. Anyway, when I'm done cooking it all, I'll portion it out and freeze it in single meal sized packages. I do this with all kinds of proteins, and with veggie purees as well.

    I'm curious as to whether anybody has been successful at once a month cooking or meal planning. It would really be a good idea for when my husband is gone!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mrsaboyer View Post
    I always put about 1/2 cup of oats per lb of meat in my ground meat to stretch it and to make it healthier.
    Love this idea Andrea!


  5. #5
    I've never done once a month cooking, but I do buy things like meat in bulk and re-portion and put in the freezer. (and I like that oat idea too!) I have tried weekly planning for our dinners and weekend meals, and when I do take the time to do it, I find that we eat better and grocery shopping is nicer LOL but I go in spurts of do it for a couple weeks and then fall off the wagon for a couple months. I think what happens is that I like to try new things when I plan ahead but sitting and looking through cookbooks ends up feeling like a chore - especially when the kids want to "help" LOL

  6. #6
    I am so drawn to this, as well as to weekly meal planning, but I just don't have the follow-through. I will gather up all my resolve, then get it going, and then on, say Wednesday, I'll decide I want broiled chicken instead of turkey meatballs, and it all goes out the window.
    It's like you have seen inside my head

    I think there have been times that I have been on a once-a-week cooking schedule, but that just really means that we ate out a lot DH travels quite a bit and the girls and I get lax when he's gone. I had a friend who had a similar situation and she claims that she knew she was letting things slide too much when she hollered at her girls that it was time for dinner and they immediately went to get into the car!

  7. #7
    I'm lucky to meal plan for one week.

    The once a month cooking sounds appealing, but honestly, what day am I going to give up in its entirety to do all that cooking? I should probably try it, but then again, we would need an extra freezer, which is next on our "to purchase" list . . .

  8. #8
    I could never do that once a month cooking b/c it wouldn't be good for my marriage. My dh would invariably see it as an unnecessary effort and I'd be left yelling things like "would you PLEASE keep the kids from selling their broken toys to the neighbors while I stuff these zillion manicotti? I mean, I'm doing this for US!" Although now that my kids are getting older, they could help. When I first came across this idea my 4 kids were all 6 and under so it really wouldn't have worked.

    I do a weekly meal plan but I don't assign days to the meals - I just number them 1 through 6 and pick which I want on any given day. I plan a main dish and sides and if I feel like mixing and matching them Wednesday then I do. HTH.

  9. #9
    And Cheryl makes a good point about needing storage space to do it. My frig & freezer can just fit our food for one week! Not to mention all the baggies and other storage containers you'd need.

  10. #10
    Yeah, that family I knew had a big chest freezer stuffed with food.

  11. #11
    I have a girlfriend who does this and she swears by it. They eat more healthily and more frugally. I have thought several times about trying it, but I've never made it past the "thinking about it" stage.

    We do weekly meal plan a good bit of the time. We only eat out once a week for dinner, so if I don't have something ready, then it's sandwiches for dinner! When I plan, though, I plan loosely. I don't necessarily plan what we'll eat each night, but rather the meals that we'll have that week. If I've bought something that will go bad more quickly, then I'll plan to have that earlier in the week, but I like to give myself lots of wiggle room.





  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by juliesouthern View Post
    I think there have been times that I have been on a once-a-week cooking schedule, but that just really means that we ate out a lot
    LOL! Julie, you crack me up!!





  13. #13
    I do bulk cook occasionally - though now I have 2 daughters (15 & 11) who are accomplished cooks I often don't have to do the meals. One was begging the other to let her cook for a week!

    Back on topic though. One easy way i found to get meals sorted without doing a major cook was to perhaps buy 10pound ground beef, cook it off with garlic, diced onions and celery, plus salt and pepper. Freeze that in family size portion lots then you have a base from which to make many things. ) I use old plastic icecream containers for freezing it in and write the date on the top.
    Throw it in the crockpot (frozen) with bolgnaise fixings, make it into pizza, add it to lasagna or any other thing you can think of in the crockpot. Saves a lot of prep and time and throwing a meal together is a lot easier if you are pushed.

    Now if you want to take it a bit further turn it all into bolognaise, freeze it and you have the perfect sauce for any pasta, pizza, lasange etc.

    Another good way to bulk cook is to do it with a friend for the day. Cook two different dishes each (x2) then swap two of them.

    To keep if non rigid and to eat as you fancy - add a list to your freezer lid with the name/number of dishes and take your pick each day, (cross it off the list)that way you can be semi spontaneous and not feel like you are stuck in a rut.
    Last edited by ShabbyShaz; 09-09-2011 at 12:14 PM.
    Sharyn





  14. #14
    I need to do something! Like Cheryl, though, I can't even fathom planning for a month. Heck, half the time I don't even plan (or necessarily cook!) for the week. I must must must get back into the habit, though. Eating out is expensive!!


    I didn't want to be left out, so here I am. Thanks, Pamie!





  15. #15
    I can only handle one week at a time...both because of storage and my brain. I make a list of the meals I have planned on my white board, and erase them as I cook them. I don't assign a meal to a day because sometimes we "feel" like tacos, while other times we really want a roast.

  16. #16
    Hanging with the Chicks! wishingwellcreations's Avatar
    Spite: a perfectly acceptable reason to return a jacket *OR* refuse to change your avatar photo...
    Quote Originally Posted by juliesouthern View Post
    It's like you have seen inside my head

    I think there have been times that I have been on a once-a-week cooking schedule, but that just really means that we ate out a lot
    ...it's more like you have seen inside MY head... *giggle*

    Quote Originally Posted by dawnfarias View Post
    "would you PLEASE keep the kids from selling their broken toys to the neighbors while I stuff these zillion manicotti? I mean, I'm doing this for US!"
    hahahahaha
    ~ Laura ~
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  17. #17
    Julie and Dawn, you ladies are cracking me up as well! The whole kids selling their toys thing, bwaahahahaaa!

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ShabbyShaz View Post
    To keep if non rigid and to eat as you fancy - add a list to your freezer lid with the name/number of dishes and take your pick each day, (cross it off the list)that way you can be semi spontaneous and not feel like you are stuck in a rut.

    What a great idea!


    Creating for Disasterpiece Studios

  19. #19
    I do things a bit differently since it is just DH and I now. When the kids come with the grandkids, everything is done freshly because they are a big crowd. But you can do things like grill chicken until it is not quite done then leave it whole, slice it up, grind it up for chicken tacos, or shred it for say Chicken Tetrazini. You can cook hamburger with onions and garlic in advance and put it in freezer bags for things like tacos, spaghetti, etc. We almost always cook a big box of brats whenever we grill as they are good for night when we just want to grab something and go on to the next thing. I prepare the side dishes and veggies fresh, but try to do a lot of grilled meats at the same time. Some things just aren't good though leftover, so things like steak, boneless chops or roast beef I cook fresh. We eat a lot of tilapia, but it is fast and easy to bake or sautee, so I take whatever shortcuts I can. When we make mashed potatoes, I use 2 whole sticks of butter and one package of cream cheese and they heat really well if you use a lower cooking temperature for a little longer. Gravies and sauces have to be reheated on the stove most of the time. So, no matter how you do it, I think there is always a bit of prep time involved, but these things save me time on the back end later. Sausage patties already cooked whenever my grandsons come is a must, and I always cook extra biscuits when he first arrives so he can fix himself a breakfast sandwich. He has ADD, so food with morning medication is a must! Hope these tips might help someone. My husband and I both came from families with 6 kids and I still have a hard time cooking for just the two of us, so I am lucky my husband likes leftovers. In fact, some things get better with age - like spaghetti sauce.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by mrsaboyer View Post
    Julie and Dawn, you ladies are cracking me up as well! The whole kids selling their toys thing, bwaahahahaaa!

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