What’s the longest you have ever waited to actually try a new idea? Grandma had wanted to do this experiment for a long time. It has probably been 20 years since she bought the book. We never tried it at that time and the book got loaned out and never returned. With grandkids coming soon to stay for a very short time we wanted to have as much time as possible to spend with them. So, we decided to give this old idea a try. The book had been revised, but the principle was the same.
It is important to understand that this is once-a-month cooking, not one day cooking for a month. The process actually took us 3 days. On Saturday we went shopping. The lists in the book were great and after reviewing what we already had we were ready to hit the stores. We were able to purchase most of what we needed at Costco, but needed to pick up the rest at a local supermarket where there was greater variety. We have bought more meat at once, but that was when we were purchasing a whole side of beef. That meat went immediately into the freezer. In this case the meat was prepared into main dishes and then frozen. When you’re buying and cooking in large quantity like this Costco make sense. We rarely buy onions at Costco because some end up getting thrown away before we can use them all. We bought 10 pounds of onions and used almost all of them. It took us about 5 hours to complete the shopping and get everything packed either into the freezer or refrigerator. We had one very full refrigerator at the end of the process.
Sunday was a much lighter day. We missed a few things that we could have done, but did get one dish into the crockpot and started beans cooking so that they would be ready for cooking day. Monday was cooking day. At the end of a very active 8 hours of cooking we had 29 dishes prepared and in the freezer. We had miscalculated on the amount of chicken required and ended up not making one of the soups. The process was efficient and the book was great in providing really good instructions on how to approach putting the dishes together. It definitely took both Grandma and Grandpa to get this done and our large kitchen was a real asset. Grandpa washed dishes at least 3 times during the day! Maybe the most amazing thing is that we didn’t run into each other once during the day. We certainly danced around each other a few times and that was fun.
The meals are all designed to feed 4-6 people and with very generous portions, so this food will last us at least two months, even with company coming. We’ve begun eating what we prepared and Grandpa is enjoying it. Grandma isn’t wild about all the spices, or all the meat, so I’m sure we’ll be having some biscuits along the way. After trying every new dish we give it a quick review to determine if we’ll use it again. It is also important to note that these meals do require some preparation to complete them after they come out of the freezer, especially if you want to complement the dish with more vegetables or salad.
Would we do this again? Grandpa thinks we will, even if we change the recipes. The shopping was tiring, as was the long day of cooking, but we did it together and that was fun. Putting all of these dishes together at once is also providing more variety in our diet. We anticipate that it will also free up some time, especially when we have company. Give it a try. We think this is a real opportunity to create a fun family memory while freeing up time in the future for doing other simple things together.
tags: Once-A-Month Cooking, Revised and Expanded, A Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious, Homemade Meals Every Day, The Simple Dollar blog from Christian Science Monitor, easy meal recipes,