We want to serve delicious dinners, ready right when the family can sit down together to eat them. But we don't have the time or energy to make it happen every night. That's where the Once-a-Month Cooking method comes in. You can come home at 5:30pm, slide an entree into the oven, prepare a salad, warm rolls, and ta-daa: Dinner is ready.
This method involves one large grocery shopping haul and a day full of cooking. The secret is to do all similar processes at once: cook the chicken once, then finish off the chicken dishes; chop all the onions at once; brown ground beef for various dishes together.
Here are some tricks to help you maximize your cooking time if you want to get your feet wet preparing more than one meal at once:
- Make a large pot of home-cooked spaghetti sauce. Divide it for meals such as spaghetti, French bread pizza and lasagna.
- Create a new meal from leftovers -- use chili for sloppy joes or as a topping for baked potatoes.
- Double or triple a favorite recipe for spruced-up hamburgers. Form the patties and freeze them, with waxed paper in between, in a freezer bag. At mealtime, remove as many as you need.
- Cut grocery costs by going to the store less often: Prepare a list and shop once a week.
- Use kitchen shears for cutting chicken.
- De-bone chicken while it is still hot by wearing rubber gloves (and save them only for cooking).
- Do bulk cooking with a friend, dividing the dishes. You'll have someone to answer the phone, wipe off the counters and talk to all day.
- Avoid wasted motion on your bulk cooking day. Put a trash can in the center of the kitchen, and corral the pets so they won't be underfoot.
- Clean out your freezer before your cooking day. Freeze as many dishes as you can in freezer bags.
For more ideas, visit the Quick & Easy Recipes board.