For some the idea of cooking for the entire month feels very overwhelming, but with the right once a month cooking tips the task is much easier to handle. I like to cook for the month because it helps my family’s busy schedule. I’m not as tempted to pick up fast food on my way home from work or on the way to dance, because I know I have a quick, easy, and healthy meal ready to be served at home. If you have ever considered cooking for the month you are not going to want to miss these once a month cooking tips.
1. Plan Ahead
The first step to once a month cooking is to plan ahead. I start my planning by seeing what I already have available at home. Sometimes I have most everything to make at least one or two meals with. Next I look over the sale ads. I try to plan my menu around cuts of meats that are on sale. Once I know what is available I scan Pinterest and a few favorite recipe sites for good ideas.
2. Slow Cooking
You are going to want to use your slow cooker. You can freeze meals ready to go into the slow cooker. This once a month cooking tip is what made me finally take the plunge. The idea of slaving in my kitchen for hours and hours on a free afternoon never sounded very appealing to me. Now that I know I can throw ingredients into a freezer bag and skip the cooking process for most things, I am fully on board.
3. Ground Beef
Some slow cooker meals call for ground beef that needs to be browned beforehand. No problem. I usually brown 3 or more pounds of ground beef on cooking day. I like to add finely chopped onions and finely shredded carrots to bulk up the beef. It’s also a great way to sneak in some veggies for the family. So far no one has said anything about the carrots! After the grease has been drained I add what is needed for the slow cooker meals. I also bag up two or three half pound bags of meat to freeze. Those are great for tacos or spaghetti when needed.
4. Shredded Chicken
I also cook a large batch of shredded chicken on my cooking day. I start by putting a bag of frozen chicken breast in the slow cooker. I let it cook while I prepare my other meals. When it is done cooking it is easy to shred. The shredded chicken is good to use in soups, tacos, chicken salads, or on top of green salads. What do you think of this once a month cooking tip?
If you like steak or other meats that need marinating on the menu, let the meat freeze and thaw in the marinade. It will be so full of flavor and tender when you cook or grill it.
Mornings are another mad rush in my house. None of us like to wake up early, which usually leaves us rushing to get out the door and unable to fix a balance healthy meal. This changed for me after a friend told me to try once a month cooking for breakfast. Brilliant! Now I have frozen breakfast tacos ready to be heated. Another favorite is pancake muffins. I fill muffin tins with pancake batter and mix in fruits, nuts, oats, and chocolate chips. You can eat them as they are or add a little maple syrup.
7. After School Snacks
Another great once a month cooking tip is to prepare after school snacks. My daughter likes corn dog muffins. They are so simple to make; just add chopped hot dogs to cornbread muffin mix before baking.
8. Clean as You Go
I’m not going to lie, the first time I tried once a month cooking I didn’t clean as I went along. My kitchen was a disaster. I probably spent another hour and a half cleaning up after I was done cooking. My once a month tip for you is to clean as you go. Start with an empty sink and dishwasher. Rinse dishes and put them into the dishwasher as needed. Dishes are the biggest part of the problem. If you clean them as you go, when you are done cooking all you should need to do is wipe down the counters and sweep and mop the floors.
What do you think about these once a month cooking tips? Are you going to give it a try? If cooking for an entire month is too much, try cooking for a week or two instead. You can also opt to just add double up recipes as you make them. Put one in the freezer and cook the other. Share with us your once a month cooking experience.
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