For years I have played with the concept of cooking all day one day a month rather than having to cook each and every evening. Between work, church, and hanging out with family and friends there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. In a nutshell our lives are super busy as a result we find ourselves so tired after work that the idea of cooking a meal just wasn’t going to fly. So like everyone else in America we go out to eat. With all the documentaries around telling you how bad eating out is for your health we knew we need to come up with a solution. The once a month cooking day has worked for us and makes sense.
Today was our day to cook and I thought I would give you a picture of what we did. It takes a little bit of planning but it is so worth it. Yesterday Rick and I came up with a list of what we were going to make. I then went shopping to make sure we had all the ingredients. The last thing you want to be doing is running out in the middle of the project to get something you forgot.
We decided we were going to make Lasagna, Chicken Piccata, Sloppy Joes, Pizza, Spaghetti sauce, and Pork for Chimichungas or pulled pork sandwiches. I always make something in the crock pot so it is cooking all day but requires very little of my time. (Last month it was chicken cacciatore, this month we did the pork).
We got the pork in the crock pot because we knew it would take a while. Rick started cooking the hamburger for sloppy joes in one pan and the Italian sausage/hamburger mixture in another pan. While he was doing that I was prepping the chicken for our piccata. I finished off the sloppy joes and put it into containers while he started on the dishes. Once that was done I finished up the spaghetti sauce for our lasagna/spaghetti. While I was making the lasagna, Rick was cooking the Italian sausage for the pizza.
Hint for those of you who don’t make lasagna because of the sheer amount of work. Don’t cook the noodles. Put sauce in the bottom of your pan so that it is covered, add a layer of dry noodles, your meat sauce, cottage cheese or ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat. For the last layer put noodles, sauce and cheese. The trick is to let it sit for several hours in the fridge before you bake it. After 2 hours we baked it at 350° for about an hour. It was perfect. I pulled it out of the oven and let it cool off so I could slice it and divide it into serving containers.
The left over sauce was put in a container for spaghetti. Once the lasagna, spaghetti sauce and sloppy joes were done Rick started on browning the chicken while I got the dough started for the pizza. We finished the piccata, got it in containers and started on the pizza. We assembled the pizza, cooked it and then packaged it. It was around 1 o’clock and the only thing left to deal with was the pork. That still needed a few hours so we sat down ate a little lunch and watched a little TV. At 2:30 the pork was ready to be shredded and the other ingredients added. By 3:30 it was done, the chimis were rolled and the remainder put in containers. By 4:00 everything was cleaned up, labeled and safely stored in the freezer.
The key to once a month cooking is staying focused and working as a team.
We now have a total of 28 meals (for 2 people) for the next month:
6 Chicken Piccata
4 Sloppy Joes
2 Spaghetti Sauce
2 meals of Pulled Pork
We had a fun day hanging out, chatting, and listening to praise music. Rick said he felt like it was a holiday. LOL I do know what he means even though we were working hard it was very relaxing and so much fun knowing that we were doing something so good for ourselves. If you haven’t done this before it is loads of fun. You really should give it a try. Your family will thank you for your effort on their behalf.