$250 in meals
Ham and cheddar stuffed pretzels, red lentil soup w/ lemon, taco soup, cheese-broccoli-quinoa casserole, potato and ham chowder, sriracha pulled pork, garlic mushroom omelets, cauliflower pizza bites, creamy taquitos, sweet potato foil packet tacos, pork and sweet potato empenadas, sausage and egg breakfast sandwiches, tomato-basil-parmesan soup, italian sausage stew, broccoli cheese soup, slow cooker coconut tofu curry w/rice, curried coconut lemon soup, avocado-rice barbacoa burritos, and balsamic herb lamb chops.
I just finished my 2nd cook one day and make meals for a month marathon. Last month I signed up for Once A Month Mom - it's $8 a month or $72 a year. I planned on only trying it out for one month, but I found that I liked it so much that I did it again this month.
Here are my thoughts on Once A Month Mom or monthly freezer meal type cooking.
#1 Don't do what I did this last time ie. try to cook too many meals! I am totally burned out. I think my 'eyes were bigger than my stomach' or at least more than my feet, legs and back could handle. The OAMM program gives you different menus to cook every month - traditional, whole foods, gluten free, baby, vegetarian, ect. Those menus each have 15 recipes with 8 dinners and 4 breakfasts and 4 lunches. I don't always like ALL the recipes in a menu, so I pick and choose from all the menus and sometimes different past months. Ok that's great EXCEPT I ended up making 19 different recipes. When the OAMM people make up the recipes they try to use ingredients that go together and make it easier to cook. Not me! I made it waaaaay harder on myself. Lot's of fiddly things like empanadas, taquitos, burritos, pretzels, ect. Not casseroles that would go together a be easy. Yes, I made a lot of soups, but they all had to be cooked in different ways, so I couldn't saute a huge batch of ingredients and then add the different flavors. I made cream soups and not cream and lemony and not lemony.
#2 Make sure you have plenty of clean dish towels. I ran out of towels about 4 hours into my cooking. Not nice.
#3 Make sure you have an empty garbage can. I filled 2 big bags with garbage.
#4 Make sure your meat is thawed out before you start cooking. I had to stop and split my cooking into 2 days, because I didn't have my meat thawed. Although, I couldn't have done it all in one day anyway. This was 2 days of cooking from 11am to midnight 2 days in a row - 25 hours.
#5 Empty your dishwasher and clean off all your counters. Maybe get an extra table. I ended up cooling things in the garage on top of my car. I tried cooling things outside in a nice snowbank - forgot they were out there and lost 3 empanadas to the puppy.
#6 Get some squishy slippers to wear and some comfy clothing. My legs and back were KILLING me by the end of yesterday.
#7 Be prepared to make one use-it-up soup or casserole at the end of your cooking day. I cut up too many onions and other veggies and I changed my mind about making mini pot-pies, so I had extra ingredients. Ham-potato Chowder to the rescue!
#8 Take a break! Every once in a while take a break - sit down or do some stretches. Have something to eat and make sure you are drinking water or something. This is a marathon after all!
#9 A nice glass of wine, beer, hard cider (whatever) will make it possible to push through that 'I can't do it point'. I very rarely drink anything, but I have to say a wine cooler at 8pm both days helped me cheer up and crank out a few more meals!
#10 Get something to listen to! It's a lonely day in the kitchen if you don't have something to listen to and it takes your mind off your aching legs.
Now all that complaining aside......I LOVE doing this!!!!!!!!
It's fun and it's challenging. I also like not having to cook when I'm tired and knowing that there is a healthy meal that I just need to warm up.
True I am not a Mom - I only have furry children, but I still like to eat. Also, I was a vegetarian for 13 years (my entire adult life plus) and just recently I decided to start adding some meat to my diet. I don't know how to cook meat, so it's nice to have direction and someone else choosing the recipes for me.
Preparing to start.
Chopping the ingredients.
Red lentil soup with lemon.
Quinoa, broccoli, cheese casserole.
Sweet potato foil packet tacos
Are you almost done?
Sweet potato empanadas.
Can I help you cook? I'll be the tast tester!
Italian sausage soup
Broccoli Cheese soup
Ham,broccoli,cheese pretzel calzones
Curried coconut lemon soup
Siracha pulled pork
And then another picture (or 2) of all my hard work!