Jan 31, 2011

Cooking Once a Month (Carole)

The title says it all.   This is a method of cooking that I've done off and on over the years.  It can also be done on a weekly basis quite successfully.

List out 28 meals that your family likes and that you're comfortable cooking.  Make up a shopping list so you make sure you have all your ingredients.  Then spend most of one day getting each main dish as close to the cooking stage as you can:

1.  All basic/raw ingredients mixed together and frozen in the baking dish
2.  All canned and/or dry ingredients assembled in a ziplock bag ready to be quickly assembled on the day you need them.
3.  A combination of #1 and #2

Take some time and figure out how much of each recipe can safely be prepared ahead of time, so that on the day you want to fix it, most of the work is done.  The goal is to have 28 recipes READY TO GO.  Just like last week's meal idea, this system allows you to buy items in bulk and use them up quickly.

Try doing it with a week's worth of recipes first, to get the hang of it.  I remember the first time I did this, it took me about 7 hours to assemble everything for one month's worth of meals.  The second time (using the exact same recipes), I did it in a little over 2 hours.  You do get the hang of it, and you'll figure out some speedy tricks.  I also simplified many of the recipes.

If choosing  your own month's worth of recipes seems like too much effort, you can get the book, Once-a-Month Cooking, that gives you all the info you need -- that's what I did in the beginning.  She has good recipes and many good tips.

Check to see if your library has it in stock.  I bet they do!  You'll love yourself night after night when you quickly feed your family another healthy, home cooked meal.

1 comment:

Packrat said...

Yes, this works! I haven't actually used their exact method, but my grandmother, mother, and I used to do a version of this. (When I saw the title, I had to laugh. For some silly reason, I have wound up with three different printings of this cookbook.)

Two other old favorites are Make a Mix and More Make a Mix. (I believe these have been updated and combined into one book.)

Note to anyone who is interested in buying a freezer: Having a deep freezer has almost been a life saver - especially during the years when we lived miles and miles from any grocery store and even now because we live 85 miles from any big supermarket. We have an old chest freezer and newer self-defrosting upright. I like the convenience of the upright, but the food gets freezer burned too fast. The food in the chest freezer keeps months longer. Also, the self-defrosting freezing has be kept where the temp stays above freezing or it will shut off! (Learned that the hard way. No frugality in throwing away food that has spoiled in the freezer.)

Sorry for the book.