Sunday, November 2, 2008

I've been researching the idea of "once a month cooking" or as it's referred to on the Internet as OAMC. Thinking about, I have class every Monday right now at 8:00 pm. I get home at 5:30, this doesn't make for much time for playtime, homework, dinner, brush teeth, bath, and bed before class. It would be so much easier if I could go ahead and make at least four meals ahead of time, so that on Monday nights, dinner is just a bake away.

Most of the information I've ran across was great, but the meals were a little fancy to me. I don't keep fresh garlic on hand, and I wouldn't know how to clean a bell pepper if I was given one. I like recipes that you mix and throw. What I've been doing is taking the information from the sites and putting together a few of my own ideas. I figured I'd share them.

One, grocery shop once a month if you can. If you can't this trick still works. Buy bulk. I invest $40 a year in a Sams club membership. The closest one to my house if 45 miles, but the trek once a month is worth it, both price wise and time wise. I buy the big packages and then bring them home cut them up into smaller pieces, season them, and then put them into the handy vac bags. A few of the meats I put in dishes in order to cook for my once a month cooking.

I use the Reynolds handyvac and the vacuum bags that they have to store all my meats. It's a lifesaver and it does work. My sister, who lives right next door, had bought one of the expensive vacuum machines and it worked really well. It had capabilities, such as being able to seal juices and such that my little handyvac doesn't have. Well, it broke, so we had to find another method. I bought the handy vac. We now just buy the bags and share the little contraption. For as cheap as it is though, if she gets mad at me, buying a new one won't break her.

One recipe I've found that I like is the Meatloaf:
I make it a little differently as I think everyone does.

2 lbs of hambergur
1/3 cup of ketchup
3 or 5 dashes of Worstershier sauce
2 eggs
3/4 cups of bread crumgs
(I use a coating mixture that is similar to shake and bake that I got in bulk from sams)

Mix and Freeze. I put mine in the freezer bags, because they are easier to store and take up less room. I've seen a lot of recipes use a layer of plastic wrap and two layers of foil. I'm going to see how the freezer bags work with this.

The other websites that I've found actually recommend adding the egg, even though you don't cook it. I had my doubts, we'll see how it works. This is my first time using this recipe.

The day of.... Take out that morning to thaw then put it in the oven at 350 for about an 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes. I like to cook mine to an hour, and then pull it out put more ketchup on it, and cook it for about another 20 minutes.

Shephards Pie

This one is completely different from the ones that I've seen.

2 lbs ground beef (cooked and drained)
1 can corn
1 can green beans
2 cans cream of mushroom

Mix and freeze.

When you go to cook it, you have to let it thaw, place cooked mashed potatoes on top and grated cheese. I'd tell you how much potatoes and cheese, but it's more of a "to taste" situation. If you're kids like mashed potatoes and you have trouble getting them to eat their veggies, it might be best to add more. Just make enough to cover the top. The grated cheese, well I used about three cups, but it depends on how much I have on hand.

Bake at 350 for about 20 to 25 minutes.


I also am going to try green bean casarole this week. I'm going to make a big dish of it, and split it into four different containers. That away I have some side dishes that I can just pop in the microwave too. Ziploc has some plastic containers that are freezer safe. I picked up some big enough for main dishes and side dishes. I'll let you know how it works.

When I try more recipes I'll let you know how they come out. I've got one I'm dying to try... We call it Mexican pot pie. This is my plan...

2 lbs ground beef (cooked with the taco seasoning)
2 bags of taco seasoning
1 can veg all
1/2 bag of tortilla chips (crushed) I use doritos.
3 cups of cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup salsa

Cook the ground beef and the seasoning. Then while on a simmer, mix the rest of the ingridients. Freeze

Day of: Thaw, Put it in a baking dish, put cheese on top and bake for about 30 minutes.

Top this with sour cream, use flour tortillas, and/or the rest of the chips. This is a wonderful dish.

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