Once-a-Week-Cooking


If you’ve been a home-maker anytime over the last 15-20 years, you’ve probably heard the term Once-a-Month-Cooking, or OAMC.   Basically, this is a concept involving cooking an entire month’s worth of dinners all at once, and then freezing (or otherwise storing them) so that you can prepare them as needed.

I’ve done this off and on over the years, and I do enjoy the convenience when I actually manage to pull it off.  Cooking enough meals for the entire month can be extremely exhausting, though, and having storage space for that many meals is difficult, even though we have two refrigerators.  Then we started eating Primal and I found myself at a even more of a loss because most of my familiar OAMC recipes and meals called for carbs that we no longer eat in any quantity.

Needless to say, I haven’t done any OAMC in a long while.  I’ve been thinking about trying it again since we’ve been getting more and more busy, especially being involved in community theatre.  I love being busy and I’m so glad we’re getting out of the house more, but to say that dinners have been an issue is an understatement.  Getting more busy and then trying to eat out much, much less is really tough for me.  The thought of cooking for two solid days straight plus having to figure out how to store those meals in the freezer was also overwhelming.

I decided to make a compromise and cook just for a week at a time.  I went even farther with that and cooked just the proteins for about a week’s worth of dinners.  That way, the most-difficult, time-consuming part would be already done.  This also allows me to refrigerate, rather than freeze, the the food…thus not having to worry about thawing and long cooking times.   The best part is that I can throw together a salad and/or a pan of roasted veggies or potatoes really quickly to go with the protein that’s already made!

I’m the queen of having a freezer-full of meat that I forget to defrost in time for dinner…so having the proteins pre-cooked has been a huge time and money saver!

Here’s what I did:

My shopping day is Wednesday, so on Wednesday I chose extra proteins that I planned on cooking up on Sunday, for the following week.  I got a large bag of frozen, wild caught salmon at Costco.  I purchased 4 turkey breast tenderloins, an extra 2# package of ground sirloin and a large pork roast at Sprout’s.  Come Sunday morning, I placed all the salmon on a baking sheet, sprinkled with onion/herb Mrs. Dash and some dill, and baked.  I roasted the turkey breast tenderloins and pork roast in the oven, in disposable foil pans.  I gave the pork roast a mexican twist by seasoning with a lot of Chipotle Lime Mrs. Dash.  I made the ground beef into a heavily italian seasoned meatloaf and cooked it at the same time as the turkey and pork.

When everything was done, I cooled them all and wrapped them in labeled foil packets.

We ate part of the turkey Sunday night, with a salad.  Monday we had meatloaf with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies for lunch and salmon with veggies and a creamy dill sauce for dinner.  Tuesday, we had the rest of the meatloaf for lunch and for dinner, I shredded the pork roast and heated half up as carnitas, which I served with gluten-free tortillas (none for me) and cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc.   Thursday’s lunch will be the remaining pork again as more carnitas.  Thursday’s dinner will be the remaining salad and Fridays dinner will be the remaining turkey breast, chopped up and baked into a chicken pot pie, made with a potato crust.

Easy-peasy…and I only spent about two hours cooking the meat on Sunday (and was able to work on laundry and on my computer while they cooked and cooled).

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