Wait! Before you navigate away with a 'been there done that' attitude hear me out. I have learned a few things about this meal plan since I first tried it out in the early 90's and I want to share it with you.
First, this cooking plan works best if you give yourself permission to continue to make dinner when it suits you. Just because you have 30 meals in the freezer doesn't mean that is all you can serve your family for a month. Next, don't make more than 2 of any recipe. If you haven't made a lasagna in years then all of the sudden you are serving it every Thursday, your family will be confused and secretly hope that you will lose the recipe again. Don't try too many new recipes. There are a ton of recipes for this kind of meal plan but don't try to use this time for a mass experiment. As a kindness, offer your family some recognizable dishes. Also remember you don't need to live this way. Once a month cooking can be a great trick to pull out of your hat for times when you know you will be busy, a new baby, the start of the school year, canning or kidding season are a few times you might be glad dinner is in the freezer.
I got home from shopping at 2:30 and by 6:00 I had prepared 26 meals for $117! This included the cost of the meat since my fall beef and chickens aren't ready for the freezer yet.
9 Chicken entrees (9 meals)
8 lbs Mexican Beef (8 meals)
5lbs Meat Balls (5 meals)
Pizza (4 meals)
For the Mexican Beef I put 8 pounds of ground beef in the crock pot on high with chopped onion and garlic and let it cook while I put the meatballs together. Some ideas for beef recipes can be found on Menus4moms The chicken entrees were of the Dump Chicken variety, super easy. If you are using whole fryers from the freezer just put them, a few at a time, into a stock pot of cold water. Fryers are easier to cut while they are mostly frozen if you have a very sharp knife. Once the chicken was in the freezer I drained the cooked beef from the crock pot and added the tomatoes and seasonings. I didn't premake the pizza I just put the pepperoni and Canadian bacon in the freezer.
I made 7 different chicken entrees, so only 2 repeats. I can do so many different things with the Mexican beef, everything from enchiladas and empanadas to tacos and tamales not to mention super nachos and chili. The Meatballs will be for spaghetti and meatballs, baked rotini, pesto penne with Italian vegetables and meatballs, Scandinavian meatballs and sweet and sour meatballs. Pizza for Friday night Pizza night.
So there you go! Once a month cooking as easy as you please. No huge stock pots bubbling away and no casseroles. If you're pressed for time give it a try :)