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There are no "leftovers" at our house! We prefer to call them pre-planned meals. We buy meats on sale and I usually spend a Sunday evening cooking. I often make meat loaves, barbecued spare ribs and baked chicken. These are all proportioned to what my husband and I will eat at one meal and then sealed in our food saver bags.
Off to the freezer they go for whatever meal we want. For a working gal it sure saves time preparing dinner. Just snip the corner of the food saver bag and pop into the microwave. Open a can or two of veggies or make a fresh salad and you have a quick and delicious meal - real quick!
I have a large crock pot and a small household, so I use two cooking bags and am able to cook two meals at once.
By Janet from Colmar, PA
As a busy home school mom, I needed a way to have easy, quick, inexpensive meals without going out. I did not even have one day to do once a month cooking.
It might take a while to get all these done in one day, but it is worth it later on. Make Asian Chicken, Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie, Cheesy Broccoli Pasta, Beef Chili, Beef and Vegetable Paprikash, Italian Pasta Bake, Chicken Pierogies Alfredo
Save time and money by doubling your recipes, and putting half in the freezer for later use. For example, with meat loaf, cook one for dinner that night, and save the other one in the freezer for later. You can do this with many recipes. This may save you money on food by buying in bulk and getting a better per unit price. It will also save you time with only having to prep and clean up once. Once you get this down you may venture into once a month cooking (oamc).
I do this all the time and have found that it works really well for me. I have MS and the fatigue and quirks of the disease sometimes prevent me from preparing a good meal for my family. It is easy for my son or husband to pull something out of the freezer and cook it. And it doesn't really take that much more energy to do the cooking on my 'cooking days'. Just thought this might be useful for some people out there.
By Cindy in PSL
Three meals with minimal cooking. And, they are all great-tasting.
You can save time and money by making two or more meals at once. Large cuts of meat can be divided and used for several recipes. This is a guide about make two meals at once.
By spending several hours on an afternoon you can prep and freeze enough meals for an entire month. This not only saves time when heating or cooking them later, but you may also save on food costs by buying enough of some ingredients to use for more than one meal while it is on sale.
Spend one day a week cooking meals to put in the freezer. That way you can have a less stressful week with less mess to clean up in the kitchen.
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Can anyone suggest some good cookbooks for once a month cooking? I would like to cook for two weeks at a time and then build up to once a month if my regular freezer will hold it all. I would be most interested in the cook it, freeze it, thaw it, and reheat it type of books. I've read some cookbooks that are more prepare it with no cooking, freeze it, and then cook it. I would even be interested in good websites. I think this will help my stress level when it comes to "what's for dinner?". Thank you!
I have been doing this for years. I don't know of any cookbooks dedicated to this but I simply buy whatever is on sale and turn it into soups, stews or lasagna, chili, spaghetti sauce and freeze it in smaller portion and use the microwave to defrost. I have a 2nd freezer in the garage so I never run out of prepared meals.
Thank you for asking this question since the websites I found are very interesting to me, and I think my daughter will be interested also. This is a really good idea for busy Moms. I can just imagine how nice it would be to come home from work knowing you have a homemade meal ready to heat up. It's frugal, and sure to please the family.
I've been reading stuff online about "once a month cooking". It's definitely something I am interested of because it's budget friendly and cuts down on cooking everyday. However I don't even know where to start with this. It's not realistic in my eyes to do 30 meals in one day and I am sure that's not how you do this. I've written down some frugal meals on paper. I am suppose to just triple these meals and freeze them.
By Krystal from Kenora, Ontario
Right! Make a mess once, and eat several meals from it. My friend and I used to grocery shop one day, then the next we would get together and cook all day long, let the food cool, and enjoy the time together. Then we would wrap and freeze the food cooked that day.
Since we both worked, it was done on a weekend, and we had kids so it was marvelous to be able to pull "dinner" out in the AM, leave in the sink to thaw, and easily have it cooked rapidly. Far healthier for us, and less money spent eating out at fast food restaurants!
You can easily thaw in a sink of warm water, meat, etc in about 15 min if you forget to take it out of the freezer. When you make waffles for example: make far more than you will eat for that meal; then freeze for "toaster" waffles. Make your own "hamburger" patties; frozen, you can take out and use in the George Foreman grill. Beans etc; make more and then freeze. Same with soups. There is also a "make a mix" book you can get or find many on line. You mix all the dry ingredients together and just add various variations of "wet" ingredients, etc to make various things.
You can join a yahoo group: frozen assets; the folks running it are experts at freezing, and you can tell from previous questions and answers how to make and freeze almost everything and how to do so. It's marvelous to be able to take out some yummy soup; and have with biscuits made easily from already "made up" mix!
I suggest starting with a half month, which is 2 weeks of meals and some of these kinds of cooking plans include making one meal a week, just for variety. You would be making 12 meals. So, make 1 casserole that covers 3 or 4 meals and then do other casseroles that cover a similar number of meals. Your first try would mean making 3 or 4 casseroles and dividing them up into freezer containers. Perhaps that would be less overwhelming.
I like cooking on the weekend but don't have the freezer space to do a whole month at a time. I also don't enjoy the daily cooking so this is manageable for us right now. Good luck as you try this out!
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Share you once a month cooking ideas.
Great suggestion, Marilyn! I would enjoy a home cooked meal every night, if I could do it:-)Overstock.com has this book for less than Amazon.com...it's $8.62 and they charge $1.40 for media shipping on one book.
I think that there are groups on yahoo groups who go with this. It IS a great way to go, especially when you are working, with a child, and need to get dinner on the table fast! With it you should also check out (perhaps Google or whatever it) the "make a mix"; you add all ingredients together; and then only have to add wet ingredients to make biscuits, cakes, cookies, waffles, pancakes, etc. both are very helpful to have!
What I used to do is to get with a friend, we would shop on one day; and then cook together on another! We would spend the day (most of it) cooking in crock pots, in the oven, etc. Mixing up the "dry mixes" as we both worked.
Then once cooled, we cut, wrapped and froze. For the soups, and beans: we cooled, then put into containers, or zip locks. Now, for a month is a pretty big step. Doing it for even a week at a time, then 2 weeks, til it is so automatic that whenever you cook, cook enough for more than the one meal you are having that night! And then freeze it, so that you cook once, and eat at least another time as well. You can rapidly thaw, by setting it in a sink full of warm water, if you have forgotten to take it out of the freezer! like in 10 to 20 minutes max.
There is a yahoo group of experts that run a group called frozen assets and they are so helpful and there are so much great information just going through the archives that it is well worth joining!