Saturday, October 31, 2009

Once-a-Month, Once-a-Month Cooking Festival--It's Here!

We have to do it, we may even like to do it, but do we really want to do it three times a day, every single day of the week? We're talking about cooking, in case you haven't guessed! What if there was a time-saving solution, where freshly prepared (and then frozen) meals appeared on our tables with little effort on our parts (after the intial prep work)? There is such a solution!

Welcome to the Moms In Need of Mercy once-a-month, once-a-month cooking festival! This is a place where we can share our kitchen shortcuts to cut down on meal prep throughout the week. You don’t have to be a once-a-month cook to participate in this festival. As I mentioned before, I’m certainly not (but maybe some of you will inspire me to be!). Please post any helpful hints you’ve found so that you don’t have to slave in the kitchen, making a meal from scratch every night of the week (unless you really want to!).

So let’s talk about the mercy that is available for mealtime—bulk cooking!

To kick things off, I thought I would share some information about the various approaches to freezer cooking. I’ve excerpted this from the thorough guide, The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy. Here we go!

Three Ways to Freezer Cook:

1) Cook by protein or “what’s on sale” approach
**I think this would be me!
Rather than planning a cooking day once a month, they wait to see what’s on sale and buy up a lot of one meat type . Cooks who follow this plan say that they save lots of money and it’s much more manageable. If chicken is on a great sale, they might buy 50 pounds of it. 10 pounds can be boiled and diced for use in casserole-type recipes. Another 20 pounds can be put into marinade and frozen to cook on the grill. The last 10 pounds can be made into nuggets, patties, or other pre-cooked recipes that will make for quick “last minute” meals.

2) Cook in mini-sessions
Being a successful freezer cook doesn’t mean putting 100+ entrees into your freezer in a day. It means doing what works for you and your family. Mini-sesions are the way to go for lots of cooks. It could mean cooking every night for a week but making three of each; one to eat that night and two to put in the freezer….For some, a mini-session means limiting the recipes to what they can accomplish in 3-4 hours…There’s nothing better than success to keep you motivated!

3) Cook BIG!
Cooking big can mean anything from 30 entrees in one day to 120 entrees over a weekend to anything in between…We were surprised to find out that it didn’t take us twice as long to assemble twice as many entrees. The trick, we realized, was making multiples of recipes…Again, just do whatever works best for you. Don’t feel like you have to cook BIG to really be a freezer cook. Anytime you do a little planning ahead and put anything in the freezer, you’re “doing it.”

Again, the above information from The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy.

So what approach did you most identify with? Have you used this system for years or are you new to it? Does it appeal to you? Why or why not?
The more participation, the merrier! We can all learn from each other’s tips! So here’s what you can do:
  • Leave a comment
  • Link to a post (new or old) you’ve written about bulk cooking (a baking day, a meat marathon, putting up produce; it all counts!)
  • Please leave a link in your post back to this particular post. This way, your readers can know where to find a master list of helpful hints, economic ideas and other kitchen shortcuts. 
  • I think that’s it! See how easy it is? Now please come join the fun! Have a great day and happy cooking! I look forward to reading your ideas. :)
 Oh...almost forgot--the once-a-month cooking festival will be right here the first of every month. So next time will be Tuesday, December 1st!


  1. OAMC is a great way to save some sanity, not to mention time and money. I'm working on Nov's haul this week. Just finished my shopping and will do little batches of stuff over the next few days. A group of us will be tweeting it on Tuesday and Wednesday with the hashtag #BakingDay if you'd like to join us....

  2. I've never actually done OAMC, but I buy meats when on sale and will cook and chop (ground beef and chicken) and then freeze in meal portions for our family. I find that just that one simple step considerably eases my dinner prep stress and doing it all at one time saves washing the same skillet or pot over and over and over. If I'm making meatloaf but not right away after buying the meat, I will go ahead and mix it up before freezing it. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has a Free Dgitial Holiday Supplement that contains 10 freezer recipes! There's a link on my blog.

  3. I've never done 30 days of meals, but do have a lot of things I make 2 of and freeze one. I've found a lot of good stuff at
    This week I've posted menus that include a few freezer meals at my blog.

  4. I love OAMC. I do this often. Thanks for doing this.