I’ve been intrigued with the idea of once a month cooking for awhile now. The thought of having meals already made that need little to no preparation sounds lovely. Once, a long time ago, I did give it a try but was quite dissatisfied with the types of recipes suggested for once a month cooking. I suppose I was not putting on my own thinking cap to come up with more creative ideas than what was suggested in the book, but regardless I was not enticed to keep trying.
I have read various ways of getting meals in the freezer such as… Find a family that are the same size as your own with similar ages and who enjoy the same types of food you do. Make several meals and give to them and they do the same for you. The benefits are you get to eat someone else’s cooking for a change. I really like this idea except that there are no other similar size families in our area that have older children (who eat a lot more than little ones) or who use whole grains when cooking.
Another idea is to make two of whatever you’re preparing. Eat one and freeze the other. I think this is a great idea as well and hope to implement it for at least some of my meals.
But this past week, my nieces came to visit and cook. My boys and Serenity even joined in and had a grand time. We decided to try bulk cooking or Once a Month Cooking (OAMC). My thoughts were for us to make 7 meals for each family – breakfast and supper. We succeeded and then some! We overestimated how much each family would eat and so when we doubled the recipes or quadrupled it, it made more than we thought! We had a good laugh when we saw all the food we had made the first day; we said, “Cook once, eat for a year.” 🙂
Here is how we approached it.
1. Cleaned out my chest freezer to be sure we had room for all the food coming
2. Wrote a list of ideas for breakfast and supper that we wanted to make. Then each person went through the list and put a check mark next to 7 suppers that they wanted to make. The entrees with the most checks were the ones we would make. We didn’t have to vote on which breakfast items we wanted since we could only think of 7 things.
3. Printed off every recipe we planned to use
4. Wrote a grocery list. For butter and eggs, we used tally marks on our list so that we would know exactly how much we would need to purchase.
5. Went grocery shopping
1. Started cooking
2. Brought up 2 extra banquet tables for food preparation. This worked wonderfully!
I thought we would cook only this one day. But since we didn’t finish everything we had set out to prepare, everyone wanted to keep going. So, the next day, we were back in the kitchen again.
This was the cooking crew – minus me. 🙂
Fellowshipping while making lasagna. We had one lasagna that weighed 17 pounds at its completion!
Chicken pot pies awaiting their tops
The start of ravioli dough…
Of course, Audrey showed up for the ‘sweet’ stuff!
Delectable looking and tasting (we already had a batch 🙂 ) cinnamon rolls
The result? 13 different recipes were used (we didn’t get to pizza dough). There’s enough food here for… well, we’re not sure how long but we know it’s definitely longer than a week. We were all gratified to see the works of our hands gathered in one place and we’re anticipating our next time when we can cook together. I’m hoping that everything gets faster as we get more familiar with the various recipes we find that are keepers. We all love to cook and try new recipes so one challenge will be for us to even have a list of favorites.
I’m open to any tips you may have on bulk cooking or once a month cooking. Please share! We want to learn all that we can.