May 16, 2007

Once a..... cooking - Cooking Meals Ahead

Once a month cooking is a great way to save money and time. I have used this method with great success. I have not been consistent with it but when I have used it I have loved it. I have found a method that works for me very well along the way and am trying to get back to that this summer. The key is to take what you can from this and make it work for your family. There are several options for people who like to prepare meals ahead to save time during the week.

Once a Month Cooking - OAMC

Once Every Two Weeks Cooking- mentioned in working your way up to OAMC by LupusLady

Once a Week Cooking - an experience of one blogger

The once a week and once every two weeks is merely a smaller scale of once a month cooking and for the purposes of our discussion we will call it Cooking Meals Ahead.

For your own knowledge there is also a Bulk Cooking scenario that is addressed in a book called Dinner's in the Freezer by Jill Bond - I have this book and it is FANTASTIC and full of tips and recipes for cooking for up to six months at time. You have to have TONS of freezer space for this method so I do it on a smaller scale. She does offer different amounts for her recipes if you want to scale it back or try a recipe first before making six months worth of it.

Also, Bulk Cooking is pretty much the same as OAMC. There are several links that I found under this title...

Bulk Cooking.com

Menus4Moms is a favorite of mine!!!

Now that we have defined some of the terms we can get started. There are so many resources out there for cooking meals ahead. There are books and websites galore. There are books that help you get started and plan your own meals and then there are books that give you the menus and recipes and talk you through the process step by step. There are websites that will send you meals each week with recipes, too. The topic is extensive and has exploded on the scene over the past 10 years. I won't rehash all of the information here. I will merely attempt to share my experience with you along with my favorite books and links. The main thing is making time to cook and store things properly and clean as you go... I know from experience on this one... LOL

As a beginning personal chef these skills are coming in quite handy. I utitlize much of this to cook for a client. I usually do the shopping and cooking over two days so that everything is as fresh as possible. The problem I have run into in our own family is budgeting for such a large shopping trip. It does save money in the long run but the initial investment in foods for that amount of time can be overwhelming. I have recently been more of the once a week shopping persuasion and then I will cook extra of something for the freezer. When I was pregnant, though, this method was FANTASTIC for getting my family fed while I was recovering from a pregnancy and dealing with a new baby. I will be doing more of this during the summer months in order to prepare for our very busy fall schedule that is coming.

Here are some magnificent articles that I thought you might like to read to encourage you to try this method.

What's For Dinner?

A Beginner's Guide to OAMC

Frugal Mom shares her experiences

Learn How to Plan Your Meals and Free Up Your Time!

A Lady a great deal like me!!!
LOL She says she is a drop-out but she still utilizes much of what she has learned.

The key is to find what works for you and your family and make that happen.

Tomorrow I will give you lots of book resources that I have enjoyed and learned from.

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