Once a Month Cooking
By Nikki Willhite
Cook for a day to last the month
Once a month cooking is one of the most cost effective
routines you can follow in planning and cooking your meals. It is a huge
Life can get so hectic that sometimes you just want to
pick something up. If you know you can throw together a simple, delicious
meal in a few minutes, you are not as likely to succumb to the temptation
(and hunger pains); and pick up costly, and sometimes greasy fast food. You
will save a lot of money, in addition to eating better.
Even if you never read any of the books written on the
subject, it is just a matter of common sense. So many of our meals have the
same basic ingredients. It is just a matter of cooking them up beforehand,
and then adding ingredients unique to a dish when you prepare it.
One of the easiest things to make up is hamburger in a
tomato sauce base. Fry it all up, adding preferences such as onions, garlic,
green pepper, and your favorite spices. I like oregano, cumin, chili powder,
salt and pepper. Add your tomato based product and let it simmer until all
the flavors are well blended.
Let this mixture cool, and then freeze in Ziploc freezer
bags in meal size portions. When you are ready to cook, all you have to do
is thaw it in the microwave. What a time saver!
Think how many meals you can use this meat in- tacos,
spaghetti, lasagna, chili, sloppy Joes, etc. Why buy hamburgers when you can
come home and easily thaw both the buns and the meat and have a meal in a
matter of minutes? Even if you don't have the energy to make vegetables,
it's not like you'd be picking them up at the fast food place either. You'd
probably just be eating a handful of greasy French fries.
Another "no brainer" is cookie dough! It's a lot of work
to pull out all the ingredients, mix up the batter, heat the oven, and then
bake the cookies. How much easier it is to just spend time once a month and
make up enough batter to last the month. Then just wrap it up and freeze it.
When you want to bake cookies you can just put the batter
in the refrigerator to thaw (or use the microwave), and then slice the dough
and bake the cookies. Have them ready to go in the oven after you finish
dinner to save energy and for dessert. Cookies cost a lot of money in the
store, and they taste so much better fresh from the oven.
Last week we talked about cooking whole chickens, and then
cutting up the meat for several meals. See the feedback section for an even
easier way to do this. Roasts are also good cooked this way. Divide up
portions for slices, soups and stews, sandwiches, stir fry, stroganoff,
It takes some planning, and it takes a day devoted to
cooking, but doing this is a big money saver and makes the rest of the month
go a lot easier. If you aren't already doing it, give it a try and see how
you like it. Start small. Take one morning and make up some of the basics.
See how long it lasts, and how much it helps you.