Cooking for a Month

I spent all day yesterday cooking. No, I was not having a party–or even dinner guests. I was preparing a month’s worth of meals ahead of time.

I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this month, but once-a-month cooking would be ideal for those who are, and have to either prepare meals themselves, or subsist on junk for a month. I got into it because cooking is the last thing I want to do when I come home from work at night, and DH and I have been eating out way too often. Last month, I tried a “mini” menu by onceamonthmeals.com. This was 2 meals each of five recipes, intended to be made all at once, then frozen. It was a lot of work but worth it. It was so nice to just take something out of the freezer the night before, then come home and just heat it up and throw together a couple of side dishes! And they were very good.

30days_300x250So I subscribed, and yesterday, I went all in with a full menu. Or, I should say, over the past few days. DH did a marathon grocery-shopping trip Wednesday (a chore I despise that he doesn’t mind doing), I chopped and prepped Friday night, and did the cooking all day Saturday. I only ended up making 12 of the 15 recipes. One I’d planned to leave out, as it was a breakfast meal we wouldn’t eat. One of the others I missed an ingredient, so will pick that up and finish tomorrow. The other needed half of a beef roast–I goofed up and used the whole thing on another meal, but that ended up being a good thing because the meal I made is an easy heat-up on serving day, while the one I missed would have taken more effort (and been relegated to weekends). The meal I unintentionally doubled was French-dip sandwiches, part of which I left unfrozen so we could eat it now. It turns out this is something DH loves, and already gave it a big thumbs-up!

Isis waits not-so-patiently for her walk while Daddy is in the hot tub

Isis waits not-so-patiently for her walk while Daddy sits in the hot tub

I will admit that, between my fatigue and the fact I’m not used to being on my feet all day, cooking day was exhausting. But as much as we enjoyed the mini menu, it will be worth it. The main thing I like about this is that it’s really efficient–grouping the shopping, prep, and cooking all up to make it take less time total. It’s kind of like when I’m fixing bugs in a software project, it’s much more efficient to fix a bunch at once than one here, one there, etc.

It’s also time-change day, when we gain an hour to switch to Standard Time. I hate Standard Time. I don’t like getting up in the dark (makes it that much harder), but I hate even more that it gets dark as soon as I get home from work. Bleh. I also hate the adjustment–it seems the older I get, the longer it takes me to adjust, although the springtime set-back is much worse. As you can see at the left, Isis is unconcerned with time change. 😀

What I read this week: This has been a slow week, both for writing and reading. I’m really enjoying the novel I’m reading, but am only about halfway through it, so I’ll write about it next week.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 update: I got a couple scenes drafted last week, and another couple this week. Not the kind of progress I want to make, but this book seems to be going more slowly, mainly because the process I used turned out not to work very well for me. But I want to write this one, so keeping at it. So shooting for three scenes this week.

What about you–have you found a way to make a task more efficient? Do you like the idea of cooking a lot at once, or do you like to spread it out, like my daughter does? How well do you adjust to the time change? How are you doing on whatever goals you may have lately? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

9 Responses to \

  1. I don’t like cooking…period. So doing it all at once sounds about as appealing as cleaning the house all at once. Ugh. I’ll stick with spreading it out. Seems less painful that way. Besides, my meals are fairly easy right now. When I’m cooking, that is. 🙂

    I hate daylight savings time. I say abolish it! I don’t like the abruptness in spring or fall. Let’s just stay with gradual. I can handle gradual.

  2. Making progress on scenes is always good even if it’s slow. I don’t cook a lot at one time. I do try to cook 4 days or if the week. The other days we eat leftovers.

  3. Well look at you go. Good for you. I hope this system is a good one for you and you can get more done because of it.

    I love the doggie pic too. Thanks for sharing that.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  4. All that cooking is impressive! I knew someone who used to do that. I haven’t found the motivation to want to do it yet, although I know it’s worthwhile. As far as being efficient with cooking, I depend a lot on my crock pot;).

  5. I like this idea. Just today I realized I kind of forgot my cooking routine. We bought a house in September and so for the last 2 months we’ve been shuttling back and forth (we still have to sell the old one!) and moving food between 2 fridges, and waiting on new appliances to be delivered. So food routine is way off. But I’m hoping to be back to some kind of normal cooking soon. I might give this idea a try. I hope you have a happy week. 🙂

  6. I haven’t tried the bulk preparation of meals yet, but it is appealing, especially for nights that I teach. I plan on trying it one of these days. There are nights I simply don’t feel like cooking, and it would be nice to be able to simply pull something out of the freezer and heat it up.

    Writing is going more slowly than I would like. Teaching is taking up a lot of my energy at the moment, so writing has slowed down. Such is life.

    Have a wonderful week!

  7. Stacy, I’m with you on the cleaning! I think it’s different for cooking because it involves getting lots of stuff out (then putting away), which makes it more efficient (for me, anyway) to do it all at once.

    Fallon and Patricia, thanks!

    Maria, a lot of the recipes I’m making use the crock pot. Love it!

    Coleen, this sounds ideal for you! I suggest trying the mini-menu like I started with.

    Denise, I never feel like cooking when I get home from work, so this is perfect for that!

  8. Okay, yes, I am a week off. Not on purpose mind you. I just didn’t have time last week to weed through my emails until this morning and there you were! Fab idea for meal planning. And with work, won’t it be nice to have these meals prepped for you? I see a lot more writing going on in your town. Which leads me to this question, What happened to My Town Mondays? I happened to love them. They could be included with your Sunday Row check in. But I miss those post Jennette. 🙂

  9. Awesome that you’re cooking meals ahead of time and freezing them. This is a great way to waste less food (meal planning) and eat healthier. I just finished the first health and wellness coaching class (two more to go), and learned so much. What you’re doing should make a big difference in how you feel. Restaurant foods and fast foods use a lot of trans fats, which is so bad for us. I’m so glad it’s finally being phased out, but not soon enough!

    I hope all those meals are yummy and easy. The shopping part isn’t my favorite thing to do either. I’m glad hubby does most of the shopping. He does a lot of the cooking, too!

    You’ll have to keep us posted on how this works out for you. Sounds like a great idea.