Once a Month Cooking, Preparation

I’ve been doing once a month cooking regularly for a while now (I don’t do it each month, but every 6-8 weeks instead). It takes a bit of time over a few days, but it makes dinner so easy. Last fall I discovered a website called Once a Month Mom. They make it super easy to get started. I used their plan exactly as outlined twice. Since then I’ve done it a little differently. Preparation takes a few hours over a couple days.

The first step is selecting 15 recipes. I get most of the recipes from Once a Month Mom. At this point we have three recipes that I make every month because everyone likes them so much (Mexican Shepherd’s Pie, Southwest Crockpot Pork, and Easy Pleasing Meatloaf). A couple other recipes are things we like that I’ve made before, we like a lot, and freeze well.

The second step is scaling the recipes to make enough servings for the whole family (there are 8 of us here) and then doubling them. Each recipe makes two meals so 15 recipes equals 30 dinners. Once a Month Mom makes figuring the totals needed for the recipes super easy. They have spreadsheets that let you customize how many people you will be feeding.

The third step is making the shopping list. I put everything on the list to start with. Then I go through what we have and delete anything we don’t need to buy. Then I arrange the list based on how the grocery store is laid out. I print two copies of the list. One copy is to shop with. The other copy is for dividing what I’ll need for doing the cooking from everything else we buy at the same time.

The fourth step is preparing the recipes to make the cooking days go smoothly. I write out the steps for each recipe and then arrange them in an order that makes sense. When I am actually doing the cooking, I don’t always do the recipes in the order I printed them if another order makes more sense to me at the time. I cross out steps as I complete them. This makes it easy to do multiple recipes at one time. I divide the recipes into groups based on type (chicken, beef, pork, etc.).

Once all that is done, it’s time to go shopping and then on to cooking!

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