Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cooking for the Month, Step One

This morning, Abigail and I went shopping for our month of food. The best part about Once a Month Mom, is the detailed shopping list. It comes in an Excel spreadsheet (can't you hear my yelling yay! all the way over there?) and you can alter the recipes by the number of servings. I cook for 4. This gives us at least one leftover portion for lunch.

The list is broken down by section of the store, produce, meats, grains, canned, etc. And it gives you the amount you need. Luckily, I have a math brain because the list says things like .67 cups of spinach. I know this is 2/3 cup, but some of you may have to utilize the handy conversion chart.

After pouring through my cupboards  meat stash in the freezer, and my coupons, I pared down my list and was ready to shop. Abigail was my shopping partner today and she asked to bring a snack and Fancy Nancy, her newest book obsession. The commissary was pretty empty, I went about 15 minutes after they opened, on the first day after payday weekend. It was heavenly. We only backtracked once because I had some issues finding beans. We had an interesting discussion about baked beans, which Abigail asked that I buy so she can have them with chicken nuggets and broccoli. I obliged, because she's never asked for broccoli before. An hour in the store, just under $100 (thanks coupons!) and I had everything I needed for these meals. There are 15, by the way, and most of them make enough for two meals. A few are snacky/lunch type foods and 3 are breakfasts. I plan to utilize one of the breakfasts for dinner, though.

I unpacked, cleaned the kitchen, fed Abi and put her down for a nap. Then I turned on my latest Audiobook (Gone Girl - its fantastic!) and got to work. I found the Chopping List to be distracting, and not entirely helpful. I think I prefer to go through recipe by recipe and complete one at each time. This process is different from my crockpot meals, because some of them need to be cooked partially or fully before frozen. This takes longer, but I'm ok with that because variety is good.

I started with Spinach Mac and Cheese cups, baked in a muffin tin, that flash frozen, and stored in plastic bags to accompany soup or sandwiches. I cooked the whole box of pasta for another easy meal later on, and froze the rest of that.

Then I moved onto the easy assembly meals.

  • Garlic Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes
  • Chicken Provencal with White Beans
  • Tuna Stuffed Bell Peppers (which are frozen in an aluminum 8x8 pan with a top. This is new for me.
Then I made the Pasta e Fagioli Soup. This was much more time intensive, a lot of chopping and about 30 minutes of time on the stove. But, once it cools and I divide it out, I will have another 2 meals. 

Tomorrow I will tackle the rest, I already have some of the meat defrosting that needs to be cooked, and tonight I will cook up some bacon that is needed for a casserole dish. But, for today, I'm enjoying my afternoon coffee, making a game plan for efficiency in tomorrow's kitchen and trying to decide what we are eating tonight. Happy Cooking!

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