I’ve gotten many questions about my Cooking for a Month post and my Preparing to Cook for a Month post and so I thought it may be beneficial to get the answers in one place for those of you who are interested.
I will preface this all by saying that this was my experience. I am not an expert on Cooking for a Month, I’ve actually only done it twice, but these are my findings.
How long does it take?
The time that cooking for a month requires will differ from individual to individual, based on the meals that you are cooking, your amount of advance preparation, and the amount of help you have drafted. The first month I did this it took four hours. There were four of us doing the prep work… like chopping and preparing meat to go in the dishes.
This past month, I only had one little helper and the job took longer. So, depending on the amount of help you have and the other variables, cooking for a month takes approximately 4 to 6 hours.
How much does it cost?
Once again, this will differ depending on the meals you make, the number of people you are cooking for, and where you shop. The supplies for this monthly meal plan, feeding 6 people dinner for 34 days, cost approximately $230.
Did you save money?
The amount I spent to shop all at once was pretty comparable to what I spend regularly. But I saved money on “grabbing a bite” elsewhere and those spur of the moment grocery trips where I run in to get sour cream and spend $20. You know the ones, right?
Did you save time?
This one gets a resounding YES! My 4-6 hours on Saturday saved at least 30 to 45 minutes each day on prep, cooking, and clean up.
Did the food taste different?
We are not picky eaters so little variations in taste or texture may exist, but we did not notice them. I did notice that the chicken in the chicken fried rice recipe was a bit chewy (my family, however did not agree with me). Someone suggested that I cut it in smaller pieces or shred it to solve this problem.
I’ve also been asked if the pasta in the dishes were mushy. In the dishes that call for the pasta to be precooked, I cook it al dente and then mix it into the recipes. I think this keeps the pasta from getting mushy.
What storage system do you use for freezing?
I use the words “storage system” lightly. My “system” is dollar store foil pans, foil, and freezer bags. A reader suggested that I purchase a glass baking pan with a lid each month so I can avoid purchasing foil pans each month. I think this is a great plan, I do however enjoy being able to throw the foil pan away after using and not having to do the clean-up.
Would you do anything differently?
Yes. When I prepared the meals I froze some of them in gallon freezer bags and laid them flat to freeze. That is a great space conserving way to do it.
However, for some of the meals, I did not plan to thaw them before I put them in the crock pot and so when I put them in the crock pot, the lid would not go on and consequently I had to wait for it to thaw before actually starting the cooking process. In the future, I will freeze in smaller portions and not lay them flat to freeze.
So, this was my experience with Cooking for a Month. If you’ve got any more questions, feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer them and I’ll add them to this post for others to see too.
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