This was one of our very first posts on the blog but I've been thinking about it a lot lately as I try to figure out how to not only avoid takeout by being more efficient but also figuring out ways to save money on groceries. ~Lara by Jenn
I am very happy to write my first post as a contributor to this Blog! I really believe that this blog will be a great way to help other parents in the Ottawa area in many, many ways! I am not very good with figuring out new things to do with my kids (Jacob - 5, Zachary - 2.5), but I realized today that I do have something important to share. Once a Month Cooking, also called Freezer Cooking.
Over the past 4 years since going back to work after my first child, I have struggled with getting proper, healthy meals on the table after getting home for the day after 5pm. Then, last October, a friend posted something on Facebook about a place you could go to where you choose a certain amount of meals and then prepare those meals right there at the store. They provide everything you need and have everything all ready to go. You just have to follow a recipe and dump ingredients into Ziplock bags. It sounded great! I decided to give it a try. It was a lot of fun, but it was also pretty expensive. I justified it by convincing myself that we would end up saving money by not going out to eat. I thought I would just go once a month and make 6-9 meals. Shortly after, I realized that we would not be able to do this regularly. The cost was just too high.
Skip forward to February. A different friend posted on Facebook how she had just made 12 meals in one day. I immediately drilled her on how she did this. It was that day that I was introduced to Once a Month Cooking / Freezer Cooking. She suggested two books for me to have a look at - The Big Cook and Fix, Freeze, Feast. I researched both books and decide I needed both of them ASAP! So I ordered them online from Chapters.ca. The day they were delivered, I went crazy planning my menu for the next little while, preparing a grocery list, and ultimately went shopping at Costco and Bulk Barn for my ingredients. That first night, I had prepared 3 meals of Basil Balsamic Chicken Breasts. It took me no more than 15 minutes of work. We had one that night and two more went into the freezer. I went about three days in a row doing this and then spent a Saturday afternoon making about 8 meals. It was great! I had 12 meals in the freezer ready to go. All I needed to do was put it in the fridge to thaw in the morning or night before and I had dinner figured out.
Freezer cooking is not only a great way to plan meals and have something ready for dinner every night, it is also a great way to save money. If you are a Costco shopper, this is definitely a great thing to do. You can buy big trays of meat and use it all at once to make many meals and not be afraid of wasting. You can watch for sales and save even more money. I tell you, once you start, you can become a little obsessed with it! I started seeing meat and thinking "What can I make with this". By the beginning of March, my freezer was packed with about 30 meals. :) Obsessed I was! But we have been eating GREAT food and I have been saving us money! Win, win!
Stay tuned for more adventures in Freezer Cooking!
Jenn is mom to five-year old Jacob and two and a half year old Zachary.
Have you ever tried once a month cooking? Do you have any tips to share?