Sunday, March 29, 2009

Once a month cooking!

Once A Month Mom - Cooking for February

A few weeks ago, while surfing for recipes on my lunch break, I discovered a website called - and it is awesome! The concept is that you spend one day cooking and at the end of the day you have 10-15 breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 15 dinners - or about enough to last a month. Stranger is never home for lunch (and since we are headed into a few call months back to back, often won't be home for dinner), and TinyDancer gets breakfast and lunch at school, so I intend to have a few nights of "breakfast for dinner" and a few of the lunch items for dinner - so we'll probably stretch it out even further. They plan the menus, make the grocery list, and EVEN have instructions on the most efficient way to make all of that food. And it is my favorite ...... everything on their website is FREE! Stranger and I have tried this before - we've spent the day making some casseroles and spaghetti sauce - but this website offers a month of cooking that is more than just casseroles! This month we are going to eat minestrone soup, firecracker salmon, mandarin orange chicken, and more. Everything looks delicious! So, I decided that I had to try it out. Everything is set up to feed 2 families of about 4 people each - so I asked my good friend and neighbor if she wanted to try it out t0o. Oh - and one thing that it took me a minute to figure out - the "March" menu - they intend for you to shop for the ingredients and do the cooking in March and eat the food in April.... and so on..

We did our cooking on Saturday and it was a lot of work - but it was a blast!! I agree with Courtney and Tricia - you definitely have to pick a partner that you can laugh with! We did some of the shopping together, and you can't NOT laugh when you see a cart with 14 lbs of chicken, 9 lbs of salmon, and 5 lbs of beef! Or when you realize that when you calculated how much taco seasoning you need, you did the conversion of teaspoons to tablespoons wrong and now you have twice as much as you needed! Good thing Heather checked before dumping that into the pot or we'd have some interesting "un"stuffed shells! 8 )

Stranger helped me get everything together the night before - we put all of the groceries and kitchen tools out on the kitchen table as they suggested and that was a huge help. He also helped me cut up the veggies the night before - and that was a lifesaver! Stranger had some concerns about our project so, as we were chopping together, I fielded a few questions from him: Are you going to wear hair nets? Ummm.... No.
Are you going to set anything on fire? Ummm..... No.
Am I going to have to do the clean up? Of course not - we'll handle it. hee hee.

We got started around 8:30/9:00 on Saturday morning and finished around 5:00. With the cooking. The cleanup took another hour. Hee hee. We hit a few bumps along the way - we ran out of onions and soy sauce, and salmon - we miss counted the number of bags that we bought - hee hee - but we were able to laugh and recover. We did some of the dishes along the way ..... I mean that our AWESOME husbands did some of the dishes along the way..... and one of our husbands got to chop some extra onions... hee hee ....... after we were done, I commented to Stranger that we made a bigger mess than I thought we would. To my surprise, his response was "Really? You made exactly the size mess I thought you would!" ha ha.

Overall, it was fun and I'm glad to have a months worth of cooking out of the way. The April menu will be up soon and we might do it again next month.

Some tips for next time -
- go with the minced garlic. I love my garlic press, but it would be worth it to have one less thing to chop
- read the recipes AND the instructions before cooking. We each read the instructions, but there were a few steps that we wished that we were more familiar with.
- the labels that they made were awesome! I didn't have label paper, so I printed them on regular paper and we cut them out and taped them to the food.
- it was really really nice to have an extra pair of hands to do the dishes while we were cooking!

My partner took some photos - so check out her site for her recap and some photos -


Heather said...

I will get the photos up tomorrow, promise!

I really want to do it again. That is, if you are up for it. ;) It was loads of fun, and next time, we can do it at my house and let Jim be the cleaner!

LowerTeakwood said...

Sounds fun! Sorry I missed it! I'll be happy to sample the food though!

Cortney @ said...

So glad you found us! We can't wait to hear how the meals go over with the families! The 8 hours is totally worth it when you don't have to cook on days that get crazy!! said...

It was great to read about your adventure! Too cute! Kudos to your husband for helping out with dishes and clean up!

Thanks for sharing your story!

FYI - save that taco seasoning, you will need it for the April menu! :)

shannanb aka mommy bits said...

I did the cooking this month for the first time - ours took about as long as yours. I would echo reading the complete recipe before cooking. I accidentally put all the chives in the farmers casseroles, leaving none for the marinades.

Happy cooking!

CherryBlossomMJ said...

This will be my first month (I just discovered the site last week) and I'm scared. But reading your thoughts make me more excited. Thank you for sharing.