If you've been following my Bricklaying series, you know that I recently touched on a great frugal cooking method, Once a Month Cooking. I haven't yet delved whole-hog into the process yet, but I have been doing a LOT of reading about it...I'm one of those people that needs to make it work in my head before I can make it work in practice :)
I did, however, take a few baby steps towards that end. I haven't figured out yet how I can set aside a whole day for cooking but I DID use some of my cooking time a little more efficiently during the week!
For me, time is the biggest issue. I could handle the massive cooking, the packaging, the project management involved...but with both of us working full- or near full time, our days off are precious. I already cook full meals in the evenings, so I started to review my recipes to see which ones would be simple enough to double and freeze - and found that I had a pretty good arsenal to work with!
By just doubling a recipe that freezes well, you're guaranteeing you have at least one (or more if you usually have leftovers) meal completely prepared in your stockpile. You're adding minimal effort because you're already making one meal for your family. And if you're meal planning around the sales or your stockpile (as I do), you're getting more mileage out of those low prices AND saving yourself time down the line.
Last week, I had planned to make Bee Rocks - when I make a single batch, I usually end up with 6 or 7 for the freezer anyway...doubling the filling was easy (I used a dutch oven instead of a skillet because of the volume) and the dough is simple to make in multiple batches. I made the filling in the afternoon to save a little time, but you could easily make it a day or two ahead since it cooks again once it's in the dough. The assembly took about 40 minutes total - it added about 20 minutes to my dinnertime routine but I now have twenty-five neat foil packages in the freezer - that's after our meal for the night! That would feed us at least 3-5 times.
The other dip in the OAMC pool came on Pizza night - this is a weekly occurence in our house, so I always have the ingredients handy. I found new inspiration over at Once a Month Mom, where they posted a recipe for Pizza roll ups as part of this month's plan. Again, I just doubled my dough recipe on pizza night, and while the dinner pizza was baking I assembled the Pizza Roll-up. (My husband dubbed it "sushi-roni") The pizza rollups cooked while we ate our dinner, and I ended up with 12 pizza pinwheels for the freezer with almost NO extra effort! Two of them make a decent serving if you have them with a salad or side.
We've used the pizza rolls for lunch at work, and the Bee Rocks will make a nice easy dinner paired with some leftover soup from this week - it's not QUITE full-court OAMC, but it's a start!
*I'll be relabeling entries at The Recipe Mission to include OAMC as I find which ones work best!