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Once a Month Cooking

Last post Wed, Oct 27 2010 9:39 PM by cheapChic. 25 replies.
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  • Fri, May 2 2008 10:45 AM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Once a Month Cooking

     The Dollar Stretcher has an article this week on freezer meals. I know some of you do once a month cooking...how is it going? 

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Fri, May 2 2008 11:20 AM In reply to

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

    I don't really do it all once a month but I have been trying to cook ahead more often.  It is a blissful day when things are really hectic and I can decide to just pull something out of the freezer-no mess to clean up, no cooking, just heat and serve!  I love that.  If I had the energy, I would consider trying to do a whole month's worth but that hasn't happened yet!

    I try to cook at least 1 or 2 meals a week that I can double and freeze.  I also freeze parts of things-example, I have stopped buying canned beans and cook up a pound of dried (slightly under cooked) and then freeze them in ziplocks.  I get the equivalent of about 5 cans worth from a bag-a definite money saver (.99 per bag vs .99 per can!)-being vegetarian, we eat a lot of beans.  I also make large quantities of cookie dough and freeze so I can just cook a few at a time-saves our waistlines too!  Any casserole (lasagna, stuffed shells, taco casserole, etc), stews, crockpot bean meals, etc I always double and freeze for the future.

    This is working great for me.  I am sure it saves money as there aren't any wasted ingredients plus the bliss factor of pulling something out of the freezer makes it worthwhile.  As I am writing this I am thinking I should do more!

    Anyone do the actual whole month of cooking in one day?  I'd love to hear about that!

  • Fri, May 2 2008 11:49 AM In reply to

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

    My friend and I tried it once. I wasn't as excited as I thought I would be b/c I had to buy a lot of extra things at the store and my grocery bill was HUGE. I guess if you know your budget and your pantry, maybe working out of there would be better. Also, we didn't do a whole month, just about 12 meals as that was all our freezer space allowed. We made several lasagnas, browned a lot of ground beef for starter meals (sloppy joes, tacos, stroganoff), we made a chicken pot pie-type meal, a beef stew, a chicken tortilla recipe, meatloaf and some type of soup. We quadrupled these things (2 for her, 2 for me) and did six different items. It was a lot of work and a whole day. It was nice to have things to take out of the freezer, but I have modified it like Jennylynn and try and double what I am making at the time or freeze a portion of something.

    I find meal-planning, doubling up and using my crock pot to save a lot of time and still have fast meals and I don't use a whole day.

    The one thing I had problems with the OAMC is I would forget to take something out the night before and I would still need a couple of hours to get the meal from the freezer to the table. Planning ahead to use the meals is key. I'm just scatterbrained and didn't realize I couldn't just take a frozen solid lasagna and get it on the table in 30 minutes, lol. Of course, I know better now but at the time, I was a new mom and new to trying to cook ahead and stay ahead!

    Some people have wonderful success with OAMC and I know it can take several tries to get a pattern down. I did do some of it when I was pregnant with baby 2 but I just doubled things as I was making dinner and froze them. I think I had 10-15 extra frozen meals. Having 2-3 days worth of extra meals per week was helpful at the time. 

    Erika
  • Fri, May 2 2008 11:58 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

    " Anyone do the actual whole month of cooking in one day?  I'd love to hear about that!"

    Certainly not me but I think it's a great idea. I lack the freezer space for the food storage this requires and I don't have a day I can devote to cooking enough to make this work on a larger scale. I currently cook foods on Mondays that I can use in other meals through the week...like boiling chicken and making stock for stew and soup that week.

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Fri, May 2 2008 12:59 PM In reply to

    • babs
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 2 2007
    • Vermont
    • Posts 10,988

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

     Not me, I am more like you Brandy except that I cook on Sat. That helps us not go out on Sunday. Our big weakness for eating out. I do make 24 waffles and freeze them or cook 6 loaves of banana bread to freeze. The other thing that I do is cook up 10 lbs of ground meat and freeze in half pound bags. Barb

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Prayer Circle
  • Fri, May 2 2008 1:04 PM In reply to

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

     I don't do once a month cooking, since our freezer isn't so great and burns things very quickly... any longer than a week for anything but carefully wrapped meat ends up tasting like leftovers, no matter how great it was when I put it in.

    One thing I LOVE to make is pierogies - the ingredients are few and cheap, they're filling and tasty, and very quick to just pull out a few at a time to cook for a quick lunch.  I make half filled with potato and cheddar, and half filled with sauerkraut.  And unlike lasagna or a casserole, you drop them into boiling water and they're ready in 5 minutes or less, then I drop them in a preheated skillet with some margarine and onion slices to brown them a bit.

    Does anyone have other things that freeze well and don't need hours to thaw or bake when you use them? 

     

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Potato-and-Cheese-Pierogi/Detail.aspx is the recipe I use if anyone is interested.
  • Fri, May 2 2008 5:17 PM In reply to

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

    It's been a while since I've posted. Work's been crazy!

    I don't necessarily do once a month cooking: more like once a week or every other week cooking. It has been a HUGE BLESSING to me!!! I work full time and it takes me about a hour and 15 minutes to get home. So, I was always stressed out during the week because of getting home late, taking care of the baby, throwing dinner together, etc. I felt like I never got any time to just relax.

     So, now that I cook and freeze meals, I don't find cooking stressful at all! If anytihng, I enjoy cooking again. Here are some of the meals that I currently have in the freezer: spaghetti meat sauce, chicken and aundouille gumbo, red beans and rice, shrimp and corn soup and beef stew. Now, tend to stick to the sauce type meals since I find them really easy to cook in the crockpot and to freeze.

    I find that not only is cooking this way made my life much less stressful, but I find that it's a lot better on the budget too! I can buy much cheaper in bulk and when I find sales on meat, I just pick a couple dishes to do with that meat and freeze them.

    I highly suggest those of you with the freezer space to give it a try. Even if you don't do it consistently, I think it's still a great idea to get in the habit of cooking extra and freezing for another night.

    God bless,

    Julie

  • Sat, May 3 2008 12:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

     I dont per say do once a month cooking I make lots of mixes.  I can make rice a roni clone in a few minutes, garlic instant potatoes, etc.  I bake off 30 pounds of ground beef at a time and bag in meal sized portions, grill chicken and freeze in portions, make hot dog and hamburgers(in buns and freeze individually), keep at least 5 quarts of cooked rice frozen, bake a bit each week and make waffles and pancakes by the tons.  I am also making quick bread French toast for Brian's breakfasts.  I cook off 5 pounds of bacon slices(some peppered, some brown sugared, some hot 'n spicey), then another 2 pounds of diced for the freezer.  I make my own breakfast sausage patties and bake off 4 or 5 pounds at a time, if I am feeling good and the grill is going I will grill them.  I pre boil brats and lay them in sub buns from the bread store and freeze those individually also.  Or I grill them and slice, cool and package for adding to sauces.

    I make lots of lasagna roll ups and stuffed shells for the freezer.  Brian microwaves them at work. 

    I  buy the 103 ounce(or #10 can) of fruit cocktail, add a package of toasted coconut and a package of mini marshmallows and freeze in 3 ounce or 5 ounce bathroom sized paper cups for Brian's lunches.  I sometimes add a dollop of whipped cream(spices added to taste)and sprinkle with chopped nuts.  I freeze lots of home flavored yogurts in mini muffin tins with fruit that needs to be used up from the fridge and use them in drinks and salads like ice cubes.

    I keep 1 or 2 packages of English muffins on hand to make quick pizzas, same thing with pitas.  Brian also likes tostadas, and Mexican pizzas made with taco shells.  I keep 4 or 5 packages of flour tortillas on hand for quick wraps.  I also buy burger buns from the bread store and lightly butter each side, fill with deli meats and wrap individually for the freezer for lunches.  Very good...

    So I really dont do the once a month cooking per say, I just continually cook!  LOL

    Brianschef Michelle 

  • Sat, May 3 2008 12:33 PM In reply to

    • MarthaMFI
    • Top 10 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 16 2008
    • New Westminster, BC, Canada
    • Posts 10,850

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

    wow you have a lot of freezer space!   sounds like if you had to eat out of your freezer you could for a long time!

    Officially recognized Stretchpert in Hobbies and Crafts
  • Sat, May 3 2008 1:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Once a Month Cooking

     Well I have 2 freezers, one upright small one and the one for the side by side fridge.  But I designate shelves for certain items and keep them rotated with a continuing inventory list.  I have been doing this for so long I have pretty much mastered it. 

    I started by listing what we use in each room in the house or apartment and taping that list to the back of the door.  I also track what we use in food items for an entire year.  I write down what we use and how we used it.  Then at the end of the year I total everything up and go from there.  For instance, we buy one 12 pack of toilet paper a year.  Sounds wierd doesn't it!  lol  Well let me explain, due to health issues it was recommended to me that I stop using paper and start using cloth.  So we made a diaper pail out of a 20 pound kitter litter pail and fill it with bleach water.  I bought white wash cloths cheaply at Walmart.  The rest you can figure out.  : )  Anyway, it worked so well my health issues have cleared completely up, Brian got on board after 1 year(and after running otu of TP during a winter storm!), and I wash a small load of "diapers" twice a week.  We no longer buy any paper products.  And we do this because the "YUK" facture doesn't bother us, at least not as much as the continuing medical bills and medications did.  : )

    We are not brand loyal and try to shop as frugal as possible.  But we know what we use in the house in each room, area or pantry(I have one for the kitchen, garage, and bathrooms).  Then I take out my price book and we buy what we need at the best store at the best price for the year.  I preserve and do buy fresh as much as possible, even more now that I am heading toward a vegetarian diet.

    Our food budget is around $50 a week(2 adults, 2 - 50 pound pups and one gnarly cat)for our standard shopping trips.  We add up our budget once a year and divide it weekly and do not go over that set amount.  I do have "egg money" for stock ups that I save here and there and we do have 2 Aero Gardens with plenty of cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs year 'round.  : )

    Brianschef Michelle 

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