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Benefits of Monthly Cooking

November 14, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Mix 

It’s only been two months now, but I can already see a lot of benefits that monthly cooking has to offer.

Im sure you are aware of the cost benefit of cooking once a month. Its no surprise that when you buy food solely to make preplanned meals, you will spend less in the long run. There’s two ways that you can go about purchasing for your monthly cooking adventure. You can make your list and go to your grocery store with the intention to buy everything you need for the Big Day, or you can watch sales and pare the sales with the items on your list making sure before your day that you have aquired all the needed items.

I prefer at the moment to do my shopping all in one day. It takes a while to do it, but for me it’s a lot easier and less stressfull because I can get my husband to watch the boys while I take the time in the store. It’s definately not something you can rush through.

Another way that you save money with monthly cooking is in the fact that you tend to acumulate necessary ingredients that can be used for more than one recipe. Spices are a great example of this. If you buy a spice that only requires a small portion for the recipe, you have that spice for more in the future. I like to buy a little extra of some ingredients when I do my shopping so that I have them to work with when I dont feel like using the premade meals. Noodles and sauces can be used in a lot of recipes for example. Canned cream soups are a good thing to have on hand just in general (unless you are good at making your own that is). They make great sauces for casseroles and starters for soups. You can use your imagination when you use cream soups.

Pumpkin Ravioli Casserole

A great benefit to this style of cooking is that there is a LOT LESS wasted food. Period. You make the meals, freeze them and cook them when you are ready to. There is no food sitting in the fridge going to waste because you didnt get to it in time. I cant tell you how much I have done that! Freezer meals can sit in the freezer for up to 3 months depending on the ingredients. When the meals are put together, they are put into containers that are more of an appropriate size for your family to consume. You know how much your family eats and so you cook the amounts apropriately. I have found that my family could get by with an 8×8 pan of a main dish item plus two side dishes (usually a veggie and bread or fruit) I have 3 small boys that are just now finding their appetite and this still feeds us all. There usually isnt much in the way of leftovers!

The best benefit of this style of cooking is the health aspect. I have noticed, because of the portion sizes Im assuming, that my clothes are fitting me much better since I’ve started this adventure. I can tell you for sure that I have NO cravings for fast food anymore. I do still like a good sit down restaurant tho. I have to admit that I gave up McDonalds over a year ago and havent had cravings for them for a long time. But we have gone out to other fast food restaurants in the recent past and I can definately see, feel, and taste the difference in the quality of the food. A hamburger is just not the same anymore. I can feel my arteries closing up after eating fries from Burger King, and I wont for the life of me touch a sandwich from Sonic (I might have a drink from there every now and then tho).

Islander Pork Roast

I can say that when I eat the meals I make this way, I am eating a much healthier portion size. Im not overloaded with fat, salt, and extra calories. Im full after one serving. I cant tell you the last time I had that feeling every time I ate a meal (probably because I have never felt that way!). I dont feel deprived at all either. The meals are flavorful and exciting. Most of the time they dont need a lot of extra salt because there is actually flavor to the dish.

I have to admit that when I heard about this (over 6 months ago) I was a bit afraid of it. I was excited about it, but I was afraid that it would be too much energy, or that I would not have enough space, or not enough money, or the food would taste bad. More than anything I was afraid to start. I started out of necessity two months ago. It does cost a bunch at first (especially if you are bulk buying all at once) but it saves a tremendous amount in the long run. Not just in money but in time. If I put together all those meals on separate nights instead of doing them all on one day, it would take me nearly 30 hours or more instead of the 8-12 hours it takes when I do them in bulk. I can say that I am no longer afraid of monthly cooking. I plan to keep the recipes that my family really liked and put it all in a binder for future use. Im currently using for the recipes. It’s a great resource. Tricia puts great effort into the menu’s. She pulls together spreadsheets for not just the recipes, but the grocery list, lables, and instructions on how to do the Big Day with your friend.

Apple Pie Kits

I hope you gain the courage to try this out. I was very surprised at the results. I will definately continue to do this and make it fit better for my family as we go along.

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