Sunday, February 27, 2011

NEW BLOG and big announcement

Well, I have finally done it.  I have been so busy with so many things, but I have finally launched my new business around the Once a Month Cooking concept.  You can check it out at my new blog location here.

You can also find me on Facebook at

Go check it out.

In additiona, I finally have my 4 month cookbook done.  If you are interested in purchasing it, just email me to let me know.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's been a little while...(and a recipe)

but I am working on something new and exciting. Hopefully I will have more info to share with you very soon.

For now, please enjoy this recipe, one of my favorites for this time of year!!!!

World's Best Chili

5 cups ground Beef
1 ½ cups finely chopped onion
1 cup green bell pepper
1 TBSP. Worcestershire Sauce
¾ teas. Chili powder
¼ teas. Cinnamon
¼ garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
1 15 ounce can kidney beans
1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

Assembly Instructions:

Put all ingredients into Ziploc bag and Freeze.

Day of Use Instructions:

Pour bag into crock pot and cook on low setting 6 hours stirring occasionally.

Makes about 8 cups.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Group Cook Day Today

We took a bit of a break over the summer because everyone's schedules were so crazy we just couldn't get together to prepare meals, but we are back at it again and we are getting better at this every time we do it. Today we were done with 84 meals in 3 hours. And 3 of us prepared meals for 4 families. It was great. Of course, I once again forgot to take pictures of the whole process, one of these days, I will remember that part.

So this time we did the following meals.

Magnificent Casserole
Teriyaki Burgers
Teriyaki Chicken
Chicken Noodle Casserole
Meatballs in Dijon Sauce
Orange Chicken
BBQ Meatbals
Taco Salad
Ham Fried Rice
Ham Slices Dinner
Swiss Steak
Macaroni & Cheese
Cream Cheese Chicken
Crock Pot Roast Beef
Chicken Enchilada Soup
Taco Soup
French Bread Pizzas
Meatball Stroganoff

Plus we had a bit of extra ground beef left over so we bagged it up and added seasonings to make another taco meal during the month. So each of us ended up with 21 meals today. It feels so good to have my freezer full again!! The meal plan for this group of meals will be ready soon. I have a few adjustments to make after working it out today. I will let you all know when it is ready.

By the way, for anyone local that is interested, I am working out a way that I can help other groups to get started with this(or even to do it regularly). I am working on a party plan where you gather your friends and have a group cook day for yourselves, with me there to supervise and help get it all done. So you and your friends get the benefit of 20 meals in your freezers, some fun social time while working in the kitchen and the benefit of my many years of experience doing this process. If anyone is interested in doing this, just let me know.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crazy Evenings and Getting Dinner on the Table

So one of the biggest reasons that I do OAMC is for the daily time savings. Our lives are busy. My girls have sports after school, everyone has homework, and let's face it, the dinner hour just happens to fall at the craziest time of the day. Right?

I used to spend in excess of an hour every evening to prepare a proper meal for my family. It was like a juggling act on a high wire in the circus. Put the pan on the stove, "mom I need help", cut something up, "mom can you pick me up from volleyball now?", throw something in the pan, "mom, I can't do this math problem". etc., etc., etc., I think you get the idea. I found that the time in the evenings is too valuable and it is too hard to justify spending it slaving over the stove to prepare a meal. I feel like my kids need that time instead.

At the same time, I was not willing to spend the extra money to buy prepared foods, get take-out, or fast food. (Not to mention the health factor involved in these easier options.) So I was very excited when I learned about OAMC.

With OAMC, the time required to get a meal on the table is very minimal. In most cases it requires only the time to pour the meal into a saucepan and reheat or to throw a casserole in the oven. I have found that instead of spending an hour or more for meal preparation on a daily basis, I spend about 15 minutes in actual meal preparation daily and then about 3-4 hours one day a month to prepare the frozen meals. It is truly a HUGE time saver.

Another way I save evening time in the kitchen is to use my crock-pot. I like to get a meal ready in the crock pot in the morning and let it cook all day so it is ready when I need it. With this method, my prep time is spent in the morning after kids go to school when things tend to be a little bit less hectic. I have several OAMC recipes that use the crock pot too. With these meals all the prep is done ahead of time and all you have to do is dump it into the crock pot, turn it on and go on with your day.

In addition, I recently was sent an email that had links to tons of Crock Pot recipes in it. I traced that email back to it's source and wanted to share this website with you. They have a ton of really great crock pot recipes on it. Crockery Pot Recipes

Well, like I have said, I have found OAMC to be a huge time saver in the kitchen. I love doing it. I love having meals in the freezer and I feel LOVE that it gives me so much more freedom!! Anyway, if I haven't convinced you to try OAMC yet, then just wait for my next article on the money I have saved doing OAMC. You will be amazed!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Foil or PYREX®?

This is the first in a series of articles I plan to write to help others who are using the method of cooking called Once a Month Cooking or OAMC for short.
I recently had a conversation with several ladies about the whole process of OAMC. I was asked how I store my meals. The majority of the meals I prepare and many of the meals that are in my meal plans can be stored in gallon sized zip-loc bags. But what about the casseroles or layered dishes that must be stored in a dish of some sort? What do I prefer? What do I use? What do I recommend?
First of all let me preface my remarks by saying that it has taken me some time to build up my own collection so I do not necessarily recommend that you go out and buy a whole bunch at one time, unless you find a really great sale.
My recommendation is PYREX® dishes with the plastic lids. You can buy foil dishes that have the cardboard lids and they are fairly economical, but you throw them away after one use. This to me is wasteful. I suggest that you slowly invest in a collection of various PYREX® dishes that can be used and reused time and time again. Thus in the long run you will be saving money.
You can buy PYREX® at a number of places. I prefer to buy them with the lids, then you know you will have a lid that will fit properly. In the past, I have found these available in a 2 pack at Wal-Mart for around $13. The set came with two different sizes a 9x13 and a 7x11. Both sizes are very useful. Individual pans are also available. You can also go direct to the PYREX® website found here to buy whatever pans you might wish to buy.
A word of caution however, I feel I must give here, watch what you are buying. There are a lot of gift sets that are available. If you are wishing to purchase pans for the purpose of OAMC many of these sets may not be entirely useful to you. Be sure to verify the sizes of the pans and items that come in the set and depending on the size of your family, you will not need anything smaller than an 8x8 pan. So don't get caught up in the deal for a 20 piece set if most of those items will not be useful with your OAMC cooking. Why buy what you do not need?!
PYREX® with lids will keep your meals fresh for up to about 2 months and you don't have to worry about cutting holes in the pan when you serve your meals like I always do if I use a foil pan. They can be placed in your fridge or on the counter to thaw and then go directly to the oven or microwave to cook the meal.
If you already have some PYREX®(most of us do) but don't have lids, it is possible in some cases to buy the lids separately. Make sure to verify that your pans are actually PYREX® because the lids do not fit other brands. Check your sizes and you can order lids here.
So here are my favorites and why:
1- I love the PYREX® Storage Plus® 11-cup Rectangle w/ Cover

The reason I love this dish is because it is a bit deeper than your average casserole dish which makes it a perfect choice for those layered meals like Shepherd's Pie, or even a small Lasagna.

2- The versatile PYREX® 2-qt Oblong w/ Cover

This is the 7x11 pan I spoke of earlier. It is a very versatile dish and can be used for many different casserole type meals.

3- The must have PYREX® 9" x 13" Baking Dish w/ Cover
This dish is a must have because you will use it time and time again. I have 5 of this one and use them constantly. This is one you may want to have an extra of so you can use it to bake some of the meals that are stored and frozen in bags. It is great for any casserole type meal and so many more!!!

4-Finally the last I suggest is the PYREX® 8" Square Baking Dish w/ Cover

I have used this dish many times and if you have a smaller (less than 6) family, you can make most of your meals into this size pan by splitting the recipes into two meals thus doubling the amount of meals you are freezing for future use.
I may sound a bit like an advertisement for the PYREX® company. I assure you I am not in any way affiliated with them, but I have found a product that is ideal for OAMC and want to help others to the good stuff rather than learning by trial and error as I have. Besides a few less foil pans in the garbage dumps is a good thing right?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Well, summer went by so fast this year, I can hardly believe it. I finally have all the kids in school so I am going to get busy and start workin on meal plan #2. I have already posted about plans 1 and 3 (for some silly reason I went out of order). I hope to be posting the next meal plan later this month, so check back later. It is also my hope to start blogging more frequently on various topics relating to OAMC.

If you haven't done so already, subscribe to this blog and you will recieve an email notice whenever I update this blog.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Second Meal Plan is Ready!!!!

My second meal plan is ready. Don't ask me why I have gone out of order, but it is meal plan #3.
It contains the following meals:
Chicken Puffs
Easy Beef Stew
BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Shredded Beef Tacos
Meat Stuffed Shells
Zesty Italian Casserole
Pizza Pockets
Michelle's Stuffed Manicotti
Easy Freezer Meatloaf
Super Easy Swiss Steak
Simple Salisbury Steak
Tater Tot Casserole
Crunchy Pork Casserole
Southwest Pork and Rice
Pizza Chicken and Rotini
King Ranch Chicken
Hawaiian Haystacks
Chicken and Rice Dinner
Spanish Rice Casserole
Chicken Hot Dish

If you want to order it, just send me an email using the flashing button at the top of this blog to let me know you want meal plan #3. Then make a payment to paypal using the same email address. I will send you the zipped files as soon as your payment has cleared my account.
Happy Cooking!!!