Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 2 Lesson 2: Once a Month Cooking

Once a Month Cooking (OAMC) is a concept that you cook one day of the month and have meals for the rest of the month.  I first tried this idea when I went to Dream Dinners a few years ago.  After we moved, I could not find a meal prep-type place around here, so I thought, "Why not try it myself?"  Upon researching the topic there is a multitude of information available out there for it, but it's most basic concept is this: pick out your recipes, buy your ingredients, cook your meals, then freeze them.  Really.   That's it.
I am going to give you two methods, followed by some web resources and tips.

1. For beginners: Cook-once-eat-10-times method
When your meat goes on sale at your "stock up price" (which you will know if you are tracking the sales and keeping a price book) buy it and cook it.  I like Moneywisemoms series of posts on cooking her meats this way.
For 10lbs of Groundbeef I would divide it this way:
4 baggies of meatballs (4lbs)
8-10 hamburger patties--child and adult sizes (3-4lbs)
2-3 bags of pre-cooked meatmix (2-3 lbs)
The meatmix can be thrown into a boxed dinner, spaghetti sauce, used for tacos, etc... you get the idea.  You know the step in the recipe that requires you to first "brown meat and drain"?  Well, now you'll have that covered.

For 5lbs+ of Chicken I would divide it this way:
3 baggies of pre-cooked, chopped chicken (3lbs)
2lbs of raw chicken breast, frozen
Depending on the recipes I have in mind, I might chop and cook all of it!
Both of these methods take about an hour each, so if you want the Try Me version of OAMC, this is it.