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Once a Month Cooking?

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Old 05-07-2010, 10:36 PM   #1
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Default Once a Month Cooking?

Does once a month cooking work? Programs that let you cook one time in bulk and then freeze all of your food for the month?
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:03 PM   #2
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I've tried doing it on a weekly basis, but I'm intrigued. Love to hear from some who are doing this. (I think I'd have to get a bigger freezer!!)
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Old 05-08-2010, 03:02 AM   #3
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I've never planned out and cooked an entire month's worth of meals, but I do lots of plann-ahead cooking. For example I'll cook a very large roast and then portion it into ziploc bags and use as a basis for future meals, freezing anything more than a couple meals' worth.

One of my favorites is browning ground beef (or pork) twith dry tvp granules, onion and other basic seasoning herbs and veggies (whatever I have on hand - onion, celery, bell pepper, diced carrot, mushroom, garlic....)

I freeze it in a ziploc bag, mushing the bag around every 20 minutes or so until the mixture is frozen into scoopable "crumbles." I scoop out what I need for each meal and make spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, chili... any recipe that starts with browned ground beef (I bought two ground beef cookbooks from thrift stores, and many of the recipes called for browned ground meat).
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:55 AM   #4
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I do the same thing, make extra and freeze in cupcake tins or portioned in ziploc bags. If you're going to cook beans or something else that takes a while, you might as well make a large amount. You can even freeze sushi rice, I found out from a bento blog.

It's also the only way I can do baking, I can't afford to have a loaf of bread or cookies sitting around or I would eat them. But I don't have a big enough freezer to do it for a month. Also I would get tired if all my veggies were frozen, I usually make fresh veggies as a salad or quick-grilled in the oven, and use a frozen thing to avoid a long-cooking main dish on a work night.
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:26 AM   #5
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Great idea on freezing browned ground beef, Kaplods. I'll use that.

I live by myself and love to cook. I always cook double or quadruple servings and freeze the leftovers or "planovers" in my stash. It's so great to be able to eat a decent meal with just a zap or two in the micro.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:40 PM   #6
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I've done it both on my own and as part of a group. A group is better. We tend to do about 1/2way between the fully cooked style of "once a month" and the kit style of "Dinner's ready".

With the kit style for many things the meat isnt cooked, but all the ingredients are assembled. i.e. the meat might be frozen in the marinade with a baggie of cheese attached and a baggie of broccoli etc.

With a group you each make multiple copies of ONE meal which is much faster than assembling 10 different meals, and then you swap. Our group is big enough that we have a person do all the shopping and they dont cook at all.

I know another group that each person shops for the meal they make and they do more completely cooked meals. I tend not to like the complete meals as they lean more to the casserole side

On my own I tend to cook and freeze turkey mini meatballs (nice to have the quick protein and I can count out how many for how many people.) I always have cooked portions of sausage (small baggies for flavor) in the freezer and usually if I make turkey tacos I make double and freeze the leftovers for a quick dinner.

I also like to freeze portions of cooked pasta. Since I dont eat much starch at dinner I often get dinner almost ready and realize I forgot starch for my family. Rather than microwaving cooked pasta, stick it in a strainer and pour hot water over it.

Soup is another one, I never make just a little bit of soup, and I freeze the leftovers in single servings.

If you try it, try the 1 -2 week menu first. Once a month can be an overwhelming weekend until you get the hang of it.
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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The monthly stuff doesn't work for me, as a large portion of my weekly dinner is raw veggies.

We cook dinner and lunch once per week, which actually involves chopping lots of veggies and cooking beans if I have time. I eat the same thing every day for a week (there's just two of us, and we work the same schedule) I make a "salad bar" for dinner, which means I chop up the veggies and put them in tupperware for the week. Greens and bell peppers keep better with paper towel in the container to mediate the moisture. Tomatoes I cut up when I want to use them, as I don't like them in the fridge. I cut up cucumbers one at a time because they spoil on me. The protein, bean type and dressings vary.

I cook up a soup or bean dish for lunch, and I'll freeze the extra. I like pureed soups for freezing, or chili. I don't like the texture of chunky soups after they are frozen. I also make extra bread, bread dough and soup stock when I have the chance so those are on hand for later.

Pre-weight loss effort, I always had a casserole in the freezer for just in case, but those were high-fat dishes like enchiladas or lasagne. Now I keep frozen veggies and veggie patties around for just in case meals. Flat bread works well for instant pizza - we have a whole grain 100 cal version we like. That plus jarred sauce and leftover salad veggies and light cheese makes good friday night "junk" food.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RunnerChemist View Post
The monthly stuff doesn't work for me, as a large portion of my weekly dinner is raw veggies.
So is mine. Or fresh veggies as I am in a CSA. I usually only pre-prep meats for the freezer and I tend to do only about 10-11 meals a month which provides leftovers and plenty of flex for other evenings.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:43 PM   #9
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I don't have a big enough freezer to do once a month. And it's not a very good freezer so I'll do a few things in bulk like soup and beans I've cooked from dry and anything with a lot of flavorful sauces, but not much else.
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