January 22, 2013

Once a Month Cooking

I'm no stranger to cooking. It's something I enjoy doing and doing often. I am also no stranger to prepping freezer meals. It makes me feel good to have delicious, go-to options just waiting in my chest freezer.

So when I came across a Pinterest post directing me to a once a month cooking site, you can imagine my elation. I can spend a marathon day cooking and have meals for a month???!?!?

Get out!!!

The site I used is Once a Month Mom.
There are loads of free recipes on the site BUT if you pay the $8 monthly membership fee, you get access to the customizable grocery lists, recipe cards and labels. In the spirit of going "all in," I signed up for a membership. I then entered the amount of people I am cooking for and BOOM I have recipes, a grocery list complete with amounts needed (sorted by department just how I like it), labels, and a step by step guide on how to tackle your marathon cooking. I was impressed and even got to use a bright folder to organize my meal stuff. (I'm a planner. These things make me happy)

Side note: this website also offers vegetarian, gluten free, and healthy menus. I chose the traditional menu to start.

I dove head first into my cooking, beginning Sunday night with the prep work. I continued Monday with a marathon day (my mom was around to help with my kids but I did take breaks). I probably cooked for 6-7 good hours. I was sore and tired AND wasn't done. Today, I cooked more casually. I assembled meals during nap-time and while my kids played nicely. I probably put in another 4 hours today AND I'm still not done.

But I am close. I only have 2 more recipes to finish up tomorrow morning and then I will be done...WITH enough meals to provide go-to options for the next MONTH !!! (Probably more since cereal, grilled cheese, and sandwiches will still make the rotation from time to time). I am hoping to try another "mini" set of meals near the end of February to restock my freezer before this baby comes in March.

The recipes I have taste tested so far have been nummy. We had a chicken pot pie for dinner tonight. It was a hit.

I am also excited about this adventure in cooking because I used new recipes. It will hopefully help me get out of a cooking funk and expand my family's exposure to different dishes that I wouldn't have thought of myself.

I had to make an inventory to put on my freezer so as to keep track of everything I was putting in there. Here's what I made:

Freezer meals:
Pecan Cinnamon rolls (2 bags of 6)
Pigs in a blanket (2 bags of 24)
Greek Omlette Pitas (2 bags of 6)
Pizza stuffed potatoes (3 bags of 8)
Sesame lime Chicken egg rolls (3 bags of 8)
Chicken Taquitos (3 bags of 8)
French Dip croissants (4 bags of 8)
Chicken pot pies (4)
Ham and veggie frittata (2 square and 3 mini pans)
Taco stuffed shells (2 pans)
Chile pot roast (2 bags)
Ranch pork chops (3 bags)
Spicy cashew chicken (3 bags)
Frito taco pie (3 pans)
Buffalo chicken Shepard's pie (3 pans)

The undertaking of monthly cooking is not for faint of heart or non-cooking individuals. I recommend starting with a smaller set of meals if you are new to freezer meal cooking. Also, the work is cut down a lot if you have help. My mom helped with dishes which allowed me to keep on cooking. It was very helpful.

Here's a picture of my prep work and my (almost) finished stash!!

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