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Oh, Sweet Honey Iced Tea
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Oh, Sweet Honey Iced Tea

Montag, 13. Januar 2014

Twice a Month Cooking

The "once a month cooking" thing became wildly popular about ten years ago. Basically, you exhaust yourself cooking all the meals for your family for a month in one day, making a huge mess and filling a chest freezer in one fell swoop. The idea is that doing this once a month frees up the rest of the month for more amusing activities.

The problem I had with that plan is that if felt very much like eating leftovers all the time. I didn't see how cooking things all at once, and then recooking them again later, saved me any time or money.

I recently found a solution. Twice a month slow cooker prep. I stuff my freezer with slow cooker meals to last half a month. I don't slow cook all of my meals, but I do use my slow cooker at least four times a week, and usually even more than that.

Slow cooking no longer means enduring unidentifiable meats and overdone veggies. The slow cookers of our mothers' days cooked food into oblivion. Didn't everything from a slow cooker taste the same back then? And it was always something like pot roast, wasn't it?

I still make pot roast, but it has flavor and texture. But I make so much more with my slow cooker.

Using the once-a-month method, I do all the prep work at the same time: once in the beginning of the month, and once halfway through the month. Freezing the foods I buy as soon as I bring them home keeps them at optimum freshness until we eat them. No more tossing those green onions that wilt as soon as I buy them. No more soft carrots. No moldy cheese. Pre-freezer meals, I was throwing out too much waste. Those days are gone.

You can do this, too, and you don't even have to buy a chest freezer. Look at what I'm able to store in my standard, above-the-fridge freezer:

In my freezer right now:

2 bags of BBQ Beef Ribs
2 bags of Irish Beef Stew
Maple Dijon Chicken
Italian Beef Sandwiches
Creamy Salsa Chicken
Cranberry BBQ Chicken
French Dip
Black Bean Taco Soup
Black Bean, Corn, Salsa Chicken
Creamy Ranch Pork Chops & Potatoes
Creamy Beef Stew
4 pounds ground beef for cooking from scratch meals
1 pound of chicken breast for cooking from scratch meals
veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, spinach) and fruits (cherries, strawberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple)
pancake mix
pumpkin pancake mix
premade pumpkin pancakes
assembled but not baked ham & cheese baked sandwiches
a dozen packets of smoothie ingredients
ice cream
a dozen chicken burger patties

I write my biweekly dinner plan on the fridge in dry erase marker. It's easy to choose and erase the meal we have each day.

Clean up for prep day isn't too much worse than a standard cooking day:

I find it easiest to go one meal at a time, rather than chop all the veggies, then the meats, then the sauces. I just take it one bag at a time. It would probably cut my prep time down if I did it all in big steps, but I like simplicity better.

The meals I prepped can be found at Six Sisters' Stuff for the most part. I've linked them above.

Let me know if you give this a try. It's a great feeling knowing my family has fresh, from scratch meals each night and all the guess work's been taken care of.

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