Jan 092014
 

Cooking for a Month

It has been over a month since my first experience in cooking for a month and I still have several meals in the freezer!!  I’m so excited over this whole thing.  It has been a tremendous time saver and has saved a little money too.  A couple weeks ago, I shared my post on how to prepare to cook once a month.  You can see that post HERE.

Cooking for a Month

I’ve been asked by many for my recipes and grocery list so here goes.

These are the meals I made and the quantities.  Now remember, I may make more than you would need to.  I am feeding six…three of which are teenage boys.  Click on the item to be directed to the recipe or see the instructions below the item.  If the recipe is not specifically a “Freezer” meal, I have given the instructions on how I made it work as a freezer or prepare ahead meal.

Easy Freezer Beef Enchiladas

What you need per recipe ( I doubled this recipe to make enough for two dinners):  1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 1 small can refried beans, 1 packet taco seasoning, 1 small can enchilada sauce, 12 flour tortillas, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, freezer bag

Pizza Pasta Bake

What you need per recipe (I doubled this recipe to make enough for two dinners): 1 pound rotini, 28 oz. jar pasta sauce, 3 oz. pepperoni, 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (optional – Parmesan cheese), foil pan

***To make this a freezer meal: I cook the pasta al dente, combine all ingredients and place in foil pan.  Cover thoroughly and freeze.  When ready to serve, thaw and then bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until pasta is warm throughout.

Chicken Fried Rice

What you need per recipe (this recipe made enough for two dinners just the way it was): 4 cups frozen peas and carrots, 1/2 small onion, parsley flakes, 3 lb. bag rice, 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, olive oil, 8 eggs, soy sauce, pepper, foil pan

102_9654-001

***To make this a freezer meal: follow instructions on recipe then place in foil pan, cover thoroughly and then freeze.  When ready to serve, thaw and then bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until rice is warm throughout.

Bean Burritos

This is not a freezer meal, just one a keep on hand in case I forget to pull something out of the freezer in the morning.  It’s just tortillas, canned refried beans, and shredded cheddar cheese.  We top them with whatever we can find in the refrigerator like sour cream, salsa, and lettuce.  What you need per recipe (two burritos per person): 12 flour tortillas, three small cans refried beans, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 lbs ground meat

1/2 cup each finely chopped carrots and green peppers

1 small can sloppy joe sauce

What you need per recipe (I doubled this recipe to make two dinners): 1 1/2 lbs ground meat 3 carrots, 2 green peppers, 1 can sloppy joe sauce, freezer bag

***To Make this a freezer meal: fry meat and add in additional ingredients.  Freeze in freezer bag.  When ready to serve, thaw, and reheat in skillet.  Serve on hamburger buns.

Creamy Crock Pot Potato Soup

What you need per recipe (I quadrupled this recipe to make two dinners): 30 oz. shredded frozen hashbrowns, 28 oz. chicken broth, 10.75 oz can cream chicken soup, dried minced onions, 8 oz.  cream cheese, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

***This recipe is just one that can be thrown in the crock pot, so I just keep the hashbrowns frozen until I am ready to use and then just combine the rest of the ingredients on the day we are having this for dinner.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

What you need per recipe  (I double this to make two dinners and add a can of black beans and a can of corn to make it go further): 1 large jar salsa, 6 small chicken breasts, 1 taco seasoning packet, 1 can black beans, 1 can corn (when you eat them you will need: 12 flour tortillas, lettuce, and sour cream), freezer bag

***To make this a freezer meal, I place all ingredients (including uncooked chicken) in a freezer bag and then freeze.  On the day I am going to serve this, I place it frozen in the crock pot and follow the cooking instructions.

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

What you need per recipe (I doubled this to make two dinners): 16 oz. spaghetti, 1 lb Velveeta cheese, 3 chicken breasts, 1 can cream chicken soup, 1 can cream mushroom soup, 1 can tomatoes with diced chilies, 1 small green pepper, 1 small onion, foil pan

Chili

What you need per recipe (I quadrupled this recipe to make two dinners.  I halfed the ground meat and added leftover diced green peppers to it): 1 lb. ground meat, 1 onion, 28 oz stewed tomatoes, 30 oz. tomato sauce, 30 oz. kidney beans, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, freezer bag

***To make this a freezer meal: I combine all ingredients (including cooked ground meat) in a ziploc bag and freeze.  When I’m ready to serve, I thaw and heat in pot on stove until warm throughout.

Stromboli

What you need per recipe (this will make 3 nice size stromboli so, I make 1 big one and one small one and can get two dinners out of the three frozen bread dough loaves or I use my own pizza dough recipe and it makes the same amount as the frozen store bought dough.  You can see my dough recipe HERE.): 3 loaves frozen bread dough 1 lb. sausage, 6 oz. pepperoni, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, margarine, plastic wrap, and foil

***To make it a freezer meal:  I do everything but bake it.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and then foil to freeze.  When ready to eat, unwrap, thaw for several hours and then bake according to directions.

Lasagna Casserole

What you need per recipe (I doubled this to make two dinners, I also used 12 oz. pasta per recipe): 1 lb. ground meat, 1 onion, 28oz jar pasta sauce, 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, 12 oz. rotini, 2 eggs, cottage cheese, 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt/pepper, foil pan

***To make it a freezer meal: do everything according to the directions but bake.  When ready to use, thaw and then bake according to directions.

Homemade Frozen Pizzas

What you need per recipe (this recipe will make 4 foil pan pizzas or 3 large cookie sheet pizzas…that’s two meals for our family): flour, sugar, yeast, oil, salt, pizza sauce, 4 cups mozzarella cheese, your choice of toppings, foil pizza pans

homemade frozen pizza

Nachos

What you need per recipe: 1 lb. ground meat, taco seasoning packet, 1 can black beans, freezer bag (when you are ready to serve, you will need tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and any other toppings you like)

***To make it a freezer meal: brown ground meat and season with taco packet.  Combine with black beans and freeze in freezer bag.  Thaw, heat, and serve with nacho chips and your favorite toppings.

Tatertot Casserole

What you need per recipe:  this recipe makes enough for two 9×13 pans…that’s two meals for our family. 2 lb ground meat, 6lbs tatertots, 2 cans cream mushroom soup, 2 cans evaporated milk, 2 cans cream chicken soup, foil pan

***To make it a freezer meal: combine all ingredients in a foil baking pan, cover and freeze.  When ready to serve, thaw and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Freezer Beef Stroganoff

What you need per recipe: (I doubled this recipe to make enough for two meals.  I also served over egg noodles which I cooked right before serving) 2 lbs beef sirloin ( I used roast), 1lb mushrooms, 2 medium onions, 1 clove garlic, butter, beef bouillon, salt, Worcestershire sauce, flour, freezer bag

102_9744-001

Baked Egg Casserole

What you need per recipe: (I doubled this recipe to make 2 meals,  increased the bread from 7 slices to 11, and decreased the sausage or ham to 1 lb.) 12 eggs, 1 lb. sausage or ham, 11 slices bread, 16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, foil pan

102_9756-001

***To make this a freezer meal:  Follow directions and do everything but bake.  Place in foil pan, cover, and freeze.  When ready to serve, thaw, and bake according to instructions.

Pepperoni Rolls

This link will lead you to my Pizza Night post which contains my pizza dough recipe.  I use this same recipe for my pepperoni rolls.  I divide the recipe into 24 pieces and this makes 2 meals.  I add 7 pieces of pepperoni and approximately 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese in each roll and then seal them up.  I bake at 370 for about 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

What you need for this recipe: flour, yeast, sugar, oil, salt, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, freezer bag

***I place 12 (two for each of us) in a ziploc bag and freeze.  When ready to serve, reheat in the microwave.

Make Ahead Pancake Mix

What you need per recipe: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, butter, salt, butter milk (or substitute) , eggs, freezer bag

***I don’t make up these pancakes ahead of time but I do have the mix all ready to go.

So, those are the 34 meals we have eaten in the past six weeks.  When you throw in the occasional fast food, the church dinner, eating at friends, and the holidays, these meals lasted much longer than just 34 days.  I am so glad I did this.  It saved me oodles of time and we always had something in the house to eat.  I have already been asked a ton of questions via e-mails or friends and family that knew I was doing this, so I have compiled a FAQ post about Cooking Once a Month.  I am not an expert but I learned a lot and will do some things differently this weekend when I cook again for the next month, including many new recipes.  Yes, I’ll share ‘em next month with you.  

For now, I have compiled a  Printable Grocery List for the above meals.  PLEASE keep in mind, the things on the list are for the meals you see above and  in the quantities that I made.  As you will see listed by each recipe, I said whether or not I doubled the recipe to make two meals or if the recipe, as it was, made enough for two meals.  Also, the ingredients listed by the item are the ingredients you need to make them… not serve them.  You will need to purchase toppings, buns, side dishes, and any other things you like with your dinners.

If you are considering Cooking for a Month, I would totally bite the bullet and do it!  I can hardly wait to do it again!

Happy Cooking,

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  21 Responses to “Cooking For A Month Recipes and Grocery List”

  1. You are rockin’ it!!! I work full time and making meals like this would make our lives soooooo much easier! I just have to find the time to prepare the meals and get a list together of the meals and list! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I absolutely love make-ahead meals waiting for me in the freezer. Many years ago I got on that kick thru a book called Once a Month Cooking (by MiMi Baker, I think). Over the years, I have gotten other cookbooks geared toward that such as Don’t Panic Dinner’s in the Freezer and also Fix Freeze Feast. I got out of the habit after we moved two years ago—I was just trying to survive after moving 11 hours away, plus my two oldest are now away at college so I am not feeding as many. But I did go on a big meal prepping spree a few months ago b/c I got an order of the fresh Zaycon Chicken (split the 40 lb order with a friend), so I had to do something w/20 lbs of chicken breast FAST. Some I just put into ziplock bags with marinade for grilling. But most of it was used for Crockpot Freezer Meals. And even with only one child still living at home, those pre-made meals come in SO handy! I am getting a little low on my stash, so am thinking of another order next time the Zaycon man comes to town. I may try some of your recipes for this next time:)

    • I’ve just recently heard of Zaycon and am glad to hear of someone else that has tried it. I may have to give it a try!

  3. Any idea how many containers, ziploc bags, foil and/or plastic wrap we should have on hand? Also, approximately how long did it take you to assemble all the meals for freezing?
    Thanks so much for this much anticipated update btw! =]

    • I updated the post and included what I used to store each item and added them to the grocery list as well. I used 16 freezer bags, 12 foil lasagna baking pans, and 4 foil pizza pans. I buy the good foil and my 65 square foot roll lasted through the cooking and all month long. The only thing I used plastic wrap for was the Stromboli so that was just a few pieces.
      All of this, including clean up took me 5 hours. I shopped the same day that I cooked and I certainly wouldn’t recommend that. I was exhausted when the day was over. I am cooking again tomorrow for this coming month and did all my shopping today. So I’m hoping to have 34 new meals in my freezer by noon tomorrow!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. […] Cooking for a Month Recipes & Grocery List ~ Saving 4 Six […]

  5. Thank you for the update! One more last quick question..can we get an estimate on how much the food cost? I’m trying to budget and need to know how much to expect. Thanks again for all your help, your blog is great!! =]

    • The food for this particular meal plan cost approximately $230. That was feeding a family of 6 for 34 meals. The cost will vary based on which meals you make, where you shop, and how many you are cooking for.
      Thanks for the kind comment Dani.

  6. Thanks for this! I am pinning a bunch of ideas for when I get that big ol’ freezer in the garage! :) I thought I was following you on FB, Pinterest, and Twitter…but I wasn’t—so now I am! Ha! Hope you have a great day!

    Sarah

  7. […] 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 […]

  8. This is great!! I tried to make a whole bunch of freezer meals before Miss S was born so I wouldn’t have to cook after her arrival and it has been so nice not having to worry about what to make. I am always looking for new recipes to try for some variety. I definitely pinned this to look back at later! Thanks for linking it up!!

  9. I just love Freezer Meals and this is a fantastic collection! Great organizational skills, saves time and money! Thank you so much for helping us celebrate Three Years at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  10. […] get busy and the schedules get crazy. Carrie, from Saving 4 Six, has me so inspired  with her post, to get cooking with her fantastically yummy recipes and easy to follow steps, now seems so easy! I […]

  11. I started doing this a while back, but it makes life so much easier. I’ve saved a lot of people’s recipes on Pinterest. I like your site and use it often. Thank you for sharing….

  12. Thank you for this. I love it. I have always been one to do my meals for the week ahead of time. Or try to anyway, but that means I spend either Saturday or Sunday every weekend cooking. Uggg. As a working full time mom who just started back to college I was struggling with how to make it all work smoothly. I love that with these ideas I can do a whole month in one day!

  13. Love this!! But I’m having a hard time figuring out the quantities. The ones listed on this page are doubled already, or not?

    • Sorry for the confusion. The recipes that are listed are not doubled. On many of the recipes I say “I doubled this recipe to make enough for two meals.” What I mean is that I took the recipe listed and doubled it while cooking. So, the ingredients are not listed on my blog as being doubled. When making the printable grocery list however, I did double the ingredients for the recipes that I would be doubling so I would know how much to get at the store.

  14. I’m not seeing the fried rice recipe. Where should I look?
    By the way, way to go momma! You’re doing great!

  15. […] Cooking for a Month Recipes and Grocery List […]

  16. The hashbrown casserole. Did you cook the ground beef first? I am so new to this, but loven’n it! Thanks for all the hard work you do blogging.

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