Once-A-Month-Cooking

Years ago, when all five children lived at home,  I used to do what is called Once-A-Month Cooking.  It was very popular amongst us homeschooling moms.  I remember the publisher of Gentle Spirit magazine  used to print menus and recipes and I could hardly wait for my issue to come in the mail.  The idea is to do all your cooking one day out of the month- a big glorious messy exhausting cooking day- and to freeze the meals.   The plan wasn’t to cook 30 individual recipes but to cook five or six recipes, in large quantities,  like six pans of lasagna,  six freezer bags of chicken and rice casserole,  six pizzas,  etc.   I used to make up the menu,  collect my recipes,  make a shopping list and then, the day before the cooking day,  we’d go to Costco and buy the ingredients which would (in those days) include five or six chickens,  ten pounds of hamburger,  five pounds of cheese,  etc.  Shopping day was a lot of fun!   I’d bake the chickens that night and soak the beans.  On cooking day,  I would steadily work my way through all the recipes, stopping only to wash some pots and pans, until everything was stowed in the small chest freezer in the garage.  What a sense of accomplishment!   It was economical and efficient.  All I had to do for the rest of the month was thaw a meal and heat it up, maybe cook some fresh veggies and prepare a salad.  The meals were good and the family liked them.  Later on I added a separate baking day when I baked bread,  muffins and desserts.

As the kids grew up and left home I gradually abandoned Once-A-Month Cooking.  It was determined that the old chest freezer was an energy hog so we (sadly, on my part) took it to the dump.   Now that it’s just Eddie and me,  I realized that our refrigerator’s freezer was big enough for a month of our meals so I embarked on another happy day of cooking.  Eddie eats meat; I don’t.  I made veggie and meat versions of lasagna, stew,  chili beans and a stack of veggie burgers plus four bags of applesauce (from my neighbor’s trees) and six apple pies.  Also,  four loaves of WW bread and several varieties of quick bread.  (Not to mention a few containers of homemade dog food for Lilly.)  I did it on the spur of the moment and it wasn’t planned as well as it could have been.  I have more ambitious plans for next month!

I was thinking…. Now that Gentle Spirit is defunct, maybe I could post menus and recipes for the community,  especially veggie recipes.  Except I seldom use recipes….  Maybe just the menus, then.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. unstrangemind
    Nov 05, 2010 @ 17:44:23

    I like the idea of once-a-month vegan cooking! As a grad student struggling to juggle everything in my life, that idea really appeals to me. Plus, I get all my money at the beginning of the month and it seems it would be easier to budget groceries if I were buying almost all of it at once time.

    Just wanted to say thanks for getting that idea into my head. Wheels are turning now. 🙂

    And also wanted to say hello, from one veg*n, Eastern Orthodox, NaNoWriMo to another!

  2. Xenia
    Nov 06, 2010 @ 11:20:55

    Thanks for stopping by an commenting! It is a good way to budget your grocery money because you buy everything at once and assuming you eat what you make, you only have to buy fruits and veggies the rest of the month.

    How’s your novel coming along?

  3. Beverly
    Dec 07, 2012 @ 18:46:02

    I used to look forward to the magazine! I was none of those things: not homeschooling mom or in the country but lived her recipes & hearing about her life. I am looking for her bread recipe.

  4. Colleen Allison
    Nov 23, 2014 @ 12:26:19

    By any chance do you have the Gentle Spirit magazine recipe for chicken soup that had rice and apples in it?

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