Once a Month Cooking

There are a lot of sites out there for bulk cooking. Once a Month. Paleo Once a Month. 30 Meals in a Weekend!   But when I started looking, a lot of them weren’t…complete. There would be a list of meals, and a vague plan.  Or a detailed list of meals and recipes, but no shopping list.  And then there were the sites that wanted $12 for a OAMC meal plan (Once A Month Cooking)(It’s kind of a cult)(Not really, but with a bit more oomph it could take off)(Maybe I could be their Leader!).

So I researched, and thought, and planned.  

I’m the only person in my family that will eat casseroles. These meal plans are separated into the ‘crock-pot’ and ‘casserole’ versions, so with the rest of my pack in slow.cooker.03mind, I focused on the crock-pot versions.  These mostly involve a lot of raw meat going into ziplocks, followed by various things that cause the meat to be either ‘Buffalo Chicken’ or ‘Teriyaki Chicken’.  

After scanning several different plans, I came up with mine.  I had a list of 14 meals, and there was a shopping list to make. Then I’d need a chunk of time to assemble everything.

Here’s the list I came up with after taking everything into consideration. There are 7 chicken meals, 3 pork, and 4 beef.  All involve just getting the ingredients into the bag to be labeled and frozen. No browning, no pre-cooking. All have a halfway decent shot at being liked by 3/5ths of the pack here at Rancho del Cheepie.

I found these at Who Needs A Cape? which has a much more elaborate 40 meal plan (which does have the list, recipes, and instructions!). I wasn’t quite ready to jump in that far! Their recipes were simple, and avoided most of the ‘add three cans of cream of this to two cans of chopped that and you’re good’. 

Green Chili Pork

BBQ Apple Pork

Maple Dijon Pork

Beef Fajitas

Beef tips & Gravy

Beef Stew

Mongolian Beef

Buffalo Chicken

Teriaki Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Chicken Tacos

Island Chicken

Chicken Cacciatore

Orange Chicken

I can’t tell you how excited I am for Island Chicken! It’s either going to be a hit or a PB&J night, for certain. Stay tuned later this week for the assembly post, shopping list, and costs.

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Week 15 Plan Post

My recent weekly scores have me thinking about attempting a return to the Family Dinner table.  It really didn’t work for us on my last attempt, and when we did all sit down the stress level (me) and eat and run with minimal talking (everyone but Tiny) were just a horrible way to end a day.

The weekly meal plan, where everyone eats what’s served, and some of us eat together and others later has been working. There are days where I’ve thought about hollering everyone over to the dinner table, but I’ve held off, because I don’t want to push my luck. Having everyone say ‘thank you’ for a meal and not ‘I don’t like this’ or ‘Do I have to eat this?’ is a big step toward my own peace of mind. I don’t want to mess that up! 

I am considering picking a day and calling it Family Night, so that once a week we’re all at the table. Maybe next week. I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s the plan:

  • Mon:  grilled cheese, tomato soup, strawberries, cucumber
  • Tues:  Taco Tuesday! pulled pork tacos, fixins, beans, fruit & veg
  • Wed:  linguine with clams, garden salad, garlic bread, fruit
  • Thurs:  sesame chicken, pork dumplings, rice, veggie stir fry, pineapple
  • Fri:  venison stew, egg noodles, garden salad, homemade rolls, fruit

Items on sale that I’m using this week: strawberries, ground pork, pineapple, cheese.

Also this week I’m staring a ‘Stock the Freezer’ plan. When I started the blog, I’d decided to work on utilizing my freezer and pantry, and that’s been successful. So now I can start stocking back up!

This week’s project is pork dumplings.  DH and I both love them, and while you can buy them in a giant sack at Costco for about $10, they’re tastier when you make them at home.  Ground pork is on sale at Sprouts for $2.99/lb, which isn’t as cheap as buying the pork briskets at Fiesta for $1.99 and grinding my own but in the interest of not having it be an all day project I’m going to buy the ground pork.

They freeze better than anything, and you can steam them, fry them, or boil them when you’re ready for a batch. Just put them on cookie sheets and slide into the freezer,  and then fill freezer bags up with lovely frozen pockets of yum. The recipe I’ve linked to makes 100 dumplings, and it’s a process that’s easy to break up if you’ve got some helpers.

Until next time, Cheep Cheep!