Monday, March 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 3/26 to 4/01

It was a big weekend here in my kitchen.
Big Shopping Day
Big Cooking Day

I've been a Once-A-Month-Cooker for almost 20 years now. It takes the stress out of making decisions each day about what to feed my family. Minimizes my time in the kitchen, so I can focus on other things that need my attention like schooling and errands and kids and husband.

Contrary to popular belief, I adopted this approach NOT because I am so organized and so good at being prepared. Rather, because I am quite UNorganized and RARELY prepared. Investing some time and energy prior to the beginning of the month helps me get things in place, so mealtime runs fairly smoothly, even if I'm occupied elsewhere or short on time.

As I worked on Saturday, I was thinking over the most common questions asked of me when it comes to the topic of OAMC (Once A Month Cooking). Here are my answers to two of them:

"What do you fix for supper on Cooking Day?"
One would think, she's been cooking all day long. 30 meals! There must be all kinds of things to serve the family that night! Wrong. I'm inventorying and cooking and packaging and freezing. No way do I want anyone to dip into my beautiful just-the-right-amount-for-one-meal packages. I'm thinking about the month ahead. Not today.
Instead, I put dried black beans (rinsed) in the crockpot first thing that day, cover them with water, set on low and then it's 'Get Your Own' for supper that night. Someone sets out taco-type fixin's and everyone digs in with tortilla chips. Easy, cheap, filling and nutritious. Whatever is leftover, I pop into the freezer for later in the month.

"What about meals like pizza?"
Every Friday night here is pizza/movie/game night. I make up Pizza Paks, pulling together pre-measured ingredients together and packaging them up, using zip-type bags. 
In a gallon-size bag, I put  a 12-16oz pkg of shredded mozzarella and small zip-baggies I've filled with items such as: 1/4 lb thinly sliced sandwich pepperoni, 7 or 8 thinly sliced pieces of ham, a handful of cooked burger or sausage. I also add a quart-sized bag of pizza sauce.
For pizza night,  take out the pizza pak at noon that day, then in the evening we my very capable kitchen helpers mix up the dough in my bosch and have a good time assembling 4 large pizzas, adding fresh veggies, pineapple, black olives, mushrooms, or whatever we have on hand.

And now that the pantry and freezers and frig are fully stocked - it's time to get this week's menu posted:

Monday - Tacos, Pinto Beans, Mexican Rice
Tuesday - Chicken Alfredo, Italian Herb Bread (from bread machine), Salad
Wednesday - Chili, corn bread, carrot sticks
Thursday - Salmon, 3-Bean Salad, corn, whole wheat bread
Friday-Saturday --  Anniversary Weekend Getaway, Kids are on their own! (don't worry, my sweet Caitlin is a wonder in the kitchen, and my trusty Luke is always a happy helper - they'll get a long just fine)

For more inspiration in menu planning, hop on over to and see what other have posted this week on Menu Plan Monday

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