Once a month cooking. It’s actually more like once a month prep work. I like my meals fresh. Our menu plan is based on the purchase of meat because it is the most expensive and we purchase it in bulk at discount pricing, usually from New Seasons and Costco.
1. Decide on meat purchase.
2. Find recipes, usually a combination of old favorites and new ones I found on Pinterest.
3. Decide on menu plan. We plan 4 meals a week that I cook, one of which is vegetarian, and live on leftovers the rest of the week. We always have taco soup and burgers on standby. We do not eat this on Monday, this on Tuesday, and this on Wednesday, we eat this, then this, then this. The food runs out when it runs out.
4. Create the shopping list. Buy EVERYTHING except for fresh fruits and veggies. We go to Costco once a month and get apples, oranges, salad stuff, carrots, etc. To make the shopping list I have 2 pieces of paper, one for Winco and one for Costco, divided by a giant cross. The 4 areas represent the 4 areas of the store. Add things by recipe so you buy as much in bulk as possible.
5. Go shopping. Because we’re out of everything!
6. Prepare food. I do not cook anything except for casseroles I plan to freeze, and meat for certain soups. All of my meat, veggies, soup etc. goes in freezer bags or Pyrex dishes uncooked so that it is as freshly made as possible. Everything that is reserved for a recipe, but was not opened gets a sticker on it to show that it’s off limits. If we bought an 8 pack of cream of mushroom soup but only need six then only six get stickers and the other two are available for days when my husband wants to do something creative. This way we always have what we need and never need to run to the store.
It’s easier than most people make it. You don’t have to cook everything twice, you don’t have to go to 7 different stores and you don’t have to have it all down to a science. We’ve made mistakes and had chicken for 2 weeks. Matt’s had to stop at the store for a can of tomato paste. It’s OK. It’s still a much better lifestyle than cooking everyday, unless you love cooking. We eat better and cheaper than most, with less effort.