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Once a month cooking

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Has anyone tried this? I read in a single parenting book that not only is it a time saver but a money saver as well. You spend one day a month cooking the entire months meals and splitting them into daily portions. Then you just need to defrost and heat up. Working nights, this may be a good option for me when the little one comes home (and starts eating solids).
post #2 of 10
I got the book from the library a few years ago and tried it. The good part was I learned some clever techniques for preparing what you could call "convenience foods" in advance. Like roasting a couple chickens, picking the meat off and freezing it in one-cup portions, which you can then throw into rice or pasta dishes whenever you need it. Much cheaper than buying those bagged frozen chicken dishes. I also liked the method of putting fish or chicken and marinade in a ziploc bag and freezing it--then on another day you take the bag out of the freezer in the morning and let it thaw in the fridge all day, then cook it when you get home that night.

The bad part -- at least half the meals I did not care for at all. I guess I'm picky. But some of the dishes just didn't taste that good to me. So after the one time experiment we didn't do the recipes in the book again.

It's definitely one of those things where you can take what works for you and leave the rest.
post #3 of 10
I try to cook something big every Sunday but I'm not sure I could do once a month cooking. Usually on Sunday I will cook a large chicken and use the leftovers for chicken soup, chicken pasta, or chicken pot pie. I freeze the leftovers from that and use them whenever I don't feel like cooking dinner. I try to always cook in bulk and freeze some. Lasagna freezes nicely too. It comes in handy when you have a busy day and would rather spend time with your little one than cook a big dinner.
post #4 of 10
I used to do every 2 weeks, never worked up to once a month. Like pp said, you may not end up liking all the recipes, so it may be best to ease into it. Try converting some of your favorite meals into make-ahead meals. Or, when you cook a big meal, double the recipe and freeze half. Slowly experiment and add in new recipes to the rotation. I really like freezing soups and stews for the crockpot too. I would thaw in the fridge overnight - it would thaw just enough to dump the block into the crockpot in the morning and let it do its thing. lol Quiche freezes well, and you can do so uncooked, half-cooked (to thaw and finish baking later), or fully-cooked. I like doing all the prepwork in advance too, even if it was for a meal that didn't freeze well. Having diced chicken breast to dump into stir-fry or frozen/thawed right in a marinade to use on the grill or in a recipe is very handy.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help! I love my crockpot and that doesn't do well with the whole once a month cooking idea...
post #6 of 10
I also looked into OAMC, but the recipes looked non-tasty, so I never tried it.

Before I had my last baby, I froze a lot of pasta dishes and that was very helpful for when I didn't want to cook. I put cheese and/or veggies on the top of the pasta. I also used to boil chickens, freeze the stock (for cooking rice and soups) and pick the meat off and use it throughout the week for various dishes. Freezing it is a good idea, too. I also used to make huge batches of soups and stews in my big crock pot (I'm a crock pot fiend and have 2. keep thinking abt buying a third! LOL) and freeze batches. I also used to bake cornbread and freeze it. I would also bake cakes and cookies and freeze them, so when I felt like having that, I wouldn't have to bake, just thaw and eat.

It's really easy to freeze most of your fave foods, probably. Meatloaf freezes well. What I did was look through the OAMC cookbook and see what sorts of foods that I like freeze well and use that as a template.

I also had a steamer pot, so that it only took a few minutes to have a good veggie with our meals. And, rice cooker...indespinsable gadget!

Wow. I was much better abt food prep before I became single. LOL I need to get back to this!
post #7 of 10
I am a OAMC drop out, I couldn't stand most of the recipes, and it was a lot of work for 1 day.

What I do now is that I try to make double (or triple) batches of things when I'm cooking, and then I freeze the extra.

I made spaghetti sauce the other day, and froze enough for 2 more meals.

I also cook up all my hamburger(turkey) when I get it, season it, and add it to baggies in roughly 1lb increments. This makes it super easy when I need it.

Let's see, I make things like meatballs once every few months- I place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze them for a hour- then I take them off the cookie sheet and put them in a baggie. This way they are already formed, and don't stick together. Since there in a baggie, they don't take up a lot of room.
post #8 of 10
There are three of us that eat meals (ds #2 is breastfed) and I don't do the whole once a month thing, but I have been better at just freezing half of what I make. That leaves us enough for one meal and lunch for my dh and I for the next day. Doubling the recipe and using that for several different things (spaghetti sauce can be used in lasagna or a variety of other Italian things, taco meat for taco soup, enchiladas, etc.) is also a time saver for us. I also cook a bunch of ground beef, chicken, and other meat and freeze it in recipe sized portions. I have found that if I have the things that make meals the longest to make (preparing the meat, chopping the veggies, etc.) ready to go it is much easier to put together healthy meals. I also make a list of what I have in the freezer and plan my weeks accordingly. I too use my crock pot a lot, but will double what I make in it and throw half in the freezer. I started doing that with cookies too! It is much harder to eat frozen cookies, but easy to pull one out at a time. By the time it is thawed, one is enough!

I invested in one of the vacuum sealers, which is awesome. The frozen things don't get freezer burned, which was my problem before. Now I can stock up on meat when it is on sale or when we order with one of the local farmers and it stays good for much longer. I know people who have done the once a month thing and it always seems more successful if you have two or three people who do it together. My cousin does it with her mom and they take turns planning menus and get together one Sunday a month and cook cook cook. I think it would be a lot of work to do alone, but with other people it could be much fun.

Has anyone tried the "super suppers" franchise or other similar place? You go make a bunch of stuff, they provide the ingredients and storage containers. We just got one around here and I have heard good things about it. Just curious if any of you mamas have tried it.
post #9 of 10
I have been thinking about getting a FoodSaver machine, I'm glad to hear you like yours
post #10 of 10
I tried OAMC. I got up to 2 weeks. Most of the dishes I didn't like or my family didn't like.

So now I try to keep cubed ham, chicken, etc. in one cup portions in the freezer. I usually have a baked ziti or another pasta dish in there ready to go.

I also love my food saver for the freezer. It was an excellent investment.
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