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Once A Month Cooking - Is It For You?
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Once A Month Cooking  -  Is it for You?

Once a month cooking is one of the biggest time-savers when planning meals. Many think it is impossible to make thirty meals in one day, but it is easier than you think. You must plan the grocery list, the menu and your time but having meals ready anytime you need them makes the extra effort worth it.

1. Those finding once a month cooking too big of a task can start small by doing once a week cooking. The last thing you want to do is complicate your life, you want to simplify it. Even cooking meals for a week will save you time.

2. Choose the day you want to cook, ideally, a day with the least interruptions, and decide what day you want to shop. I suggest different days for shopping and cooking. If putting aside an entire cooking day is impossible, spread it out over 2 or 3 days or evenings.

3. Plan your meals using a calendar for writing out daily meals each day. Alternatively, a simple spreadsheet you can print off will work well too. If you have favorite recipes, repeat those recipes throughout the month. If you can cook several batches at once, this will shorten your cooking time.

4, Once you have your meals planned it's time to make your grocery list. Check your recipes for needed ingredients and quantities. You will also want to make sure you have plenty of freezer containers, freezer bags, and aluminum foil.

5. When it's time to cook, review your recipes and set up a cooking order. Start cooking anything that you will cut up or debone, like chicken, first. Cook these while you’re making other meals, combining as many steps as possible. For example, weighing out all your dry ingredients or frying all your hamburger at once will save time.

6. After you finish cooking and the food is cool, you are ready to freeze your meals. Freezer bags work well, especially for liquids. The bags will lie flat on the freezer shelves, and you can stack them, saving freezer space. I prefer a vacuum sealer, but if you get as much air out of your bags as possible, you will stop freezer burn. Stews and soups work well in reusable freezer containers. Divide into meal size portions then freeze. Always label all your food to avoid any surprises during the month.

One of my family’s favorite meals is lasagna. I always make a double batch then freeze for individual meals and for family meals throughout the month. Lasagna freezes great and tastes fresh baked. Just place some foil over the dish and heat slowly at 200F for roughly 30 minutes or until heated through.

Once a month cooking works great for dieters. The cost of prepackaged food is expensive, especially for the small amount of food you get. By making your own diet meals and freezing them, you will have a ready supply of nutritious lunches and dinners for a fraction of the cost. Plus there’s the added benefit of knowing exactly what is in your meal.

One final note, once you freeze a meal, seasonings will intensify. You may want to scale back on seasonings, such as salt, when freezing your food.


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