Once a Month Cooking for April
Well it was time again for once a month cooking! Our freezer was almost empty. I had done a few breakfast re-cooks when we ran out but our dinners were just about gone so we did our one (two) big days of cooking this weekend! First I’ll talk about the recipes we ate this month and rate those. Here is the last time we did once a month cooking, which was January. Between family coming into town, us going out of town, etc, once a month cooking usually lasts us longer than once a month.
Kids didn’t dig the blueberry pancakes. Love blueberries, love pancakes just don’t love the mix. So this month I made regular pancakes a few weeks back to take the place of them. Also didn’t like the banana nut waffles so I made plain this time. Bagel and cream cheese was difficult for baby T to eat and Rett wasn’t digging it so we eventually replaced that and they were NOT smoothie fans, unfortunately.
Our fav dinners this time around were pork ribs and sausage.
Truth be told, we are sick of crock pot cooking every night as far as taste so this month I’m switching things up a little bit.
People often want to know ‘where do I start?!’ Well when we started, I cooked straight off of http://www.onceamonthmom.com. I loved the site for the intro and sort of getting the idea behind how you do this but it didn’t’ work with my family. I have too picky of eaters and was sick of wasting money. I don’t do completely not processed foods although this has really helped us cut back I believe.
So this is what I do now. We are going for recipes that are either crock pot cooking or extremely fast in the oven. I wanted us to eat more fish/sea food and that isn’t very crock pot friendly so this month I found a few ‘fast bake’ dishes to put together. When you go on pinterest or wherever you are going to look for recipes, you are looking for recipe that you either dump a bunch of stuff into the crock pot or you dump a bunch of stuff into a casserole dish. Instead of dumping it into a crock pot, you combine it into a bag, defrost and put in the crock pot when you’re ready. Your casseroles you will pre-prepare and then just thaw/reheat in the oven. Once you do it one month, its extremely simple.
This month our breakfasts are:
pancakes + sausage
french toast sticks
pigs in blanket
yogurt and granola
breakfast cookies + ham
Pancakes and waffles, I just followed a recipe off of box of hungry jack but you can search for from scratch recipes. Then just double/triple the recipe, make them up and put them flat on a cookie sheet in your freezer for a few hours. Then toss them all into a bag. You can either nuke them in the microwave or pop them in the toaster. French toast sticks, I use regular white bread toasted in the toaster and just a french toast recipe, then cut them into strips. I used this recipe for my pigs in blanket: http://kellieskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/01/pigs-in-blanket.html One of those containers of hilshire farm little smokies and 2 packages of crescent rolls is just about a PERFECT match. And this for my breakfast cookies: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/8348/sneaky-chef-breakfast-cookies-only-points-on-weight-watchers You can find wheat germ at Target in your cereal aisle. The kids actually ate these this morning so I’m hoping they are a go. I’m thinking these might end up being paired with yogurt next month if the kids continue to like them. I have to switch things up because they get sick of eating the same stuff all the time.
Breakfast cookies dry mix
Lunches this month:
fish sticks/grilled cheese
pizza english muffins
mac and cheese
I use boxes of chicken nuggets and fish sticks but there are recipes out there for you to do your own, then just flash freeze and store in bags. We are making mac and cheese this month. http://www.2sisters2cities.com/2012/10/panera-mac-and-cheese/ After I make this, I’m going to bake it in my brownie pan from pampered chef to make individual servings, then flash freeze and wrap in saran wrap for the freezer. My kids were over the boxed stuff.
Dinners this month. Last month we did the same dinner every day of the week. So basically I just did 6 meals and we ate the same thing every week. We’re sort of over that. So this month I picked 10 recipes and made 2. We’ll have a week A and a week B of dinner. So the first and third week will be the same meal plan and the second/fourth week will be the same meal plan. If we had the freezer room, I would have just made 4 of each and had 2 months worth of food. The more you make of the same thing, the more time you save. Its the getting stuff out and cleaning up that eats up your time. Multiplying the recipe more times doesn’t’ seem to really take that much time.
Here are all our dinners:
Chicken Stroganoff http://www.chindeep.com/2012/11/05/healthy-crockpot-chicken-stroganoff/
Coconut Curry Chicken http://www.sweettreatsmore.com/2012/10/slow-cooker-coconut-curry-chicken.html
saucy pork chops http://www.crockpotgirls.com/smokey-port-chops-saucy/
pulled pork sandwiches http://www.crockpotgirls.com/barbecued-pulled-pork-sandwiches/
Creamy spaghetti http://picky-palate.com/2012/03/19/creamy-crock-pot-spaghetti/
Honey and pecan glazed salmon http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2008/10/honey-and-pecan-glazed-salmon.html
Shrimp and Orzo Bake http://onceamonthmom.com/shrimp-and-orzo-bake/
spanish rice and pork chop bake http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/pork/spanish-rice-pork-chop-bake.html
Here’s the shrimp and orzo bake ready for the freezer:
We went to wal mart and bought all our ingredients (besides some spices we had) for $250. This doesn’t include fruit, milk, bread, snacks and fresh veggies weekly. That is usually another $30-$50. I also did no couponing this month because it was just hectic. That can help you save to. What I’ll do tonight is sit down and come up with what we’re cooking next, then watch sales/coupons. Or so I say. I said that last month and that didn’t happen. But I still think $250 with no couponing for a month of food, not too shabby.
You will need 4 8×8 pans this month or you need to purchase 4 throw away pans to use. Here is my shopping list. This did NOT include spices or things we already had nor did it include breakfast/lunches so you will have to add if you want to do my exact meal plan. Also for the creamy spaghetti, we aren’t beef eaters so I’m just making that plain. I’m not even ‘making’ that recipe, I just printed off the instructions, its more of a dump and pour the day of sort of recipe. Hope this helped! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
|12 boneless/skinless chicken breasts||ricotta cheese 1 cup||2 lbs spaghetti noodles|
|6 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts||cajun seasoning|
|8 bone in pork chops||egg noodles|
|2 pork shoulder roasts (2.5lbs)||32 oz plain yogurt||½ cup honey|
|2lbs andoille sausage||1 cup parmesan cheese||8 tsp finely chopped pecans|
|2 lbs cooked shrimp without tails||8 oz cream cheese||2 cups orzo|
|8 6oz salmon fillets||eggs||granola|
|32 oz little smokies||6 slices of cheddar cheese||wheaties or total|
|2 lbs shrimp peeled and deveined||8 oz feta||wheat flour|
|8 boneless pork chops||Produce||wheat germ|
|pre cooked ham cubes||32 oz. chopped, fresh mushrooms or your choice (we love baby bellas)|
|hot dogs||10 large carrots|
|9 medium onions|
|Canned||6 green peppers||frozen|
|2 cream of mushroom soups||1 thing of celery||sausage|
|2 5oz cans tomato paste||4 tomatoes||yogurt|
|2 14 oz cans of coconut milk||2 yellow and 2 red peppers||chicken nuggets|
|6 jars pasta sauce||fish sticks|
|2 can 28oz diced tomatoes with juice||Breads|
|4 cups chicken broth||hamburger buns|
|2 cans of crescent rolls|
|2 cans tomato sauce||