Tuesday, September 27, 2011

new way of life

I am sold on this once-a-month cooking thing. The last few weeks have been pretty great as far as mealtime and time spent in the kitchen. Having the main protein already cooked means just throwing everything together at the last minute and since the veggies are also precooked we are eating a lot more vegetables than usual too, which isn't at all bad. Something I especially like is that since all the ingredients are stored in the freezer, if I wanted to cook a from-scratch meal one evening because I found a great cut of meat on clearance at the grocery store, or if we get invited out for dinner with friends, it is easy to be flexible because I'm not worried about food spoiling before we can use it all up (something I did worry about occasionally when cooking for the week and storing food in the fridge only). So this plan has the best of both worlds - structured, easy, fast, healthy meals when we need them with the fun of spontaneity thrown in there too. And, less time cooking each night, means more time for karaoke parties with Little Miss.
spatulas are way more fun as microphones
As a reminder, here is the meal plan I followed this month (it can also be found in the September 2011 issue of Every Day with Rachel Ray). We have about five meals left to go, counting tonight (rigatoni with squash and apples. sounds amazing.) and so far, all but one have been a hit. Deputy Handsome wasn't too fond of an egg-based dish that was heavy on the butternut squash and zilch on the bacon or any other kind of animal protein, so Little Miss and I enjoyed the extras for lunch the next day. There are definitely a few dishes we've eaten in the past few weeks that we would make again and I will probably use them to build a new month-of-meals plan with a few of my own favorite dishes thrown in the mix.

Now the Rachel Ray plan is only for weeknight dinners which worked out great for me because I enjoy spending time in my kitchen to make banana bread or cookies or to grill paninis for lunch but there is another resource out there called Once A Month Mom where you can find a monthly meal plan for all three meals a day, plus snacks, that you cook all in one day. I have used this website a few times to research recipes to build up my freezer stockpile but have never gone to this extreme of making ahead because, as I mentioned, I like the spontaneity of "hanging out" in my kitchen most days without the pressure of providing a full meal. But for those of you who don't have as much time at home and are looking to maximize family time in the evenings and streamline the morning rush, I suggest you check it out!


  1. You inspire me to be a better mommy and wife! You make it sound so simple! Thanks for the tips. :)

  2. I love the idea of doing this. I'm about to start working evenings (5:30-10:30) and my partner works until about 7pm most days. Cooking a months worth of meals in advance would be perfect for us, especially if I froze individual portions. Love your blog, I'm following you and adding you to my blogroll! :)