Monthly Archives: November 2019

Once a Month Cooking

If you are like most moms around the world, there never seems to be enough time or energy at the end of most days to prepare the nice home cooked meal you would love to have ready made for your family. Unfortunately, cooking a good family meal requires both time and energy. A few wise moms have discovered a concept that has become known as once a month or freezer cooking to assist in those nights when time, energy, or both are in short supply.

The thought behind once a month cooking is that for one or two days (if you prefer to spread the process out over a couple of shorter days rather than one long day of cooking) of intense culinary effort your family can dine well for an entire month. Many women who have tried this have also discovered that not only does it help by always having something nice and home cooked for dinner, but also helps families stay within budget.

Far too many mother’s will guiltily raise their hands when asked whether or not they’ve ever resorted to fast food or junk food meals simply because they were too tired to cook or were missing one ingredient for a meal and did not feel up to running to the grocery store in order to pick up the missing ingredient. This practice can get expensive over time and rob your family of some well-earned fun money.

There are some important things you must keep in mind if you are considering once a month cooking as a way of life for your family. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that planning is the key. You will need to set aside a day (or two) for the cooking when nothing else is on the calendar. It is simply too difficult to see to all the details if you are planning your cooking event around car pools, soccer games, or dance practices. You need a full day that will be relatively uninterrupted. If you have a spouse, partner, or family member that can take the children for the day this will be the ideal situation. Otherwise be sure to have plenty of distractions on hand for the little ones or find a way to enlist their help with any cutting, chopping, slicing, dicing, or peeling that may need to be done.

You should also create a thorough menu followed by a list of each and every ingredient you will need. Shopping needs to be done on a day other than when you are planning to cook. This means that you aren’t likely to rush through the shopping trip and forget something as a result. Bring your menu and your list and get everything you need in one trip whenever possible. You can also save money by planning your meals for the month according to the sales circulars and coupons you have for the week in order to stretch your budget a little further.

Finally, you need to make sure that you have all the supplies, dishes, and containers you need in order to prepare and store the meals you’ve prepared properly. You should also make sure that the recipes you are using for your once a month cooking marathon are recipes that freeze well. It is even better if you have recipes that double well so that you can get twice the results from the same effort.

You should also make sure you are mentally prepared for your marathon cooking session. Beginning with a nice and tidy kitchen is a great start. Folding card tables make an excellent flat surface for storing things out of the way and freeing up valuable counter space for preparing and assembling the foods that will be prepared. You should also utilize as many appliances in your kitchen as possible for maximum efficiency. Don’t limit all cooking to the oven. Find dishes that freeze well and can be prepared in the crock pot or on the range top. Once a month cooking is a challenge but many women will agree it is well worth the effort on those nights when the thought of cooking seems unbearable and the wallet has been stretched to its limit.

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Mother’s Day Cooking Made Easy

This is something that traditionally gets left off the menu. So many families either go out to dinner on mother’s day, because Mom typically does all the cooking or resolve to barbecue because that is often the only meal that dear old dad is comfortable preparing. While barbecuing in and of itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if it works like barbecuing in my house it ends up being more work for mom because dad wants mom to hold things, find things, fetch things, and bring things. By the end of her Mother’s Day barbecue mom is typically tired and face with a huge mess to clean. Not that mom doesn’t smile, thank everyone, and then go about the business of cleaning her kitchen back to it’s pre mother’s day state but a day off with no dishes, no fetching, and no clearing is quite often the desired treat.

That being said there are ways you can go about cooking the perfect mother’s day meal and creating very little mess for mom to clean up if you are willing to put a little bit of effort into the planning phase. In fact, even the most cooking impaired among us have options for creating a grand feast worthy of mom with very little mess when all is said and done. The perfect plan some may say and mom might be inclined to agree. Even better you won’t find yourself on a waiting list and jostled about by others looking to get a good seat at your favorite restaurant on this day that is often one of, if not the, busiest restaurant days of the year and no it isn’t ordering take out from said restaurant.

There has been a recent emergence of gourmet cooking stores cropping up that allow guests to come in, prepare meals for the family with fresh ingredients, close examination, and explicit instructions that are delicious, nutritious, and only need to be heated in the oven when the time comes to prepare the meals. They sit nicely in the freezer and can quite often be prepared in various sizes to accommodate different needs. You can prepare delicious dishes such as coconut shrimp, Caribbean pork roast, and delicious pasta dishes to bring home for Mother’s day and mom will truly appreciate the fact that she doesn’t have to clean up a huge mess when the day is done. If you want to be an even bigger hero for mom, pitch in with everyone to clean up what mess has been made so that she can sit back, relax, and enjoy her big day.

The places you can go to do this for mom are not exactly inexpensive though they will cost less than six servings at your favorite restaurant (well unless it’s McDonald’s) and are a great deal of fun to put together. They will be called different names and you may have several from which to choose. They can often be found online through a search of ‘meal preparation centers’ and are a grand idea for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and any other holiday or birthday that brings the family together. Of course, these meals aren’t a bad idea for those nights when you just don’t feel like going through the hassle of preparing a big meal for the family. It’s great to have a freezer with food that can be taken out and prepared on demand that doesn’t taste like a TV dinner.

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Microwave Cooking is the Wave of the Future

When it comes to cooking there are few tools that are more versatile in the kitchen than the microwave. This device offers so many functions when it comes to cooking that most people never bother to utilize. It’s sad really. In most homes, the microwave has been relegated to doing duty as a meat defroster, popcorn popper, and coffee warmer rather than using is as the fabulous device for actual food preparation that it really is capable of being.

Before you set up to change your ways, you need to understand that when it comes to microwave cooking, not all microwaves were created equal. Wattage is vitally important as is the quality of your microwave. The average el cheapo microwave that you can find in discount stores will simply not stand up to the rigors of regular full meal preparation though they are perfectly acceptable for many wonderful dishes that can be prepared as side dishes. The correct microwave however, can actually brown and bake a full sized Thanksgiving turkey.

Microwave cooking is definitely not something that is meant for those who are afraid of trying something new or those that are afraid of making mistakes along the way. This is a process that is one part science and one part figuring it out. Research helps a great deal but even many of the recipes you will find for microwave cooking are written for microwaves of varying wattage so you will need to ferret out what times and temperatures would be appropriate for your microwave. This is to a large degree going to be a process of trial and error unless you are using the recipe book that came with your microwave.

Do not despair however, most that have tried microwave cooking find it to be a much better process for their meal preparation needs. While microwave cooking is great for big families it is an outstanding way to save money when cooking for and feeding one. It is also rather simple. In other words, even college students can benefit by learning microwave cooking for one or more as it will help them limit their expenses while still eating healthy fresh made meals.

Another great thing about microwave cooking that is often overlooked is that there are far less messes to be made than when cooking part of a meal stove top, part of a meal in the oven, and part of the meal elsewhere. By and large, microwave cooking keeps any spills and splatter isolated to your microwave. Most of these can be cleaned and controlled rather easily by using a removable plate in your microwave (that can be washed in the dishwasher) and covering your food whenever possible to avoid splatters.

Microwave cooking is gaining popularity despite the fact that is hasn’t caught on as well as the inventors would have liked. The proof of this is in the many products that have been created to make microwave cooking a little bit easier. From omelet makers to special trays for cooking bacon in the microwave industrious people are working to make the easy way of cooking that much easier.

If you have a microwave in your home that is used mostly for melting butter and warming pizza, then you have a microwave in your home that is being terribly under utilized. It is time you hit the search engines for recipes that will be appropriate for your microwave and get busy trying something new and different that will have your family awed and amazed. Imagine having them toss accolades for your tireless devotion and standing over a hot stove for hours when in actuality you only checked on the microwave when the proper time approached.

Microwave cooking very well may be the wave of the future. Get a head start and begin building your collection of wonderful microwave recipes right away for the best selection. The day will arrive when you can make microwave cooking the rule rather than the exception.

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