Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Money Saving Tuesday

One thing I have wanted to do for awhile now is OAMC. The idea of cooking one day each month and having everything in my freezer sounds amazing. I have read about it several times. I have bookmarked pages on how to do it. I even planned to do it one month. If you are going to try it you should visit Once A Month Mom. She does plan for breakfasts and dinners as well. We eat a lot of cereal for breakfast and my kids eat simple lunches so I am only interested in dinners.
But I haven't tried yet.
Why? Honestly it overwhelms me. The idea of buying all the food I need for an entire month at one time and making it all in one day. It jsut scare me.
Plus I am not even sure I have enough room in my freezers to hold an entire months worth of food.
The last reason is that I do not have enough glassware to freeze everything which leaves me with two options. Buy a LOT of pans at once and buy enough disposable pans for an entire month. I don't like either of those ideas and have yet to come up with a solution.
The idea of not having to really cook during the week, that appeals to me. And reading about how others do it amazes me. But I haven't yet.
So instead I batch cook. For me it is the happy medium. I don't worry about having room in my freezer or buying enough food for a month and cooking in one day. I don't even need to find an entire day to cook, which with my schedule is difficult.

Batch cooking for me is to make two or three dinners at once and freeze the extras. It doesn't take more than 10 minutes extra of cooking time and I am left with one or two dinners to put in the freezer. I always know if I have room for one or two dinners in the freezer. One reason I started doing this is because of my first trimester with this pregnancy. I was exhausted and I had all day sickness. There were many many nights where I did not want to cook and we ended up eating a lot of chicken nuggets or fish sticks or grilled cheeses.
It finally occured to me that if I cookes extra when I felt up to it then I would have actual meals to feed my family when I wasn't feeling well.

Some meals I have found batch cooking works well for are:
baked ziti
chicken pot pit
stuffed shells
baked macaroni and cheese
waffles (for breakfast or dinner)
taco meat

The following are meals I want to try:
chicken parmesian
chicken or vegetable quesadillas

I am also looking for other recipes to try so if you have any please let me know!

This is something I have been doing for only the past two months but it is working out wonderfully. And a few weeks ago I was shopping and found 8x8" aluminum foil pans on sale. If you bought a 3 pack you got 2 free. So I stocked up on pans and now have enough for the next 5 months! When I freeze my meals I double wrap them in foil. The first time I only single wrapped them and there were some tears in the top. The food was fine but after that I always double wrap the pans now.

Batch cooking saves me money and time. Now when I am not feeling well, or am just simply exhausted I am not as tempted to go out for dinner. I can open the freezer and choose from three or four meals that I have in there. No more eating chicken nuggets for three nights in one week (although my kids never once complained about that!). I plan to have a small stockpile for when baby #3 arrives because planning menus, looking for sales, grocery shopping and cooking with a newborn in the house is not an easy task!


ToyLady said...

Hi there! I just stumbled onto you through Meal Plan Monday. I just wanted to mention that I feel very much the same way about OAMC - it's a HUGE undertaking, and I can't imagine trying to do it, especially with little ones to watch out for!

It sounds like your solution is very much like mine - I would actually prefer to spend a few hours making a bunch of what I know we love and doing that a couple of times a month, rather than exhaust myself making 30 meals, many untried, and just . . . hope we like them!

I recently did a super-healthy turkey and bean quesadilla that you may want to take a look at - it might suit you -

Best of luck finding what works best for you! said...

Thanks so much for telling others about me! :) I am glad that you have gotten some use out of my site. I find that many do batch cooking opposed to once a month cooking. If you can do batch cooking, once a month cooking is a breeze, don't be scared. :)