Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Once a Month Cooking

    I was first introduced to once a month cooking after the birth of my first child. I checked a book out from the library that promised that I could could cook for a day and eat for a month.
    I must admit I was a bit disappointed because most of the recipes included ingredients that I was trying to avoid such as condensed soups and bottled barbecue sauces. I was also skeptical about the quality of reheated frozen food. So I returned the book and forgot about once a month cooking for a few years.
     I did a little bit of extra cooking and freezing things like chili and lasagna before the births of each of my children but nothing like once a month cooking.
    Fast forward to last year amidst moving to a new house/farm, homeschooling 3 children,chasing a toddler, and nursing an infant, and a husband who commuted 1 hour+ to work, I was overwhelmed. Spending an hour every night to get dinner on the table was a real challenge to say the least.
    Well  I was at the library one night browsing through the cookbooks and I happened to come upon the cookbook that I checked out 13 years prior.  I decided that I had to try it, I would just make up my own recipes and use the book as a guide.
    I went home and googled once a month cooking and  was thrilled to find the website Once a Month Meals.It does a whole seasonal meal plan every month and a variety of menus, traditional, whole food, paleo, diet, gluten free/dairy free, and vegetarian. It has a monthly fee but I figure we save time and money by eating this way so it pays for itself.
    Today was my cooking day. I cooked 7 double batch meals.  The last few days I put together 7  more. That equals 28 meals total. This usually takes about 10 hours to pull off  in one day.
     Yes, 10 hours is a long day so you can break it down
like I did into a once a month cooking week. But the advantage to doing all the cooking in one day is that all chopping and  prep work for all the recipes can be done at once ,and only one giant (I mean GIANT)clean up needs to be done.
          Be prepared, few bloggers or writers are brave enough to take pictures of their dirty dishes and let the world see them, but here it is the reason I love once a month cooking. My kitchen only looks this bad once a month....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
nice clean dishes 

  Now this is what I have to look forward to all month.



 And really yummy, ready to serve food.
 
 And my worries about the quality of frozen food being of inferior quality were completely unfounded.  Rarely have I been able to tell the difference between a fresh or frozen meal.

For more information on once a month cooking visit onceamonthmeals.com or check out books from the local library.