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Old 01-17-2008, 08:11 PM   #1
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Does anyone have Once a Month Cooking?

Has anyone tried it, does it work, is it worth the $$ to buy it? We're healthy eaters and frugal eaters!

Thanks, Danielle
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:31 PM   #2
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Re: Does anyone have Once a Month Cooking?

I have it and have tried it... here's a few insights:

1 - There were only two of us (now three, but our LO is only 12 months old) and I couldn't do a full month meal plan without having to eat several of the meals more than once... we don't like too many leftovers.

2 - I'm kinda a picky eater - while my husband will eat anything at least once... there are only a handful of the meals that I actually liked that I tried (many of them I wouldn't even try!) A couple of my favorites were Hearty Hamburger Tomato Soup and a Marinade for Tilipia fish.

3 - It's really just about how to organize - if you have a bunch of receipes that you like (or are willing to try) all you have to do is make up a shopping list (like you would do normally) and try to pick receipes that have some common denominators (i.e. meat, cheese or chopped veggies like onions)

4 - Plan to spend a whole weekend doing it... and it's better to have friends help (or at least someone to watch your kids!) Spend the first day shopping, the next day chopping & precooking any meat, and then assemble (which could be done one the same day or the next day)

Basically you just group your tasks together: chopping, precooking meat, Do all the steps the receipe says to do except for cooking it.... then package the meals into zip lock bags (or a pan, depending on what it is). Make sure you write instructions for how to cook it once you get it out of the freezer. (you could print labels from the computer or just hand write) I keep a list of what is in the freezer along with the instructions for how long to cook and how (crockpot, oven, or grill) on the fridge. Then I cross it off after I've used it.

So I guess it depends on your "cooking skills" and your "organization skills". I think I learn the best by trial and error, but if you want to save yourself some of that then the book might be helpful. And again depends on how picky you are.... I think most of the meals are pretty "healthy" and I'm sure you could customize how much salt/fat you put in them... and I don't remember there being anything really expensive to make - pretty middle of the road there.

For me, I think the crockpot meals are easiest to do.... assemble everything together and they you can just throw the frozen meal into the crockpot in the morning.... soups are great for this.

I could give you a list of the titles to the receipes are in it if you think that would help.

HTH!
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:40 PM   #3
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Re: Does anyone have Once a Month Cooking?

I have it. I think there are probably better OAMC books out there. It seems like there are a lot of base things like making ground beef into a few things, like using the same base meat for spagetti meat, tacos, and baked potatoe toppings. I just used ideas from it and never really followed the recipes. My husband is really picky so I couldn't make a bunch of the same tasting food.
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Old 01-22-2008, 05:12 PM   #4
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Re: Does anyone have Once a Month Cooking?

I did the method of making meals for 6 or 8 on nights I felt like cooking so we ate 2 servings adn I packaged the rest ready to go. Keeps meals we like in the fridge without dedicating a whole day to the kitchen. I found cooking a larger meal occasioanally was barely noticeable effort for great gain.
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:40 AM   #5
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Re: Does anyone have Once a Month Cooking?

I like "Don't Panic Dinner's in the Freezer".
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:30 PM   #6
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Re: Does anyone have Once a Month Cooking?

I only checked the book out from the library. If your diet's anything close to ours, you probably won't like half the meals she's got in there. Sure, things like tacos and sloppy joes are okay, but we don't like 'em more than once a month, you know?

I totally agree with the cooking and organizational skills thing the pp said. It can take practice - but honestly, you can just do it all by yourself without paying someone else for the advice.

And for me, once-a-month just takes too much time. She says it's only a day. Um, no. One day of shopping for everything. One day of prepping/chopping everything. One day of cooking and portioning everything. I don't know about you, but I can't pawn off my kids on someone else for 3 days straight for free. Plus I watch sales more than that. I buy certain things only once or twice a year when they go on major sale, rather than having to buy it right then for regular price (sometimes 5 times the sale price!)

I do better tripling or quadrupling meals when I'm making dinner one night, and freeze the rest. It only takes me a little longer to chop an extra onion and pepper or measure out more stuff for a marinade. Or when I go on little canning sprees - last weekend I did a big double batch of spaghetti sauce to pressure can, and now I've got 16 pints of the homemade good stuff down in the pantry just waiting for me (i.e. 16 meals!).

Or when meats are on sale, I buy a bunch. Ground stuff? Cook up half of it, baggie into 1-lb portions (what I use per meal for all 4 of us) - then all you have to do is add it to whatever. I mix up hamburger patties, shape, and freeze. I cut up chicken sometimes, stick in a marinade, and freeze. When it thaws in the fridge, it marinates itself. That kind of thing.

I know the gal that wrote Saving Dinner has a freezer menu thingie, too... Ah, here you go. You can get ideas of the types of recipes that freeze well there.
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Old 01-24-2008, 03:09 PM   #7
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Re: Does anyone have Once a Month Cooking?

Thanks so much for all of your advice!
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