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Category: Kitchen: Meal Planning

Related Links:  | Recipes | Frugal Tips | Barbecue | Dessert | Fruit | Homemade |
 | Meal Planning | Meat | Organization | Sauces | Veggies |


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 money saver.
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, casseroles, etc.
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.


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Category: Kitchen: Meal Planning

Related Links:  | Recipes | Frugal Tips | Barbecue | Dessert | Fruit | Homemade |
 | Meal Planning | Meat | Organization | Sauces | Veggies |

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