Sunday, February 14, 2010

Once-A-Month Cooking: Installment 1

As part of my nesting in preparation for our baby girl's arrival, I wanted to try Once-A-Month cooking. My mother did it when my parents adopted my little sister and I remember the recipes being delicious and easy-to-follow. The basic gyst of the meal plan is that you spend one day grocery shopping each month and one day cooking and freezing meals. Then, after a long day of work all you have to do is thaw out a pre-frozen meal, heat it up, and serve it to your family. I know I'm exhausted in the evenings now after coming home from work and don't always feel like cooking, so I can't imagine how it'll be when I go back to work with a little one at home waiting for me.The meal plans in the book come with recipes, grocery lists, and storage containers (usually ziplock storage bags or disposable casserole pans). It also tells you in what order to cook the recipes in and how to prep the day before cooking (gathering all pots and pans needed, chopping veggies, browning meat in advance, etc.) to make your day of cooking flow smoothly and pass quicker. There are 3 2-week cooking plans and 2 1-month cooking plans in my book. Most of the recipes are geared towards a family of 4, so since I'm only really cooking for two I can actually split the entrees when I freeze them and get double the meals. I still plan on doing a monthly cooking plan and hope that the meals last us for 6-7 weeks or maybe even two full months. Once you become experienced with the plan there are other recipes in subsequent Once-A-Month cooking books where you can try new recipes, so you don't have to follow the same plans every month. Also, there are tips for coming up with your own monthly meal plan, creating your grocery list, and scheduling your cooking day if you'd like to experiment.

For my first stab at bulk cooking, I've enlisted A.R. as my sous-chef and chosen meal plan E from the book. I also remember the Chicken Packet recipe being delicious and great for lunches, so I'm going to make a batch of those as well. I figure they'll be tastier and healthier than getting hot pockets or other frozen foods at Stop & Shop for lunch while we're both out of work on maternity/paternity leave.

Wish me luck! The next installment will be the grocery shopping trip.


Emily said...

We do this on occasion and often freeze one big dish on the weekend regardless for future weekends when we don't have time - you should try lining a baking dish with foil and setting up the (uncooked) casserole (or whatever) in it, then freezing. When you're ready to eat it, unwrap and dump into the dish, and bake!

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