Sunday, May 17, 2009

May Once a Month Cooking Experience

Well, another month's worth of cooking is done--thank goodness! Cooking on one day is definitely time-consuming, but well worth it considering the amount of time I save not having to do so much cooking during the rest of the month. I really love the whole freezer meal concept, and I can't believe I didn't start sooner!

I made some changes to my May menu plan. Simply put, I forgot to buy some ingredients (can't make beef stroganoff without the beef and mushrooms). Also had some ingredients I didn't realized I had so much of, like chicken, so I added a recipe here and there. All in all, I've got a full freezer now of meals that I can pull out when I'm ready. I do plan on cooking a few meals on the planned eating day, simply because I didn't want to spend my entire weekend cooking in the kitchen, some things just don't freeze well, and some things are items from my Angel Food Ministries orders that are precooked and just need to be heated up, like corn dogs, which will be perfect on nights my son has a ball game.

Some lessons learned from this freezer meal cooking experience:
  1. Double-check the ingredients list for the recipes to ensure that nothing is missing. Like I mentioned above, I didn't have any mushrooms or enough beef to make the beef stroganoff. But it's no love loss. I can buy it on my next shopping trip, or add it to my June menu when I create that.

  2. It might help to cook up the breakfast meals on another day. I started off making 5 breakfast meals, Blueberry Muffins, Calabacita Bread (I had planned on making muffins but changed it to bread), Banana Nut Bread and Strawberry Muffins. I wanted to make Chocolate Pancakes, but figured I'd just make that on the day we eat it instead. But because I spent so much time on the breakfast items, it meant starting the supper items later than I preferred.

  3. It really is easier to chop up lots of one type of vegetable for many recipes. I did this for the last few meals I made, Steak & Vegetable Bake, Cordon Bleu Casserole, and Stir Fry Beef & Broccoli.

  4. 4. Also easier to cook up the same type of meat at the same time for more than one recipe. Did this for Shrimp & Italian Sausage Gumbo and Zesty Italian Pasta (both pictured here), as well as Pork Tenderlion w/Glazed Onions and Apricot-Glazed Pork (except it was turkey tenderloin for both meals because I couldn't find any decently-priced pork tenderloin).

  5. Keep the compostable-items in a separate bag from the garbage. Normally, I just throw all my scraps into one plastic bag, which then goes into the garbage bag. Not this time. I thought I'd be smart and place the egg shells, potato skins, onion & garlic peelings, and stuff like that into a bag and put into the compost pile. At least now I know it won't just waste away in a stinky garbage bag and instead will become black gold for the garden.

So some lessons learned that will be very useful for next month, assuming I can remember them! I never know when my "Mommy Brain" will kick in.

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