Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Once a Month Cooking Day

For several years I have been enamored with the idea of spending one day cooking for the entire month. However, when I've looked at purchasing the cookbooks, I've always balked at the price and told myself that realistically I would probably never do it. However, about a month ago I stumbled across a website of someone who just finished her shopping for a once a month cooking day, and her total spending was only $250. I thought that was a great budget for groceries for a month's worth of meals, so I headed over to the website where she received her menu.

After browsing her menu, grocery list, and recipes I thought it was doable. However, I did know it wouldn't work unless I had some help. So I approached JA and asked if he would be willing to take a day and spend it helping me prepare several meals in one day. He agreed (I think the thought of having lots of Yummy meals on hand is kinda what drove him to agree :) ).

So last week when I had to take Ezekiel to the doctor in Salina I went armed with a three page grocery list and hit Aldi's and Walmart. I did end up spending more than the $250 (about $300), but by the end of the cooking day I ended up with more meals than I was supposed to, and some leftovers (instead of packaging according to her system I packaged according to what our family would eat -- for example instead of four bags of six pork chops I made five bags of 4-5 pork chops).We cut up all the veggies the night before after the kids were in bed while we watched a movie (we also shredded a bunch of cheese since I bought the brick instead of prepackaged shredded -- to save money).I admit it, the day of the cooking day we hired a very CHEAP babysitter. We put a movie on for the kids, and then allowed them to sample different foods when they came up (We discovered Kara likes eating red and yellow peppers). JA chopped up the mushrooms very small so that the kids won't notice them in the food. In the above picture you can see Kara trying to drink the chicken broth through a huge oversize green onion (I admit it I have a strange daughter!) Kara was very helpful. Now let me clarify, the kids did not spend all day in front of the TV. We did take some time to read to them, and they spent a lot of time outside playing in the back yard.

Since my cooking day last week we have tried five of the meals that we prepped, and all of them have been a huge success with the kids. I have to admit that I was very leery about their reception to the pork chops, burritos, and the chicken cordon blue. Yet they love it.

And I will definitely be doing this again -- We are eating much healthier meals than we normally do (I enjoy cooking, but I hate prepping meals, so to have done it all in one day gives me the best of both worlds). Thank you Once a Month Mom for your fabulous menu and organization!

I'm not going to show you my freezer full of food because it is quite unorganized!


TwoMuths said...

I was just thinking about your once a month cooking experiment this morning as I was grabbing some ground beef out of the freezer. I wonder if I'd save much by planning ahead for the menu by shopping sales? Hmm, something to think about. School's out soon and I think grandma (who is a teacherwould also be a very cheap babysitter.

Alicia said...

Wow, sounds like the experiment is going super well for your family! I've pondered the once-a-month cooking idea too but I'm intimidated by an entire day of just cooking. Blech. I'll check out the website though . . . having that many kid-friendly meals is extremely tempting. I get burned out trying to think up new dinner ideas.