First things is the menu! For long enough I've heard about Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) been intrigued, and have never gotten farther than gathering recipes. Then one day at church a friend came in and showed me the 2 cookbooks she found at Sam's club and we started chatting about the whole thing. I told her I had heard about it and really wanted to try it out and just hadn't. The next week she gifted me with a copy of the book! I was so excited about her kindness I knew I had to try it!
Resolution #1:: Menu/Meal Plan Once a Month for the WHOLE month
Yes sirree. Can you believe I've been meal planning and shopping every week for years???? Okay Costco and such is not once a week, but man.....52 weeks of meal planning! There were times I would do 2 weeks at a time and that was helpful. No more. I want to do this only 12 times this year. I know, sounds a little out there. But I really believe it will make my life SO much easier. I do realize that I will still have to run to the store for quick consumables like milk, fruits and veggies, etc. But the bulk of what I need will be done in one trip instead of 4! Exciting! Cutting down on lists and driving, loading and unloading! Priceless! At least it was this first month!
This month I planned (and made and froze!!) 9 meals in two days. I broke it up because I just couldn't fit it all in one day with it being New Years and it seemed easier to break up the cooking part. I tried to chose a few meals I was only making the marinade for and adding frozen chicken or meat to freeze, and a few meals that needed some cooking before freezing. All the meals only need to be thawed and baked or reheated though! Those I will save for the days I am really tired and just want something easy to do instead of doing all the chopping and prep on that day. I have enough for at least 2 per week during the month. I am thinking that should REALLY take a load off. It did take a little while to plan, to make shopping lists, sift through the cabinet to see what we had. But now that I am done it was totally worth it!
A fwe hints I've already learned from doing it once::
- find recipes that have some similar ingredients to save money. ie. Once recipe called for Bread crumbs, find another one so they don't go bad before the next month....
- do all your chopping of similar ingredients together, onions, peppers etc. then add only what you need at a time.
- Make sure the kitchen is clean before you start.
- Use the same utensils and pots and pans washing in between, and cleaning as you go.
- Visist Mom's Budget website and print yourself out a planner!!
- Write notes on that planner about anything extra you'll need to do or temp and time info for reheating and baking.
- Buy everything you can in bulk, it will save you money in the long run I promise!
Chicken Broccoli casserole
Sour Cream chicken
Pepper Steak stir fry
Ham and Cheese Bake
Carribean Jerk Chicken
Fresh Meals to be Made
Spam and rice
Stuffed Bell peppers
Sweet and sour pork
So all I have yet to do is fill out my little calendar and place it on the fridge for easy use!! I'm writing in my planner each last week of the month to get started on the next month's meal planning as a reminder. With so much going on in our house and family I am hoping this is one way to help ease a little stress of the day. I'm on a mission here folks.
Stay tuned for more resolutions for this new year as I explore a new book "Managers of their Homes" or MOTH as well as how I going to become a drill sergeant and whip this house and those in it into organizational shape! I've decided Dave and I do entirely too much around here while the others sit and watch us try and catch up with everything. I've been coming up with ideas to get the whole family to work together.......