Once-A-Month Cooking

Has anyone attempted that in NZ yet?


Chef_uli, Jul 17, 5:27 pm

I would love to do that, but my hubby has a thing about eating frozen meals. I do try to cook bulk amounts of things like Lasagne, Bolognaise, casseroles etc, and I usually manage to freeze at least two portions , but you should see his face when he discovers it was a frozen meal he is eating tonight.

Chef_amazing_grace, Jul 17, 9:43 pm

Ugh. Husbands can be right annoying!

Chef_wendalls, Jul 17, 9:54 pm

Kinda. I went away for five weeks, so for my husband I made a stack of frozen ready-to-heat meals, and also bags of frozen ingredients ready to dump in the slowcooker. Then he just had to do his greens.

Chef_mjhdeal, Jul 18, 7:36 am

I hope you enjoyed your time away. mjhdeal.
Mine wouldn't eat anything ready made from the freezer. A royal pain. Mind you he would not starve and would willingly cook his own meals.

Chef_pickles7, Jul 18, 9:04 am

You are amazing. When I go away and leave DH at home I let him cook his own meals. He's as useless at reheating as I am, worse in fact. We don't have a mickeywave so that doesn't help and I haven't developed a taste for food from the slow cooker.

Chef_buzzy110, Jul 18, 10:59 am

No. but I do freeze some things. Soup for instance, 1 meal then 2 in the freezer.
Pies , 1 for a meal the other in the freezer.
But monthly? Yuk.

Chef_lythande1, Jul 18, 11:50 am

If I hadn't seen that the concept was copyrighted in 2009 I would have thought it came from the 1960s.

Chef_davidt4, Jul 18, 12:11 pm

Ha ha! And I thought chopping up a week's worth of onions was being ambitious!

Chef_bedazzledjewels, Jul 18, 12:18 pm

Lol. Do you salt them or store them in vinegar or something?

I chop up a ½ size preserving jar full of fresh ginger and store it in sherry. That way I always have fresh ginger and it doesn't go mouldy in the bottom of my fridge's vege bins because I can't find it. The ginger flavoured sherry tastes great as well.

Chef_buzzy110, Jul 18, 12:40 pm

I peel and freeze my ginger, wrapped in foil. Then just take it out frozen and grate off what I want. Only done the onions a couple of times. Just put them into a glass container and into the frig.

Chef_bedazzledjewels, Jul 18, 12:48 pm

I do similar, but use wine instead. Works well.
I do freeze soups. I can't imagine preparing meals a month in advance, unless it's for a partner during your absence or made too much . why would you? Even with a busy work schedule, a decent meal doesn't need to take ages to prepare.

Chef_samanya, Jul 18, 1:45 pm

Ha ha. I don't think my DH would spare me even ½cup of his good wine to store ginger in but he doesn't care about sherry. It doesn't go off either. We don't drink sherry but I have it for Christmas baking, etc.

Chef_buzzy110, Jul 18, 1:49 pm

I have a stash of Italian Red atm & wouldn't use that, either.

Chef_samanya, Jul 18, 1:51 pm

Quite rightly so.

Chef_buzzy110, Jul 18, 2:06 pm

There is heaps on you tube on the subject, but it is not for us, we eat fresh 99% of the time, that 1% leaves a bit of space.

Chef_pickles7, Jul 18, 2:21 pm

Not for me either. Especially not the food on that site.

Chef_davidt4, Jul 18, 2:30 pm

I must be lucky as Hubby doesn't mind the odd ready meal from the freezer. I don't buy frozen ready meals though. I always cook from scratch with fresh ingredients. I have never gotten used to cooking for just 2 instead of 4 and tend to cook too much anyway so there are always extra portions. I do one for the freezer most times and then we have a ready meal for the busy/can't be bothered/no cooking motivation days.

Chef_nauru, Jul 18, 2:57 pm

Can't HE take a turn cooking?

Chef_mkbooks, Jul 18, 2:59 pm

Use swimming goggles-son taught me that

Chef_mkbooks, Jul 18, 3:00 pm

I had a look at the recipes (for some you need to pay) - and you can type in for how many people you cook and the website will adjust - just be aware we are talking of AMERICAN websites, ingredients, money etc.

So if you cannot make a meal plan for a week for yourself that might help. Again be aware that the American "healthy" food pyramid applies.

Chef_uli, Jul 18, 5:29 pm

I do love this website an her "ideas about cooking :) - especially "once a month cooking"!


Some extracts here:

". You have the TV on while you are trying to rock your colicky baby. Your toddler has just destroyed the whole room in the 5 minutes since you sat down and is now swinging from the chandelier. You got 2 hours of sleep last night and this morning you barely had time to scrape your hair into a ponytail, let alone comb it.

A woman comes on the show you’re watching. She is perfect–not a hair out of place with lovely make up and the cutest outfit. She sits in front of the interviewer telling how wonderful her life has become since she started doing once a month cooking. She never has to give a second thought to preparing dinner. It saves time, there is no clean up, saves her money and she has delicious homemade meals. As the baby cries louder and the toddler swings faster, you groan to yourself and wonder, “Where have I gone wrong?” and think “What a failure I am. How does she manage to do once a month cooking when she has 4 kids under the age of 4?. ”

Chef_uli, Jul 18, 5:32 pm

". It all looks and sounds so great while she is talking, but here is the reality:

She had a hairdresser and make up artist work on her for 1 hour before she came on the show.
She looks so bright eyed and refreshed because she spent the night in a luxury hotel with grandma at home babysitting the kids.

She said she spends one long day cooking 15-17 meals for the month but only as an afterthought at the end does she mention that she had two or three other people helping, totaling 21-24 man hours.

This means if she was doing all of the once a month cooking alone, it would take 8 hours of non stop cooking for 3 solid days and doing nothing else for those 3 days.
Another thing she only mentioned in passing at the end was that she has someone babysitting her kids this whole time. When done alone, it would mean asking someone to babysit your kids for three 8 hour days.
She said that it saves time. If you do once a month cooking, it only takes about 30 minutes to an hour to make a meal. I rarely spend over 30 minutes cooking a meal for 4 on a daily basis anyway, so how does that save time?

She also said that once a month cooking saves on clean up. How? You still have dishes to wash, tables and counters to wipe down at any meal. Maybe you are saving yourself from washing two or three pans but if you think about the amount of time it takes to wrap and rewrap that same meal to freeze, it takes just about as much time as it takes to wash one or two pans. This is only true when you’re using disposable pans or something like that. If you freeze it in a regular pan, you still have that pan to wash.

Then there is the time you spend shuffling through the freezer trying to find things or carefully writing down exactly what you have and marking the packages so you know what you have in them and how long it’s been there. All of this takes time and can take up as much time as just wiping out a pan to clean it.

She said once a month cooking saves money. I have never been sure how people think it saves money. If I buy rice to make a casserole, whether I’m freezing it or making a casserole fresh, it amounts to the same cost. I wonder if they have added in costs like:
Foil, plastic wrap, freezer paper and disposable pans.
Electricity to run a large enough freezer to store the frozen dinners.
If there is a power outage or if the freezer door gets left open and everything is ruined. Not only do you lose money, but also the time it took to fix it all.

If you add in all these costs, you end up spending more.

Are they really delicious homemade meals? I’m not sure if it is just me or not but when casseroles and those types of dishes are put in the freezer, they taste like they have been in the freezer.
They can be wrapped in 25 layers and still taste like the freezer unless they’re vacuum sealed.
Things tend to separate and become watery.
The texture can change. "

Chef_uli, Jul 18, 5:33 pm

uli - you ROCK! Not only have you nailed the so-called "easy fast cooking" but so accurately as well! Thank you - you have just confirmed what I always suspected :-)

Chef_darlingmole, Jul 18, 8:13 pm

Some things taste better, flavours intensify or something. My frozen leftover meals always taste better when I haven't just spent ages cooking t hem. I rarely label mine and forget what's in them. I take it to work and it's usually a nice surprise.
But otherwise I totally agree it sounds like a false economy. Another issue I would have is constant interruptions mean I forget what I am doing and everything takes twice as long while i get back on track.

Chef_wendalls, Jul 18, 10:46 pm

Don't know how amazing really. I didn't have to eat it (lol).

I do always make casseroles in large quantities to freeze for future meals. As I make three meals a day from scratch, sometimes I like to have the night off from cooking! So then all I have to do is the vegetables (which isn't really having the night off from cooking I guess, but I find chopping vegetables therapeutic).

Chef_mjhdeal, Jul 19, 7:53 am

Ha ha. sounds like cooking for the main shear , without the fancy hair and makeup

Chef_rainrain1, Jul 19, 9:26 am

I have just quoted from the website one post further up.
Did not grow on my compost I am afraid - but that person got it nailed I think :)

Chef_uli, Jul 19, 4:45 pm

Yeah the recipes are .

Chef_uli, Jul 19, 4:46 pm

I do it for convience not to save money, when I make slow cook recipes I double it then frreze in meal portions, on the weekend I made triple lasgne recipe, sent one to son had one for dinner and froze another. I get two days off, one is spent with 3.5yr old grand-daughter the other is spent doing housework and catching up on washing etc so I wouldnt have time to cook a months worth of meal, but what I do freeze tastes fine and seeing as I do all the cooking hubby wouldnt even know!

Chef_kiwiscrapper1, Feb 22, 12:44 pm

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