Happy Monday everyone!

Menu Plan Monday

I hope you are all enjoying your long weekend – thanks for stopping by today!

This week, I am going to be plunging headlong back into working after a long summer break. I am excited to get back to work, but this will mean I need to get back to being organized again. It’s a never ending cycle, isn’t it?

For MPM this week, I wanted to tackle something that has intrigued me for quite a while – bulk cooking. The premise is that you take a day and you cook for for a week or, if you are particularly ambitious, an entire month.

I work really hard at being organized enough, but meal planning is always where I fizzle out. After looking into this concept, I think this is something that could work for me.

Here’s where I started:

Once a Week Cooking – This is a good site to start with, but since it’s a pay for subscription site, unless you are willing to drop $10 a month, it won’t take you too far.

Frugal Mom – Learn Once a Month Cooking in 7 Easy Steps – This is a GREAT introductory article. It gives you a specific (though not too in depth) overview of how to cook once a month, including planning sheets. This is a fantastic place to begin.

Simply Saving – Once a Month Cooking Recipes – This blog give a few good ideas for easy to cook meals that you can prepare early, but don’t necessarily have to cook ahead of time.

Resources:

Organized Home – Feed the Freezer – Has very good links on how to get started

Once a Month Mom – THE authority on cooking once a month. She seriously makes it sound easy. I mean, easy enough that I might be able to do it. New menu plans posted at the beginning of each month.

What now?

For me, I hate cooking. I mean, I really loathe it. While I LOVE the idea of cooking less during the week, cooking for an entire month seems too overwhelming for me.

Cooking for one week sounds a little better, as long as it meets a few requirements:

  • It doesn’t take up all of a weekend day.
  • It isn’t too overwhelming.
  • It can be food allergy friendly – I have a feeling this will be a sticking point.
  • My kids will actually eat it – this may be an even bigger sticking point.

So, not too challenging, right? ;)

Here’s what I came up with:

  • I started at the Once a Month Mom site for three reasons – I am somewhat familiar with the layout, I like the structure of the menus and I like the printables.
  • After looking at the menu, I took a long pause. I am not a cook. I admit it. The thought of making Ratatouille is intimidating as hell. Then I reminded myself that I only had to find a few recipes, since I was only trying this out for a week.
  • Then I remembered it was a short week, since Monday is a holiday and Wednesday we are taking our son out to dinner for his birthday.
  • If I vacuum seal the food, all I have to do is drop the bags in boiling water to heat up. This, by the way, rocks.

Challenges:

  • Many of the meals were heavy on the cheese and pasta – two big no-nos for me.
  • I really hate that so many recipes use cream of ____ soup. I am not a purist (hell, I use Rice A Roni), but with a dairy allergy, it’s important. And no, I don’t have time to saute mushrooms and do 9 other steps to get a cream of mushroom soup.

So, what to do?

Here’s the recipes I selected:

Tostada Goop – I am going to check Trader Joe’s for a non dairy cream of chicken soup.

Ribs – These I can cook in the crock pot, then freeze to reheat during the week. The challenge will be not eating them when they are cooked the first time!

Neat Sloppy Joes – If you know me at all, you know I LOVE Allrecipes.com. This is a recipe from their site.

And here are some tips on how to freeze foods to reheat.

Phew! Here’s the question of the day – have you ever done this? If so, what works for you and what doesn’t. If you haven’t tried bulk cooking, would you? As always, leave it in the comments.

Who's that Spartan doing tai chi? It's me! It's me!

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12 Responses to Menu Plan Monday – Getting Started With Once a Week/Month Cooking

  1. Karen says:

    Personally, I LOVE the idea of it, but my husband hates to eat anything that is "leftover" and I have yet to convince him that it is not leftovers. One thing that I thought of while reading is that if you had to prepare your own cream of whatever soup each week, it would be time consuming, but if you could do a large batch and freeze it in the vacuum seal bags, that would help reduce the regularity you had to do it. Also, double batch cooking is pretty easy to do to help get your "stash" built up. Have you ever seen the show Quick Fix Meals? I'm not a huge fan but I have found some nice hints there. I'm just a country girl so our menu is not as exotic as most cooking shows.

    • alanamorales says:

      Thanks for the comment today! I will look into the show – anything that helps I will take a look at! :) I def agree about the batch cooking, but my bigger concern is that I won't make something edible. LOL

  2. Melissa B. says:

    Thanks for sharing these links. Now that Mr. Fairway and I are "empty nesters," I've got to do something to reinvigorate my kitchen game plan!

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sandy Kemsley and Alana Morales, Alana Morales. Alana Morales said: New blog post: Menu Plan Monday – Getting Started With Once a Week/Month Cooking http://bit.ly/co9VuO [...]

  4. Debra says:

    I have never done it before but now I want to try! Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting me on my SITS day!

  5. Amber says:

    I loathe cooking too.

    It's why we eat a lot of frozen foods and mac n cheese. I like the idea of cooking for a week but I wouldn't have the patience and plus, I'm picky about my foods being fresh. I won't eat things that have been sitting around for over 2 days.

  6. Cheryl D. says:

    Hi Alana! Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest! I was lucky enough to have you over me! This IS a really great post! I have a love/hate relationship with cooking. I actually enjoy it, but it's hard to fit in on many days. I don't think I could devote a chunk of time to make a bunch of meals in advance. Anyway, my freezer is too small, which is why I never too advantage of businesses like Dream Dinners. Since those businesses seem to all be going out of business, I don't think many people do have the freezer space.

    • alanamorales says:

      I agree with you – I was looking into the business places and it was hard to find one – that wouldn't have happened a few years ago. I did pretty good with the one meal though. The rest of the meals were planned out anyway, and that was a step in the right direction. Thanks for stopping by today! :)

  7. [...] Menu Plan Monday – Getting Started With Once a Week/Month Cooking [...]

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