Monday, November 11, 2013

Trying My Hand at Once a Month Cooking

I recently stumbled on Once a Month Meals and went down a rabbit hole of freezer cooking recipes on Pinterest. The concept cooking a big batch of food once a month instead of cooking every night sounded glorious. I devoured every blog post I could find on the subject (like this one and this one) until I decided that I wanted to dive in.

For my first attempt at once a month cooking (OAMC) I decided to do 10 recipes, 3 times each for a total of 30 meals for 2 people. I selected 4 freezer meals (Which only required me to dump the meat and all the ingredients in the bag ) and 6 pre-cooked meals.I spent 3 hours on Saturday night labeling the containers, chopping veggies and preparing the freezer meals. The freezer meals I prepared where: Balsamic BBQ Pork, Honey Sesame Chicken, Italian, Lemon Chicken and Teriyaki Pork Chops.

On Sunday, I spent 4 hours cooking the remaining recipes making 9 lbs of ground beef, 3 lbs for each of 3 recipes: Puerto Rican Chili, Meat Sauce for Pasta and Lasagna. The final 2 recipes were Twice Baked Potatoes (slightly edited) and Kielbasa Sausage Soup (It's my mom's recipe but I haven't made this yet. Promise to share recipe when I do.) I spent a total of 7 hours and $250 on more than a month's worth of food, saving me precious hours after work that I can now dedicate to spending time with my hubby.

Balsamic BBQ Pork Tenderloin (Recipe of my own invention)

  • 3lbs Pork Tenderloin
  • 10 oz BBQ Sauce (I used Jack Daniel's Original Recipe)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of the following dried spices: basil, oregano, salt and black pepper.
  • Sugar to taste

Add tenderloin, BBQ sauce, balsamic vinegar and sugar to freezer bag. 24 hours before cooking, thaw bag in refrigerator. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

  • 2-3 pounds of chicken
  • 1/6 cup lemon juice (about half a large lemon)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed, olive, or canola oil *
  • 1/4 teaspoon of the following dried spices: garlic powder, basil, oregano, onion powder, kosher salt, black pepper, paprika
Place chicken in freezer bag. Whisk together oil and spices and pour marinade into the bag and freeze flat. 24 hours before cooking, thaw bag in refrigerator to let the chicken marinate as long as possible. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  • 4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick
  • Salt and pepper to taste (you can sprinkle them before you add them to the bag.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
Add the pork chops, garlic cloves, brown sugar,  soy sauce, and chicken broth to the freezer bag and freeze flat. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.
  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. pepper
  • 1 package frozen broccoli
Place all ingredients in freezer bag, toss to coat and freeze flat. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Remove chicken & shred, then return to sauce. 

Puerto Rican Chili (my own recipe)
  • Cooked ground beef
  • 8oz tomato sauce
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 14.5oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 15.5oz Goya Pink Beans
  • 15.5oz Goya red Kidney beans
  • 1 packet Goya Sazon seasoning
  • Season with salt pepper 
Add all ingredients freezer bag along with cooked ground beef once it's cooled. 24 hours before cooking, thaw bag in refrigerator. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

  • 8 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 C cream
  • 1 t garlic
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 2 T butter
  • 1/2 -1 C chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese - divided 
  • 8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon

Preheat oven to 350℉. 

Scrub clean your potatoes and place them on a baking sheet. Place potatoes into the oven and bake for 60 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and allow potatoes to cool enough until you are able to handle them. Slice a lengthwise opening on the potatoes and scoop out the majority of the flesh and place it into a large bowl. Put your potato skin "shells" back onto your baking sheet(s).

To make your filling, add your cream, garlic, salt, pepper and butter to the potato flesh. Mix with a hand mixer until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in 3/4 C of your shredded cheddar.

Spoon your mixture into your potato "shells" and then top with remaining cheddar cheese, bacon and chives. If eating now, place the potatoes back into the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

If storing for later, individually wrap each potato with plastic wrap and place them into gallon freezer bags and place into the freezer. (They're best if eaten within 3 months) When ready to eat, remove your desired amount of potatoes from the freezer, unwrap, place on a baking sheet and place into a 350℉ oven for 20-25 minutes. 

All except the ground beef recipes are new to us, so I'll let you guys know how they taste.  

Have you ever tried to cook only once a month? Any recipes that you loved and would like to share?