Once a month cooking
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  1. #1
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Default Once a month cooking

    I have done this off and on for a many years (gee, i'm getting old now). I love having quick things to make, but when it's precooked, it's like permanent leftovers. We started out with Frozen Assets, and do use some of the recipes in there, Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet, plus a multitude of other books from the library, with a few winning recipes from there, but never a full 30 day.

    Then came the meal assembly companies, Assemble but don't cook. Great idea! BUT, it was really pricey(better than eating out, but still too expensive), added to the fact that the menus planned, really aren't something my family likes. But the idea was great.

    Then the Costco magazine featured a book "The Big Cook". I jumped on it! It was at my local Costco, and it was not bad. Loved that it was assembly, with only some cooking(browning ground beef, mostly). We have a few favorites in there, but not quite our family style. Not quite mid-life weight issue friendly either.

    Then came the show Dinner Fix, which was about menu planning, for the month, shopping weekly, and we love many of her recipes, but it was all daily prep for the most part. In midwinter, this works fine, but my life doesn't always allow for that.

    But i have never done a full 30 days on ANYONE'S plan, as it just doesn't fit my family. I envy the convenience of it, but it just wouldn't work.

    Last year, about this time I stumbled on a website, not sure how I found it, maybe I searched do-it-yourself Meal Assembly, as it was really really busy(as it is now), and we were camping every weekend, leaving little time for anything.

    It was the jackpot!!!! There is a paid subscription to access full information, however, you can get all the recipes without a subscription, you just don't get all the printables and the plans. If you look back to 2011 meal plans, you will get all the options, and see how she does it. There is a whole section under resources that has templates to create your own plan. I absolutely love this site. There are lots of variety of menus, including for the preschoolers(I run a home daycare, so this is great, don't use all of them, but it gives me lots of ideas). There is paleo, diet, vegan, whole foods, traditional.

    I don't use a whole menu from them either,, I try a few recipes every time i cook, to expand our family recipe box, but it's all in the learning. I have learned so much. Some of it you'd think is common sense, but at times, it's just a 'why didn't i think of that?' moment. I love love love homemade soups, but find that many times, the ingredients absorb all the stock or something changes texture. Ah-ha moment, make the soup base, and the items you don't like how they freeze add AFTER when you serve it. Ie - rice and pasta are 2 that get me in reheating. But I can quickly cook either one while the soup base is warming and add it in. YUM. Potatoes in Stew don't cut it for me after frozen, again, peel chop cook on serving day as the rest is warming, then add and it's good to go.

    Through the site, I've gotten a good feel for what types of meals(ingredients) freeze well, without a lot of trial and error, which ingredients need to have items prepared fresh the day of. I now pick our family preferred type meals, and create a prep session based on our own choices. If you're starting out, or frustrated with your current regimen, check it out, Once A Month Cooking | Freezer Cooking | Once A Month Mom I am in no way affiliated, I just really like the site. It's worth spending some time to see how she puts it together. I am thinking it would be worth the subscription if a sale comes through.

  2. #2
    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    I have used some of the recipes and ideas from her site, but like you say, there is no 30 day plan that completely fits your family, or mine either. DH has so many food restrictions now it's almost impossible to follow a recipe without making changes.

    I also like to cruise Pintrest for OAMC/Freezer cooking ideas.
    Stop trying to organize all of your family’s crap. If organization worked for you, you’d have rocked it by now. It’s time to ditch stuff and de-crapify your world.

    If you're not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You're not going to start using it more by shoving it into a closet.

    Use it up, Wear it out,
    Make it do, Or do without. ~unknown

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  3. #3
    TDN
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    Thanks, I will check it out. I am like you always searching for something I think will work better, be easier, looking at menu plans ( that never work for 2 people, one veggie and one not ). My kick I am on now is doing meats in the crock pot and freezing in individual portions. I don't eat meat but hubby does and if I have that part done I can easily put together the rest with veggies, beans, breads etc. that I have on hand. In the last week I have done shredded beef, barbque shredded chicken, salsa verde beef, pork carnita, chicken taco bowls, veggie taco bowls, and meatballs and all were new recipes and all crockpot except the meatballs. I also froze individual burgers and cooked bacon individually packaged. I have the crockpot full of a new refried bean recipe right now and will freeze those in portions too. Hubby is easy to please but I have to be in the mood for something so as much as I would love to make a plan and stick with it I am never hungry for what is on the plan. So if I plan I do the meals but don't assign specific days......this doesn't make me feel as organized though as I would like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TamiDN View Post
    I also froze individual burgers and cooked bacon individually packaged.

    I don't eat bacon real often, so when I buy it, I cook it up all at once. I put a cookie rack in a jelly roll pan and bake it in the oven at 375 deg. until it's done - about 30 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of the bacon. No splatters all over the kitchen (or me!), no turning, and it cooks evenly.
    Then I freeze it by putting it in layers with waxed paper between the layers in a Tupperware-type container.
    This keeps the pieces from sticking together and I can take out what I need, whether it's a couple of pieces just for me, or several for the family.
    Then I pop it in the microwave for about a minute to thaw it out and heat it up.

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    Registered User Raiquee's Avatar
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    The only 30 Day plan that has worked for me, is the one I create myself. I have used OAMM a lot. I also use pinterest.

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    Thank you for the sites. I had used Once a Month Mom before, but forgot all about it. The other two you mentioned are new to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiquee View Post
    The only 30 Day plan that has worked for me, is the one I create myself. I have used OAMM a lot. I also use pinterest.
    I love pinterest !! I don't do a lot of OAMC, but I usually prepare crockpot recipes in advance and freeze them, I pressure can a lot of meals so I usually have 20-25 meals ready in my freezer/pantry.

    This month, I want to try Once in a month grocerie shopping and see how it goes .

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    Registered User Raiquee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurence Cote View Post
    I love pinterest !! I don't do a lot of OAMC, but I usually prepare crockpot recipes in advance and freeze them, I pressure can a lot of meals so I usually have 20-25 meals ready in my freezer/pantry.

    This month, I want to try Once in a month grocerie shopping and see how it goes .
    I want to pressure can a lot of beef stews and soups and stuff but at my new place I can't put my pressure canner to use (glass top electric) and I'm worried it may crack it, and since we are renting its not worth it to me...

    Crockpot meals I do too, and the only reason I really package them separate is just to hold ingredients. I hate to think "Oh, I'll make this!" but i'm missing the cream cheese, or sour cream, or green onions. Ya know, fresh stuff that doesn't always stay in the house.

    In fact i'm off to make Italian venison right now! Mm-mm good.

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    Registered User sunshine's Avatar
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    When I started OAMC, years ago -- my best friend and I used a lot of the "potluck" or "large crowd" recipes in the Taste Of Home magazines.

  11. #10
    Registered User alaska_tiger_36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiquee View Post
    I want to pressure can a lot of beef stews and soups and stuff but at my new place I can't put my pressure canner to use (glass top electric) and I'm worried it may crack it, and since we are renting its not worth it to me...
    I have a large canner that I can't use on my glass stove too. I Just bought a double burner propane camp stove - the kind that stands a couple feet tall. It was on sale for $80. I'm gonna use it to can this weekend or next. I figure it is a win/win. I save the stove top and keep the heat outside. They also sell a single burner version too. Yo might wanna check into it....just a thought.

  12. #11
    Registered User mommy4ever's Avatar
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    Since I lost over 1/2 my income, it's been tight, I haven't been doing a full once a month cook day. I try to use a couple recipes every grocery shop to add a couple meals to the freezer.

    Tonight I'm adding:
    2 family meals of potato and sausage casserole
    2 family meals of Lemon Caper Tilapia
    12 single servings of apple steel cut oats(looking at it - it looks like more)
    10 single servings of Santa Fe beans and rice casserole.

    I have a batch of muffins to throw in the oven yet tonight. Looks like a late night here.

    Next week I'll add another few extra meals to the freezer. I think once I have this rolling well, I'll be close shopping for ingredients for the freezer meals, and fresh items only. I need to get back on pace with this. Then perhaps, I'll be able to budget it out, so I can do a big shop and OAMC proper again.

    I especially love recipes that I don't need to precook, it's just after. Just assemble and freeze. Our family meals I did tonight were just prep. Defrost and cook on the day we need them.

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